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Daiwa SS whisker Tournament reels.

Richard Isaacs

Senior Member
I’m starting a post about a range of reels that im sure every specialist angler knows all too well.

They are usually loved for their retro looks or hated for their dated appearance. They usually get a plus for a smooth clutch and a minus for the unbalanced rotor.

I bought a couple of the much older Japanese versions recently and to say it’s being quite educational for me is a gross understatement.
I see some things a little differently to a lot of people and pick up on tiny details that either impress or disappoint me but more often than not these details get unnoticed by most and after spending some time studying these reels fully, I believe im in a firm position to write about them in a way that they probably haven’t been written about much before.

Firstly let’s get some home truths out the way. I’ve read a thousand posts claiming they are “dated and behind the times” “lacking the modern features of new reels” and I believed this to be true based on looks and feel but should you take it a little further and actually understand this ionic reel you’ll see that in many ways not only are they way ahead of their time on some features but completely on their own on others.

Starting off small alot of the internal screws holding the guts together inside this thing are counter sunk. Everything locates itself really nicely when tightening down and ends up back in its perfect position without the need to hold parts in line or place.
Something that a lot of other reels don’t always have but it’s a massive quality feature in something like this with lots of small parts working together.

It’s mentioned a lot that the oscillation on these is achieved via it’s own worm drive which is true and certainly something that is missing from a lot of high end modern reels (use gears instead now due to complexity of the machined drive probably)
But what’s not mentioned a lot is the fact that this worm drive is shielded in a half case on one side to prevent any crap entering the tracks. I’ve never seen that before….. it’s brilliant! So worm drive oscillation which offers quality line lay that geared oscillation can’t achieve and the fact it’s shielded….

How many people actually lubricate their reels? Not many I know and that’s down to the fact that we are worried about wrecking them because it requires taking them apart…….. well not the SS. Something else I’ve not seen before and it’s absolutely genius. You can fully lubricate both the oscillation worm drive and the main worm and gear and completely remove the main shaft from under the rear cover……,, that’s 2 screws and you can practically service the entire reel… genius.

The anti reverse always bothered me on these. It still does to be fair because there is a lot of lash in it but having seen it and understood it I’m kinda warming up to it simply because the design. They’ve put it in the reels body which is unusual and attached it to the main drive.
It doesn’t lock up on plastic teeth inside the rotor it uses metal teeth and it looks so strong it simply won’t slip. The free play will always be there with a geared design and I prefer the bearings used on modern reels but again it’s a design all on its own.

All Bearings are shielded on one side. It’s the exposed side to stop crap getting in which is normal for most reels but they are completely open on the opposite, non exposed side which is not common at all so you can actually work lubricant into the races and actually service them properly. It’s a tiny thing but it’s brilliant.

So I’m not gonna babble on about how good the clutch is or the line lay etc as we know all this and everyone else has covered that, but do we know that the main gear on the drive in this reel is precision machined and not die cast like a lot of modern reels meaning the tolerance on the teeth will be so accurate and suffer less wear or feel.

I dismissed this reel for years based on its wobbly rotor. And I was also guilty of thinking it’s behind the times but it’s not…… I just didn’t understand it fully until very recently. It’s an incredibly clever design in many ways

Don’t get me wrong it could be alot better but definitely think again if you believe your modern shimano is way ahead of the old SS cos trust me …….. it ain’t !
 

Terry Harman

Senior Member
Wonder if this would fit the smaller ss tourneys

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Anthony James

Senior Member
I only use ss2600 and 1600 for my fishing, I love them so much at this point there is no reason at all to consider anything else. Like Richard mentions, they are way ahead of their time, the quality of the machined parts it what sets it apart. You can feel it every time you play a fish.
 

Richard Isaacs

Senior Member
Richard, I know you really like the shimi OC and D models. How do you rate the Daiwa in comparison ?
I was kinda hoping no one would ask that because they couldn’t be any different.
I stand by my statement that for the £££ the OC is the best barbel reel on the market today. No way can you get better bang for buck imo unless your jammy enough to land a thunnus for a hundred quid second hand.
The Ss has been engineered better than the D whether we like to hear it or not. It’s been thought about carefully and you can clearly see it’s had maintenance in mind during the thought process there’s little things like the counter sink screws and the fact that threads are used a lot over self tapers where possible. A proper worm drive for the oscillation rather than the cheaper gear train. You cannot get the same line lay patttern through a toothed gear design as you can through a carriage running down a cleverly machined track
However no one can deny the D is also bomb proof and a hundred times smoother, more balanced and refined. The D is obviously way ahead on anti reverse tech and has a far better line roller. You do get line twist with the Ss as the roller does stick if not regularly maintained.
The clutch I don’t particularly find to be any better or worse on either. They are both sensational.
I couldn’t be without my D’s I love em. But the point of my post was really to educate people with the mindset that the SS is dated tech. What they probably don’t realize is there brand new smooth reel is actually of much lower quality internally and lacking some of the key things that the SS does surprisingly well.
 

Anthony James

Senior Member
I am relatively new to barbel fishing, only had 3 full seasons under my belt. Can you explain to me what is the benefit of baitrunners? From all the fishing I have done, albeit fishing on small/medium sized rivers I see them as counter intuitive. I have however, caught many fish during this small tenure and up to 13+lb, so my learning curve has been steep; and letting these powerful fish 'run' in a river would simply give them a bigger opportunity to snag me up. After reading many reviews, barbel fishermen raved about bait runners so the first real I brought was a shimano DL, which I did not like at all. I found the line lay aweful, the spool was too narrow; and I found I never used the baitrunner feature anyway.

After that I brought an ss2600 after seeing many positive reviews on the clutch and the build quality. Now if I want the give the fish line to hook and run, I just set the rod on the rest with a loose clutch. Using the clutch this way allows me to pick up the rod, set the hook and put my finger on the spool to increase tension immediately. If it is snaggy and I need to fish with a tight clutch I prefer bowing the line and using the reverse. This lets me control the tension with my finger on the reel which in turn lets me feel the fish all the way through my hand when it's on the rod. Maybe it's just personal preference kind of thing, but would like to hear from some of you guys on why you like baitrunners :)
 

Richard Isaacs

Senior Member
I am relatively new to barbel fishing, only had 3 full seasons under my belt. Can you explain to me what is the benefit of baitrunners? From all the fishing I have done, albeit fishing on small/medium sized rivers I see them as counter intuitive. I have however, caught many fish during this small tenure and up to 13+lb, so my learning curve has been steep; and letting these powerful fish 'run' in a river would simply give them a bigger opportunity to snag me up. After reading many reviews, barbel fishermen raved about bait runners so the first real I brought was a shimano DL, which I did not like at all. I found the line lay aweful, the spool was too narrow; and I found I never used the baitrunner feature anyway.

After that I brought an ss2600 after seeing many positive reviews on the clutch and the build quality. Now if I want the give the fish line to hook and run, I just set the rod on the rest with a loose clutch. Using the clutch this way allows me to pick up the rod, set the hook and put my finger on the spool to increase tension immediately. If it is snaggy and I need to fish with a tight clutch I prefer bowing the line and using the reverse. This lets me control the tension with my finger on the reel which in turn lets me feel the fish all the way through my hand when it's on the rod. Maybe it's just personal preference kind of thing, but would like to hear from some of you guys on why you like baitrunners :)
I don’t use my baitrunner facility much for fishing as like yourself I tend to keep things locked up. However there are venues doing long sessions where you do want to sit back and not be on top of your tips and can get away with it. Like parts of the Trent doing an all night er. You need a free spool in this case and baitrunners are far more convenient than loose clutches imo. It’s one of those things where it’s better to have and not always need than need and not have. It doesn’t harm having the facility available.
 

Simon Archer

Senior Member
I use my baitrunner every time I go. I tend to watch other things as well as the rod tip when I'm fishing, and with the safety net of a baitrunner, I can relax a little. The swims I fish don't tend to be snaggy either. I set the baitrunner clutch and the reel clutch fairly light, only just enough to stop giving line, and when I get a take, I flick the BR lever over and the reel clutch kicks in. I like it that way.

I'd always been a back winder until I started Barbel fishing. All my match reels have their clutches wound up tight. It's only when I Barbel fish that I let the clutch take over. I find the rear clutch on my reels is in just the right place. I understand that front drags are supposedly superior, but I can't get on with them. It isn't intuitive for me to be turning something at the front of the spool, I get in a hell of a mess, forgetting which way to turn the blessed knob. At least with my rear drags I can get at then easily and actually see it.
 

Joe Winstanley

Senior Member
I don’t use my baitrunner facility much for fishing as like yourself I tend to keep things locked up. However there are venues doing long sessions where you do want to sit back and not be on top of your tips and can get away with it. Like parts of the Trent doing an all night er. You need a free spool in this case and baitrunners are far more convenient than loose clutches imo. It’s one of those things where it’s better to have and not always need than need and not have. It doesn’t harm having the facility available.
Bang on Richard.

Very handy to be able to flick the baitrunner on when your making a drink or attending to the call of nature.
 

Chris Cheshire

Senior Member
I have a few ss750's I use for trundling. Really light weight and small, but surprisingly you don't feel undergunned when using them. Fantastic reels, and for all my wandering sessions they are my reel of choice. If I'm putting couple of rods out on baitrunners on the lower severn then the 4000d can't be beaten imo.
 

Richard Isaacs

Senior Member
Sold mine, couldn't get beyond the wobble problem, but I acknowledge Richards summary of the reel, and would gladly forgive this quirky feature.
The wobble really is unforgivable because there is no other reason for it than an unbalanced rotor. I get that they wanted to keep them exactly the same for all these years but balancing up that rotor in more recent times wouldn’t take its charm away. I’m 100% with you on this one Neil it doesn’t need to wobble.
I will add though that the wobble does completely go away when you have the rotor under slight tension from line.
You don’t feel it at all bringing baits back
 
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