Had the 5000 size slightly apart today to get a peek at what's inside and to make sure it was properly greased by the factory.
Interesting reel. I'm not sure what to make of it yet
On the plus side:
Nice, big, heavy gears
Great spool design, should really be able to reach out there. The body of the reel and the handle is the same for the 4500/5000 (4.1 to 1 ratio) and again on the 5500/6000 (3.6 to 1 ratio). The spools seem to be interchangeable between all 4 but I have a call in to Daiwa to verify that. <edit> The Daiwa customer service rep just called me back, they just checked it out and yes they are all interchangeable
I had the opportunity to swap spools at Cabellas last weekend with the 4500, 5000 and 5500, switching the spools from one body to the other. Without actually spooling line on and seeing how it wrapped it looked like the only differences were in the depth/line capacity. The 4500 spool had one other noticeable difference other then depth, the lip was slightly more aggressively tapered forward.
A very long solid stainless handle arm.
The bail can be flipped manually and locks in place nicely while casting. no worries about it snapping over and breaking off your plug.
The rear cover (part #100) can be removed by taking out one large screw (part #102) revealing the worm shaft and pawl (parts #68 and #77). These are going to be wear items that will have to be watched carefully with special attention given to keeping them well lubed so I like the fact that they made it east to access these parts.
Just like with a levelwind conventional it might be a good idea to keep a spare pawl (Part #77) back in the truck.
A replacement pawl is $11 + change, a replacement worm shaft is $7 and change.
<I had the same thought, that can't be right! Strangely enough it is, the pawl is more expensive then the worm shaft.>
Hopefully this assembly will last longer then the levelwind pawls in my conventionals. $11 + shipping 2 or 3 times a year could get expensive.
It is, however, a much larger pawl then what you'd find in a conventional levelwind and is not involved in the cast the way a conventional reel pawl is, so it should be good for a considerably longer amount of time (we'll find out).
The rear cover (part #100) has a rubber gasket (part #99) to keep water from getting in - I found it curious that the sideplate doesn't
On the negative side:
The handle is hollow, hard, cheap feeling, light plastic - Really feels like crap, it has to go.
Unfortunately there is no other handle knob that fits the Surf Saltiga and the diameter of the threaded shaft that goes through the Surf Saltiga knob is different then that of the Saltiga Z.
Too bad, if it were a matter of length then it could probably be modified fairly easily, width is much more difficult unless you are, or have access to, a machinist.
Lots of little parts, this is not a reel for the timid to be taking apart (Scared the hell out of me and all I did was pop the the side and rear plates)
I haven't gone crazy looking yet but so far a spare spool has been difficult to track down. <edit> the only parts distributor for NJ is Newark Sinker, the spare spool list price is $71.35
I see this reels best use being finesse fishing on open sand beach's and backwater areas where you can allow the fish to run and give the very smooth feeling drag time to do its job. In my own opinion this is not going to be a reel for rock hopping Montauk and Jersey Jetty style. The thin walled body feels light, too light to horse a large fish in a snaggy area or in a lineup where you have to bring the fish to your control very quickly.
The wormgear and pawl spool oscillating system is going to cause trouble for the guys who don't pay attention to it, with the pawl wearing out and binding the reel up - KEEP IT LUBED.
Both good and bad:
The coated magnesium alloy body is very light and supposedly is very strong for it's weight.
I expect that the coated magnesium alloy body and magnesium and saltwater are NOT friends. I would be worried that the everyday rubs and scratches that a reel is subject to on the rocks could possibly allow corrosion to take hold. I'll be keeping this reel on the sand and in it's bag when not in use.
I'm looking forward to fishing with this reel out on the Hook and in the back bay.
For the tough rocky spots like the inlets and jetties and for heaving heavy plugs and metal I just picked up the new ABU Cardinal 807 - This reel is built like a tank (review to come later)