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Daiwa Saltist Black Gold Star Drag Review

If you are looking for a good quality conventional style star drag reel then the Daiwa Saltist Black Gold Star Drag reel is one that you will want to take a close look at.  In this review of the Daiwa Saltist Black Gold Star Drag reel, we will take a look at the features that make this such as solid choice for your smaller conventional open reels.  If you have been looking at this style of reel that you have probably also taken a look at the Penn Squall Star Drag and Okuma Cortez Star Drag reels which are going to be great comparisons.

Daiwa has been making reels since 1958 and has an excellent reputation not only for quality but for also introducing new technologies to the industry.  The Daiwa Saltist Black Gold Star Drag is an extremely durable reel that we would consider to provide an exceptional value in a saltwater reel.  The Daiwa Saltist Black Gold Star Drag series includes 5 models that include: STTBG20H, STTBG30H, STTBG35H, STTBG40H, STTBG50H and offer a one-piece aluminum frame and side plate with a machined aluminum spool.  All of the models include a centrifugal anti-backlash cast control.

Overall these reels are well made, lightweight and of a fairly compact design at and affordable price point for what you are getting.

Features

Aluminum one-piece frame and side plate – Daiwa has always known for quality and there is no skimping here.  This is a very solid reel which has a one-piece solid aluminum frame and side plate.   What I like about the full metal bodies is that they are less prone to flexing when under a heavy load, this means that the retrieve is going to be smoother and that the reel will last longer as it is not putting as much strain on the gears.

5 Bearing System (4CRBB + 1RB) – To achieve a very smooth reel Daiwa has used 4 Corrosion Resistant Ball Bearings or CRBB that are specially treated to last up to 12 times longer than conventional ball bearings and a single roller bearing for smooth line lay.

Protective anodized finish – The entire aluminum frame and side plate are protected with a nice black anodized finish.  It is this anodized finish that gets some people confused about the material that is used for the frame and sideplate, yes it is aluminum, not graphite.

Ultimate Tournament carbon drag (UTD) – Daiwa’s UTD or Ultimate Tournament Drag system is what makes for a very strong and smooth drag.  The drag disks are made of a woven carbon fiber and then impregnated with a proprietary mix of oil and grease that makes the disks about 30 times for durable than a standard drag disk.  One of the other advantages of the UTD system is that the disk allows for a very smooth start to the drag without any jerky feeling, as soon as the resistance level is reached the drag starts to operate smoothly.

Infinite Anti-Reverse – By utilizing a one-way bearing in the reel the Infinite Anti-Reverse eliminates any back play that you would get when setting the hook on a strike.

Machined aluminum spool – The machined aluminum spool is lightweight and meticulously manufactured for not only durability but also for strength.

Adjustable aluminum handle – The aluminum handle is adjustable and allows you move the handle to change the amount of leverage power you get on the reel.

Centrifugal anti-backlash control – One of the biggest challenges for any fisherman who does not have an educated thumb is to cast a star drag reel without getting a bird’s nest.  The centrifugal anti- backlash control uses a series of small pins that apply just the correct amount of pressure to make sure that the spool spins freely but does not get ahead of itself and cause that nasty bird’s nest.

Spool click selector – The Daiwa Saltist Black Gold uses a clicker on the sideplate of the reel that allows you to either engage or disengage the clicker.  The advantage of a clicker is that you can fish multiple rigs at the same time and when a fish starts to take the bait you will know, this is especially useful for bottom fishing applications.

 Features at a Glance

  • Aluminum one-piece frame and side plate
  • 5 Bearing System (4CRBB + 1RB)
  • Protective anodized finish
  • Ultimate Tournament carbon drag (UTD)
  • Infinite Anti-Reverse
  • Machined aluminum spool
  • Centrifugal anti-backlash control
  • Spool click selector

The Daiwa Saltist Black Gold is considered a high speed retrieving reel with a 6.1:1 gear ratio on the 20 and 30 series that brings in 35″ of line with each crank and a 6.4:1 on the 35, 40 and 50 models that retrieve line at 48″ per crank.  The higher speed retrieval rates are great for casting irons and retrieving certain artificials for target species such as Wahoo and Jacks that love to chase.  The higher speed retrieval rates are also excellent for fast moving fish like Blackfin Tuna, Redfish, Kingfish and Bonefish.

For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.

ModelMono Cap (yds/lb)Braid Cap (yds/lb)Max Drag (lbs)BearingsGear RatioLine Retrieve (in)Weight (oz.)
STTBG20H12/420
14/350
20/210
40/26
50/200
15.44CRBB, 1RB6.1:135"16.5
STTBG30H14/490
20/295
25/230
40/380
50/280
15.44CRBB, 1RB6.1:135"17.2
STTBG35H20/300
25/240
30/200
40/600
50/360
19.84CRBB, 1RB6.4:148"21.1
STTBG40H25/400
30/270
40/240
40/660
50/490
19.84CRBB, 1RB6.4:148"22
STTBG50H30/350
40/310
50/220
40/840
50/630
19.84CRBB, 1RB6.4:148"22.7

For the size and weight of these reels, they have a considerable amount of drag ranging from 15.4 lbs up to 19.8 lbs with the Ultimate Tournament Drag system.  The combination of the strong drag and the high-speed retrieval makes a powerful combination when fishing for aggressive species. Probably the most popular model in the series would be the STTBG30H due to the amount of braided line 380 yards of 40 lb test that can be packed onto the spool.

Probably the most popular model in the series would be the STTBG30H due to the amount of braided line 380 yards of 40 lb test that can be packed onto the spool.  It is amazing that this reel can provide you with that much line capacity and still fit comfortably in the palm of your hand.  I personally find that the model 30 is small enough to not feel bulky, weighing in at only 17.2 oz and with the retrieval rate of 35″ per crank it gets the job done for most of my fishing.

Pros

  • Weight
  • Corrosion resistant
  • UTD drag system
  • Backlash control

Cons

  • Not fully sealed

Alternatives

The other two reels that I would have you take a look at in this class would be the Penn Squall Star Drag which is about $20 cheaper than the Daiwa and the Okuma Cortez Star Drag which is also about $20 cheaper.  Both of these reels are very good quality as well but I do prefer the Daiwa for its extreme smoothness. Read the full review of the Penn Squall Star Drag HERE and the full review of the Okuma Cortez Star Drag HERE. 

In Conclusion

For a high-speed star drag reel that is not going to break the bank, I really like the Daiwa Black Gold Star Drag.  Personally, I fish with the size 30 as it provides a great weight to line capacity balance and is able to hold 380 yards of 40 lb braided line.

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