Monday, May 13, 2013

Problems with the Daiwa Emcast Sport

A cautionary tale... and a possible fix.

I'm not usually one to complain about gear. I understand that everything has limitations , and I understand that anything put through the abuse of surf fishing will eventually succumb to salt and sand. That's a part of the game , and one I've grown to begrudgingly accept. Maybe this post will serve as a fix for anyone who has waited too long for warranty repairs , but didn't address the problem fully when they should have. Certainly , if you have a problem with your Daiwa Emcast Sport , send it in ASAP , rather than putting it back together and hoping for the best. I dropped the ball on this one folks , and now I have a rather expensive paperweight.

I've had this reel since they first came out , and I liked it at first , but now that the honeymoon is over (read: limited one year warranty from the date of purchase) , I must say it's been a big disappointment when compared to Daiwa's other reels. I think some of the problem may be due to the fact that this is a very large reel. Daiwa really tried to make it affordable , and it was at $69.99 , but as is often the case , quality suffered or at least seemed to suffer to my untrained eye.

The first year I had it , I was on Hatteras Island and at Virginia Beach fishing for drum , catching huge skates and rays. I did the same thing a few months later in the surf on Assateague and Chincoteague. Big barn door skates are like hooking into a tank - just a long , steady pull , with no head shaking , no jumps , and very little in the way of speed , but they are powerful fish just the same. You're hard pressed during any fight to keep the fish from burying up in the sand and refusing to move. Putting the heat to the large flatfish causes extreme pressure on any reel - making the frame  flex and causing undue stress to gears , and additional wear on the drag washers. These reels probably weren't designed for this type of fishing.

What happened? During the last fight in the surf , a shim or spacer under the worm gear that makes the line wind levelly (is that even a word?) , popped out due to the frame flexing. You'll see it in the picture below , it's a rectangular piece with a horseshoe shaped notch in one end. That piece is supposed to go under the worm gear and act as a bushing or something , keeping the gear lined up. All I know is the reel goes all to crap when it comes out.



The Villain in our little story.
My Hero!
First I put the shim back where it goes.

Then I added a small , but long , machine screw and nut with a lock washer.

A better view.

Then I trimmed it.

Looking good , so far , right?

Nope. I've put the shim back in three times previously , and it has popped back out every time. I waited too long to add my fix , and now the gear itself is damaged. At first I thought it was just the small bolt I added interfering with the gear , but it's not. The shim stays in place now , but the level wind feature is shot. That brings me to a hard decision : do I try to track down a gear and waste more time trying to fix a reel that quite possibly has a bent frame , or do I just replace it? I'm leaning heavily towards the latter , since this is mainly a loaner rod

I don't blame Daiwa for this entirely , but I will say they should beef up the design on these reels or do away with the shim thing entirely. I'm sure it would have held up to smaller fish , but really I prefer my reels to be nearly indestructible.

**Disclaimer : This was a last ditch attempt to save a broken reel that was no longer under warranty. If you choose to modify your reel , you assume all responsibility for any damages that occur and any modification will almost certainly void your warranty , if it is still in effect. Daiwa will be your best bet for having your reel repaired.**

Have a great week!

6 comments:

  1. I guess the only question I would have (being a multiple Diawa reel owner [all spinning of course]) is: Is this reel designed for the type of fishing you're doing with it? I know that, at times, mine are not, but I use them anyway.

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    1. That's grey area, at best. Spinning reels in general aren't the best in the surf , but they cast better. In my opinion , any reel marketed for surf fishing and being this big (6000 size) should be over engineered and tougher to stand up to skates and rays. Compared with other Daiwa reels I've owned over the years , this one just feels cheap , or more precisely it feels like they cut a lot of corners to keep costs down.

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  2. Sorry to read of your battle with the reel, and, the fact that you did the best you could do trying to make things work. Sometimes, it is just not enough. Daiwa has long made good reels for most spin fishing situations. My guess is that you got it right in your assessment. That being that the reel was priced to sell, but, fell short in standards needed in a reel for what you wanted to do with it.

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    1. Hey Mel! I tried not to beat up on Daiwa as a brand , since I do like some of their reels. This one just had design flaws.

      The type of fishing we do is quite alien , compared to what you trout fishermen do , and it puts a lot of strain on gear. This reel was on a 12'6" rod and spooled with 20 pound line , and had an 80 pound leader. Usually, I had 6-8 ounces of lead on the end , plus a 4/0 hook and a hand sized piece of bait. The reel was sold as a surf reel , so it should have held up better. I wonder now if Daiwa didn't just upsize a smaller design and call it a day. That would explain a lot of what happened.

      On the other hand , Daiwa seems to have problems with bigger spinning reels. Online reviews are rife with bad ratings and reviews for so many of Daiwa's big surf spinning reels.

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    2. Thanks for the follow up information you provided, Josh. Certainly night and day from what I am used too as far as gear goes. I am impressed that you were able to fish this way. Surprised, actually, that you don't need some sort of shoulder surgery after that kind of work.

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    3. Oh , it's not as bad as it sounds. The rods they make now pretty much cast themselves compared to the ones I grew up using. If you're ever out here to the beach , I'll show you how it's done :)

      The fish are what really test your limits. I guess the biggest I ever had on this rod/reel was a ray about 6 feet across. The rod did fine with turning him , but I could feel it flexing in the reel seat. The reel was flexing too , which is what I think started my problem. It takes a lot to put a bend in a 12' surf rod at the reel seat , and even more to make a reel flex. It's so much fun , especially when my kids get in on the action.

      I had to help my eight year old with an eight foot Manta Ray last year. The little turkey snagged it on purpose when he saw it swim close to his line. I think we only lost about 20-30 yards of line , but man what a fight!

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