Joe SillsWritten by

Is Daiwa’s New BG Reel Actually Overbuilt?

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The bluefin came in big this year. Off the coast of Southern California, the timing couldn’t have been better for engineers working on a new reel from Daiwa. This season would be a test.

Introduced at ICAST 2016, the reel is all-new. It’s already on store shelves, and it carries a familiar name—BG.

Veteran anglers will recognize the moniker immediately. What they might not recognize is the reel itself. Gone are the days of the shiny, wooden-handled workhorse. The new BG is sleek and modern. It’s encased in machined aluminum. It’s designed with braided line in mind. And it’s powered by an insanely large drive gear that Daiwa ran through the ringer on West Coast charter boats, hauling in those bluefin, for months.

“The original BG came into production in 1981,” says Daiwa USA Marketing Manager Curt Arakawa.

Now, it’s here. And it’s a kick in the pants for those used to the bullet proof BG that your dad’s been using since Rapper’s Delight was a hit single. Here’s a quick intro:

That’s a glossy presentation. And after two years of engineering, Daiwa is touting the new BG as a competition killer. The new BG is a mean-looking reel, designed to look like a bullet proof machine. But is the sleek styling all talk, or can BG back it up? To get the real, reel scoop we talked to someone in the field— Eric Friedman, the co-owner of Just Fishing in North Palm Beach, Florida. They’re one of South Florida’s most trusted independent tackle dealers, and they’ve had the new Daiwa BG in stock for months.

Friedman, then, is the perfect man to ask about customer and retailer first impressions of the reel.

“I was onboard with it as soon as it came out,” Friedman says. “From an engineering standpoint, there’s no comparison between this and the other reels in this category. Because of that big drive gear, the durability is huge. It’s got bigger teeth on it, and that means the gears won’t wear and tear or slip when bigger fish get on the line.”

Friedman says the redesigned BG is a worthy heir for the line.

“They took a step up with a lighter reel and a more heavy duty reel that has new age styling. The older one was around for years, and even though we’ve only had the new one for a few months, it’s still keeping that reputation of being bullet proof, offering a good price point for charter guys and beginners and not having problems.”

So what’s the scoop on that drive gear, anyway? Here’s a side-by-side of the BG (right) next to a typical gear from the category.


Daiwa's gear (right) vs a competitor (left)

A competitor’s gear (left) vs the new BG gear (right)

Daiwa says the reel is over-built, and so far, Friedman agrees. “Bigger teeth mean more power,” he adds. “This is a good, durable reel at a good price. It’s something that’s going to last, which is a big deal for beginners who aren’t as experienced with reel cleaning or for charters that are hard on reels. We’ve even had some guys do shark fishing from the beaches with this.”

It seems, then, that the new BG isn’t just a pretty face. Beneath the “new age” veneer, lurks a monstrous, affordable reel. That matte black coating isn’t paint. It’s an anodized aluminum hard body case that’s made to resist the elements. Behind the case, 7 ball bearings ensure smoothness. An aluminum body, water proof drag, machined screw-in handles, digitally cut gears add up to a steal, from the $99.95 models used for freshwater or inshore all the way up to the big, $129.95 models for heavy work offshore.

“It packs a bigger punch than it needs to,” says Arakawa.

So far, his engineers aren’t the only ones to agree.


Joe Sills Hi there, did you know? Each week, we curate a list of the Top 5 stories in fishing and send them right to your inbox. Reading Tackle’s Top 5 is one of the best ways to become or remain an industry expert. -Joe Sills, Digital Editor