Joe SillsWritten by

Daiwa’s Tatula Elite Series Rods Re-Light a Historic Torch

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HOUSTON, TEXAS — Brent Ehrler was in it to the last. On the final day, he battled out the waning moments of the 2017 Bassmaster Classic gripping a lead he’d held for two days. As the cameras panned around, inside and overhead his boat, viewers began to ask a question—what were the silver rods on the Classic leader’s deck?

The short answer is that they were Ehrler’s new signature, Tatula Elite Series rods from Daiwa. The long answer is that only some of them were. Others belonged to Randy Howell, Andy Montgomery, Cody Meyer, Takahiro Omori, Seth Feider and Ish Monroe. Each bore the signature of the pro that designed it. Each was designed for a specific purpose—with, and this is critical—total control over design.

If you’re a fan of fishing history, this is a big deal. It’s the re-lighting of a torch that once carried Daiwa’s signature series rods to the very top of bass fishing, and to an awful lot of store shelves across the country.

“It was one of the most exciting times we had at Daiwa,” says company Marketing Manager Curt Arakawa. “We founded the Daiwa pro team in 1986 or so, and we had some of the most well-known names on the circuit. We had Larry Nixon, who was number one on the Bassmaster circuit, Rick Clunn, who had already won three Bassmaster Classics, and we had Denny Brauer. They were the top three guys in earnings in that era and they were all on our team.”

Over time, the original team, which evolved to include George Cochran, Ken Cook and Davy Hite, ran its course. By the 2000s, Daiwa’s signature series of bass rods had dwindled along with it. But this year, the old flame is being resurrected under the banner of a new generation of Team Daiwa that’s poised to carry it right back to the top.

“They asked us to bring this back for a long time,” says Arakawa. “But we waited. We wanted to get this right.”

For Daiwa, getting it right meant having each pro develop a rod from the ground up. “We’re one of the few rod companies that actually builds the rods from scratch,” adds Arakawa. “So we told the guys, ‘look, you can build whatever you want. If you want to sell a million rods, you can make a $100 rod—but whatever you make, you’re going to have to fish tournaments with it. There’s no special rod just for you. Whatever you build, you have to use, and whatever you fish with has to be off the shelf. That’s how it used to be, and that’s how it has to be now.”

The result is the Tatula Elite Signature Series, a lineup of rods that weighs in at a $179 price point for most of the lineup, but reaches $289 with the inclusion of Daiwa’s patented, AGS carbon guides. Those guides, the pros swear, make a difference for techniques that rely heavily on feel.

“When I flip, I have to feel everything,” says Ish Monroe. “I need to feel the bite, the drop, everything. With AGS guides, I can feel leaves hitting on the way down.”

The secret to AGS, Daiwa says, is the super-sensitive ability of carbon to transmit vibrations from the line into the rod. “For techniques like flippin’, punchin’, froggin’ and neko-rigging that sensitivity is so important,” adds Arakawa. “For other methods like crankin’ or jerkbaits, you’re getting more of a reaction bite and it’s less important. That’s why you see the AGS guides on some models and Fuji Alconite guides on others.”

The advanced guide systems join Daiwa’s state-of-the-art, x45 Bias Graphite or Super Volume Fiber-Modulus (SVF) construction on most models. Though the crankin’ models feature Daiwa’s exclusive GLATECH fiberglass material, which wraps a traditional fiberglass blank with an outer layer of woven graphite to enhance sensitivity.

Team Daiwa is pairing the new, tech-savvy rods with freshly-minted, $199 Tatula SV TWS reels, that bring the company’s SV spool technology to the popular Tatula series reels. That’s allowing the team to cast lightweight baits with the increased distance of Daiwa’s renown T-Wing system, using a reel that’s almost impossible to backlash.

As Cody Meyers notes, if set properly, the SV system can allow you to cast a lure without ever touching the spool. (A neat, time-saving trick for pro anglers, and a crucial tool for fishermen of any experience level when skipping stickworms or weightless baits.)   The secret is in the SV spool and the improved Air Brake combined with Daiwa’s Magforce anti-backlash control system.

All of that, of course, is mounted on the shimmering, silver rods that popped off of Ehrler’s deck at this year’s Bassmaster Classic. So what was Brent Ehrler leading the Classic with? According to Daiwa, a futuristic new rod and reel combo series with a healthy nod to the past.

“The Bassmaster tour is where it all got started,” recalls Arakawa. Now, with the new Tatula Elite Series Rods, Daiwa is coming back to the place where it all began.

Daiwa Tatula Elite Series Rods Features

  • Daiwa’s Exclusive Super Volume Fiber-Modulus” SVF™” Graphite blanks or GLATECH™ Fiberglass construction
  • X45® Bias Graphite construction prevents twisting of blanks for casting accuracy
  • Daiwa AGS guides or Fuji® Alconite ring guides
  • Daiwa Exclusive custom designed reel seats or Fuji® reel seats
  • Limited 5 Year Warranty

Daiwa Tatula SV TW Features

  • SV Spool (Easy to cast all weights of lures)
  • A7075 Aircraft Grade Aluminum Spool
  • Air Brake System
  • T-Wing System
  • Aluminum Frame
  • Line capacity: 14 lb. – 100 yds.
  • 8 Bearing System (2CRBB+5BB+1RB)
  • Ultimate Tournament Drag (UTD) with 13.2 lbs. of drag
  • 90 mm Swept Handle with cutouts for reduced weight
  • I-Shaped Handle Knobs
  • Weight 7.2 oz.
  • Right and Left Hand Models
  • Gear Ratios 6.3:1, 7.3:1 & 8.1:1
  • Anodized parts coloring system

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