For a reel that doesn't even say "BFS" in the name, this is one great BFS reel. The Shimano reels get more press, but I prefer the Daiwa SS air. It is easy to adjust and has a lighter spool.
The Daiwa SS Air combines the great feel of the Steez and the advanced technology of the T3 Air.
The SS Air's Air Brake System increases the braking force when the spool spins faster and reduces it when the spool spins more slowly. You can make overhand casts and underhand pitches with the same mag setting and with very few backlashes.
By allowing the spool to spin more freely when it is spinning more slowly, the Air Brake System allows you to pitch with less force, greatly improving accuracy. It also controls the rotation at the end of your cast, preventing overruns.
The spool is the same G1 duralumin spool found in the T3 Air, which weighs only 6.9 grams (excluding bearings), which is lighter than the Shimano Aldebaran spool.
Because it is extremely light construction, Daiwa recommends only nylon or fluorocarbon lines, not braid. Lines from 6 to 14 lb are recommended, with no more than 50 meters on the spool.
The dial for adjusting the magnetic braking has 20 positions (21
counting "Off"). The discrete numbered steps allow you to change the
setting when you change lures or in response to wind, and then easily
change back to an exact setting. The adjustment is much, much easier than on the Aldebaran (which is probably the main reason I personally prefer the SS Air to the Aldebaran).
The Ultimate Tournament Drag starts smooth and stays smooth. You won't need it for the 8 inchers, but for an 18 incher (or a 28 incher)? They're out there, and if (when) you hook one, you'll be glad you've got it.
The star drag is ZAION (a very strong, very light, carbon/resin composite) with long, 30mm arms that are closer to the reel body for ease of use.
The handle knobs are also ZAION, saving weight. The open design allows your finger to touch the handle knob shaft, which results in greater sensitivity.
The Daiwa SS Air has an extremely low spool weight, the very effective Air Brake System, a smooth drag and easily adjustable mag control. It is one of the best baitcast reels for trout.
Daiwa recommends against braid because of the light weight spool. I started out using nylon mono and have switched to the Sunline PE-HG braid, which is 6# test, which is the low end of the recommended line strength. I always add a clear tippet that breaks at less than 5# test and I don't set hooks like a pro bass angler. I haven't had any problems and do not anticipate any.
The Shimano Aldebaran gets a lot more press, but I'd have to say I prefer the Daiwa SS Air.
Daiwa SS Air
6 - 14 lb (braid not recommended)
I've had orders in for the SS Air since last summer and have not been able to get any reels at all. I don't know what the problem is, and I don't know when I will be able to get them again.
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Finesse-Fishing.com no longer ships to the UK. The new VAT regulations are too onerous for a one-man shop that rarely ships anything to the UK anyway. I apologize.
The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.