REVIEW: Daiwa Aird 2500SH
For years, I have been a dedicated fan of three fishing reel brands. Two have been absorbed by a fishing conglomerate that will not be named here. One, however, has remained independent since the first reel rolled off it’s Japanese production line in 1955. Eleven years later, Daiwa Corporation opened it’s American headquarters and has continued to introduce innovative, reasonably-priced, high-performance reels to domestic anglers ever since.
The Silver Series 4000 spinning reel was my first Daiwa purchase some 40 years ago, and it served me well through 3 decades of catching inshore saltwater species. Since then, there have been many Daiwa incarnations in my reel arsenal. Recently, I had become a big fan of their Exceler line of spinning reels because of it’s high-end features at a low mid-level price point.However, when shopping for a new Exceler to put onto a newly acquired rod, I discovered that their latest version left out some of the features that had made it such a standout in my eyes … most importantly, reducing the number of ball bearings from seven to three. Though, it didn’t take long to discover a brand new offering from Daiwa to entice me. The Aird line offers 4 models (though, some would argue 7 models … more on that later) including 1000, 2000, 2500, and 4000 sizes. Each is a feature rich performer that is lightweight yet strong and smooth. They have a high-speed retrieve speed of 6.2:1 (5.2:1 for the 1000 and 2000 models), ten total bearings (9 ball bearings, plus one roller bearing) for ultra-smooth operation, and many of the details found on their high-end models like the fluid Digigear digital gear design and Advanced Ballistic Spool System (ABS). The strong, yet lightweight composite body allows the 2500SH model to come in at an incredibly airy (hence the name?) 8.8 ounces. When you pair it up with some of the featherweight rods available today, it makes a huge difference for your all-day fishing comfort. Adding to the slight heft of the Aird is Daiwa’s hollow Air Bail – super strong yet light in weight, with no protrusions to snag line. The switchable, ambidextrous machine cut handle is tough enough to tackle even the biggest fish you might face. Yet, it’s ergonomic fit makes reeling comfortable when spending the entire day repeatedly casting for your favorite species. Daiwa’s ABS spool is itself a feature packed piece of the Aird pie. The spool’s maximized core diameter and reversed taper means 100% useable line. Rearward taper helps prevent tangles caused by excessive loops of loosely wound or stiff line falling forward from the spool on outcast. The huge spool diameter lets line flow freely in larger coils and produces less line memory coil. Plus, the maximized spool core diameter allows for huge drag washers with up to twice the surface area of ordinary reels. Fast starting drag maintains smooth consistency through hard runs without excess heat buildup and, because there’s little change in diameter of the spooled line as it feeds out, drag stays more consistent. Best of all, you get TWO spools with the Aird … but NOT the same size (except in the case of the 1000). The alternate-size spare aluminum spool makes it so that you are almost getting two reels for the price of one! In the case of the 2500SH, you also receive a 3000 size spool for heavier line options (the 4000 also comes with a 3500 size, the 2000 also comes with a 1500 size). I know what your saying, “Okay, Cave. It sounds great, but how does it fish?” Well, I started fishing with this reel 9 months ago, and have since bought two more, and I can tell you that it is one of the smoothest reels I’ve ever fished with . It casts incredibly far whether paired with my Big Bear worm rod or my XPS Extreme Rods. The high speed retrieve (6.2:1 and 36.6″ per handle turn on the 2500SH) really comes in handy when throwing crankbaits, chatterbaits, and other reaction baits. The smooth drag allows for confidence when battling big fish like the one pictured here. Plus, the extremely light weight allows for all-day comfort and less wear and tear on my tendinitis-inflicted elbow. All of this for a price well below a C-note. The only “complaint” I have is that the anti-reverse switch has been moved from the bottom of the reel to the middle, which just takes some getting used to.
Looking for a new spinning reel? The Daiwa Aird line is definitely worth considering. Taking into account the high-end features and the moderate price, this one is a no-brainer.
MSRP – $89.99
Cave Club Rating: 4.5 Clubs
Cave Club Scale
5 Clubs = The Missing Link
4 Clubs = Rock Solid
3 Clubs = Better Than Sharp Stick
2 Clubs = Not Fully Evolved
1 Club = Should Be Extinct