It feels balanced and surprisingly lightweight, but pull back on the rod and there’s a huge reserve of power.
This combo is ideally suited to top-water fishing in New Zealand. The S-Extreme 80TN rod will handle lines to PE6 and the Saltiga 5000 reel holds plenty of PE5 or 6 line. The review reel was loaded with around 300m of eight-ply Daiwa AccuDepth 0.35mm braid with a nominal breaking strain of 40kg.
The reel is all class. It’s packed with features, including a mag-sealed body, Zaion composite rotor and carbon-hybrid spool to save weight. Compared to previous generation Saltiga reels or larger 6500 models, it’s a relative lightweight (600g).
The Saltiga S-Extreme 80TN rod is a two-piece, high-carbon casting tool engineered to throw lures of between 30 and 100g in weight with an action skewed towards stick baits rather than poppers. There’s a reasonable amount of give in the tip, which allows the angler to effectively ‘sweep’ the eight-foot (2.44m) rod to get stick baits working at their best.
S-Extreme rods utilise ‘bias-wrap’ construction, wrapping the latest graphite composites diagonally around the core of the blank, which features ‘SSG’ (super multi-strand graphite) with special composites. The design eliminates twisting and provides better casting performance and superior hook-sets.
The result is a slim, lightweight, two-piece rod fitted with premium Fuji silicon-carbide K-guides for optimal casting and tangle-free performance. The guides minimise any impact on the rod’s action and quickly and efficiently dissipate heat generated by line friction, while their unique design greatly reduces the incidence of line wrapping around the guides or the tip. High density ‘Air Foam’ EVA grips and a Fuji DPS reel seat with locking ring, along with a graphite gimbal nock and neoprene cap, round out the rod’s practical features.
The real difference between a stick bait and a popper rod (Daiwa also has two specialist popper rods in the Saltiga S-Extreme range) became clear the first time I tried the rod. For the limited stick bait fishing I’d tried so far, I had made do with a non-specialist rod. While the casting aspect wasn’t too bad, especially with heavier stick baits, working the lures properly proved difficult and quickly became tiring.
Not so with the 80TN. It not only throws stick baits with less effort, even the lighter 40-50g lures, but working them is so much easier. The rod’s action allows you to get into a groove, sweeping the rod and winding back down the line. The rod tip cushions the sweeps, so the lures don’t jump out of the water, and the whole technique is much easier and more effective.
You can work poppers with this rod, too, provided they’re not too big, but you really need a stiffer rod to get cup-face poppers working correctly.
I managed to get my small selection of stick baits to swim reasonably well during three or four sessions with the 80TN-Saltiga 5000 combo. There were instances when I would have preferred the high-speed 5.7:1 5000H version of the reel, but even the 4.4:1 ratio 5000 retrieves 76cm of line per turn of the handle, so its not bad.
I’d like to report that I slayed the local kingfish with this outfit, but I didn’t, catching just a couple of rats from under the buoys in Rangitoto Channel. I tried elsewhere, including Parengarenga Harbour and Cape Karikari in the Far North, but without success, and I had to return the combo before further opportunities arose.
Fortunately, this outfit has proved itself in the hands of other anglers, hooking GTs and bluefin trevally in Rarotonga and kingfish to 20kg at D’Urville Island in the Marlborough Sounds.
The Saltiga 5000is really quite something – a technological marvel. It has all of Daiwa’s latest features found only on its top of the range reels. This reel sits right at the top of the Daiwa tree with the Saltiga Expedition and Dogfight, but in a more compact package. Hyper Digigear main gearing, multiple sealed ball-bearings, sealed Ultimate Tournament Drag system, Air Bail, Twist Buster II and machined aluminium perforated ball handle are familiar Saltiga features.
The Saltiga 5000 features the same mag-seal technology first seen in Daiwa’s Certate spinning reels and now available across the Saltiga range. Lubricants inside the sealed reel body contain magnetite, which gravitates to metal components inside the reel when a magnetic force is applied, ensuring constant targeted lubrication and forming an impermeable seal that completely excludes water, debris and salt intrusion.
The reel’s body is all metal construction and the handle is machined alloy, but the Air Rotor is Zaion, Daiwa’s state of the art composite resin material that’s both strong and light. It supports the line roller and disperses the pressure and stress of the line travelling over it to the whole lower section of the rotor, reducing flexing and improving ‘reel sensitivity’ – you can feel the difference. The titanium nitride bail arm roller has two ball-bearings, while the ABS spool is a hybrid carbon and aluminium construction that looks sharp. Line capacity is up to 300m of PE5 and the drag exerts up to 15kg of stopping power – ideal for New Zealand kingfish.
The reel’s sealed (including the carbon drag system), so completely washable for easy maintenance and convenience on extended fishing expeditions – simply hold it under a running tap or wash it down with a hose set on gentle pressure.
The drag is…Brilliant: progressive and strong, with a full range of settings. Daiwa claim in excess of 15kg of drag straight out of the box, which is heaps for a 5000-sized reel designed for 20-30kg line. The rat kings I caught on the combo barely pulled out any drag, but I have no doubt the carbon-fibre drag system is as smooth and powerful as we have come to expect from Saltiga reels.
Casting is…The rod and reel combo casts lures like a dream, especially those around 60g. I still have a bit of work to do perfecting low-profile braid to leader knots, trying both PR and FG knots during my review of this reel, neither of them particularly tidy. The knot passing through the guides can really affect casting distance, so it’s important to achieve a tidy connection. In worst-case scenarios, a bulky knot can knock out guide inserts and result in snapped off lures.
With this size spool, I settled on leaders of 50kg or less for best casting results.
The bail arm has no trip mechanism and must be closed manually, so there’s no risk of it tripping accidentally while casting – great. As noted, there were situations and particular stick baits where I would have preferred a faster retrieve, but on the whole the 4.4:1 5000 was fine for this application, with the bonus that it would also make an awesome jigging reel. The high speed version retails for the same price.
Things we really liked about the outfit were…This Saltiga combination feels wonderfully fit for purpose – balanced and light in the hands but with a promise of real power when required. Operation was faultless, angler error aside, and the Saltiga 5000-80TN combo was a pleasure to fish with. My brief time with it has opened up the possibility that I may one day invest in a dedicated stick-bait combo myself, something I have felt was unnecessary until now. I certainly can’t see myself still enjoying stick-bait fishing using my dedicated popper rod or the old spin rod I sometimes press into use. There’s nothing like having the right tool for the job…
What we think could be improved…Reel:
Not much that I can see, but I’m sure Daiwa engineers will think of something in seasons to come. Of course I’d like to see it available for a whole lot less money, but that’s unlikely – it’s expensive no matter where in the world you buy it. Buy it here and you at least have the parts and service support of New Zealand’s Daiwa distributor.
The price is comparable with top of the line reels from other manufacturers and it’s likely a reel like the Saltiga 5000 will last the average angler a lifetime. Even hard-core fishers (to whom reels like this really appeal) should get years and years of hard use out of it.
Can’t think of anything other than its two-piece construction with the rod coming apart above the foregrip. This is a strong, ultra-reliable join common to most high-end rods these days, but at 1.7m long when broken down, it’s still a reasonably long rod to transport, especially overseas.
I’m not sure if it’s physically possible given the performance and strength demands of this style of fishing, but it would be nice to see high quality, multi-piece travel rods for stick bait (and popper) fishing. Airlines are becoming increasingly difficult about rod tubes on aircraft these days, so it’s a real advantage if rods pack down into your luggage.
Rod specifications Saltiga S-Extreme 80TNLength: 2.44m
Line weight: PE6
Best drag: 10kg
Casting weight: 30-100g
Construction: bias-wrap construction, Super Multi Strand Graphite (SSG) composites
Guides: 6 Fuji SIC K-guides, plus tip
Reel seat: Fuji DPS with locking ring
Reel specifications Daiwa Saltiga 5000Ratio 4.3:1
Super metal body and sideplate
Sealed Ultimate Tournament drag system
Digigear drive system
14 ballbearings, incl 4CRBB
Dual stopper infinite anti-reverse
Machined aluminium power handle
Hybrid graphite and machined aluminium ABS spool
Titanium nitride twin ball-bearing bail arm roller
Capacity 300m PE5, 250m PE6
Full Article: FishingnetNZ
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