Saturday, June 12, 2010


I'm a big fan of the Daiwa Silvercast reels that were sold in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Memory fails as to where I picked up the one I had or even when, but it's been an outstanding reel for at least the past 25 years. As I recall, I bought it because the Abu-Matic series by Garcia had been discontinued, and I was on a fishing trip with a fly rod/reel and an ultralight spinning rod/reel, and had not brought a spincasting reel with me for the casting rod I had brought.

The particular model I first bought was strung from the factory with 15 pound test line. Over the years, I've marveled at it's baitcasting reel like distance that it achieves on long distance casts. Long distance casts are not something that spincasting reels are noted for. It has a decent drag, not as nice as the star drag of the Abu-Matic series of reels but it works pretty good. I'd still rather fight a huge fish on an Abu-Matic 170 or 290 with a star drag, but most of the fish I catch are not huge, despite my best efforts.

I've used this reel for varied fresh and saltwater fishing all over the state and in several other states. It played out of the 90 yards of line it holds when it went to the Bahamas with me during the 1990's, but I still managed to land the 2 pound bonefish that took out all that line. I learned my lesson and have restricted it's use to fishing trips when 90 yard runs are unlikely.

In recent months, I've acquired several more of these same model reels in very good used condition, not spending over $4.00 for each reel, exclusive of shipping. There are apparently a lot of these reels on the used reel market, and for some reason, they have yet to become overpriced. I've cleaned up and oiled/greased the ones I have and recently used one for some jetty fishing.

El Fisho Jr. likes these reels for their simplicity, and you can't argue with the durability factor. Mine has withstood rugged use over the past two decades plus, and is still in fine form.

So if you're looking for a great reel buy and you appreciate at times a good spincast reel, then check out the older Daiwa Silvercast line of reels. Unfortunately, the newer lines of Daiwa Silvercast and Goldcast reels just don't measure up to the older Silvercast, although the Goldcast comes close in freshwater. The current Goldcast reels just don't cast nearly as far as the old Silvercast reels do. Besides, you can get a used RL for about a tenth as much as you can a new Goldcast, and the innards of the new reels are not as durable as the old ones either.

Pick one up and you'll be amazed with the distance you can get out of this reel. If it only held more line, it'd even be useful for ultralight surf casting, but as it is I've landed some hefty catfish in the 10 pound or so range with this reel.

I have used this reel, along with a Cabela's travel rod, for surf fishing in California, since one is likely to catch much smaller fish in the California surf than in the Texas surf. Mostly what I've caught when surf fishing in Southern California has been fish like halibut and surf perch, which tend to be around the 1 and 2 pound catagory.
I had some Malibu surf fishermen looking at me all goo-goo-googly eyed one October several years back, as I was casting my Berkley Gulp sand flea baits (with no weight) a good distance further than their ultralight spinning reels and longer rods were reaching. They came over, and were very curious about the reel I was using and why it's casting reach was so far.

I couldn't explain to them why it casts so far, but I'm pretty sure those fellows were on Ebay that night looking for one of their own. They were very impressed with the distance, and were surprised that it was an older reel and not some new high dollar creation. I let them make a few casts and they were duly impressed. They made sure to write down the model number before they left.

So if you're looking for a good reel for smaller bass and just about every other freshwater fish in Texas, look no further. I'll be trying it out on some mountain trout in a few weeks in another state, and I'll feel well armed for rainbows and golden trout with a nice ultralight casting travel rod I have. It'll do double duty on that same trip doing some light saltwater bay fishing as well, with a more stout rod.
Despite the low line capacity, I've done a lot of bayfishing with this reel, and it works great in saltwater. It takes a well made and somewhat heavy duty reel to even take saltwater fishing to begin with, much less repeated trips over 25 years. Even when dirty, it still functions until you can give it a good cleaning and oiling, and that's saying something. There is not a bit of rust inside or out on the original reel I bought, nor on any of the recently purchased versions.

It's a good buy right now, and there are a lot of them out there. Just call it our little secret. You can't say I never did nuthin' fer ya! You'll thank me later.

Tight lines!


  1. I'm not familiar with these reels. I love spincasters myself. I'm a big fan of the old Omega 191. Landed alot of big bass on that one! What models should I look for in the old Diawas?

  2. Any of the RL series are great. I like the 210RL, but also have some of the other models like the 208RL, the 206RL and there are other 20-RL models out there.

    Some have been in great shape and some needed serious attention to get them back in fighting shape.

    They strongly resemble the current Daiwa line of Goldcast reels, except smaller. I like the reeling action better on the old Silvercast RL's than the newer Goldcast, but my son prefers the Goldcast.

    They're a bunch cheaper than the excellent Daiwa Millionaire series of baitcast reels used, and are quite excellent in my opinion.

    I put them up there with the classics of my coming of age in the 1970's: The AbuMatics, the Ambassadors, and the venerable Mitchell 300 series. That's tough company to keep.

    I've got a goodly number of these reels now in excellent operating conditions, ready for fresh or saltwater fishing. And several more in the que awaiting cleaning and oiling/greasing.

    Now I've got to find a good light travel casting rod of more than 4 pieces and about 7' long for the more ultralight fishing needs, to accompany my Orvis Frequent Flyer Rod that I often travel with.

  3. Thanks, Musician! You've been a big help! You know, my dad was a fishing musician as well. You must be a hell of a guy.

  4. Thanks for stopping by and for the great compliment! I have not spent more than $5 not including shipping on any of the RL's I've scored on ebay in the past few months. A bargain!

  5. just wanted you to know i picked up some silvercast reels off ebay recently for $5 - $6 and am starting to enjoy them as well. 208 210 amd 212. do you happen to know when the korean ones were made versus the japanese ones? seems to me the korean made silvercasts are better made.

  6. I don't know anything at all about the different countries of manufacture, timelines or any of that stuff. I'm sure somewhere there is a daiwa fanboy/girl board or something where someone knows such things.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and all I know is I really like the reels and they work well and I guess that's all that matters.

  7. As for ultra light travel rods, do you have any experience with a telescopic versus the breakdown type? The telescopic seems very convenient, but is there a disadvantage? Thanks