I’ve fished all five of the Great Lakes for smallmouth bass, but it’s always been away trips on a friend’s boat or with a guide who furnished me with the rods and reels to use on those excursions.  I was sorting and arranging my “overstock” of fishing rod and reel combos several months ago and it dawned on me my personal selection of bassin’ sticks were “vintage” to put it mildly.

I needed an upgrade. What better place to shake some sticks and wind some handles than at the ICAST show where the top companies come each year to display their wares. It was overwhelming so I headed to the Daiwa booth and contacted a couple of the D-wa guys working there to enlist their help in choosing an outfit that would fit my needs and budget.

They pointed me to the Tatula SV70 reel and paired it with a medium action, Tatula rod. I don’t pretend to be a bass gear historian, but I quickly realized this reel is drastically smaller than even some of my later model “vintage” reels. I mentioned this and the Daiwa rep explained that’s because it’s designed from the bottom up to be spooled with braid. It will hold 90 yards of 10-pound braid or over 50 yards of thirty – plenty for any bass that swims the Great Lakes.

Even though the reel is small, it’s built with the bearings, gearing and other features that makes it easy to cast, smooth as butter to reel and plenty strong to manhandle Great Lakes smallies and more. I selected the reel with the 6.3:1 gear ratio, but faster ratios are available. The one feature that set the reel apart from others I considered is what Daiwa called T-Wing System (TWS) because the level wind line guide is T-shaped instead of round or oval. That adds to the castability for smoothness and distance.

I like relatively long rods so I paired it with a seven footer, the TTU701MRB  Tatula model. It’s light weight but medium in action. Recommended for 8 to 17 pound line, I spooled my reel with 20# braid and have tamed smallies up to 5 pounds with ease.

If you are a bass angler at any level, this Tatula combo will look good in your arsenal and feel good in your hands. Widely available, for more info go to www.daiwa.us

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