WHEN it comes to feeder fishing at range, the first thing everyone looks at is the rod. Will it go the distance?
Well, the rod is quite rightly the first port of call, but to chuck a feeder over the horizon you need the full balanced set-up. And that includes the reel!
Most people think that as long as the spool is large enough to hold plenty of line and provide a friction-free release, little else matters – I was very much of the same opinion when I started on my long-range feeder fishing journey many moons ago.
My first attempts at distance casting were around 15 years ago, at the same venue we are on today, Barston Lakes near Solihull. This was, of course, before the World Feeder Fishing Championships and the resulting tackle revolution that saw all manner of dedicated long-range feeder equipment becoming available. My reel of choice at the time was a cheap freespool job, designed for carp fishing. It was a disaster!
After just a couple of casts, the line ended up with so much twist that every time I tried to give it the big one I’d end up with an almighty ball of nylon at the first butt guide and an even more almighty crack-off! That reel soon ended up in the bin and I bought a good quality mini pit model to replace it.
As time moved on, my appreciation of having a decent reel grew, but I still hadn’t fully learned my lesson. I’d found a pair of reels for around £180 each which took a regular hammering on my local big lakes and reservoirs. I did, however, need dedicated baiting-up gear, so I dug an old carp rod out of the garage and teamed it with a cheap spod reel. The thing was huge, and everything about it looked right, even the line lay. But try as I might, I couldn’t hit the 50m-60m distances I needed.
Frustrated, I switched to my more expensive and trusted reels. After clipping up on distance sticks, my first cast smashed the clip so hard that both the rod and I almost followed the feeder into the lake! I now finally understood that just because a reel looked the part and the line lay looked right, it didn’t mean it would do a good job!
More money obviously buys a better reel, but the advantages gained have to end at some point, and I found myself on a quest to find out where. My next port of call was the Daiwa TDR Distance 25QD at an eye watering £375! It was designed for long-range feeder fishing, and it showed. It needed minimal backing line, the retrieve was the smoothest I’d ever experienced and, most importantly, I was casting further than I ever had before.
This was down largely to a double lip on the spool. This little-known technology, known as an LC spool, ensures a practically friction-free cast and actually controls the flow of line. What it does can only be viewed using a super slow-motion video, when the coils of line can be seen peeling off the spool and flowing effortlessly through the butt guide. This gives gains in casting distance of over five per cent. I reckon this design also reduces the likelihood of frap-ups and crack-offs. It’s when you are really winding up to give it your all that the odd mishap happens and a rig goes flying off unaccompanied. Good technique and a well-wetted line reduces this, though, and I’ve found that my odd mistake with the TDR Distance rarely leads to a public show of my limitations!
Anyway, let’s finally talk about the next step – the new Tournament Feeder 25QD. The design is full of little tweaks and improvements over the TDR Distance, with its dual HIP line clips, one-touch folding handle and fully furnished spare spool but, most notably, Magseal!
This is top-end technology uses a magnetic oil developed by NASA that fully seals and lubricates the reel, protecting it from water ingress and impurities. In simple terms, Magsealed reels run smoother for longer than reels with basic rubber seals.
In use, teamed up with an older 12ft 6ins Tournament rod, the Tournament Feeder was everything I thought it would be, and then more! It felt very familiar, thanks to my extensive use of its predecessor, yet not only had its features been enhanced, but so had its looks. With its exquisite red detailing, it doesn’t just perform like the best distance feeder reel in the world, it looks the part too!
Despite a very strong head wind, no matter how hard I cast, my 40g Method feeder hit its 70m target without a problem.
It’s very rare with fishing tackle that extra expenditure leads directly to improved results, but on venues where metres matter, this is one of them.
Now, I fully understand that £400 is well beyond the budget of many anglers, but if you want the very best reel possible for casting long distances, look no further – this is it!
Price: £435, www.daiwasports.co.uk