With a drag smooth as silk, working on a Daiwa BG review wasn’t really work, it was a pleasure, especially since we love spreading the word about gear that has exceeded all our expectations.
Daiwa is one of those tackle manufacturers that just seem to get it right every time. And their Black Gold series of spinning and casting reels are outstanding examples of that product excellence.
In particular, the BG spinning reel family is among the finest spinners available in terms of features, build quality and accessibility. So, what is it that sets the BG spinning reels apart from the competition?
Daiwa BG Review: A Bit about Black Gold
The first Daiwa Black Gold spinning reels were released in 1981 causing a considerable stir among spin fisherman. The reels certainly ruffled some purist feathers back then with outstanding features and minuscule price tags. However, the concept was rock-solid, and the BG family of reels is still going strong 38 years later.
In fact, the initial BG series of reels saw an unparalleled 35-year product run without any significant changes made to the original design. Now, that’s an undeniable testament to Daiwa’s BG design philosophy specifically and the companies standing generally.
What of the new BG reels, though? Well, if anything, Daiwa has taken a stalwart product and elevated it to superhero status. Out of the box, today’s Daiwa BG spinners represent a marriage of value and quality that is very hard to beat.
One of the main ingredients in the success of the current BG reel family is Daiwa’s shared technology philosophy. This practice has seen features and technologies specific to their top tier products filter down to enhance reels like the BG.
So, the current crop of Black Gold spinners include features previously found only on the Saltiga and Saltist reels. These include the DIGIGEAR system, Air Rotor, and Daiwa’s proprietary Hardbodyz frame construction technology.
This technology cross-pollination has taken the tried and tested BG reels and turned them into the best selling saltwater spinners in the world today.
The Daiwa BG 4500: An In-Depth Analysis
- Black Anodized Machined…
- Solid Screw-In Handle, Air…
- Braided Line Ready Spool,…
- Manual Return Bail (4500 and…
- Line Capacity (Lb. Test /…
The Daiwa BG spinning reel family includes 10 members ranging from the ultralight BG1500 to the game fish taming BG8000. For our Daiwa BG review, we will look at the BG4500, which is a mid-range saltwater spinner suitable for both in-shore and off-shore angling.
The Daiwa BG 4500 Overview
The BG spinning reel represents a bridge option between the light and heavy tackle sectors of the BG family. Here are some of the Daiwa BG spinner’s many noteworthy features.
The BG 4500 shares a common feature set with the entire range. Among these features is Daiwa’s DIGIGEAR system. The DIGIGEAR system is based on the biggest main drive gear ever to grace a Daiwa spinning reel.
This massive, precision cut gear offers greatly increased gear-tooth contact area that delivers an unbeatably smooth action. In addition, the DIGIGEAR system increases cranking power and torque while enhancing the service life of the gear train.
Manual Bail Trip
The 4500 is the first of the BG reels that features a manual only bail trip mechanism. This feature does away with the smaller reel’s internal automatic trip mechanisms and enhances the reel’s overall durability.
The Air Rotor system is another feature inherited from the BG’s boutique Saltiga and Saltist siblings. It is lighter by 15 percent than conventional rotors with improved balance, which adds significantly to the reel’s smooth operation. In addition, it’s unique design distributes rotational stress better, making for a stronger and longer-lasting rotor system.
Machined Aluminum Body and Anodized Finish
The BG reel family feature Daiwa’s Hardbodyz narrow-profile, machined aluminum bodies, and side covers. The Hardbodyz design is strong and rigid, affording the internal parts exceptional stability. All exposed parts of the body also receive the BG’s characteristic black anodized finish.
The anodized finish is a far better option than painting and won’t chip or peel, keeping the reel pristine for longer.
Solid Machined Screw-In Handle
The BG’s handle is a solid machined aluminum part that eliminates all play between the gear train and crank input. Consequently, this arrangement further enhances the BG reels exceptional strength and buttery smooth operation. The rest of the BG 4500’s vital statistics look something like this.
- Monofilament line capacity (yards/pounds): 350/14, 280/17, 210/20
- Braid line capacity — J Braid (yards/pounds): 340/40, 270/50, 230/65
- Maximum drag: 22 pounds
- Line retrieve rate: 43.1 inches
- Bearing count: six plus one
- Gear ratio: 5.7:1
- Weight: 22 ounces
- Reel class: medium-heavy/saltwater
BG 4500 Pros and Cons
The pros and cons section in any Daiwa BG review is sure to be a very one-sided list. However, to be fair, here they are.
- Extremely smooth operation
- A powerful, predictable, and smooth drag system
- Exceptional build quality
- Rigid and strong construction
- Braid ready spool
- Very reliable and easy to maintain
- A very competitive price point
- Outstanding after-sales service and parts availability
- The maximum drag, while perfectly acceptable, is less than some competitors
- The BG is a little heavier than some competitors
Our Review Process
To keep this Daiwa BG review as objective as possible, we will make a balanced comparison between the BG 4500 and two reels of similar specifications and from equally well-respected manufacturers. So, in no particular order, here are the Daiwa BG review competitors.
1. Penn Spinfisher VI 6500
- Full metal body and sideplates
- CNC Gear technology
- IPX5 Sealed body and spool design
- Sealed drag system
- HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers
Penn is one of the oldest manufacturers of quality tackle and gear out there. It’s doubtful that many anglers don’t know of or haven’t used a Penn reel at some point. And, much like the Daiwa BG’s, Penn’s BG spinning reel are among their most enduring products. For this Daiwa BG review, we have chosen to look at the new generation Spinfisher VI in 6500 size in comparison to the BG 4500.
Penn Spinfisher VI 6500 Overview
Penn introduced the Spinfisher line in 1961, making them among the longest-serving of any spinning reels. The modern BG spinning reel is similar to the BG 4500 in that it represents a transition from light to heavy tackle options. So, to continue our Daiwa BG review, what makes the Spinfisher VI tick?
CNC Gear Technology
Penn’s Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) gears utilize an extremely precise, computer-controlled milling process in their production. CNC cut gears are more consistently accurate than those produced by casting or forging techniques. In addition, cut gears also tend to be stronger due to the use of more advanced metals or alloys.
IPX 5 Sealing
The entire Spinfisher range features Penn’s IPX5 seal system on all potential water ingress points. The international IPX standards system defines how water-resistant devices are with grading levels from IPX0 to IPX 8. The IPX 5 rating on the Spinfisher VI reels means they will effectively resist high-velocity spray and momentary immersion. Essentially what that means is you could fish in the salt spray and wade through the surf all day. And, when you’re done, you could hose the reel down without any water or sand having got into its innards.
HT-100 Drag System
The Penn HT-100 carbon fiber drag system has a long track record of exceptional performance. It’s the system used in Penn’s flagship Slammer models and lends the Spinfisher series the same smooth, powerful drag control. In addition, the 6500 has one of the highest maximum drag ratings in its class.
Manual Bail Trip
The Spinfisher VI is also the first of the Spinfisher models that incorporates a manual only bail trip mechanism. In addition, the bail wire itself is thicker than normal, ensuring enhanced reliability and service life.
Full Metal Construction
An all-metal body and side plates make the Spinfisher reels robust and lend great rigidity to the internal mechanisms.
Let’s look at the detailed specs for the Spinfisher VI 6500
- Monofilament line capacity (yards/pounds): 390/12, 345/15, 205/20
- Braid line capacity (yards/pounds): 485/30, 410/40, 335/50
- Maximum drag: 30 pounds
- Line retrieve rate: 42 inches
- Spool braid ready: yes plus line capacity indicators
- Bearing count: six
- Gear ratio: 5.6:1
- Weight: 22.3 ounces
- Reel class: medium-heavy/saltwater
Spinfisher VI 5500 Pros and Cons
This is another reel that has a lopsided pros and cons listing.
- Smooth, predictable drag with a huge maximum rating
- Braid ready
- Rigid and robust construction
- Very good after-sales support
- Excellent water resistance
- Smooth operation
- No user complaints reported as yet
2. Shimano Socorro SW10000
- The Socorro saltwater spinning…
- X-Ship technology provides…
- Incorporates Shimano’s…
- Features Cross Carbon Drag…
Our second and last competitor reel in this Daiwa BG review is an offering from another industry giant, Shimano. The BG spinning reel is a similarly sized and featured reel to the Daiwa and Penn runners with an equally stellar reputation.
Shimano Socorro SW10000 Overview
Shimano reels have long held pride of place as top-drawer products. Although they are often seen as being overpriced boutique reels, there’s no doubting the outstanding quality of the Shimano brand. The BG spinning reel is no exception and carries an impressive feature set. Here are some of those noteworthy features.
Hagane Gear Technology
Shimano’s Hagane gears are CAD designed then cold forged using their own proprietary process. As a result, the gears possess outstanding strength and resilience. The Socorro gear train certainly delivers powerful, butter-smooth cranking action.
X-Ship Pinion Support
The pinion drive in the Socorro reels features Shimano’s X-Ship support system. This sees the pinion gear assembly supported on both ends with high-quality bearings. The X-Ship system eliminates the majority of friction between the pinion and the spool shaft. Consequently, you get longer casts with light lures and enhanced reliability.
Cross Carbon Drag
The Socorro reel family all feature Shimano’s Cross Carbon drag technology. The proprietary drag material delivers exceptionally smooth drag pressure across the entire rating range. Moreover, Cross Carbon drags are very consistent under prolonged high drag/high-heat conditions. So, what of the rest of the Socorro SW10000’s pedigree?
- Monofilament line capacity (yards/pounds): 500/12, 320/16, 220/20
- Braid line capacity (yards/pounds): 360/50, 290/65, 215/80
- Maximum drag: 27 pounds
- Line retrieve rate: 40 inches
- Spool braid ready: yes
- Bearing count: five
- Gear ratio: 4.9:1
- Reel class: medium-heavy/saltwater
Socorro SW10000 Pros and Cons
Again, there are not likely to be many negatives with the Socorro. However, let’s take a look anyway.
- Very good build quality
- Power and smooth drag system
- Outstanding pinion drive stability
- Powerful and reliable main gear
- Excellent frame rigidity
- Good support and spares availability
The Daiwa BG lives up to the hype of being the best saltwater reel for the money one can get. It is bulit like a tank, it has a hyper smooth drag, fast retrieve, unending reverse, and comes with big money features such as the much hyped Digi Gear, which was a big surprise at this price point.
What’s more, this reel can take a beating and can easily double as a fresh water reel for, let’s say, trout fishing. The Daiwa BG has everything a saltwater spinning reel needs and some more. It is worth every penny.
Related Read: The Best Saltwater Spinning Reels For The Money
Paul Grove has been passionate about hunting for as long as he can remember. He recalls hunting squirrels with his dad’s trusty Winchester Model 63 as early as age 9. As he grew older, his hunting interests, tactics, and gear have refined. He was also fortunate enough to be born in Wisconsin, thus having unhindered access to some of the nation’s best whitetail deer hunting spots. When he’s not chasing deer or other large to massive game on public lands, he is field-testing various fishing gear in a never-ending quest to find that perfect fishing setup. Is his passion for hunting and fishing innate or acquired? Paul believes that it is more about passing down a family tradition.