ROD REVIEW – Daiwa NewEra SLR Spinning rod – Model No. NESLRSS903-AU (9’, 3 piece)

2.5lb kahawai

I’d been looking for a new spinning rod to handle larger saltwater species for some time when I first read about the launch of the Daiwa NewEra rod range in May 2014 on the Daiwa UK website. The website had a video showcasing the innovative X45 technology and I was particularly interested in how the multiple layer blank structure counteracted rod twist whilst still ensuring smooth power loading and curvature.

Click on the following link to view the video: –

The three piece 2.74 metre (9’) salmon spinning rod rated for 10-50 gram lures seemed ideal for estuary work in NZ, especially as it only weighed a paltry 210 grams. This was 50% lighter than the rod I was using at the time and this, coupled with the fact that it was made in the UK, was a major factor in my decision to purchase.

I contacted Dave Box at Veal’s UK and asked him some questions about the handle length and test curve and when these came back positive I placed the order for the rod. I prefer spinning rods with a cork handle, large foregrip and long butt grip and a test curve of around 0.9 kilograms (2 lb.) as this allows me to use the rod for fishing both soft plastic and hard bodied lures.

For the record, the Daiwa NewEra handles are made of premium quality cork and the foregrip is roughly 12 cm long and the butt grip 35 cm. There is a small band of compound cork at the base of the butt to improve handle integrity and longevity. This is a nice touch.

The rod arrived in a sturdy Cordura coated rod tube complete with handle and padded carry strap. Inside the rod was stored in a Khaki coloured heavy duty cotton rod sock trimmed with black piping. The only complaint that I would have is that the compartment for the tip section is marginally tight. This may be deliberate however to ensure that the rod top section is fitted tip first into the sock.

Removing the rod from the sock it was evident that it had been crafted with a lot of care and attention to detail. Cosmetically it was very attractive. The red metallic painted section above the handle is the ideal counterpoint to the cork and black blank. The black thread wraps with silver accents were faultless and the epoxying first rate. It is a joy to handle a rod this well made as it oozes class.

The rod has spigot ferrules and these slip together perfectly without any sign of slop. I’ve used the rod extensively for nearly 12 months now and in that time the ferrules have never loosened off during use. This is most impressive.


The rod guides are premium quality Fuji SiC gunsmoke, the lure clip is a robust Fuji folding stainless type and the hooded winch fitting is a Fuji DPS-B Carbon Pipe. There are only 7 guides (including the tip) on the rod which seems a little strange at first and I would have preferred to see an extra guide or two.

However, when the rod is fully loaded the curvature is smooth and the guide placing looks correct. My only observation with the winch fitting is that it does occasionally loosen off ever so slightly during use, and could perhaps be replaced with one having a double locking nut, but this is a minor issue in the overall scheme of things.

How does the package fit together and fish?

The NewEra has largely been paired with two reels, a Daiwa Luvias and a prototype IRT 400 fully machined spinning reel.

With the Daiwa Luvias attached the rod becomes a light, reasonably sensitive soft plastic tool that can be fished for long periods. The tip is comparatively thick, so it is not perhaps as fast and tip sensitive as some of the uber lightweight rods from Japan, but it does the job more than satisfactorily. When the heavier IRT reel is attached the rod becomes a hard bait casting phenomenon, my favourite combination in fact.

I’ve used the rod mainly to cast 7 – 14 gram soft plastics and 10 – 20 gram hard bodied lures and it casts these with aplomb. One the rare occasions that I have used heavier stick baits the rod propels these into the next postcode. It is a rare balance of finesse and power which hints at a strong spine which transfers energy uniformly under load. It would still cast lures lighter that 7 grams but there is no doubt that the claimed rod rating is accurate.

If you want to see the rod in action click on: – and watch the second half of the video.

It is a powerful rod and so far has landed fish up to 15 lb. I have never felt under gunned when playing larger fish and it performs best when the butt section comes into play. The bigger the task, the better it responds. I’ve had to try and stop some hard charging kingfish and the rod has really done a great job in this regard.

Newera 002

Unfortunately the terminal tackle was often not as robust as the NewEra so the battles inevitably ended in tears when we got to the “lock up and hope” stage.
The rod does not seem to have any tendency to twist in the hand under load so the Daiwa claims that the X45 Bias Carbon V joints counteract twist seem correct.

Overall, the Daiwa NewEra spinning rod is a joy to use and has become a key part of my spinning rod arsenal. I hardly ever go fishing without it which speaks volumes for the high regard in which it is held.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank and applaud Veal’s on the service they offer. It is world class, second-to–none. Dave Box was incredibly prompt, honest and helpful in his responses to my e-mails which really added to the purchase experience.


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