Unlike the Black Label Technical Range, the rods in Daiwa’s Black Label Versatile Series have been designed as “all-rounders”. The soft tip design of the blank is suited to fishing small hardbody lures with light trebles, minimising pulled hooks and cushioning surges from from your fishy adversary. Yet, the rods are sensitive and powerful enough for soft plastic fishing techniques.
Quality and performance haven’t been compromised though, and the rods feature blanks with the same pedigree as the Steez range, EVA grips and Fuji Sic Guides.
Two of the rods in the series that I’ve been using are, not surprisingly, the ultralight finesse models. Both models really suit my fishing style, and are quite sensitive, with a less aggressive rod action to the Technical Series,
The 631ULFS model is, as you’d expect, 6 foot 3 inches long, 1 piece construction and has proven to be quite a good cross over rod. An ideal length for accurate casting, and fishing out of the Kayak, I’ve found the rod as much at home rolling small crank baits, as it is pitching stick minnows around boats and pontoons.
The tournament arenas this season, have meant that I’ve spent more time fishing with small blade and vibration lures, and I haven’t felt disadvantaged with this rod either. I used this rod extensively at St Georges Basin fishing a 9 meter hole as well as at Marlo out of the Kayak hopping my pimped Daiwa Gekkabijin Vib lures parallel to the edges.
Initially, I didn’t really have an application for the slightly longer 691ULFS rod. At 6’9″, one piece also, it has very similar design to the 631ULFS. Frankly,my TMZ-I 662ULFS and Infeet RF68-T are more suited to fishing small hardbodies on straight through fluorocarbon lines and I prefer the shorter 6′ and 6’3″ rods for fishing in close around structure.
Whilst fishing with David Poulton earlier this year at Lake Cathie, I loaned him the rod, and he found it to be quite a nice to fish his much loved Sugarpens to target Whiting on topwater. The blank is fast enough to recover quickly during his really fast, aggressive retrieve style, yet the tip is still soft enough to assist during hookup on a low percentage topwater bite.
This gave me an idea, and whilst at Mallacoota this year, I used it as a jerk bait rod, fishing braided lines and long fluorocarbon leaders. I was pleasantly surprised and followed it up a month later on The Derwent in Tasmania, muscling out 5 of those big Derwent Bream from the small reef I was fishing at the front of the system – Dave’s observations were spot on!
You can check out my other rod reviews and other posts in this series here