Daiwa BG Reviewed: Everything You Want in an Inshore or Surf-casting Reel

Written by: Pete D
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Whether your passion is chasing reds in a moving tide or casting for snook from the shore, you need a reel that delivers the goods in gusty winds and hard fights. And as smooth casting as your favorite baitcaster might be, your best bet is almost always a great spinning reel.

It’s easy to drop serious money on a good inshore reel, and I’ve done that myself. But spending more doesn’t always get you better performance, and the Daiwa BG is a great example of that. 

The “BG” here means “Big Game,” and Daiwa has engineered these reels to tackle the salt and the hardest fights it offers.

Is that Daiwa BG really that good?

Let’s find out!

Related: Best Fishing Reels

Daiwa BG Review

Daiwa BG5000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel, 5000, 5.7: 1 Gear Ratio, 6+1 Bearings, 47.40' Retrieve Rate, 22 lb Max Drag,Black/Gold

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BG1500

Drag: 4.4 lbs. maximum

Gear ratio: 5.6:1 (28.3 inches per turn)

Line capacity: 4/155, 6/100, 8/80

Bearings: 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 8.5 oz.

BG2000

Drag: 4.4 lbs. maximum

Gear ratio: 5.6:1 (29.5 inches per turn)

Line capacity: 6/135, 8/110, 10/90

Bearings: 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 8.5 oz.

BG2500

Drag: 13.2 lbs. maximum

Gear ratio: 5.6:1 (33.2 inches per turn)

Line capacity: 6/210, 8/170, 10/140

Bearings: 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 9.3 oz.

BG3000

Drag: 15.4 lbs. maximum

Gear ratio: 5.6:1 (37.4 inches per turn)

Line capacity: 8/240, 10/200, 12/170

Bearings: 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 10.8 oz.

BG3500

Drag: 17.6 lbs. maximum

Gear ratio: 5.7:1 (38.5 inches per turn)

Line capacity: 10/240, 12/210, 14/170

Bearings: 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 14.1 oz.

BG4000

Drag: 17.6 lbs. maximum

Gear ratio: 5.7:1 (39.9 inches per turn)

Line capacity: 10/300, 12/260, 14/210

Bearings: 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 14.3 oz.

BG4500

Drag: 22 lbs. maximum

Gear ratio: 5.7:1 (43.1 inches per turn)

Line capacity: 14/350, 17/280, 20/210

Bearings: 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 22 oz.

BG5000

Drag: 22 lbs. maximum

Gear ratio: 5.7:1 (47.4 inches per turn)

Line capacity: 14/470, 17/380, 20/280

Bearings: 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 22.6 oz.

BG6500

Drag: 33 lbs. maximum

Gear ratio: 5.3:1 (48.7 inches per turn)

Line capacity: 20/370, 25/310,30/260

Bearings: 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 29.5 oz.

BG8000

Drag: 33 lbs. maximum

Gear ratio: 5.3:1 (53.3 inches per turn)

Line capacity: 20/550, 25/440, 30/370

Bearings: 6 + 1 roller bearing

Weight: 30 oz.

Daiwa knows fishing, and the BG has been designed to outpace the inshore competition. We’ve pitted this reel against its competitors from Penn, Shimano, Okuma, and others, and we’ve come away impressed.

In fact, while we’re usually big Penn and Shimano fans - most anglers are - the Daiwa BG has made believers out of us, and this is our pick as the best all-around inshore reel you can buy.

Sizes and Body Composition

Daiwa knows that inshore fishing covers more species than any other environment, and they offer a lineup that has the right size for you. From flounder to grouper, there’s a reel that’s just the right size and plenty of sweet spots for combinations like reds and specks.

That also allows you to match your BG to your rod, really dialing in the balance as well as the drag and capacity to match your fishing technique and needs.

And while these reels are a tad heavy for their size, that’s really a testament to their durability: machined aluminum bodies that are stiff and strong and metal gears that provide fight-winning performance.

Rest assured that the Daiwa BG is ready to tilt the odds in your favor, and if something gives ground, it’s not going to be your reel!

That’s especially true as you reach the two largest of the BG family, the 6500 and 8000.

These reels are built to tame sea serpents, and whether you’re trolling for tuna or sailfish, or jigging for grouper, you won’t find that these reels know the word “quit.”

Drag

The first thing I look at when reviewing a reel is its drag system.

Like the major names against which it competes, Daiwa uses carbon fiber drag washers to provide plenty of size-appropriate drag. This Automatic Tournament Drag (ATD) drag system is remarkably smooth and consistent, and you won’t feel any sudden starts or stops that can risk losing a fish or breaking your line. It’s also sealed against saltwater intrusion, and its durability is excellent.

With mono, you’ll find the maximum settings are much higher than you’ll ever need, and for each size, the drag runs silky smooth at realistic settings. 

If you switch to braid, settings near those maximums can come into play, and the good news is that drag performance is excellent on this end as well. It’s obvious that Daiwa thought through this drag system with heavy braid in mind, and size for size, there’s simply no doubt that you’ll have the fight won.

The BG series has been built for battle, and Daiwa’s experience in the salt really shows here.

Gearing

You won’t find any plastic gears in the BG, which helps to explain why these reels are a bit hefty. Instead, Daiwa equips these gears with the kinds of guts you hope to find: the exceptional Digigear digitally-cut gears that feature helicoid teeth.

These precision-machined teeth are very smooth, and the torque they deliver is simply fantastic.

High speed gearing isn’t the game for Daiwa, and you’ll find the numbers are pretty moderate. Most of the smaller BG lineup runs a 5.6:1 ratio, moving up to a 5.7:1 for the larger sizes, and a 5.3:1 ratio for the two big boys.

But when paired to the BG’s big spools, retrieval speeds are blazing.

The 3500, for instance, picks up 38.5 inches per turn! That’s fast, and I don’t care what you’ve hooked; it’s not going to outswim your ability to pick up line.

And as you move up in size, those speeds just keep getting faster, with the monstrous 8000 retrieving 53.3 inches per turn!

That really matters when you’ve got a big fish on the line and can only win a turn or two at a time from it!

Let’s put this in context for you: in the 5000, the Daiwa is a foot faster per crank than the Penn, and six inches faster than the fastest Shimano.

I doubt there’s a faster spinning reel out there.

Capacity

Right off the bat, it’s worth noting that size to size, the Daiwa BG crushes the competition. 

Offering greater capacity than the awesome Penn Battle II and III, as well as comparable Shimanos, the Daiwa BG is an incredible choice for surf casting and general inshore use.

You’ll have plenty of line for long casts, cutting and retying, and in the largest sizes, there’ll be very, very few fish that can spool you, especially given the retrieval speeds they deliver.

Freshwater, too?

While the BG has clearly been built around the needs of saltwater anglers, let’s not forget the need to wrangle fish like chinook, muskie, pike, and lake trout.

For anglers in the northern US, Daiwa’s BG series makes total sense as these species attain sizes and speeds that make big, fast, tough reels a necessity.

And on the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s no reason whatsoever not to pair a light-power rod with a 1500 or 2000 and target perch, walleye, bass, and crappie.

The BG series has you covered wherever - and whatever - you fish!

Overview

If there’s one thing we don't like about the Daiwa BG, it’s weight. These are not svelte reels by any means, and if a few ounces of extra heft really bother you, look elsewhere.

But that weight reflects a rock-solid machined aluminum body and world-class gears, as well as spools that dwarf the competition. Add to that a great drag system, and you’ve got a winning combo for inshore fishing and surf casting, making the Daiwa BG a very easy reel to love.

Delivering more of everything you want at the price of a few ounces is a compromise We think most anglers can accept without ever looking back!

Pros

  • Excellent drag
  • Awesome capacity
  • Impressive, blazing speeds
  • Excellent durability
  • Fantastic casting with appropriate diameter lines
  • Silky-smooth operation

Cons

  • Heavy for their size

Also read: Best Spinning Reels

About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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