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Daiwa Tournament Global boat rod

by David Proudfoot

Daiwa’s Tournament Global boat rod is unlike any other that Des Westmore has handled. Clearly compact and powerful, but how would it perform? International boat angler, David Proudfoot has considerable experience of the TG too. Scroll down to read a different perspective from Davy.

The Daiwa Tournament Global rod (now upgraded) caught my eye while investigating a crop of travel rods. The accompanying product blurb billed it as versatile / transportable with the brawn to subdue big fish, but further enquiry revealed the Tournament Global does not fit the accepted form of a mainstream travel rod. Rather than being a multi-section rod that breaks into four or even six parts, the Daiwa is a two-piece equal section rod similar in aspect only to the popular Daiwa Kenzaki braid two-piece series designed by Steve Souter.

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The TG is supplied with a cloth bag and a hard travel tube. The tube is 59ins (1.5m) long and 3ins (75mm) in diameter – so you’d need a big old suitcase to pack this one away! Measuring 9ft 4ins (2.8m) when put together, the TG is engineered to deal with powerful fish the world over. Tarpon, giant trevally and Nile perch list among the potential adversaries, but the TG is a even more of an all-rounder with the muscle and guile to beat wreck conger, support pirks over 1lb, and even uptide with heavy leads in very strong tides in home waters. It is a real jack-of-all trades tool, and I know of several boat anglers who have fallen in love with the TG and adopted it as a first choice standard boat rod for UK fishing.

Blank diameter is 16mm at the foregrip and 3mm at the tip – not some fat cumbersome blank then. When handled for the first time, the TG gives the impression of being easily flexible, but teasing the tip against the ceiling determined this is a largely false impression, with considerable effort required to express a bend in the rod. Held static, I found that 1lb of lead was no burden on the tip and 2lb didn’t kill the blank action either – which is quite special in a rod of over 9 feet. Despite apparent initial stiffness, the rod displays true parabolic curvature under load. It is pitched for use with lines of 15-30lb, but anything between 20lb and 80lb braid could be allied to the Tournament Global.

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Fittings and aesthetic

Build quality is first class and indicative of top-end Daiwa equipment. The bottom/handle section is generously dressed with EVA grips, and a Fuji DPS20 reel seat is fitted – correctly to my mind – with the threads pointing backwards. Nine Fuji Aluminium Oxide guides – running from size 30 to size 20 – plus tip ring are fitted, making the TG suitable for either multiplier or fixed spool use. The rod has a centre spigot, and as you might expect for a rod of this length, there is no butt gimbal.

The guides are of three-leg construction, with two guides set on the butt section. These first two guides are fitted unconventionally with the single leg pointing down – this to ‘reduce the risk of tangles’ according to Daiwa. This deliberate way of setting line guides will always be cause for debate and alludes to modern thinking centred on the use of fixed spool reels. Indeed, most rod builders installing Fuji Low Rider guides on fixed spool beach rods reverse the largest first ring for this very reason despite Fuji advising affixing in the traditional manner. Given the overseas aspect of the TG for the likes of tarpon fishing and particularly the American leaning to specialist saltwater fixed spools in this area, it would be fair to assume Daiwa had a finger on the world pulse when the build instructions were approved. Tip section whippings are plain dark blue, while lower thread work is silver-tipped. Blank colour is black, which despite quirks of ring orientation and the thread differential between top and bottom sections, makes for an understated aesthetic that is easy on the eye.

Trial and retribution

The Tournament Global was tested for the first time on an offshore cod trip. The plan was to pirk and ‘hop’ some lures on a short rig, taking advantage of the TG’s length and stiffness. The rod easily coped with 10-12ozs of lead and pirks of a similar weight. But I found the TG’s length to be a bit of a double-edged sword. While the 9ft 4ins helped impart a good lure action, it also applies leverage to the angler, which can be tiring with heavier weights. I failed to catch a cod but did mange a double figure bull huss and an 8lb ling on baited pirks.

The rod coped well, but for someone used to much lighter, more sporting rods, the powerful action did take a bit of getting used to. Many modern rods have soft tips, which, even when bent to extremes, do not apply that much direct pressure on the fish – most of the force is actually applied via the rod’s butt-section as dialled in by the angler. The Tournament Global is a different beast. When compressed, it applies a great deal of pressure via the line as it naturally tries to straighten. As a result, an inexperienced angler or one accustomed to lighter boat rods can easily dial in too much power and wrench hooks out of a lively fish. This is not such a problem when hopping or pirking as the heavier weights serve to dampen raw rod power. It also stands to reason that extra attention should be given to how the reel drag is set. Marrying this kind of rod power to a tight drag is asking for trouble if you harbour any intention of staying connected to a big fish or letting it fight back.

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Bass fishing in the Solent saw the TG wetted for a second time. This time I was drifting livebaits and pirking with lighter weights of around 8oz. The bottom is snaggy in this area and the TG’s stiffer action was useful for lifting when you felt the gear snagging. However I must confess to losing a few fish by tearing the hooks out. Oxford-based Anthony Benson who paired the rod with a Daiwa Saltiga reel and tried it over in Alderney reported similar experiences. While Anthony liked the sensitivity of an intricate blank that transmits every seabed undulation straight down to the handle to the fingertips, he did feel the TG was marginally too powerful for general south coast drift fishing with a single hook.

I hadn’t tried the rod for downtide anchor fishing at the time of writing, but if you like a longer rod for this style of fishing, particularly when heavier leads / stronger tides factor then this may be the perfect choice. I know of one angler who purchased a TG for blonde ray fishing and he sings its praises.

Des Westmore’s conclusions

fishing-review-daiwa-tournament-global-boat-rod-0001An underlying parabolic blank combines with a responsive tip to deliver easy powerhouse performance in a genuine multi-tasker of a rod. Work the TG with calm hands otherwise it has the inherent ability to turn around and bite your backside hard.

During testing, the rod was never washed and is now covered in fish scales and all the usual detritus but only one ring has shown indication of surface corrosion. Saltwater application aside, I am in no doubt the Tournament Global could take Nile perch and even mahseer in its stride. From a UK and European perspective it has a place, but think heavier leads, deep water and stern tidal conditions for starters. It is an excellent pirking and hopping rod with heavier weights, and I believe that several boat anglers travelling to the 2010 EFSA European Boat Angling Championship in Iceland have the TG at the top of their shopping lists. While not as transportable as a multi-section ‘travel’ rod, the two-section design makes it easy enough to take abroad, and there is the huge boon that blank integrity is not potentially compromised by a raft of intermittent spigots.

If at all possible, I would advise trying before jumping to buy a Daiwa Tournament Global. My feeling is that prospective buyers will either love or hate this rod with no swithering between opinions. RRP is a tidy £195, but discounted prices can be found online. Click here for more information on the Tournament Global.

Here’s a different angle on the Tournament Global from international boat angler, Dave Proudfoot…

When I first saw the Tournament Global in action during a competition I thought here at last is one rod to cope with gilling for pollack, bait fishing for cod, and throwing a pirk uptide… and I had to get my hands on one. Fortunately, after a phone call to a very nice man, I managed to get one of the first available in the UK. That was nearly two years ago and I have pushed the rod hard ever since.

The finish is excellent, with the ring whippings matching the dark coloured blank.The position of the reel seat means the rod sits under the arm well when gilling, while at the same time allowing unhindered casting with pirks and shads.Initial trips with the rod were in the waters around Scrabster where I used it for bait fishing on the drift for cod, spurs and haddock; gilling inshore for pollack and casting pirks in water from 20 to 35 metres deep. While the butt offers plenty of power, the tip is forgiving enough to cope with braid even when used without a shock leader by people like me who are too lazy to tie one on.

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My first choice multiplier reel for this rod is a Daiwa Saltist 30TH loaded with braid. With my erratic boat casting style, I switch to a Shimano Aerlex 8000 XS when whacking a pirk or three Red Gills uptide, or away from the boat.After proving itself in home waters it was off to the fjords of Norway. The two piece design means that while this is not a rod for stowing in a suitcase, it is certainly compact and I suffered no grief at the various airports.

Pirk and lead parameters

The target species in this case were cod to 25lb on pirks, and large coalfish using fast-retrieved shads. Again the rod was up to the task, although I would say that 10oz (280g) is about the maximum weight of pirk that you’d want to use for any length of time despite the manufacturer’s stated ‘casting’ maximum of 14oz (392g). To do otherwise would quickly leave you feeling like your poor arms had been stretched in some medievel torture device! The pull of double figure cod and coalies on the light, responsive blank was quite exceptional, and the power in the rod meant that I never felt underpowered while enjoying great fun.

In the downtide sense, the rod will support much heavier weights. The Tournament Global remains limber with 2lb of lead on the end. Arguably my TG’s toughest test so far was at Weymouth where it mixed it with conger to 40lb and double figure blonde ray on marks where leads of up to 2lb (1.75kg) were required to hold bottom. I could feel and react to every thrash and lunge of those angry snakes and big flat things en route to dates with the T-bar.

All in all this is an extremely versatile rod which will cope with most general fishing around the UK and Europe.I can see it being very popular with globetrotting anglers chasing tarpon, mahseer or giant trevally. I even had a porbeagle hooked briefly on the TG earlier in the year… and the rod wasn’t scared!

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