Reviewed by John Eichelsheim

The Certate is Daiwa’s top-of-the-line small spinner, up there in terms of build quality (and price) with its big guns like Saltiga and Catalina.

Shelling out close to a grand for a small spinning reel won’t make sense to many Kiwi anglers, I’m guessing, but there are always a few who want the very best, and make no mistake: the Mag-sealed Daiwa Certate is a wonderful piece of engineering.

A Thing Of Beauty

When the new Certate 3000 arrived on my doorstep I took it out of the box with shaking hands. It is not only the most expensive small spinning reel I’ve ever handled, it also comes with a formidable reputation.

It was with Certate that Daiwa pioneered its Real Four concept, along with other technologies; the first generation Certate was released in 2004 and quickly established itself as a technological leader.

Those early Certates were excellent reels, but subsequent incarnations were even better, each new generation incorporating incremental improvements and evolutionary changes.The latest Certate is being touted as revolutionary. It totes the full complement of Daiwa reel technologies: Mag-sealed body, bearings and line roller; one-piece Air bail; machined alloy body; Zaion Air rotor and ATD (Automatic Tournament Drag). Daiwa say it’s the company’s most powerful Certate yet.

Out of the box the first impression I got from the new Certate 3000 is one of unprecedented smoothness. Turn the handle and the reel feels amazingly smooth. That doesn’t necessarily mean free-spinning, but smooth, the result of precision engineering and high-quality components. There’s a satisfying feeling of strength and solidity with no handle play, and no play in the anti-reverse.

Sum Of Its Parts

The Certate is a handsome reel: black, with silver and gold highlights. A new aluminium alloy is used for the reel body, cast and then machined to accept the other components. In HD 4000 (heavy-duty) models, the body is monocoque – one-piece construction – for superior strength. The lightweight rotor is Zaion, Daiwa’s proprietary composite material that’s stronger than conventional composite plastics. Inside the reel a Digigear II drive system with silent oscillation is precisely-located, supported by Mag-sealed CRRB bearings for rotary efficiency and superior cranking power.

The 3000 G boasts 10 ball bearings, including a line roller. These are all corrosion-resistant CRBB types, now made even more impervious to saltwater ingress by Mag-sealing. Daiwa has combined CRBB bearings with self-contained external Mag-sealed membranes, which completely exclude water and other foreign matter, ensuring smoothness and greatly extending the operational life of the bearing. If earlier Certate reels had a weakness, it was their line roller; the bearing needed regular attention to prevent squealing and rumbling. Mag-sealing should cure this problem.

The drag system is improved over earlier models too. It’s strong of course – as they all are these days – but above all, it’s incredibly precise. Exerting 7 kilos of drag pressure at maximum it remains silky smooth right up to maximum pressure with no start-up inertia and no harshness or stickiness.Daiwa ATD is a combination of features, including better support for the spool, all of which combine to eliminate start-up inertia in the drag system. Compared to earlier Certate reels, meaningful drag pressure adjustment is achieved with fewer turns of the drag knob: it now feels more positive and authoritative but still allows precise drag control.Out of the box, this drag is probably the best I’ve ever experienced on a small spinning reel.

Fishing With The Certate 3000

I’ve only fished with the new Certate 3000 for a day, chasing snapper around Kawau Island, so this is hardly a definitive performance assessment, but the magazine deadline is looming and the weather is disgusting…

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Over the years I’ve borrowed the odd Certate reel from friends, using them in a variety of fishing situations, including heavy-duty work spinning up tropical pelagics in north Queensland. Pulling modest snapper in local waters is hardly in the same league as subduing long tail tuna and Spanish mackerel, but it did serve to highlight the jewel-like quality of the new Certate and confirmed how good it feels to use high quality fishing tackle.

A succession of 1.5 – 2kg snapper hardly troubled such a capable reel but they confirmed that the drag is unnaturally smooth. Bigger fish managed to pull a few metres of line off the reel against a moderate drag, but most of the time there was no more than the slightest of ‘line creep’ as braid inched off the reel under steady pressure. The drag is so smooth the rod tip doesn’t deflect or waver at all when line leaves the reel against the drag.The rotor brake eliminates any chance of accidental bail closure while casting.

The rod was a pleasantly lightweight Saltist Coastal 70MH, a seven-foot model with good quality single-foot Alconite guides, a tapered EVA foregrip and full length EVA butt. Rated for 6-9kg line and 10-28g lures, it did the business in 20m of water, fishing five-inch soft plastics on 21g lead-head jigs.

Light and responsive with plenty of power, it’s a good rod for this sort of work where a bit of authority is required to set the hook in deep water, although I felt the 70MH was a bit over-gunned and lacking in finesse for shallow water soft plastics fishing, using lighter jig heads.

In addition to tossing soft plastics, I’d happily use the reel for jigging duties, and with a decent line capacity of 300m of PE 1.5 (350m of PE 1.2), it would be great for trolling up skipjack and albacore tuna, or kingfish. With a modest retrieve ratio of 4.8:1 you’d need to crank pretty fast to spin for these speedsters.

Features and Specifications: Daiwa Certate 3000

Mag seal
Mag-sealed line roller
Mag-sealed CRBB bearings
AirbailABS II
Machined aluminium spool
Aluminium alloy body
Zaion Air rotor
Rotor brake
Silent oscillation
Aluminium machine-cut handle
ATD
Capacity: braid (PE/m): 1.5/300m
Capacity: mono (kg/m): 6/200 (approx)
Max drag: 7kg
Reel weight: 265 grams
Gear ratio: 4.8:1
Cm per handle crank (line retrieve): 81cm
RRP: Certate 3000G $899.99
Certate 2500G $849.99