So I could get a truly rounded experience of both reels, I went back and used my Crosscast S series for a solid month, this way I could give an honest opinion. I had some good sessions and managed to really put them through the ringer.
I haven't really gone through a huge number of fishing reels considering how many years I have actually been fishing. My first set were the Shimano Baitrunner 6010's I was really fond of this specific model and used them for years. Actually it got to a point where I was trawling ebay and purchasing a good few that were in mint condition, it started to get a little out of hand. To me this series of baitrunner was a classic design and I thought it was built like a warhorse.
It goes without saying that in the last few years tackle development has come on in leaps and bounds, both in rod and reel design, and I also feel you don't have to be spending stupid money to get real quality. It's just a case of taking a look around and being prepared to do some research. I didn't want to give up my 6010's and it took me a long time to come around to the idea of moving onto my first 'big pit' style reel.
Crosscast S 5000
I initially purchased two Crosscast S's for spod and marker work. One day I had the idea of trying them out as my main fishing reels. To be honest, once I had loaded them up, cast out and landed my first fish on them, I didn't look back, I was pretty much blown away with the whole feel compared to the bait-runner.
Crosscast S 5000 Details
"The Daiwa Crosscast S is said to be setting new standards, offering so much in a big-pit reel under one price tag: how many reels can eat over 100cm of line with each revolution of the handle? This one does so it’s perfect for long-distance fishing and lead-retrieve. The polished aluminium spool and matte black body are particularly good-looking but the many hidden features are equally attractive to the discerning carp-man. Digi-Gear and quality ball-bearings combine with worm-drive to produce superior Cross-wrap line-lay along the full spool-length; infinite anti-reverse completely banishes irksome 'play' in the handle; full 'T' hand-piece gives positive, confident winding and Twist-Buster baling serves to prolong line-life."
- Infinite anti-reverse
- T-shape handle knob
- Aluminium spool
- Advanced locomotive level wind
- Weight 635g
- Line Capacity (approx)- 400yds of 14IB (370m of 0.35mm) line
I thought that it would feel odd going from using a baitrunner system to a reel with a front drag, it wasn't. The first thing I noticed was how 'in touch' with the fish you are and because the drag is on the front, you can easily adjust and cater for all the lunges and pulls that a hard fighting carp gives you, easily and quickly.
The line lay on the S series is very good and it's lovely to cast, the line peels off nicely and it struck me how much easier it was to get distance with minimal effort. The retrieve is smooth and quick, geared at 5.1:1, the Crosscast will eat up 108cm of line per handle turn making it perfect for big distances, also I didn't suffer from the line getting coiled under the spool. The clutch is smooth and firm when playing a fish and it makes a nice ticking sound which is very satisfying, the reel itself has a three ball bearing system.
Front Drag System
Plastic Line Clip
The reel itself isn't a bad weight and balances out with my Free Spirit X Wraps perfectly. In regards to the build of the reel, I have no doubt that you will get years of use out of it. I do find that it doesn't quite hit the spot in feeling 'solid', the weak point for me is the handle, even when you tighten it right up there still seems to be a little movement/wobble in it, but that is a very minor point and with all of the companies that now do reel conversions I am sure you can get this particular model 'tarted up' a bit, if you felt the need.
All in all for the price which is £59.99 you are getting a really good reliable bit of kit, I feel this series is spot on for those that are thinking of ditching the bait-runner system. It's a good entry level reel that opens the door to the world of the big pits. And again because of the price it allows anglers that maybe didn't have the money in the past, to get stuck in and give the 'big pits' a go.
Moving on to the Crosscast X, this is a different kettle of fish - "excuse the pun". After about a year or so I upgraded to the X series, I really liked the S's and wanted to stick with their mechanics and design. The Crosscast X has five ball bearings compared to the S's three, this makes for a much smoother and solid feeling reel. Cosmetically it's a feast on the eyes and the QD - Quick Drag facility really makes a massive difference, all in all you're getting one hell of a brilliant reel at a really competitive price, to be honest I thought it had the wrong price tag on it.
Crosscast X 5000
In regards to the quick drag, before using one I really didn't get the point of them, but since using a reel that has the facility included it makes fishing a whole lot easier. It's literally half a turn and you are in complete control of the clutch. Again it makes catering for what ever a carp throws at you really easy without the ache of having to twist the clutch back and forth a load to try and find the sweet spot.
Diawa Crosscast x 5000 Details
"The arrival of the Crosscast X has extended this family of unbelievable reels to four models and with it taken the standard up another level. The X features Quick Drag, HIP high impact line clip and Air Bail. It is also furnished with a machined handle and spare spool. Sharing Digi Gear and quality BB's combined with the worm gear enhanced Cross Wrap line lay and Twist Buster they deliver an impressive performance for the price. All geared at 5.1 : 1 the Crosscast eats up 108cm of line per handle turn making them perfect for big distances."
- Air Bail on X model
- Quick Drag on X model
- High Impact Line Clip on X
- Infinite Anti Reverse
- T Shaped Handle Knob
- Cross Wrap
- Advanced Locomotive Level Wind
- Machined cut Aluminium Handle
- Aluminium Spool (spare supplied with X model)
- Ratio 5.1 : 1
- Weight 21.5oz
- Line Capacity 360m 14lb.
As you can see in the list above, it's loaded with features. It has a high impact line clip, this can be a little fiddly until you've used it a few times. The design and the mechanism of the handle is top notch and you don't get any shake or wobble. From a distance it's reminiscent of the Basia handle. On the photo of my reel above you will notice the wooden handle, I got these modified at 'Lee Valley Customs', mainly for visual effect but it seems to make the whole reel feel more balanced and weighty. The clutch is ultra smooth and when attached to the rod it feels nice and solid, it doesn't feel as cheap as the S series. The bail arm is chunky and strong, it's great on both the cast and the retrieve. I have no doubt that this reel performs as good as those that are twice the price.
High Impact Line Clip
To sum up, I feel both of these reels are great for the money. As we all know, tackle is very much a 'personal preference', we are all different and looking for different things in what we buy. Nowadays there is so much on the market, the carp angler really is spoilt for choice. What makes your tackle good is if it does the job that you want it to do, and it caters to your style of fishing. Either way if you are thinking of dropping the bait-runner design to step into the world of the big pit reels, the Crosscast series is well worth a look.