Daiwa Caldia 3000-A Mag Sealed spinning reel review - under £200

I really liked Daiwa’s previous generation of the Caldia Mag Sealed, but for some reason I just didn’t go and fall in love with the reel. I can’t tell you why, other than some fishing tackle just resonates with me that bit more than others. It was a class bit of kit though, indeed both Daiwa and Shimano are making so many good spinning reels these days at so many different price points that there seems to be something for everybody, and I happen to think that this new model Daiwa Caldia 3000-A Mag Sealed spinning reel is a real step up from the previous generation - and at the sub-£200 prices that I am seeing online, it seems to be a hell of a lot of reel for the money……

Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way. This Daiwa Caldia 3000-A Mag Sealed spinning reel is very light, it comes with a spare spool which I really like, the size of the reel sits great on the lure rods I fish with, the retrieve ratio of 4.7:1 suits me down to the ground, it’s as smooth as you would expect, and it just feels so very much “together” when you fish with it. You may or may not like a spinning reel like this, but I would defy any angler to fish with it and not come away at least very impressed. Aside from me always desiring that rounder handle shape that came on those older blue coloured Daiwa Luvias reels (and on the Shimano Sustain 4000FG, (review here), I can’t find a single thing about this new Caldia that remotely niggles me. What’s not to like, and especially at that price?

OK, so the tackle tart in me of course desires the more expensive Daiwa Certate, but I really like how the Caldia comes with a spare spool whereas the Certate doesn’t. Does this matter? Not really, but I like messing around with different lines, and I do always try and carry a spare spool loaded up with braid and leader just in case I was to get the mother of all wind knots on the other one - rare I know, but I also know that it’s going to happen to me just when there’s a heap of 15lb bass going loopy for my Salt Skimmer!! How long is this new Caldia going to remain as deliciously smooth as it is now? Well all I can say is that it’s doing great so far, and that includes getting a load of saltwater over it on regular occasions - I am a bit of an expert at standing too close to the sea and shipping water over the top of my waders, and the reel carries on just as smooth as it was when it came out of the box.

But of course I was raving about another Daiwa spinning reel the other day, their new and somewhat cheaper Exceler 3000-HA - see my review here. If that reel is so good, and it is, then why on earth spend any more money to get this Caldia 3000-A Mag Sealed one? A fair point, and some anglers can’t or won’t spend close to £200 on a spinning reel, but when you pick them both up and fish with them you can tell where the extra money is going. Both reels are excellent, but the more expensive Caldia just feels that bit more solid and “together”. My 140,000 miles+ Ford Focus estate goes great (cross fingers), but you can notice the difference when you drive my wife’s newer one for example. I’ll happily drive both, but my wife’s car just feels that bit more solid (and less full of sand, waders, pebbles, bits of line, lure clips, bottles of sparkling water, neoprene rod straps, and without my Vac-Rac rod racks on the bonnet and roof).

You get what seems to be that typical and very efficient winding profile/line shape on the Caldia spool, where it’s slightly narrower at the base of the spool and then widens out towards the lip. I’ve blogged about line profiles before on spinning reels (see here), and without a doubt these Daiwa reels behave impeccably for me when I am out fishing. Fill any spinning reel too full of braid and you’ll get the odd wind knot as I did the other day, but find the right level and you should get zero problems.

Aside from the more expensive Caldia 3000-A feeling that bit more “together” as a reel (and this in no way lessens my admiration for their more budget but pretty damn outstanding Exceler 3000-HA), there is no getting away from the Caldia’s drag being smoother and more adjustable than the cheaper Exceler. You know my feelings about most anglers being far too generous with the amount of line they donate to most of the fish we hook, and this feels like one proper drag system on the Caldia. It takes far more turns to tighten it down which in turn means that levels of adjustment can be that bit more precise and adjustable, and without a doubt line comes off this more expensive reel on a tight drag setting with far less of a feeling of strain than on the cheaper Exceler 3000-HA.

Both are excellent spinning reels, but you can tell you’re using a more expensive reel with the Caldia 3000-A. I am not saying you’ll catch more fish with it, and I am increasingly of the opinion that I have yet to come across such a good “budget” spinning reel as the Daiwa Exceler 3000-HA, but on the other hand I am finding myself going beyond merely liking and respecting this new Caldia 3000-A Mag Sealed, and into the realms of really, really liking it. This is one hell of a spinning reel, and whilst I really hope to one day get the chance to fish for a proper length of time with the newer Daiwa Certates (and of course I dream about fishing with one of their new Exist spinning reels), I can’t help but wonder how much better than this rather special Caldia 3000-A they can possibly be.

I arrived in Kerry late yesterday evening, hence this review that I wrote on the ferry on the way over. Very excited to be here again and can’t wait to get back to working with John Quinlan and our first co-clients of the year. I’ll report back soon with what I hope will be news of a few fish and a heap of fun……