As much as I love messing around with different bits of fishing gear and then reviewing some of it on this blog, I can't guarantee that what I like fishing with is going to work the same way for you. I am struggling for example to imagine how a lure fishing rod could get any more perfect than the 9'6'' 10-30g Major Craft Truzer, but of course what I mean is that it's perfect for me and it might well not be for you. I can't speculate on what you might or might not like yourselves, but this new Daiwa Exceler 3000-HA is quite possibly the best sub-£100 spinning reel I have come across so far...........
That last statement comes with a caveat though - I am putting this review out sooner than I should, as in I don't know for how long this reel might remain as fantastically smooth and easy to fish with as it is right now. So why do this review now then? Because I am conscious that many lure anglers are starting to almost come out of hibernation about now, and thoughts often turn to new bits of gear for the season ahead - and if you are looking at a new spinning reel but don't want to spend more than £100 (and you might be able to find this Daiwa Exceler 3000-HA for around £75 or the equivalent in euros), then it could be worth a look at this new Exceler.
I do like spinning reels of this size for a lot of my lure fishing. A Daiwa 3000 is pretty close in size to a Shimano 4000 (yes, I know - why?), and although I like spinning reels from both these brands pretty much equally, I do notice that Daiwa seem to have been upping the stakes a bit with how modern/"sexy"/appealing etc. their spinning reels look. Yes, bounce it back at me that you don't give a stuff how your reel looks, but the simple fact is that our eyes are drawn to good looking/different stuff. Doesn't mean you are going to buy it, but you will look. Budget reels of old looked decidedly budget, but these days you can get some serious looking (and performing) gear for not a huge amount of money, and if you ask me this new Daiwa Exceler 3000-HA is one smart looking bit of kit. When I first saw it on a boat, the reel was sitting with a bunch of far more expensive spinning reels, and I must admit that my eyes were drawn to this Exceler first.
Which of course counts for squat if it's no good. But it is. I don't know for how long this Exceler 3000-HA is going to remain so awesomely smooth and easy to fish with, but I bet that out of the box I could blindfold you, strap this "budget" reel to a rod and then a much higher end reel to another rod, and then ask you to tell me which the cheaper reel was - and I bet you most anglers wouldn't know, me included. Seriously, out of the box this Exceler 3000-HA is sublime, and I love the fact that it comes with a spare spool. Spin the handle and I defy you not to ooh and aah!! Sure, if the world was perfect and all reality TV was banned forever and ever amen, then this reel would have the same kind of handle that came on those rather lovely older Daiwa Luvias 3000 spinning reels (as per above, similar to the Shimano Sustain 4000FG handle etc.). Does it matter? Not a jot. It's just me loving those round handles.
Line lay is great and I haven't had a single issue with the two braids that I have used on this reel - that new Sunline Super PE8 (review here) or the consistently excellent bright green Daiwa Tournament 8-braid in the 25lb breaking strain (which in my mind should really be labelled 20lb - treat it like this, tie decent knots, and it's one awesome 8-strand). But then we expect modern spinning reels at most prices to handle modern braids of course. A few years ago I might have worried that the retrieve speed on the Exceler 3000-HA is 5.6:1 and not say 4.8:1, but without a doubt my increased use of soft plastics has helped me to slow my retrieve down if needs be, so it's not a problem. Anyway, I have used higher speed spinning reels before and caught plenty of fish without actually realising that the retrieve speed was that bit faster.
There is one thing that tells me this Daiwa Exceler 3000-HA is not a much more expensive spinning reel, and that's the drag system, albeit it feels plenty good enough for our fishing. I personally believe that there's a lot of crap talked about reel drags and fish taking line etc. here in the UK and Ireland - why so many anglers insist on giving their fish so much line is beyond me for starters, but each to their own of course. Wind the drag down fairly tight on a higher end reel and to me the line feels like it's coming off with less of a feeling of the reel being under any real strain, but we are talking about reels at very different price points here. The drag system on this Exceler I reckon is more than sufficient for the fish we are likely to hook in our waters, and at the kind of tensions we should be using, line seems to come off nice and smoothly. I can also lock it down for my wrasse fishing, as in I want no line coming off the reel. Will this end up damaging the reel? Time will tell.
Whilst I can't help but love fishing with nice gear, a spinning reel like this Daiwa Exceler 3000-HA brings me back to an argument that I often have with myself (come on, I work for myself and I sometimes have "important" meetings with myself so that I feel all grown up!!) - high end spinning reels are lovely, but would a £300 reel last three times as long as say this sub-£100 Exceler? If you lure fish a lot then you know how hard any spinning reel is working and how we want them to last forever and ever but they just don't tend to. I said at the start that I can't yet tell you how long this "budget" Daiwa Exceler 3000-HA is going to remain as awesome as it is still feeling now, and of course we all fish different amounts etc. - but at this point in time I reckon this is one mightily impressive spinning reel.
And here's a sneak peek at my Sea Angler articles that are coming out in the next issue. Have a good weekend all, thankfully there is a break in the Six Nations as we English are still bleeding about last weekend.