Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Have you seen these new Daiwa LT (Light & Tough) spinning reels?

I may well be a little late to the party here, but I dropped into the den of filth that is the Art of Fishing tackle shop yesterday and Ben showed me a bunch of the new Daiwa LT spinning reels. I have heard a bit about these new reels and how Daiwa seem to be seriously upping their already impressive game with this whole “Light & Tough” concept, but up until yesterday I had not seen any of these reels in the flesh. First impressions? Wow……..

Now this is obviously not any kind of review because all I have done is pick a few of these new spinning reels up and turn the handles a few times, but considering that I am merely an angler like most of you here, I can’t get away from the fact that as a consumer of fishing tackle it’s those first impressions that count for a lot. You know when you pick up a rod or a reel or something like that and however good or indeed bad the item may end up being, unless our eyes and brain engage with said product on some sort of positive emotional level then we ain’t going to buy it. The psychology of shopping? Well I never concentrated much when I was doing a business studies A Level, but there has to be something to it. How else am I to explain my fishing tackle collection?!

And a fishing tackle company like Daiwa must surely be rubbing their hands together with these new LT spinning reels - you can’t help but pick them up and notice how beautifully designed they are for starters, and then how almost ridiculously light they are in the hand. Turn those glorious handles and as with a Shimano spinning reel out of the box the experience is as smooth as falling into a pat of nearly melted butter. I understand that these new Light & Tough spinning reels from Daiwa are really going for it on the gearing front especially, and I do like a good drag knob that’s easy to grab hold of and tighten right down.

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I think it’s increasingly impressive these days what fishing tackle we can get our hands on for the money, and I can’t believe how it’s possible to make a spinning reel that looks and feels as good in the hand than this new sub-£100 Daiwa Exceler LT for example. As with any of this gear the proof will be in the pudding as such - how are they going to last in a real fishing environment? Whatever the case may end up being, I can’t ever recall picking up a spinning reel for under £100 that said buy me as much as this new Exceler LT. As smooth as you like, incredibly light, nice and shiny, the drag felt great, and if I got say a hard season of bass fishing with this reel and it stayed anywhere near that smooth out of the box then for under £100 I’d be over the moon.

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And then you nudge just over the £100 mark and you come to the new Daiwa Fuego LT, and I believe that this is the cheapest Daiwa spinning reel on which you are going to find any of their Magsealed technology. I have a fair bit of experience with the Magseal thing and whatever it does actually do compared to what it’s claimed it does, and my personal opinion is that - and it’s the same with Shimano’s X-Protect system for me - I am going to treat a Magsealed or indeed X-Protect spinning reel exactly the same as I would a spinning reel that doesn’t have these technologies in them. Saltwater harms most things over time and with what we do it’s going to find a way in eventually, so I will do my utmost to prevent that and/or wash reels down and take them apart to a certain extent and re-oil as required - and especially the whole roller bearing area. How many of you get your spinning reels professionally serviced at the end of your fishing season for example? I bet you get your car serviced, so why not a reel that has been subjected to intensive saltwater use?

Anyway, the new Daiwa Fuego LT felt and looked mightily impressive, and if the Magsealed thing is helping to slow down or indeed prevent some saltwater getting in then it has to be a good thing, and once again it feels like a serious amount of reel for a not very serious price. I would guess that Daiwa’s spinning reel designers have been drinking a lot of coffee over the last few years to come up with this new LT range.

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And then because I am a tackle tart and my heart rate speeds up in a direct correlation to the increasing price of fishing tackle (and Ben in the Art of Fishing shop bloody well knows this!), we come to the seriously stunning looking new Daiwa Ballistic LT spinning reels. If I needed a new spinning reel I’d have bashed Ben over the head yesterday and legged it back to my epic Berlingo with at least two of the new Ballistic LT reels. I don’t need a new reel, but damn do I want one of these things. You can find them for around the £200 mark, and whilst I have no idea how long these reels might last, wow do they look and feel massively high end.

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But now we come to the slightly complicated part - reel sizes. I think that Daiwa have managed to cram all their amazing know-how into ever smaller reel bodies, and this in turn has led to them changing the reel sizing codes for these new LT spinning reels, so not only do we have the difference in reel sizes between Daiwa and Shimano, but we now have different reel codes/sizes within the one tackle company! Confused? I can see why Daiwa have done this, but damn I bet you there have been a lot of LT reels bought online and then returned because the customer bought their new spinning reel based on the previous Daiwa sizes and then got a bit of a shock when their new LT reel turned up and wasn’t quite the size they hoped it might be. Confused? Whoever made these new LT reels look this good deserves huge credit, but whoever came up with the new reel sizing numbers deserves a damn good thrashing! If one day all Daiwa spinning reels are based on these new size codes then a certain amount can be forgiven, but whilst their range is in transition I guess we are stuck with this confusion.

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So this is my understanding, and it comes from Ben and I putting a bunch of reels side by side in his shop yesterday morning (I found the graphic above on the Daiwa Australia website) - the new 5000 LT size of Daiwa spinning reel seems to be about the same as their previous 3000 size, the 3000 LT size is like the previous 2500 Daiwa size, and interestingly this new 4000 LT size seems to sit right in the middle of their previous 3000 and 2500 sizes. Still with me?! These new LT reels do give us bigger spools with larger line capacities which I guess are going to be really useful for anglers overseas who chase hard-running fish on light gear, but as much as I love our own species of fish over here that we might chase with lure gear, reel-emptiers they are not! Buy some cheap say 15lb mono for your reel backing.

How about compared to Shimano reel sizes? To me the new Daiwa 5000 LT spinning reel size is comparable to a Shimano 4000 spinning reel, and then the 4000 LT from Daiwa is about the same size as a Shimano 3000 spinning reel - and so on I guess, but pretty quickly you lose the will to live with this stuff! I guess these new and very light spinning reels from Daiwa do open up the chance to put bigger reels on our lure rods if you wanted to, and so on again. I guess the days of spare spools coming with spinning reels are for the most part over which will always niggle me, but then I can’t remember the last spinning reel I either bought or tried out for review that came with a spare spool in the box. As I said at the top, I have no idea how these new Daiwa LT spinning reels might hold up to what we would want to do with them, but if they are the real deal - and I see no reason why they would not be - then holy cow do us fishing tackle “consumers” have even more options out there to go with our lightweight lure fishing rods……...

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