Sudsy

Daiwa Lexa HD 300 and 400 size low profile reel review

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Daiwa Lexa HD low profile reel review

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(Disclaimer – I’m not a “pro staffer” or anything like that and I paid for the reels I have so I have no motivation to tell anything but the truth)

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So it’s been a full year + fishing the 300 and the 400 sized model HS-P low profile conventional reels.

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The 300…………

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According to Daiwa’s website the specs on the 300 are…… Comes in right or left hand, 10.8 oz. weight, 7 BB, 7.1:1 retrieve at 32 ½” per turn, magnetic spool control with a quick adjust dial, power handle, stainless steel drive and pinion gears, aluminum frame and side plate (gear side), Infinite Anti-Reverse (Dual Stopper), and 22# drag pressure using huge carbon drag washers. The drag washers on my Abu’s and Shimano’s are an absolute joke compared to the size of the washers on the Lexa’s.
As for line capacity I never believe what the company says, so here’s how it worked out for me…….. it holds plenty ! When I spooled it with 30# Berkeley Stealth I got about 265 yards onto the spool plus a bit of mono backing. I’ve since upped the test to 50# original white Whiplash and I’m still well over 200 yards plus the backing – more than enough line. The Stealth was the nuts for plugging but it’s dark green and I needed the white to see the line while jigging and needed the extra strength to deal with the heavy currents.

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I’ve used it extensively for jigging moving water rocky inlets / rivers and bridge fishing and it took a savage beating. I was given one to test out last fall (2015) with the comment that I wouldn’t be able to break it if I tried – Challenge accepted! I failed miserably, but not for lack of trying. I fished it for 2 months and did things to this reel that I would never do to my Abu’s, or any reel I paid for myself !. Directly off the spool I pulled snagged jigs from the rocks on 40# Suffix leader, bending out 3x hooks and / or snapping the leader. I winched 29” thrashing bass up onto a 30’ high bridge. not even doing the quick lift reel down quick thing, just cranking on it….. I beat the living snot out of this reel. At the end all it needed was some fresh oil in the bearings.

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I was so impressed I went and bought myself one, along with the 400 size for Christmas

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Fast forward to the spring and fall runs of this year. My new 300 got use on an 11’ AnyFish AnyWhere Estuary rod, rated 1 to 4 oz lure, and was used for surf plugging, pencil popping, eeling, and fall tin n teaser.

As a plugging reel this thing excels. It throws just about as far as my venerable and very souped up Abu 6500 Mag Elite and has nearly as much cast control as my stupidly expensive Shimano 400 Calcutta Conquest, but with a much, much, better drag. I would never think of bringing the Abu or Shimano out to a NJ big fish spring blitz, they don’t have the drag pressure to control a beast, especially in a lineup where you have to get it in quickly or have ten other guy’s lines wrapped up with yours. In the same spot I won’t hesitate to bring the Lexa. Also, the 7.1:1 gear ratio allows this reel to work a pencil well, unlike the Abu’s and Shimano’s which simply can’t reel fast enough to keep up.

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The control is what I like most about this reel. Everyone that fishes braid on conventionals knows the nightmare of a bad braid backlash. So far, a fall, a spring, and another fall, 1000’s of casts, most of them full out let it rip, and, in total, fewer than a handful of over-runs (and all very late at night when I was completely exhausted when screwing up the cast is the first sign that it’s getting near time to go crash). Of those few backlashes there wasn’t a single one that actually had to be untangled, every one of them was small and just pulled right out – even on the Whiplash which is very soft and notorious for tangling badly.

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The reel was also used a LOT for the inlet / river jigging and bridge thing, but I have to admit that since I had bought this one I was more gentle about things like yanking out snags right off the spool.

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The 400……………

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According to Daiwa’s website the specs on the 400 are…… Comes in right or left hand, 17.2 oz. weight, 7 BB, 7.1:1 retrieve at 37.7” per turn, magnetic spool control with a quick adjust dial, power handle, stainless steel drive and pinion gears, aluminum frame and side plate (gear side), Infinite Anti-Reverse (Dual Stopper), and 25# drag pressure using huge carbon drag washers.

Line capacity, to be honest I'm not sure, I spooled it off a bulk spool and forgot to put the measuring thing on it - but it holds way more line then I've ever come close to needing as a surf guy. I'm sure it's more than enough fo beach sharking or black drum fishing down in Delaware Bay.

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My 400 has not seen the use the 300 has. If you were only going to buy one, I’d get the 300. The 400 does have its place. I use it for throwing the heaviest kind of jigs into fast moving rocky water, for big bait back in the bay and off the bridges, for live lining, and for up and down bottom fishing from a boat. Everything I said about the 300 fits this reel with the exception that due to the smaller spool the 300 casts further.
* If you’re looking for a tog reel, the 400 is exactly what you want. Power and speed in the same reel, not a common combination.

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One other thing that goes for both reels – I LOVE the powerhandle especially the EVA knob. I need to look into whether it can be modified to go onto a few other reels.

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The bad……
Like so many other companies Daiwa does NOT put enough grease on the gears! Before you fish it, right out of the box open it up, properly grease the gears and oil the bearings.

Neither reel comes with a clicker. I wouldn’t use it much on the 300, but I really wish the 400 had one, preferably a strong one, for chunking.

The finish (paint, powder coat? I’m not sure) is a little less tough then the anodizing on the Swedish made Abu’s and the Shimano Conquest (but it’s not bad, just try not to drop it down into the rocks or lean it on a concrete bridge rail and have it slide down onto the sidewalk)

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Conclusion:
Keep an eye on the BST, you’ll be seeing some Abu’s coming up soon

Edited by Sudsy

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Thanks for the review Sudsy.

 

There has been a lot of discussion and mentions of the Lexa 300 HD and it bigger brother but not a more comprehensive review. I haven't had mine for as long so I don't have much to add. I suspect compared to you my use is kid gloves but I'll say it's done everything I've asked of it and I now reach for it before any of my Avet lever drag setups when I do deeper inshore bottom fishing. These reels dropped in price recently making me wonder if Daiwa was gonna update or (gasp) drop the model line. Happy I got mine.

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Ive had the Lexa 300 HSL-P for a couple seasons now. I use it when fishing from the boat. Have used it for Tog, Cod, Haddock, and stripers up to 25lbs. Infact the one in my avatar was caught on it. Love this reel! 

 

I pulled it apart when i first bought it to grease and lube it like i do with every new reel. I pull it apart every season to check things out on the inside and everything looks like new. Just add a couple drops of oil on the bearings for good measure and put it back together for the next season.

 

That being said, had i known about the Okuma Komodo i probably would have gone with that reel. All stainless innards, centrifugal brakes, and has a clicker.

Edited by Baitbucket

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I bought a 400 back in early may after I heard my friend had one in his baitshop.

I ran to buy it.

the next day I tookit out after reading tani's pretrip thing.

it casted well but,made a slight screeching noise.

I took it home,washed it out.

took off the side cover where the mag is and put 1 drop of 3-in-1 oil on the bearing then the same on the other side of the spool..

then took off the gearset side cover and found it full of silicone grease with plenty everywhere.

I took it out the next night and caught several bass with it up to 15 lbs and they were like toys on a string.

slung large wood with em and loved it,had to get used to the 7.1-1 ratio but,that was all of 10 minutes.

I loved it so much I called my friend and asked of he had another one,he did and I told him I am coming down right now to buy it.

the 2 of them cost me $458.00.

then I went home took it apart and found it less greased than the first one but it had enough in all the right places.[same silicone grease.]

I did 1 drop to both spool bearings and took it fishing using 2 oz Bt's

they flew right outta sight.

after a half hour I had the mag down to setting # 3 then 2.

what a wonderful machine and I would tell anyone to buy one if they asked me if they should!

I just bought a new stick for one of them a 9 ft 3-6 oz longitude which I found on amazon for 38 bucks,very nice rig.

won't test it out until may but,I am sure it will make me smile.

those that know me/of me around here know I fish with very large plugs and the 400 works with them perfectly.

I got slammed one night very hard whilst doing the LDP method and since I use mono[25] only.

I could slam them back very hard and gain line very fast.

worked well and I am just tickled when fishing with them.

oh yeah,almost forgot,in Tani's tutorial he mentioned tat he didn;t like the open area on both sides of the thumbar because they would allow water to get inside the reel with ease.

I actually found it to be the opposite.

yes it does allow water to enter easily but,it also allow water to exit easily as well.

I would have to say that if you fish it in sandy water on the beach with wind blowing sand,it could get inside easier.

I don't fish the sand anymore so,it is just fine having that space to allow the water to exit the reel fully especially after you wash it off.

when I rinse mine,I let the shower water run right inside[the open area] and then when I stand it up afterward it all runs out and you can see this fact of you try it yourself.

 I have to say,give em the grease/oil[i actually over greased one of them on purpose just to see] and then slap it together and it is very good to go.

with the extra grease it was so smooth I thought the spool wasn't turning or the reel wasn't engaged.

this was just a test for me doing the over greasing.

it caused no problems and I like that.

just wanted to share what I found with my 2 400's,hope this helps someone.

 

 

H&H

Edited by Roddy

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That being said, had i known about the Okuma Komodo i probably would have gone with that reel. All stainless innards, centrifugal brakes, and has a clicker.

Did you know you have to remove the sideplate to adjust the brakes on the Okuma?

I wouldn't want to do that up on the rocks or in a yak - too risky.

It is easy to do though, just a quick twist and it's off - which I see as another possible issue while fighting a fish

 

They should have set it up the same way Shimano did for the Conquest - a thumbscrew loosens it allowing you to pivot the side plate out of the way, but it never is completely detached.

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Did you know you have to remove the sideplate to adjust the brakes on the Okuma?

I wouldn't want to do that up on the rocks or in a yak - too risky.

 

I did, but i used mine mostly for jigging, chunking, and trolling.

 

I see the new HD Lexa is all stainless. So i guess the only feature its missing is the baitclicker. Not sure thats worth the trade off of adjusting the brakes on the fly like u can on the lexa.

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I’ve used it extensively for jigging moving water rocky inlets / rivers and bridge fishing and it took a savage beating. 

 

 

Another nice little feature that not many know about, you can reengage the freespool by popping the thumb bar back up. This allows you to use one hand to let line out and reengage the spool.

 

Heres a little video showing u what I mean.

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Did you know you have to remove the sideplate to adjust the brakes on the Okuma?

I wouldn't want to do that up on the rocks or in a yak - too risky.

It is easy to do though, just a quick twist and it's off - which I see as another possible issue while fighting a fish

 

They should have set it up the same way Shimano did for the Conquest - a thumbscrew loosens it allowing you to pivot the side plate out of the way, but it never is completely detached.

Nice reveiw! I have had many of the same positive experiances as you have had with my Lexa 400HD.

 

With the Okumas, once you set the brakes (2 pins out), you are set. No more need to touch the brakes. Although, an attached sideplate would ge a nice plus.

 

That being said, I have found my Lexa 400HD to be an absolute pleasure to cast with. The reel's brakes give just enough braking power to make backlashes practically non-existant, even when casting into the wind. Both the Revo Toro Beast 60 and the Komodo 471 cast wonderfully and achieve nice distances, but I have noticed from observation that I do get my best distances with the Lexa 400.

 

BTW, you did see that Diawa came out with a Lexa with a bait clicker, right? Unfortunatly, I believe it is only a 300 size, without the HD gearing. A Lexa 400HD with bautclicker would be awesome.

Edited by Pylodictis

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With the Okumas, once you set the brakes (2 pins out), you are set. No more need to touch the brakes. Although, an attached sideplate would ge a nice plus.

 

BTW, you did see that Diawa came out with a Lexa with a bait clicker, right? Unfortunatly, I believe it is only a 300 size, without the HD gearing. A Lexa 400HD with bautclicker would be awesome.

What if you're plugging and the wind changes, calling for a brake adjustment ?

 

If they can do a clicker on the 300 they should absolutely do it on the 400 !!, That reel needs it more as that's the one that's better suited for weight n bait

Edited by Sudsy

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Another nice little feature that not many know about, you can reengage the freespool by popping the thumb bar back up. This allows you to use one hand to let line out and reengage the spool.

 

Heres a little video showing u what I mean.

Well I'll be dipped in #### - never noticed that feature

Thanks ! That's going to see a lot of use

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I use the flip the bar up option all the time especially when fishing LDP style.

that way I can hold my hot cup of coffee or cigar with the other hand.

the pflueger Trion 66-L[winch] has the same set up in case someone here has one and didn't know that.

 

 

H&H

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What if you're plugging and the wind changes, calling for a brake adjustment ?

 

If they can do a clicker on the 300 they should absolutely do it on the 400 !!, That reel needs it more as that's the one that's better suited for weight n bait

My thumb is good enough to handle wind changes, but I use baitcasting and conventional reels a lot. The large lures used for musky put up a lot of wind resistance, so it can get quite tricky casting a bulldog against the wind. Still, I think the Diawa is the better of the two reels in the pure lure casting department due to the mag brakes and the disengaging levelwind. The Okuma is the better multi purpose reel. Both are butter smooth and have an excellent free spin.

 

Hopefully Diawa does throw the clicker on a 400HD, the reel is excellent and that would be the icing on the cake.

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BTW, you did see that Diawa came out with a Lexa with a bait clicker, right? Unfortunatly, I believe it is only a 300 size, without the HD gearing.

 

They added a clicker but didnt include the Stainless gearing? Odd...

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They added a clicker but didnt include the Stainless gearing? Odd...

I double checked the description on several websites and couldn't find anything about the gearing. I figured that they would have included ss gearing in the description. I guess we will have to wait until someone gets on and cracks it open.

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I double checked the description on several websites and couldn't find anything about the gearing. I figured that they would have included ss gearing in the description. I guess we will have to wait until someone gets on and cracks it open.

 

 

Which model is it?

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