Sunday, May 12, 2013

Test Drive: The Daiwa Lexa 2000 Spinning Reel Review




I do a lot of product testing, everything from soft and hard baits, to lines to hooks and more, but there is nothing more satisfying then getting the opportunity to test drive a new rod or reel. I think this is due to the fact that although we may buy many new baits each season, we rarely add more then one new piece of equipment. And when we do add , often the new gear, no matter how expensive, does not live up to the hype, or more importantly our expectations. That being said this season, I had the opportunity to add a few new reels (and one rod) to my ever growing/changing arsenal. "What to choose, what to choose"...The Hype behind Daiwa's Lexa series of fishing reel is quite impressive and made it nearly impossible to not give one a test drive.

Unlike other quieter Daiwa reel releases, I have heard the Lexa talked-up on and off the water, on fishing boards and in chat rooms (do we still have these?) months prior to them hitting the store shelves.  It seems anglers everywhere are very excited about this new relatively inexpensive reel that can compete with reels many would consider  out of it's weight class.. so with that in mind I took the Daiwa Lexa 2000 for a test drive and pit it against one of the industries best.. the Shimano Stradic, and here is what I found...






PROS:


There is a lot to like in this spinning reel, but lets start off with the obvious.. it's sexy as hell. You cant look at this sleek design and tell me there is a better looking reel on the market today.. and it doesn't hurt that it  pairs really well with my rod of choice, the Dobyns Champion Extreme line of spinning rod (insert whistling sound here)

When it comes to spinning reels I'm always torn, I prefer to fish what most companies calls a  1000 series reel, but you don't get the same line capacity or drag strength as you would from a larger reel. That being said the Lexa comes in a 2000 series, and to me it fishes just as large as a standard 2500 series reel, without the added weight that comes with the large size. The line capacity is listed at 6/110, and I can confirm that it is slightly underrated as I spooled my Lexa 2000 up with 20lb Samurai braid and was able to fit the entire 150 meter spool on and still had room for my 4ft of leader. 

To me there is no better honor to bestow on reel then to compare it to an "old standby" or "personal fav" so I'm going to do just that. In my opinion the  Lexa spinning reel fishes like if not better then a Shimano Stradic, it is solid, yet light weight (8.1oz), it has a strong smooth drag (8lbs) and casts braid and mono line extremely well. All of these features rival if not approve upon what the Stradic has to offer, and yet the Lexa comes in on average $60 cheaper, across the board.. if that's not a pro, I don't know what is. 

I know I touched on it above, but I don't want to understate how impressed I was with the overall smoothness of this reel, from cast, to retrieve, and of course drag, the Lexa spinning reel  performs at a high level and really helps you fight the fish (instead of it fighting you)

Im no scientist, so I wont dive too deep into the full range of claims made about the Zaion carbonate Air rotor system on the Lexa, but to put it in angler speak: " it looks slick and gets the job done." And lets be honest, anytime you are able to reduce weight but improve strength, it is a good thing, and that is exactly what the Air rotor was designed to do.

The last thing I will touch on, is the size options available for the Lexa. As mentioned above I really like fishing with 1000 series spinning reels, but often they are too small, and in turn the most 2500 series is larger/heavier then Im looking for. Daiwa has this issue licked, as the launched the Lexa with a 1500, 2000, and 2500 series. I really like that the 1500, and 2000 come in at the same weight and strength, the only real difference being the line capacity. I can now do everything I want to do with a spinning reel without having to jump  up to a 2500 series





CONS:


Not really a con, but I will admit it took some getting use to the Daiwa "AirBail". This hollowed out light weight bail is common on Daiwa reels, but from a guy making the switch from Shimano I will admit it looked and felt a little large for the first few casts. That being said it feels very durable and should not bend, dent or deform as easily as the thinner "wire" bails, thus keeping your reel running smooth longer

I have heard anglers talk about this reel as being a bit heavy, and I don't think I understand? The Lexa 2000 weighs in at 8.1oz, and comparing that to a standard stradic that means it is .5oz heavier.. not exactly mind blowing. If they are comparing it to reels like the CI4, then that's not a fair comparison, as we are no longer looking at apples to apples.

The biggest con I can throw at this reel is availability,  In Ontario, it is not yet widely available, unless you are in a major market. I found myself making long treks to the few shops that carried Daiwa only to be told "soon".. but let me reiterate "it was worth the wait".





 The Wrap-Up


After this test drive I have to say, Im  impressed with the Daiwa Lexa spinning reel, so much so that I will be adding a second one to my arsenal very soon. This reel is built very well and is the perfect match for finesse techniques like Dropshotting, finesse jigs or even t-rig or wacky rigged soft plastics (you know, if your into that kind of stuff). 

I was  very happy with the 2000 series its has the slightly smaller frame that I want, but still feels tough and it could easily handle heavier techniques like dragging tubes, and the odd crank bait. These are things you would not usually be able to pull off on a 1000 series reel.


Weapons of Choice:


My Daiwa Lexa 2000, has been paired up with a Dobyns DX742SF rod. It will primarily be used for drop shot fishing.

I have plans to add a Lexa 2000 series reel to be paired up with my Dobyns 703SF, this combo will be used for texas ridges soft plastics, skipping up under docks and the occasional tube. 


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