Light and Tough? It Does EXIST and It's Made by Daiwa
Real World Tests:
Having gone through the very difficult rod decision process with the Stella FJ earlier this year, I knew right away the proper rod with which to match my Exist LT and that was G.Loomis's 820S DSR GLX. Dare I say, once I matched these two pieces of tackle from rival tackle manufacturers up, I found the Exist LT looks even better on this stick than does the Stella FJ! My line of choice was Seaguar's Tatsu fluorocarbon in four pound (4lb) test.
The 3000S-CXH features a T-Knob.
Retrieve: Where the spool spinning test is the universal method of formulating an initial impression of a casting reel, for spinning reels, it comes down to that very first spin of the handle. Earlier this year, I was blown away by the Stella FJ when I first turned the handle of that reel thinking there's no way anything can compare. I was wrong. Daiwa's new Exist LT is a true rival.
This one, however, features a little contour for a slightly more
Whether it be the Digigear design, or the MagSeal bearings, or the Zaion Air Rotor, or some other super fancy marketing terminology, or combination thereof, the Exist LT is as smooth and refined as they come in a spinning reel.
This is both under load or just straight out of the box. There is no difference in the reel's retrieve in either scenario. Some reels feel one way with no load, and different when under load. The Exist LT has the same feel in either scenario.
Ironically while I choose to use wider spools like a 3000 sized
reels for better line management, Daiwa has narrowed the size of the Exist
spools for better casting performance.
Drag: This is important, because when you're finesse fishing and slowly crawling your bait back to the boat, you want a reel with a super smooth retrieve so you can concentrate on what your bait is doing and not your reel. When you do get that pick up with the Exist, the LT 3000S-CXH's metal and felt washer drag stack delivers very smooth performance. We're not sure if the more general purpose line capacity spools have a different drag stack, but the one in this reel is definitely tailored more for finesse applications meaning if you want something with a powerful, lock down drag, this model is not the one for you.
A look at the reel's drag stack.
Power: Once again I'm left with the conundrum of trying to evaluate power in a reel that I've only fished with 4lb test line. There's just not much to report here other than to say through several good days of fishing and battling some large mouth up to five pounds in size, not once did the reel ever lock up on me. Quite the contrary. On each occasion, right after a bass would stop running (and they run a lot when your drag is set properly for 4lb test line!), the Exist LT re-engaged to make up that lost length of line effortlessly.
Daiwa installs a bearing inside the spool.
Bail Operation: When preparing for a cast, the Exist LT's bail moves back in a very compliant and stealthy manner. The bail on some reels really snap open when you reach a certain point, others will have an audible "click" to let you know they're ready, the Exist LT just kind of follows your lead and holds in the open position once you let go.
And another bearing under the spool.
After your cast is complete, depending on the rotor's position, the amount of force needed to snap the bail back over varies from not very much to just a bit more than I would expect. Once you find that right amount of effort, the bail snaps back closed with a very reassuring, but somewhat dull sounding "thud." Of course, closing the bail by hand eliminates all of that uncertainty and leaves you in better position to pull the line taught through the line roller before taking up slack.
The line roller features two bearings.
Line Twist: I mention that because the one occasion I had difficulty with this reel was on closing the bail with the handle, and not paying attention to the amount of slack in the line. Before I knew it, the reel bound up and it was because the slack line had gathered up underneath the spool and spun around the main shaft. Total user error, but one that required me to remove the spool so I could untangle the line.
Two MagSeal bearings that I may have unsealed.
Otherwise, the Exist LT's line roller benefits from the support of two, magsealed bearings to help it spin freely as needed as line is wound back onto the spool. I didn't have any problems with line twist in the couple outings I had with this reel before writing it up. Line twist is always inevitable, but so far so good with the Exist LT.
There are no obvious points of disassembly for this reel which
was probably a good thing because it kept me from
the other MagSeal bearings.
The bottom line...