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Reel Review

Shoot for the moon, the well machined Daiwa Luna (continued)

Durability cont'd: While the initial tests did not reveal anything after time we started to notice that the Calcutta TE maintained its original feel longer than the Luna. Perplexed we opened up both reels and did find that the Luna had to be cleaned and maintained a bit more than the Calcutta TE. That however wasn’t the only reason. Here the increased bearing count started to really benefit the Calcutta. The bearings maintained their feel longer than the bushings used in the Luna.

The main gearing and drag system


The Luna’s bearings while top notch simply couldn’t match the sheer number of bearings supporting the Calcutta internals and knobs.


The Breakdown: Calcutta TE wins. The Calcutta proves once again why it is favored among saltwater anglers, it is just plain durable and maintains consistent performance and feel longer than other reels. That being said we expected the Calcutta TE to leave the Luna in the dust in this category, but it hardly did that. The Luna vastly improves durability in Daiwa’s traditional reels, and with proper care the Luna will last. 


Cal lands a striper with the Luna

Applications: The Luna proved to be a good freshwater reel, and performed well in inshore applications as well. The reel is great for both mono and braided lines, and ancillary features like an audible clicker (on the 300 size) even make the reel a good choice for trolling applications. Left handed anglers will appreciate that Daiwa mirrors each reel, even the larger 300 size. The Shimano Calcutta TE series does have left handed models, but not all the larger sizes (CTE300 and 700 are right hand only) are available in left hand retrieve.

While the Luna is a great inshore reel it also proved to be a exceptional big swimbait reel as well. Her we compare it head to head with the Shimano Calcutta TE

Still Daiwa only offers the Luna in small to the medium sized 300, whereas Shimano has a wider range of sizes all the way up to the huge CTE700, which is among the most powerful levelwind reels on the market.

The Breakdown: Calcutta wins. The Luna series is good for everything up to large saltwater species, so good in fact that we wish the reel was available in just one additional larger size. Kudos to Daiwa for offering all the reels in both right and left hand retrieve, but Shimano’s Calcutta TE series is just more well rounded, and there is a reel for just about every application from tossing minuscule lures with the 50 size to massive iron with the CTE700.

Side by side with the competition

Price: The bottom line, is the Luna worth the money? The 100-200 sizes on the Luna retail for 229 dollars, and the 300 retails for only 10 dollars more. The Shimano Calcutta TE series ranges from 329 to 389 depending on size, while the Calcutta B retails for 189 to 279 dollars. In terms of price that puts the Luna smack dab in the middle, and yet it is able to compete with the more expensive TE series in many respects despite the fact it has a lower bearing count.

The Breakdown: Luna wins. No contest here. In terms of value the Luna is a surprisingly good deal, and a whole lot of reel for just over 200 dollars. The amount of machining in this reel is impressive, and the level of refinement blows away many reels costing over 30% more.

The Luna features a 5.1:1 retrieve ratio in all sizes except the Luna 103 which is a faster 5.8:1



Daiwa Luna Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Luna is a step up from the Millionaire and the machining on the Luna is beautiful. The reel feels like a much more expensive reel should, and is built with quality components 9.5
Performance The Luna surprised us in some areas including its excellent drag performance. It is a serious contender to the Calcutta TE but falls short in a few areas. Overall the Luna is a surprisingly refined reels for a reel with only 5+1 bearings 9
Price The Luna is a great deal for the money, but the best thing about the reel is that it not only is a great deal but can hold its own against reels costing much more 9.5
Features The Luna has a lot going for it including a quality machined build, a powerful drag, external cast control on smaller models. If it had bearing supported handles and just a little more torque it would be able to knock the Calcutta TE for a loop and would also receive an Editors Choice award 9
Design (Ergonomics) The Luna exhibits good ergonomics. The smaller sizes are much easier to palm obviously, and the 300 size is much wider than the Shimano offering, but has a massive line capacity. The 300 size requires the sideplate to physically be removed to adjust the cast control, the attached sideplate system on the Calcutta TE is safer in the and faster in the field 9
Application The Luna is a great reel, unfortunately the entire series is not as well rounded as the Calcutta TE series which has tiny 50 sizes and a massive 700 size. The Luna is such a good reel we wish it was offered in a wider range of sizes 8

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Machined Construction L No microclick drag star
J Refined connected feel L No bearings supported handle
J Surprisingly powerful drag L Not as much torque as TE
J External cast control (sub 300)  
J Left hand versions (all sizes)  
J Great value for the money  


The Luna reels in our tests saw a good share of striper action and had little difficulty with these double digit fish


Conclusion:  The Luna is a natural progression from the Millionaire and is more than a match for the previous generation Calcutta, and offers even further refinement over the new Calcutta B in many respects. The Luna feels more precise and polished than its predecessor, but the real question is whether or not it can dethrone the popular Shimano Calcutta TE? Daiwa shot for the moon with the Luna, and the mission was a success, unfortunately for Daiwa however Shimano already had made the trip and back with the time tested Calcutta TE. In some categories it actually manages to challenge the TE, especially when you figure in the price delta between the offerings, but when the dust settles the Calcutta TE still remains the one to beat….albeit not by as much as you might think. The Luna while not quite able to topple the TE on all fronts, is by all means a quality reel. Anglers looking for a refined traditional reel will not be disappointed with what the Luna has to offer, and when it comes to bang for the buck the Luna has great value written all over it. The machined construction, superb components, and robust drag all make the Luna a viable solution for some of the biggest and baddest fish out there at a reasonable price.


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