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Reel Review

Catching the Wave(Spin) One More Time (continued)

Drag: The DHxL comes with the same “Nano Drag” system found in the DH3000 and for us delivered five pounds of max drag in the lab before the line we were using gave out. For some reason I couldn't tie a proper knot for the life of me on this day and it kept breaking at five pounds of pressure. The DHxL is easily capable of full lockdown with ten pound test line.

This knob, opposite the handle is still made of plastic, but it's one of the few parts like that on this reel - a welcome change.

Performance out on the water was predictable, smooth, and reassuring though again, a true beast of a catch to test the reel’s performance at higher settings eluded me. If there’s any knock on the drag, for an ultra light reel, it goes from medium pressure to a lot of pressure almost too soon – within maybe six to eight clicks of tightening knob. A little more fine tuning range would be nice when using really light line.

The anti-reverse lever for those who like to back reel.

Line Management: So when it comes down to it, does the DHxL have what it takes to tame fluorocarbon? I’d say yes. The inevitable did occur where the line developed loops and tangles in the spool, but it seemed to take longer to happen with this reel than it typically does with my very high priced Daiwa Steez and Exist reels. Note that I never use line conditioners with my fluorocarbon as it’s my feeling such products detract from the lines’ inherent resistance to abrasion.

How often do you see a machined aluminum handle on a sub $100 reel?

So while for me, the DHxL did not eliminate line twist all together, I did seem to go longer between the inevitable frustrations. I can only imagine experience with braid or regular nylon monofilament would be even better.

The line clip on the DHxl's spool works really well and is easy to actuate with one hand.

Design: The DHxL sports a more stealthy appearance than its larger siblings, has one less bearing, a different knob (already discussed), and a different line clip design on the spool. Otherwise, aside from also being smaller, other specifications are identical though this reel also has fewer chrome-like accent pieces relieving it of that overly plastic feel we got from the DH3000.  For this reason, this ultra light interpretation of the WaveSpin design feels much more refined than its larger siblings.

The WaveSpin DHxl designed by Doug Hannon, is nicely packaged.

Warranty & Availability: Warranty and availability details remain mostly the same. If you cannot find the DHxL at your favorite tackle outlet, the reel is available direct from WaveSpin and is covered under the company’s standard two year warranty and as we always recommend, for specific details that may pertain to your situation, please contact the company directly rather than rely on someone else’s interpretation of a company’s policy.


WaveSpin DHxL Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Fewer decorative plastic parts than its larger sibling 7.5
Performance Surprising for such a small, value driven reel 7.5
Price What I consider "budget" 8
Features Innovative spool design, powerful drag 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Nice compact size and really comfortable knob on the handle 7.5
Application A nice freshwater reel with great potential for kids 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our
explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:


+ A nice, solid build - Still not that easy to find in tackle stores if you're the type that needs to hold something before you buy it
+ Good line management performance  
+ A comfortable knob on the handle  


Conclusion: Though virtually the same design, the DHxL with its more stealthy color and the absence of the chrome-like highlight parts somehow feels more appropriate for freshwater fishing. The spool design does seem to offer a benefit as line management issues seemed less of a concern over the course of fishing this reel as compared to say any of my Daiwa Japan 2004 sized reels or even some Shimano 2000 sized reels - and this reel is smaller! Throw in this reel's price point and it's difficult to overlook.


A little California Delta smallie courtesy of WaveSpin and Damiki.


If you have kids and still can't bring yourself to use a reel that seems like more of a novelty, try this reel for them and what do you want to bet they'll think this spool is really cool. You'll spend less time untangling their line (if you can keep them from turning the handle as a fish is pulling out line) and more time fishing yourself and when they're not paying attention, you can give the reel a whirl and see if it isn't appropriate for you afterall! Bottom line is, at this price point, and more so than its larger sibling, the DHxL is a nice little reel.










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