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Reel Review


 

Such a Large Bounty for a Small Package – The Daiwa Exist

 

Date: 8/1/22
Tackle type: Reel
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Zander






Total Score: 8.58 - ULTIMATE ENTHUSIAST AWARD

Introduction: Crafted with exotic materials and a slew of new features that are designed to improve everything from the feel of the retrieve to the way the drag delivers pressure, Daiwa’s new Exist redefines what a flagship spinning reel should be, in more ways than one. Blurring the lines between functionality and art the Daiwa Exist delivers a new level of refinement but also comes with a very steep price.

 

Daiwa EXIST 22 G LT Spinning Reel Specifications

Line Capacity (lbs / yds)

10/280, 12/220

Gear Ratio 5.2:1
Weight 6.2 ounces
Number of Bearings 10 CRBB + 2MSBB + 1BB
Additional Features -Magnesium MQ Frame
-ZAION Airdrive Rotor
-Airdrive shaft
-Airdrive spool
-Airdrive bail 
-Magsealed Frame and Line Roller
-Machined tough digigear
-ATD Type-L Drag System
Origin Japan
MSRP $859.99


Daiwa's new flagship spinning reel the EXIST 22 G LT

Impressions: Breaking barriers in both design and price points the incredibly expensive Daiwa Exist G LT spinning reel is the brand’s new flagship offering. This reel features a magnesium monocoque frame, Zaion rotor, magsealed frame and line roller, and a whole new Airdrive system. Basically, it has all the newest Daiwa features all crammed into one eccentric looking reel. This new Exist has the sleekest and most elegant lines I’ve ever seen on any Daiwa reel and the choice of using varying shades of silver and gunmetal that are different yet very close in coloration give this reel a very high-end look. The entire reel looks like it is made from some exotic alloy, and the first time I saw it I joked that it was made from “Mandalorian Beskar.”


The EXIST features a magnesium monocoque frame

Though the Exist was unveiled prior to ICAST it was officially launched at the recent show and is available in five sizes ranging from 2000 to 5000 and though the reel’s frame is made from magnesium it is sealed so well with gaskets and Magseal electronic oil that it is rated for use in saltwater.


Time to see what the new EXIST is all about

Real World Tests: I started fishing the Daiwa Exist a few months before ICAST with the goal of completing this review before the show. Unfortunately, I couldn’t log enough hours on the water until after finishing the event to be able to complete this article. Though the Exist is a halo reel and primarily pursued by enthusiasts there has been a very high level of interest in this new reel since it was unveiled earlier this year. Perhaps it is the curiosity of what a near $900 reel offers or simply the radically elegant design of the new reel. I’ve had more anglers reach out to me over IG asking about the Exist than any other spinning reel this season. I had the opportunity to start fishing the Stella FK first but was eager to see what the new Exist offered and have been putting it to use targeting both spotted and largemouth primarily paired with the NRX+ spinning rods and spooled with Daiwa J-Braid with a long Seaguar Tatsu leader.


Casting is good but not all that different from other high-end spinning reels

Casting: While casting metrics with baitcasters are more cut and dry the free flow of line off spinning reels makes discerning the subtle differences between reels more challenging. How much better does a nearly $900 reel cast versus a $300 one? There really isn’t much difference in casting distance, if any. Daiwa claims that the “Long Cast-ABS” design, which features a dual stage lip, helps reduce resistance to improve casting distance by 5%. I couldn’t measure any noticeable difference and found the Exist to cast similarly to other higher end reels.


Even straight fluorocarbon flows nicely off the spool

I think the more important factor is just how well a spinning reel manages line, essentially how well can it stay out of trouble. Line loops and twists are all part of the game with spinning reels, and the older the line the more likely these issues will arise. The Exist manages these issues well and the team at Daiwa adjusted the angle of the bail so it tapers slightly up towards the line roller creating a more natural path for the line. Once line enters the roller a second groove on the line roller itself comes into play. Daiwa plays up their technology with fancy names, and this implementation is called “Twistbuster III.” While this may seem like a minor change, I did notice the effects on both fluorocarbon main line and braid to fluro leader setups in which the line naturally wants to get pulled towards the groove under pressure, which helps flatten the line, improving lay on the spool, and efficiently minimizing line twists.

Like all spinning reels the Exist is still not immune to the occasional line twist but it does a great job curtailing those occurrences. Every area you look at the Exist there is a conscious effort by the engineers to reduce weight. As an example, the Exist features a range of Airdrive features and they take the traditional “Air Bail” and created a smaller diameter bail which delivers the strength to handle braided lines but is 33% lighter.


Retrieve the EXIST or battle a fish and you will feel just how light the reel feels when cranked, even when there is a fish on the line

Next Section: Exceptionally light retrieve feel...

 

   

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