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Reel Review

Shoot for the moon, the well machined Daiwa Luna

Date: 10/25/07
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 9.00 + BEST VALUE AWARD!

Daiwa has a cult following for their high end spinning and baitcasting reels, and over the last few seasons has really started to pick up momentum when it comes to saltwater as well. The Saltiga made us do a double take, and the Luna makes use of a similar “all machined” formula. The Luna is the replacement for the Millionaire and is positioned against both the Shimano Calcutta B and the Calcutta TE, though most would argue that it is sandwiched right in the middle, many anglers like to compare it to the venerable TE.

Daiwa Luna 300 Specifications

Weight 12.9oz.
Gear Ratio 5.1:1
Line retrieve per crank 23.6in
Bearings 5 Ball Bearings + 1 Roller Bearing
Line Capacity (lb-yds) 14-320 / 17-245 / 20-190
Additional Features Machined Aluminum frame and side plates, machined aluminum spool, spool click (300 size only), multi-disc drag, Non-Disengaging levelwind system
MSRP $239.99

The Daiwa Millionaire reels were heralded by many anglers as one of the most refined reels in Daiwa’s history. While the lion’s share of the market belonged to the Calcutta the Millionaire found many a home among both freshwater and saltwater anglers that liked the refined connected feel of the reel. Replacing the Millionaire was a challenge, as the reel was already known for a high level of refinement. Is the Luna up to that task?  


The Daiwa Luna is available in four sizes, and we procured multiple reels for our test


The Luna in contrast to the Millionaire has a bolder look and feel, yet carries many of the design elements that are found on other reels in the new Daiwa lineup. These include the ported spool design and drilled holes in the crossbar. The color of the reel also transitions from a bronze color on the Millionaire to a much more rich gold finish on the Luna.


The smaller sized reels (all under the 300) feature external Magforce-Z anti backlash control


The Luna is machined for maximum strength and dead-on alignment, frame and sideplates are cut from solid bar stock aluminum whereas many of the competitors will only machine the frame and handle-side sideplate or forge both sideplates. Under the hood the Luna sports a drive train that is supported by five Super Corrosion Resistant ball bearings and one instant anti-reverse roller bearing for smooth cranking. The precision gears are all machine cut from top grade phosphor bronze and brass for durability and reliability.


The Daiwa Luna features a Titanium Nitrided wide gap line guide

The natural competitor to the Luna is the Calcutta TE, a star performer in our book. The Calcutta TE offered so much more performance than the original, and some of the gap has been closed with the Calcutta B series reels, but the TE series still reigns as the most refined domestic round reel we have tested to date. How would the Luna match up? Let’s find out.


The 300 size is much wider than the 203 and 253 sizes and looks more like an inshore reel as it boasts a massive line capacity

Real World Tests: We procured three Luna’s for this test, two 300 size reels for inshore fishing and tossing swimbaits (one right and one left) and a smaller 203 for tossing conventional bass lures. We fished the Luna in the California Delta hunting for Stripers and Largemouth Bass, as well as off the coast of Northern California for Salmon and Rockcod. To properly gauge the performance of the Luna we compared the reel in every category to the Shimano Calcutta TE reels.

The handle is drilled for weight reduction


Casting: In terms of casting the Luna can basically be broken down into two distinct variations. The smaller sizes are intended for lighter applications where precision casting is a must. All Lunas below the 300 models make use of Magforce-Z cast control with a simple easy to use external adjustment knob. By using two fingers or pressing your palm against the sideplate it is easy to rotate the plate and adjust the backlash magnetic counter force. This system is the fastest and easiest cast control system we have tested to date for round reels.


The Luna features a clutch that extends across the entire span of the spool


Next Section: Casting the Luna continues









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