Daiwa Lexa 300 and 400 Review

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The Daiwa Lexa series is a two reel, two sizes, low profile baitcaster duo designed for saltwater anglers targeting a larger class of fish.

With its superb construction and durable construction materials, the Lexa is as suitable for freshwater as it is for saltwater.

Lexa owners love them, and having used one for the first time, will often go and buy another, swapping out a long-trusted member of their arsenal for the new Lexa.

There’s a lot to like about the Lexa, and little to criticize. It’s packed with Daiwa’s flagship technology and looks fantastic.

But what is it about the Lexa that sees plenty of baitcaster fans splash out hard-earned money, when there are reels of equal capability for a lot less?

Let’s take a closer look at the Daiwa Lexa baitcaster 300 and 400. Is it worth the extra money or are we paying a brand premium?

Daiwa Lexa Review

The only real criticism I have about the Lexa is the price seems a little high considering it sits alongside reels such as the Tranx and the famous Curado, and the ABU Revo Beast, to name a few.

Perhaps it would be nice to see a couple of extra bearings or a clicker (for certain applications) on the 400 for the price tag – or a lower price.

We can makes comparisons with other reels all day, but I still feel the Lexa earns its price tag through a combination of performance, durability, and features.

While it has competitors, and there are cheaper reels that will perform just as well, it’s the overall feel, handling, and rugged strength that wins-over discerning baitcaster fans.

My first encounter with the 400 Lexa was chasing barramundi in Australia. 

Most serious anglers in the US will know the barra by reputation, as a fierce saltwater and freshwater tyrant that grows in excess of 1 meter and 100 pounds.

Spooled with a 40-pound braid, the 400 is an absolute weapon, and chasing the Aussie fish icon is the perfect test of its capability.

Casting is easy, and over several days of action, I was able to test casting at close quarters where accuracy was critical.

I was also able to test accuracy over distance when land-based, casting to the other side of the river, where the bank was protected by overhanging trees and foliage.

The magnetic system works brilliantly and my only instances of backlash were due to my own carelessness, and failure to adjust after changing lures. Accuracy was very good once I was dialed in.

While not exactly light, the Lexa was comfortable enough to cast all day long. 

silhouettes of men fishing at sunset

Keep in mind, this reel is designed for tackling a larger class of fish, and has the bulk and rigidity to manage them easily.

Under load is where the Lexa excels, and while I didn’t land the prized monster mentioned above, I came close twice and felt in control throughout the fight despite the myriad of submerged obstacles I had to contend with.

The Lexa is well suited to those anglers chasing a larger class of fish from rivers, estuaries, surf, and nearshore reefs outside the heads.

It’s great for live baits, fresh baits, and lures of all kinds. Cat it troll it or jig it, this is one heck of a versatile low profile baitcaster.

I like it for chasing drum, stripers, and tarpon from kayaks, rock walls, break walls, and other such locations where durable, hardwearing gear is essential. 

It’s ideal for the sports angler hunting various pelagic and reef species.

Read on for more details about the standout features of the Lexa. But first, I should remind you that I used the 400 size.

The 300 would definitely be my preference as it is considerably lighter. 

I would select the 400 if I was wanting to do serious sports work outside the head, where the extra drag power and line class capacity prides genuine access to serious predators.

Daiwa Lexa 300 HD Casting Reel
Daiwa Lexa 400 HD Casting Reel

Last update on 2022-02-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Main Features of the Daiwa Lexa

Spool Capacity

This is where the Lexa excels for me, earning its reputation for big fish versatility. The 300 holds PE 220m/40lb; 160m/55lb, and the 400 holds PE 280m/55lb; 190m/80lb.

While you’re not bottom bouncing in the blue water, you’re able to cast big poppers and stickbaits at GT’s and Spaniards.

Should something extra large take your lure, you at least have a little bit of heavy line on the spool should a belligerent monster be reluctant to turn.

While both the 400 and the 300 hold hefty breaking strains, I think they’re perfect spooled with 20 pound braid as a general-purpose go-to.

The spools are so generous, that spooling with 20 pounds allows you to fish much deeper than you would with your average low-profile baitcaster.

In my experience, upping the line class would be warranted for casting larger lures at the fringes of shallow blue water reefs, where you can happen upon tackle busting monsters.

Line capacity, plus the generous drag, keep you well in a fight, where the odds on paper are well against you.

Daiwa LX-HD300XS-P Lexa 300 Hd Baitcasting Reel, 6 Crbb + 1, 8.1 : 1
Daiwa Lexa 300

Ultimate Tournament Drag

Daiwa’s UTD is an industry benchmark. It’s smooth predictable and very powerful, with the carbon washers managing the heat well enough to maintain integrity under the toughest of loads, and seemingly endless runs.

The drag capacities of 10kg and 12kg respectively are very generous for low profile baitcasters reels, and it’s the combination of the drag and spool capacity that provide anglers with confidence to tackle big fish.

I found the Lexa drag invaluable when having to rip massive fish from absolutely ghastly structure, and quickly.

This is an important feature for those chasing big fish in line-busting snags, such as submerged trees, piers, and bridge pylons, where it’s critical to pull it from its lair before it realizes that it actually has the strongest hand.

While I say that spool capacity and drag combine to deliver the Lexa fighting power, both features are underpinned by the overall rigidity provided by the alloy frame.

Aluminum Body/Frame

Big strong gears are protected by an all-alloy frame that has the rigidity required to tackle large fish and keep gears in perfect mesh. 

In truth, this is the backbone of the Lexa strength from which all features hang.

While powerful drag and generous spool capacities are great, they’re nothing without a strong frame/body in which to house immovable gears.

While both sizes are comfortable to hold, the 300 is definitely more user-friendly in terms of feel and comfort, as it is 140 grams lighter.

Unless I really needed the extra power and line capacity of the 400, I’d probably find myself using the 300 for the bulk of applications.

For their power, durability, and strength, I’d say they’re relatively light.

The Lexa I used was new (so I was told). However, it appears to have spent a little time in the bottom of the boat getting bashed around a little.

For a new reel, it appeared to have been in a few impact battles, with cosmetic consequences clearly apparent. This is a small issue, and nothing to worry about.

Daiwa LX-HD400H-P Lexa 400 Hd Baitcasting Reel, 6 Crbb + 1, 6.3 : 1
Daiwa Lexa 400

Gear Ratio

At 7.1 there’s a perfect balance of cranking power and speed. I like the Lexa for big swimbaits, just as much as poppers and metal slices. 

Those keen on jigging will appreciate the retrieve rate.

Magforce Cast Control

I have no preference for magnet or centrifugal cast control systems, just so long as they’re reliable, predictable, and easy to set. 

I have no problem with Magforce and find it great at the end of the cast.

I found it easy enough at close quarters and also found it a joy to cast, loading up and putting serious effort in getting large lures long distances.

It’s important all anglers remember cast control systems are not foolproof. You still must get the rig, brakes, and thumb in sync to ensure trouble-free casting.

You will find that Magforce allows you to cast continually without obsessing over backlash fears. In my books, this is what good braking is all about.

100mm Handle

The Lexa handle is built for serious cranking. While many anglers will place little consideration on the handle, there are plenty more who find handle design and length critical to the overall feel.

I love a well-designed, well-balanced crank-inspiring handle, and the Lexa delivers here. 

Indeed, it’s a great feature that assists anglers in the heat of battle when tackling large, belligerent fish.

Features and Specifications

  • Aluminum frame as well as side plate
  • Daiwa’s Magforce (magnetic cast control)
  • Infinite anti-reverse
  • Dual stopper
  • UTD – Ultimate Tournament Drag
  • Machined aluminum spool
  • Swept 100 mm handle
  • 6 Ball bearings
  • Gear Ratio: 7.1:1

Daiwa Lexa 300

  • Weight: 320 grams
  • Max Drag: 10kg
  • Braid Capacity: 220m PE4 (approx. 40lb) or 160m PE5 (approx. 50lb)
Daiwa Lexa 300 HD Casting Reel
  • Redesigned Heavy Duty Clutch System, All Grease Bearing System
  • Stainless Steel Drive Gear & Pinion Gear, 7 Bearing System (6CRBB +1RB)
  • EVA Custom Handle Knob, Ultimate Tournament carbon drag (UTD) with up to 25lbs of drag
  • Swept Handle with weight-reducing cutouts, Handle length: 300 size 100mm, 400 size 120mm

Last update on 2022-02-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Daiwa Lexa 400

  • Weight: 460 grams
  • Max Drag: 12kg
  • Braid Capacity: 270m PE5 (approx. 50lb) or 180m PE8 (approx. 80lb)
Daiwa Lexa 400 HD Casting Reel
  • Redesigned Heavy Duty Clutch System, All Grease Bearing System
  • Stainless Steel Drive Gear & Pinion Gear, 7 Bearing System (6CRBB +1RB)
  • EVA Custom Handle Knob, Ultimate Tournament carbon drag (UTD) with up to 25lbs of drag
  • Swept Handle with weight-reducing cutouts, Handle length: 300 size 100mm, 400 size 120mm

Last update on 2022-02-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Daiwa Lexa Alternatives 

I’ve done my best here to compare apples with apples. Prices will vary depending on the supplier, and features will also vary.

While I have considered price and features as closely as possible for a reasonable comparison, the only identical thing is that they’re all low profile and all designed for chasing a larger class of fish in saltwater.

If I had to pick one of the reels listed below over the Lexa, I’d more than likely go with the Tranx, as the 400 has all the grunt and capacity of the Lexa, as well as the durability required for serious salt work.

Shimano Fishing Tranx 401Hg A Low Profile Reels [TRX401AHG]
  • HAGANE Body
  • Super Free Spool
  • Viable Brake System
  • CoreProtect

Last update on 2022-02-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

SHIMANO CURADO 300 K CURADO
  • CURADO 300 K CURADO
Penn FTH400LPLH Fathom LH Low Profile Baitcast 400sz,Metal
  • Setting the standard in saltwater fishing since 2032
  • No matter where you fish, or what you fish for, look to PENN to perform flawlessly now and in the future
  • Exceeds the highest expectations of any angler

Last update on 2022-02-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Line Does a Daiwa Lexa 400 Hold?

The standard line recommendations for the Daiwa Lexa 400 is a braid capacity: 270m PE5 (approx. 50lb) or 180m PE8 (approx. 80lb).

Spooled with mono, the Lexa will hold considerably less. 

However, the Lexa is ideal for braid, and should you wish to cast prodigious distances, spool up with 20 pounds and let it rip.

Ultimately, for those looking to catch monsters the Lexa’s capacity to hold 180 meters of 80 pounds puts you in a very commanding position.

How Much Line Does a Lexa 300 Hold?

The standard line recommendations for the Lexa 300 is a braid capacity: 220m PE4 (approx. 40lb) or 160m PE5 (approx. 50lb).

Again, should you choose to spool with mono, the Lexa will hold a lot less, but it’s definitely a braid reel, that will have maximum casting capacity when spooled appropriately.

I like the 300 spooled with 20 pounds as well. It gives you plenty of fighting power and excellent long-cast potential.

Spooled with the maximum recommended 50 pounds, you’ll have plenty of grunt for jigging big fish.

Where is Daiwa Lexa Made?

While Daiwa is a Japanese brand, the Lexa is made in South Korea. The build quality is excellent so is the selection of materials.

Daiwa manufactures in Japan, China, and South Korea, but their quality systems are so good that the location of manufacture is less important.

The only common factory criticism is that the Lexa (and other Daiwa reels) are sold with inadequate lubrication.

I haven’t found this to be an issue, however, many anglers will re-lubricate every reel they purchase regardless of manufacturer and manufacture location.

Quality standards at Daiwa appear to be top-notch. 

They would quickly lose their status as a premium brand should quality standards slip. There’s simply too much competition to be complacent about quality standards.

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