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Shimano Tranx 300 400 Review

The Shimano Tranx 300 reel and the Shimano Tranx 400 reel are both covered in this review as they are very similar in most aspects.  The Tranx 300 and Tranx 400 are the younger siblings of the infamous Shimano Tranx 500 which is an amazing heavy duty low profile baitcaster reel for your larger saltwater species.

The Tranx 300 / 400 were introduced to the market in January of 2017. Both models come in two different gear ratios 5.8:1 and 7.6:1 the HG or High Gear model which uses a single power handle vs a double paddle.  Both models combine X-Ship and HEG technologies to give you massive cranking power for big baits and big fish along with the smoothness that Shimano is known for.

 

The Bottom Line

  • Excellent baitcasting reel designed for heavy baits, lures and large fish.
  • High level of manufacturing quality with a very durable design.
  • Oversized gears designed to handle the torque associated with cranking large baits and lures and retrieving larger fish.
  • Great reel for large Reds, Snook, and smaller Pelagics.

If you are looking for a solid saltwater baitcaster this is it and is available HERE.

If you are a fan of the baitcasting reel design and want to target large Snookie, Bull Reds, Blue Fish and the like then you are going to love what the Shimano Tranx 300 and Shimano Tranx 400 have to offer.

I also like the fact that the Tranx 300 / 400 come with Shimano’s CoreProtect water resistant technology that helps to repel water without creating a heavy feeling when cranking the reel.

Tranx 300 400 Features

Hagane body  – The Hagane body is a metal body with a high rigidity that prevents flex during the fight while maintaining superb balance, this, in turn, keeps hand fatigue to a minimum after a long day on the water cranking big baits and large fish.

Oversized HEG Gearing – Most gears are cut when they are manufactured and this leaves some room for variances during the manufacturing process.  The Hagane manufacturing process consists of a 3D modeling process that is then precision cold forged, resulting in gears that provide one of the smoothest retrieve experience you will ever have, especially under a load from a big fish.

X-Ship – X-Ship is a combination of features that work together to create much greater efficiency, it actually stands for Extra, Smooth & High Power. By positioning the pinion gear close to the center line of the large diameter drive gear, more power is transferred from the handle to the spool.

The pinion gear is also supported by two Shimano A-RB roller bearings. This increases the efficiency of the reel and adds to the durability over the lifetime of the reel.

Advanced Coreprotect sealing system – The CoreProtect water resistant technology helps to repel water without creating a heavy feeling when cranking the reel.  The problem with most waterproofing techniques is that while they do repel water they result in a gummy feel during the retrieval process.

Precision Aluminum S3D high capacity spool – The high capcity spool on the 400 allows for up to 275 yards of 50lb. braided line.

QuickFire II clutch bar – Shimano has incorporated what they call the QuickFire II clutch bar which allows you to be ready to cast quickly and efficiently with one hand.

5+1 system with S-ARB stainless steel bearings – These bearings are the same as the standard A-RB bearings with the exception that they are shielded on both sides by a stainless steel shield for the ultimate in corrosion resistance and contaminant protection, to reduce the likelihood of any salt, dirt or water penetrating and affecting the bearings smoothness.

Variable Braking System – The variable brake system from Shimano uses centrifugal force vs magnets to manage the way the line pays off the reel during casting.  How it works is that during the initial cast when the reel is spinning its fastest, individual brake weights are flung to the outside of the reel inside of the housing and it causes just enough friction to prevent backlashes in most situations.

What I really like about this feature is that is addresses the number one problem that most anglers have when they start to use a baitcasting reel, backlash.

Cross Carbon drag with up to 22 lbs. of drag power – The Cross Carbon drag system positions the carbon fiber washers on either side of the master gear for even pressure to both sides.  This provides you with a very smooth drag that does not get jumpy or sloppy under heavy loads and it can be finely adjusted using the oversized star drag that is constructed of solid aluminum.

This is the same system that has been in use in the Shimano Curado series of reels.

Rugged CI4+ handle knob – The HG or high gear models feature an oversized massive Ci4+ power handle that is constructed of the durable Ci4+ material and provides you with a very comfortable grip to crank in those larger fish and retrieve the big baits again and again.

Paddle Handle – The LG or low gear models have a 102 mm double handle or Paddle Handle with oversized rubber knobs.

 Features at a Glance

  • Superior power and durability
  • Diecast aluminum Hagane body
  • Oversized HEG Gearing
  • X-Ship internal reinforcement
  • Advanced Coreprotect sealing system
  • Precision aluminum S3D high capacity spool
  • QuickFire II clutch bar
  • 5+1 system with S-ARB stainless steel bearings
  • Variable Braking System
  • Cross Carbon drag with up to 22 lbs. of drag power
  • Rugged CI4+ power handle knob

Both the Tranx 300 and the Tranx 400 come in a standard or low gear and high speed or high gear models designated with the HG at the end of the model numbers below, as well as being available in both right and left hand retrieve.  The size of the Tranx 300 is smaller than the current Shimano Curado 300E yet it delivers twice the drag.  With their large line capacity, 230 – 330 yards, these reels are perfect for retrieving large live baits, chunking or big swimbaits.

The Tranx is durable and is certainly built to land larger species of fish with its star drag system that delivers 18 lbs. of drag on the HG models and 22 lbs. of drag on the standard model.  If you are looking for a reel that can land big 40 lb plus fish then I think you will want to consider moving up to the Tranx 500.

For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.

ModelLine Retrieve (in)Gear RatioMono Line Cap (lbs/yds)Braid Capacity (lbs/yds)Max Drag (lb)Ball BearingsWeight (oz)Retrieve
TRX300A305.8:112/230
14/180
17/150
40/195
50/190
65/125
225+111.6RT Double
TRX301A305.8:112/230
14/180
17/150
40/195
50/190
65/125
225+111.6LT Double
TRX300AHG407.6:112/230
14/180
17/150
40/195
50/190
65/125
185+111.6RT Power
TRX301AHG407.6:112/230
14/180
17/150
40/195
50/190
65/125
185+111.6LT Power
TRX400A305.8:112/330
14/260
20/160
50/275
65/170
80/140
225+112RT Double
TRX401A305.8:112/330
14/260
20/160
50/275
65/170
80/140
225+112LT Double
TRX400AHG407.6:112/330
14/260
20/160
50/275
65/170
80/140
185+112RT Power
TRX401AHG407.6:112/330
14/260
20/160
50/275
65/170
80/140
185+112LT Power

Shimanos Coreprotect has been available in the spinning models for several years and now it is available in the Tranx low profile baitcasting series of reels.  Coreprotect address the seepage of water in several key areas.  The first area that is susceptible to water penetration is the worm shaft seal, next up is around the anti-reverse bearings where Shimano uses sealed ARB bearings.

Another weak spot where water resistance is key is around the frame seal where the pinion support bearing is located.  Shimano has added an additional seal here to keep the saltwater out and the grease in.  Last, but not least is another seal around the clutch button and special grease between the frame and the side plate.

The Tranx 300 and Tranx 400 are designed to stand up to repeated use in saltwater conditions which are notorious for wreaking havoc on gear even when you do your best to rinse and clean it.  With that said numerous fishermen have found the Shimano Tranx reels to be excellent for muskie fishing.

Pros

  • Smooth and strong drag
  • Durability from HEG and X-Ship technologies
  • Coreprotect waterproofing
  • Variable braking

Cons

  • Price
  • No clicker

Alternatives

If you are wanting to have a reel that you can use both inshore and for tackling the larger species 30 lbs+ or the super hard fighting fish like Tuna, Stripers and Wahoo then you might want to step of the bigger brother Shimano Tranx 500.  You are going to pay nearly twice as much but you will have a reel that you can use for all situations but it will be heavier.  Your choice is going to come down to how much time you spend fishing for larger species vs mid sized species, heck if your budget permits you might want to consider one of each. Read the full Shimano Tranx 500 Review HERE.

Known for their quality are the Daiwa Lexa 300 and Daiwa Lexa 400 reels which are in the same wheelhouse as the Tranx 300 & 400 and are priced a few dollars less.  Personally, I think that it comes down to a personal preference between these two brands.  Read about the Daiwa Lexa 300 review and Daiwa Lexa 400 review HERE.

In Conclusion

These are phenomenal reels that if you are a baitcaster fan and you love to fish the inshore then you will want to seriously consider adding on to your arsenal of equipment.  As I said earlier, I think that the Daiwa Lexa 300 & 400 are very close competitors and it is really going to come down to brand preference when comparing these low profile baitcasting reels.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Shimano Tranx 300 and 400
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star

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