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Shimano Tranx 200 300 400 Review

The Shimano Tranx 200, Shimano Tranx 300 and the Shimano Tranx 400 reels are all covered in this review as they are very similar in most aspects.  

The Shimano Tranx 200 is the most recent addition to this line up being introduced at ICAST in 2018 due to the demand after the 300 and 400 were introduced the previous year.  It comes in 3 gear ratios in the right hand retrieve and 1 in the left hand retrieve.

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 reels 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.

Shimano Tranx 200 300 400 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.

3+1 system with S-ARB stainless steel bearings (200) – The same as below.

5+1 system with S-ARB stainless steel bearings (300 & 400) – 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 of the 300 & 400 and all of the 200’s 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
  • 3+1 system with S-ARB bearings (200)
  • 5+1 system with S-ARB bearings (300 & 400)
  • Variable Braking System
  • Cross Carbon drag with up to 22 lbs. of drag power
  • Rugged CI4+ power handle knob

The Tranx 200 is the smallest of the threesome but it still packs a powerful punch and is perfect for the inshore fisherman that needs a reel designed to be abused in saltwater conditions.

The Shimano Tranx 200 comes in three gear ratios for the rigt handed angler a 6.2:1 with a 26″ retrieve rate, a 7.2:1 with a retrieval rate of 7.2:1 and a high speed 8.5:1 with a 36″ retreival rate.  The left handed angler is not left out and can get the medium speed 7.2:1. 

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
TRX200A266.2:18/180
10/155
14/110
30/190
50/120
65/80
123+18.3Right
TRX200AXG307.2:18/180
10/155
14/110
30/190
50/120
65/80
123+18.3Right
TRX200AHG368.5:18/180
10/155
14/110
30/190
50/120
65/80
123+18.3Right
TRX201AHG307.2:18/180
10/155
14/110
30/190
50/120
65/80
123+18.3Left
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 200, 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

Shimano Tranx 200, Tranx 300 & Tranx 400 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.

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Justin

Monday 26th of April 2021

I'm interested in your input on the available gear ratios in regards to which suits what best. I feel the 7.6:1 9" additional uptake in line per handle rotation has its advantages but am less clear on the 5.8:1 advantages... the spool capacities remain the same within respective models 300 A vs AHG and the uptake of line on retrieve is identical between the 3 & 400, -The 300A & 400A both take in 30" and the 3 & 400AHG 40"... and the drags the same 22lb on the "A" models whether 3-400 or 18lb on the 3-400AHGs... So on paper aside from the increase in spool capacity with the 400 models over the 300s and difference in weight of the reel the only other notable difference is the gear ratio of an "A" vs "AHG" model. I'm sure the 5.8:1 has its place and I was hoping you could chime in to clarify just what that might be, especially since the 7.6:1s are all sold out everywhere I looked... I'm wondering if the lower gear ratio model is still a worthwhile investment or if I should just wait for the 7.6:1 or would it be beneficial to have both?

Jose

Tuesday 13th of August 2019

I need a reel to fish in slow jigging from Kayak at 15 meters deep with lures from 40 to 80 gr. I need you to have good protection for salt water, since Kayak suffer a lot. I usually look for croaker, hopefully I can catch a specimen entered in kilograms, between 10 and 20 kg. What reel do you recommend? I've been watching tranx 201 or lexa hd, but I don't know what size I need. Is there any other recommended reel for that type of fishing around $ 200

Salted Angler

Wednesday 14th of August 2019

I would recommend a 300 size in either the Tranx or a Lexa 300 HD which are on sale now for $169 which is a great buy!

Miguel Vazquez

Tuesday 30th of July 2019

For calico bass Fishing inshore what size do you reccomend?? Thank you

Salted Angler

Thursday 1st of August 2019

Using the tranx I would go with the 200 size reel.

Gianluca Simonetti

Saturday 8th of September 2018

Hi, I tried lexa 301hd and tranx 301hg in the same fishing session. I find the shimano smoother, a lot smoother than daiwa. It is normal or depend on lexa setup? Thank you

Salted Angler

Wednesday 12th of September 2018

The best way to compare the two is to always have then mounted on the same rod. I find both reels to be smooth, however, I would probably say that the Shimano is a bit smoother. Depending on if you were using new reels or not, could be the difference. TYhe Shimano is a fully sealed reel. If the Lexa was not new and had been exposed to excessive water and not rinsed and lubricated properly it is possible that you would have found it to be a bit stiffer.

Hope this helps.

David

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