Here’s one for all of my freshwater anglers out there. In this independent review of the Daiwa Tatula LT Spinning Reel, we’re finding out if Daiwa can design a lightweight reel without sacrificing performance and durability.
The Tatula LT comes in five different sizes. The 1000 and 2000 have 11 max pounds of drag, and the reel only weighs 5.8 ounces. The only other difference in these models is the slightly greater retrieval rate of the 2000 and the slightly greater line capacity.
The 2500 is the next step up, and this reel moves you to 22 max pounds of drag and a reel weight of 6.2 ounces.
The 3000 doesn’t increase the weight or drag, but you can manage a 12 lb test mono or a 20 lb test braid, and you get ten extra yards of line on the deep spool version.
Lastly, the 4000 size increases your drag to 26.4 pounds, the reel weighs 7.4 ounces, and you have a line capacity of up to 30 lb test braid for your larger fish.
Retail is just under $200 for all five of these models but you can get them for 20%-30% below retail by clicking HERE.
The Bottom Line
- An extremely lightweight and high-quality freshwater reel in the mid-tier price range
- Very smooth reel with great drag
- High level of manufacturing quality, parts are easy to find and the reel is easy to maintain
- Very durable ZAION carbon fiber housing
The Daiwa Tatula LT reel is an all-around winner and is available HERE.
The first thing that stands out about this reel is its weight. When you compare this reel to some of the others available from the Daiwa line, you’ll see that the Tatula LT matches or exceeds in max drag and line capacity, but it’s still lighter and tougher than the other reels, hence the LT designation.
To craft a reel that is so lightweight but powerful, it takes advanced technology. Daiwa pulled out all the stops with the Tatula LT. During our review, we learned a lot about this advanced technology, and to say we were impressed would be an understatement.
They use a Zaion “high density” carbon-strain body with a state-of-the-art air rotor which weighs 15% less than materials the competition use in their reels. You also get a hollow stainless Air Bail and aircraft-grade Digigear.
With all of this incredible technology combined, you find yourself with a reel that consistently delivers a smooth cast and retrieval — time and time again.
The Daiwa Tatula LT reel uses a 7-bearing system that includes a CRBB with five stainless steel ball bearings and one anti-reverse roller bearing. What we’re trying to say is, this reel is lightweight and durable because Daiwa includes everything you would want in the reel to make it that way. They didn’t skimp on much here.
ZAION LT Carbon Fiber Housing – This carbon fiber housing is designed to be both sleek and lightweight. When you grab this reel, you’ll immediately be impressed by how light it feels but also its “high density” body. As a result, you’ll find yourself with the perfect combination of light material paired well with a strong and responsive design.
Machined Aluminum Alloy DIGIGEAR – It took much research and web scouring to find information about how Daiwa builds their Digigear systems. They are digitally machined to provide maximum performance and endurance. The goal of this design is to maximize the size of the gears while keeping the weight down.
What’s different about these gears are how the teeth interact with the gear. The design provides for a larger gear which provides a smooth retrieval that not only makes fishing more enjoyable, but it also extends the life of your reel since there is more surface area of the teeth which means that you have more torque and less stress on the gears.
Air Rotor – The air rotor with air bail is lightweight and doesn’t add too much bulk to the reel. The job of this device is to take some stress off the rotor to help provide a smooth retrieval. The air bail has a hollow design, so it doesn’t take away from the sleek design, and both devices appear durable and well manufactured.
7 Bearing System (1 CRBB+5BB+1BB) – Daiwa even goes the extra mile with their bearings in this reel by including a one corrosion-resistant ball bearing ahead of five stainless steel and an anti-reverse ball bearing. The corrosion resistant bearing provides a shield to keep sand and dirt out.
This step feels a little unnecessary because the experts don’t recommend fishing this reel in salt water anyway.
Gear Ratio – 6.2:1 – A 6:1 gear ratio is a popular choice for most freshwater anglers. This reel is fast but not excessive, and it works well for anglers looking to jig or fish with crankbaits. With a 6.2:1 ratio you’ll have a retrieval rate between 30.5″ with 1000 up to 39.1″ with the 4000 size.
Swept Aluminum Handle – The swept aluminum handle has a nice feel to it and the soft touch knob has a solid grip, however, there does appear to be a little bit of slop in the knob to handle the connection.
Waterproof Drag System – Waterproof drags are becoming more standard on most of your spinning rods, so I’m not surprised to find that the Daiwa Tatula LT has one in this case. The waterproof drag simply protects the drag system from getting soaked and possibly getting corrosion even though this is a freshwater reel.
Sized from 1000 series to 4000 series – Options, options options. Sometimes they are a blessing, but other times they are a curse. I find that the 2500 with the deep spool would be my choice in this scenario because you get the most amount of drag without loading up on a heavy reel. A 10 lb test with 22 pounds of drag should be more than enough for most freshwater anglers.
Features at a Glance
- ZAION LT Carbon Fiber Housing
- Machined Aluminum Alloy DIGIGEAR
- AIR ROTOR
- 7 Bearing System (1 CRBB+5BB+1BB)
- Gear Ratio – 6.2:1
- Swept Aluminum Handle
- Waterproof Drag System
- Sized from 1000 series to 4000 series
If you’re still wondering what the LT stands for in the Daiwa Tatula LT, I’m proud to say that it stands for “light and tough.” This reel stands up that claim by being one of the lightest reels on the market currently and it is still tough in its design with the larger gears.
The Zaion Carbon Fiber housing allows for the reel to be lighter and smoother than most while still bot losing its rigidity and maintaining the power to handle your larger freshwater fish.
For being as light as it is, you wouldn’t expect it to have a 6.2:1 gear ratio either. What this means is when you get a bite, you can quickly take in a lot of line to set the hook quickly and sharply. Everything seems to play together harmoniously with this reel.
Besides a lightweight body and a functional gear ratio, you also have a smooth drag which gives you a little room to play when you’re battling large bass or walleye.
For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.
|Model||Size||BB + RB Bearings||Gear Ratio||Retrieve Rate (in)||Wt. (oz.)||Line Cap Mono (lb/yds)||Line Cap Braid(lb/yds)||Drag|
|TALT1000D-XH||1000||6 (1CRBB, 5BB, 1RB)||6.2:1||30.5"||5.8||4lb/250yds|
|TALT2000D-XH||2000||6 (1CRBB, 5BB, 1RB)||6.2:1||32"||5.8||4lb/340yds|
|TALT25000D-XH||2500||6 (1CRBB, 5BB, 1RB)||6.2:1||34.5"||6.2||8lb/240yds|
|TALT3000-CXH||3000||6 (1CRBB, 5BB, 1RB)||6.2:1||36.8"||6.3||8lb/160yds|
|TALT3000D-CXH||3000||6 (1CRBB, 5BB, 1RB)||6.2:1||36.8"||6.2||10lb/280yds|
|TALT4000-CXH||4000||6 (1CRBB, 5BB, 1RB)||6.2:1||39.1"||7.4||10lb/210yds|
Previously, I said that I would use the 2500 size with a deep spool because it’s a great middle ground reel that will allow me to fish for most freshwater fish and still have an extremely lightweight setup.
Something that works about this reel is you could even go up to the 4000 sizes without feeling any fatigue after fishing for an entire day. Even with a 4000 model, you’re still fishing a reel that weighs less than eight ounces. With the Daiwa Tatula LT, you have the freedom to choose whatever size you want and really make it work in a variety of situations.
On a recent trip to Maine, I took the Daiwa Tatula LT in the 2500 size out for a spin with a 7′ 6″ Medium Light St. Croix Mojo Bass Spinning Rod.
I had a chance to target both smallmouths that were sitting on their beds and I am confident will strike a bottle cap if you drag it near the bed and largemouths, or as my wife likes to call them Big Mouth Bass :-).
After a few days of fishing, this combo I came to the conclusion that this setup which weighs in at less than 12 oz. fully spooled is just as much fun to fish as one of my 4 wt. fly rods.
Both the reel and the drag were silky smooth and I found the line management to be excellent. The largest bass I managed to get back to the canoe was a little over 3.5 lbs so I honestly never had an opportunity to put the drag to the test which is rated at 22 lbs.
- Lightweight and Tough
- Digigear System provides maximum performance
- Corrosion resistant ball bearing system
- Super smooth retrieval
- Some slight slop in the handle to knob connection
- There have been reported Issues with drag knobs cracking and breaking off
If you’re dead set on choosing a reel that can hold up in both saltwater and freshwater you might want to look at the Shimano C4i+. This reel is similar to the Tatula LT, and it features a Magnumlite rotor which is known for being lightweight and well balanced, however, you are going to spend about 25% more.
This reel offers a variety of smoothness features like the AR-C spool with power roller and the X-ship pinion gear. Plus, you are not sacrificing anything in terms of weight because most of these reels weigh less than seven ounces. Read the full Shimano C4i+ review HERE.
If you’re willing to put up with a few extra ounces, you could pick up the Quantum Smoke Inshore PT. This reel is specifically designed for inshore saltwater, and you get between 18-20 pounds of drag for 7.6-10.5 ounces. As you can see, this reel is quite a bit heavier, but they make up for it with a ten bearing retrieval system, and Saltguard treated spool. Read the full Quantum Smoke Inshore PT review HERE.
Sticking with the Daiwa brand, you could pick up a slightly cheaper reel with the Daiwa Fuego LT. This reel is almost identical in terms of capabilities as you get the Digigear system, air rotor, and a lightweight carbon-infused body. So what’s the difference? The Daiwa Fuego LT weighs a bit more 1 oz to be specific for the model 2500 but it also has Magsealed technology on the main shaft which means that you can fish it in saltwater as well. Read the full Daiwa Fuego LT Review HERE.
Simply writing this review and doing the research makes me want to get out on the water and use this reel again. The Daiwa Tatula LT is the epitome of what a great reel can be with the right technology and design. I am excited to see where the future takes these reels and what type of incredible advances they make next.
Overall, if you’re looking for the perfect combination of lightweight design and smooth retrieval, you want to give this reel a look. You won’t have a lot of luck fishing the salt with this one, but if you’re anything like me, you won’t worry too much about that. Don’t let this reel pass you by without at least giving it a once over.