Expert Review: Daiwa Tatula LT Spinning Reel

This review is my own honest opinion of the spinning reel, which I bought with my own money in 2019.

A fishing rod lies next to a fish on a dock.

All photos courtesy of Josh Saenz

About this Review: This review is my own honest opinion of the spinning reel, which I bought with my own money in 2019.

My take

The Daiwa Tatula LT Spinning Reel is a great option for intermediately skilled anglers, a good choice for freshwater bass, and versatile enough to use for light saltwater fishing. This reel is light and compact, great to take anywhere, and good for anglers with little to no storage.

Man uses the Diawa Tatula LT Spinning reel.

Casting with the Diawa Tatula LT Spinning reel!

About the reel

  • Model: Daiwa Tatula LT
  • Reel Size: 3000
  • Construction: Spinning Reel
  • Drag System: ATD (Daiwa’s Automatic Tournament Drag)
  • Drag Pressure: Max 22 lb

About me

  • Preferred fishing styles: Saltwater and freshwater
  • Experience: 20 years

Test conditions

  • When I bought this: November 2019
  • Rod Paired with Reel: Daiwa Tatula Spinning Rod with medium power and extra-fast action in the 7’3” size
  • Line Paired with Reel: For fresh water, I have 10 lb Spiderwire® Invisi-Braid™ with a #10 mono backing. I typically use 10 lb. mono/fluoro leader for the fish I target in the freshwater because they aren’t as strong. For saltwater, I also use 10 lb. Invisi-Braid because I’m typically fishing bait or smaller active fish, like a lady fish. However, in saltwater, the leader I use is 20 lb. fluoro so the fish doesn’t bite it off.
  • Days tested: 6 months
  • Waters I’ve used it on: Mostly fishing lakes in a kayak or pedal boat or bank-fishing ponds
  • Species targeted with reel: Fatty largemouth

How it performs

Durability
4/5
Performance
4/5
Quality
4/5
Versatility
3/5

What I was looking for

I prefer to fish saltwater because of the different activity levels saltwater fish bring and their potential to get massive. At the same time, I’ve been fishing freshwater ever since I was six and still do every week to this day, giving me almost two decades of fishing experience. I grew to love almost all types of fishing, but where I'm from in the south (Georgia), bass fishing is the most promising thing to do.

Before I first bought this reel, I was interested in slightly upgrading my gear because I had some cheaper freshwater gear and was always interested in Daiwa’s mid-class reels. I was looking for a reel that was light, strong, and would last a while. I use my reels to fish freshwater striper in Lake Lanier and other striper-inhabited lakes, but I also wanted a light reel for fishing largemouth.

Why I chose this gear

I wanted a reel specifically made for freshwater, but usable in saltwater, too. I was considering the Shimano Vanford and the Shimano Stradic FL, which are designed from the bottom up to fish saltwater but also slightly more expensive, costing about $30-50 more than the Tatula LT.

Close up of the Daiwa Tatula LT Reel.

Diawa Tatula LT Spinning Reel

What I love about it

  • Performance: In terms of performance, I personally love the reel and am currently thinking about buying another. This reel has been flawless every time I'm hooked up with a fish with no drag slips, and casting the reel is extremely effortless.
  • Quality: The quality of the reel is definitely worth the money spent on it. This reel has technology from Daiwa’s higher-tier reels, including the Digigear feature, which is used in Daiwa’s top-spinning reel, the Saltiga. The reel’s Zaion body technology makes it extremely light yet very strong, and this tech can be found in higher-tier reels, like the Certate and Exist.
  • Durability: The reel hasn’t noticeably lost its effectiveness since I bought it, and even though I've used it on many fishing adventures—beating it up and throwing it around—the scratches on the reel are minimal.
  • Drag System: The drag system in these small reels is phenomenal. My 3000-size reel has drag capabilities up to 22 lb, which shouldn't be possible in a reel this size, therefore giving the chance to catch bigger fish. The waterproof ATD drag system in the reel adapts nicely to every fish it hooks, changing with each fish run to guarantee smooth and controlled fights.
  • Feel: One of the main reasons people buy this reel is because of feel. The reel is so light and durable, it’s unbelievably hard to find another reel at this price range with comparable durability and lightness.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Versatility: Although this reel is capable of fishing fresh and saltwater, it can only hold a certain amount of line. Unfortunately, Daiwa doesn't make a Tatula in a size that would hold enough line to catch bigger/stronger fish. Realistically, when using this reel for what it was meant for, the high-drag settings aren’t necessary. It’s nice to have those options, but that’s something Daiwa could have left out on this reel and saved the consumer money on.
  • Size: The only issue when it comes to the size of this reel is that it’s only offered in 1000-4000. When going for bigger fish in the salt, the spool size, which can only hold so much line, is the main drawback.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: I don't mind the way the reel looks in all black, but I do know that multiple reels produced from multiple companies have made all-black reels. I'm aware that there is a big audience of fishermen that are tired of the same old all-black-with-white-lettering reels.
  • Other: This reel is made for freshwater and can be used in salt, but it isn’t advertised that the reel is sealed in any way to keep out the elements. The saltwater version of this reel (Daiwa Ballistic) is mag-sealed to keep out salt. Also for most options in this reel, only a rubber T-knob handle is offered, which doesn't bother me, but for some fishermen, it is a deciding factor.
Close up of the Daiwa Tatula LT Spinning Reel.

Diawa Tatula LT Spinng reel

Favorite moment with this gear

My favorite moment with the Tatula LT was when I was kayak fishing a few months back, and I landed a 4 lb stud off a worm. I was slowly making my way into a non-windblown cove with the sun hitting the trees just right to make a very faint reflection off the water. The fish was about five to seven feet deep on a sunken log, and thanks to the slight glare, the fish didn’t see me. The worm had slowly fallen right in front of his face, and sure enough, he inhaled it. As soon as I hooked up, the fish went deep. Thanks to the Tatula’s drag system, it was prepared to take that big first run and ultimately helped me get the fish in at the end. That is still to this day the biggest fish caught on that reel, but in the future, I hope to pull in bigger—whether that be another stud largemouth or an oversized striper.

Value for the money vs. other options

With high-tier Daiwa technology, this reel really puts itself above cheaper options among mid-range reels. If I had to choose another reel at this class and price range, I would choose either the older Shimano CI4+, the Vanford, or the Stradic FL.

The Daiwa Ballistic is essentially the saltwater version of the reel, with its main difference being that it’s mag sealed, meaning it keeps saltwater and other elements out better. The Ballistic also has an upgraded rotor for extra smoothness. It costs about $30 dollars more than the Tatula, and for me, deciding which one to buy would be based off of where I plan to use it more often. If I’m fishing the pier or near shore in the ocean, my choice would be the Ballistic, but if it’s just a matter of the reel getting a little water on it from time to time,then the Tatula would be just fine.

Final verdict

Overall, I really enjoy owning the Daiwa Tatula LT Spinning Reel and feel as though intermediate all the way to expert fisherman would too, considering it’s so over-capable of what it was made for.

Selling Daiwa on Curated.com
Daiwa Tatula LT Spinning Reel
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Written By
14+ years of fishing experience from Yosimite National park in montana all the way down to the beautiful coast of North Western Florida and everything in between. Experienced in Salt water fishing, all types of freshwater fishing, and mildly experienced in Fly fishing

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