Reviewed by: SCOTT CUSHMAN
The Exceler/Procaster combo was tested on the usual inshore species with softbaits, jigs and bait; I’d spooled up the reel with the complimentary Daiwa J-braid, which performed well with the combo.
From an aesthetic point of view, Daiwa have done a slick job of finishing their product, with its high-tech styling displayed on the air rotor, hard body and ported spool. Daiwa have designed a reel that looks good and performs well too.
The Procaster rod has that graphite feel of power and lightness to it. The deep-down power is obvious in the lower section, while the tip has enough flex to cast lures a good distance. Even though it’s rated for 14 - 42gr weights it could also cast slightly heavier weights, with a bit of care.
The action is good overall and would be particularly suited to lure fishing. It has a enough stiffness to work lures with minimal effort, which is important if this is what you are doing all day. I fished baits with it as well though, and that was fine; however the graphite backbone dampened the tip a little bit, which is a minor drawback when bait fishing. This is however less of a criticism and more of an observation for those who may want a rod to do everything.
The rod has a short fore-grip which no doubt reduces its weight, but it wasn’t uncomfortable and was still nice to fish with. Thinking about some of my ham-fisted fishing friends though, this is maybe a feature that doesn’t suit everyone.
The single foot guides all look sturdy and the first stripper guide is a double foot one with a wide opening. I really like this design, as the first guide is often the one that takes the most abuse (apart from the tip) and this allows the user to fish braid or mono with ease.
The reel dealt to everything I hooked and was a good performer. It casts well and the drag was smooth under pressure. The drag is rated to 6kg, which would suit a braided line range of 3 - 5kg, which matches the rod ratings perfectly.
The air bail is noticeably thick, being able to withstand being knocked around in a boat – but doesn’t add much weight to the reel. The gearing design is DigiGear, described by Daiwa as ‘a perfect mesh between ultra tough alloy-treated surface drive gear and marine bronze pinion for optimised speed, power and durability’. There was no back play in the gearing, however it felt like there was faint vibration under heavy pressure when cranking the handle, although I would put this down to the hard surfaces in play, rather than a fault in the design.
The reel handle performed fine, and the paddle grip was adequate, although in general I do enjoy EVA grips more than paddle handles (the TD SOL for example has an EVA grip).
Overall, the rod and reel are matched perfectly, and the combo retails for around the $299 mark. I would have to rate the rod and reel at 8/10 a piece for their performance and the combo a 7.5/10 in the value-for-money stakes, simply because they face tough competition from other comparable brands.
Model: Daiwa Exceler 3000DX
Gear ratio: 4.8.1 (79cm)
Line capacity: PE 1.2/350m, 2/250m
Max Drag: 6kg
Model: Daiwa Procaster PRA702HFSE-AX
Configuration: 2 piece
Weight range: 14-42gr
Line Rating: 3-5kg