$800 Inshore Spinning Reel (RESULTS ARE IN)


Who pays $800 for an inshore spinning reel?

Apparently, I do…

Who would have ever thought a 3000 series reel made for catching redfish, speckled trout, snook, and flounder could cost so much…


But now that I’ve had a full eight months to test out this Daiwa Exist 3000 on the water, I have some candid feedback to share with you.

Before I share my pros and cons, let me explain how all this happened in the first place…

The Fishing Bet That Got Me In Trouble…

joe simonds fishing

What started out as a joke turned into one of the most expensive inshore spinning combos ever produced…

Here’s the backstory:

An angler in our Salt Strong Fishing Tribe Facebook Group was asking our opinion on a new inshore saltwater spinning reel he had been looking to purchase.

Knowing that the reel in question as a bit on the heavy side, I commented that his arms, wrist, and shoulders would be thanking him if he went with a lighter reel (the reel he was considering weighed over 11 ounces – which is on the heavy side for a 3000 series reel).

Just like any Facebook post, there were anglers jumping in on both sides…

Some said the weight of the reel wasn’t that important while other serious anglers (who make thousands of casts with lures) said the weight is incredibly important.

Next thing you know I commented with this…

“I bet you that I can get a 7″6 inshore rod AND reel combo that weighs less than the 11-ounce reel you are considering buying!”

Which brings me to the lightest (and most expensive) rod and reel setup I’ve ever owned…

The 10-Ounce Inshore Rod & Reel Combo!!!

light inshore fishing rod

The good news is that I did it…

Yes, I was able to pair up a 7″6 inshore rod with a 3000 series spinning reel that came in right around 10 ounces!

10 OUNCES!!!

As you can imagine, it’s pretty stinkin’ awesome!!!

Of course, the bad news is that it set me back over $1,200 (before my nice discounts – explain in a second how you can get them too).

Here’s what I went with for this super-light tactical combo:

  • Daiwa Exist GLT 3000 D-C – Cost: $800
  • Custom Black Pelican 7″6 Century Demon (made with some crazy light components coming in at just 3.5 ounces)! Cost: $450

With a 6.5-ounce reel and a 3.5-ounce rod, I had officially WON the bet… or had I…

Which brings me to today.

It’s been over eight months since I purchased this over the top rod and reel combo, and I’ve been able to put it to the test out on the water many times.

So I’ve put together my pros and cons on this reel below.

PROS Of The Daiwa Exist 3000

joe simonds redfish
Here’s a 29-inch redfish I caught using the Daiwa Exist reel earlier this week

Daiwa Exist Pros:

  • Super lightweight (6.5 ounces) – which is really a game-changer for anglers like me who primarily use artificial lures
  • Longer casts with the special Long Cast (LC) ABS spool which allows the line to come off the reel easier and faster (I can truly say that I can cast further with this reel – not a ton, but every foot counts)
  • Smoothest 3000 series spinning reel I’ve ever used (even Luke, who was highly skeptical of an $800 reel, was shocked at how smooth it is to cast and retrieve)
  • It definitely turns heads and has prompted quite a few conversations from other anglers asking, “What reel is that?”
  • Fully sealed (MagSealed) so I never have to worry about saltwater getting in and corroding the gears
  • 22 pounds of drag (Solid drag, but let’s be honest, you’ll never need anywhere close to this with a 3000 series reel using 10lb braid).
  • LIFETIME Guarantee (against any manufacturing defects – so they will either fix or replace this reel for life)
  • FREE LIFETIME cleaning and service
  • Comes with a very nice reel case that makes you feel like you just invested in a really nice piece of equipment (because you did…)

Now on to the cons of this reel…

CONS Of The Daiwa Exist 3000

daiwa exist spinning reel

Daiwa Exist Cons:

  • With no screws (Monocoque design) and over 150 parts inside this reel, there is zero chance the average angler can get in to repair anything (so if anything goes wrong, you’ve got to send it in or find a Daiwa approved service shop near you)
  • The FREE Lifetime cleaning and repair is only good for the original owner with a receipt so you’ve got to buy this new to take advantage of their special service warranty (so you can’t really sell it, and it doesn’t make sense to buy a used one without the warranty)
  • It’s expensive! Even with the Lifetime Warranty, it’s tough shelling over $800 for one spinning reel (but check out below how I saved $160 off – and how you can too)
  • Finally, this reel will NOT help you catch more fish if you aren’t in a feeding zone (let’s face it, no matter how nice your reel is, it doesn’t catch fish unless you know where, when, and how to fish an area – which is what we teach in our Insider Club).

But other than the price issue (and the fact an $800 reel doesn’t mean that fish will be automatically flying in the boat), there aren’t many bad things to say about this Daiwa reel. It’s pretty amazing.

You might still be wondering how I saved money on this reel.

Here’s the skinny…

How I Received $160 Off This Reel!

daiwa exist spinning reel

When my brother Luke and first created the Salt Strong “Insider” Club, our first goal was to help inshore saltwater anglers catch more fish per trip by sharing trends, fishing reports, and literally taking our members by the hand and showing them where to fish each week.

And now, with 16,000+ members, we’ve done just that (with a proven Smart Fishing Spot system, thousands of on the water fishing reports broken down by region, and weekly shortcuts to catching more redfish, speckled trout, snook, mangrove snapper, sheepshead, flounder, and other inshore species).

The second goal was to help our Insider members save money on all of their fishing tackle.

We help our Insider members save money in two different ways:

  1. Since we have ZERO SPONSORS, not only do we go buy our own gear, but we put it to the test on the water and report back to our members what is truly the best value (not what some manufacturer is paying a sponsored angler to say…). Think of Salt Strong like the CONSUMER REPORTS of Saltwater Fishing.
  2. Because we have 16,000+ members, we’ve been able to leverage our club for group discounts on all of the top rods, reels, lines, lures, cast nets, etc. In fact, Insider members receive 20% OFF (or more) on everything in our store (with new products being added every month based on our testing).

So when I needed to buy this expensive reel, all I did was take advantage of our Insider discount program and instantly knocked off $160 from the price (note: we can custom order high-end reels like this for our members).

All in all, I save hundreds of dollars every year on the tackle discounts alone (so do our members)!

Ready to join us and start saving time and money (click here to join)!

Want More Love & Respect From Your Spouse?

joe simonds wife

I’ll be honest, it was a tough sell on my wife to tell her I was spending $800 on a reel (even though I was saving $160).

But after showing her how much money I’ve been saving with our 20% off discounts (on tackle that I was going to be buying anyway), she is very grateful (or at least only 80% mad at me vs 100%… haha)

I mean, who doesn’t like to save money!

I’d be all about a club that let her save money on her purses and shoes…

This brings me to our ultimate mission…

The MISSION here at Salt Strong is the following:

  • To unite friends and families together through fishing
  • To serve fishermen
  • To honor God and Jesus Christ in everything we do

I mention this because our entire “WHY” begins with family…

And the one thing that we’ve noticed is that the spouses tend to be some of the biggest supporters of the Salt Strong Insider Club.


Because we help their spouse save money (on tackle they were going to buy anyway).

We help their spouse save time (and catch more fish per trip).

We help their spouse come home happy.

We help their spouse gain so much confidence that they can put their entire family (even young kids and teenagers with no attention span) on fish, crazy fast!

Ultimately, we help unite them together out on the water.

Are you ready to join us?

We’d love to have you join our Salt Strong family today.

Click here to find out why 16,000+ members LOVE the Salt Strong Insider Club so much.


daiwa and shimano reels

I love buying new reels.

And I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, so do you.

Overall, this Daiwa Exist is the nicest inshore reel I’ve ever used.

Simply put, it could be the best in terms of weight, castability, and overall performance.

However, the #1 problem with any reel is that it’s only as good as the angler using it…

Let’s face it, not even an $8o0 reel (like this amazing Daiwa Exist) can help you catch more fish unless you are putting yourself in the feeding zone (aka the 90/10 zone).

So if you’d like help with finding 90% of the feeding fish in just 10% of the water (anywhere from TX to FL to VA and anywhere in between), then check out this free training we put together here.

Otherwise, I hope you’ll join us in the Salt Strong Insider Club (comes with a 100% money-back guarantee for a full year)!

Finally, I’d love for you to check out our Salt Strong tackle store here (note that we are incredibly low on inventory due to Covid but we have a TON of new products coming in over the next 30 days).

Tight lines and thank you for your support.


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3 years ago

If you bring Jesus fishing, be careful. He can walk on water, but he gets seasick

Wilfredo Vázquez
3 years ago

Certate will be a good option too

Thomas Campbell
3 years ago

So what are the chances you will let me barrow said reel? Lol daiwa makes my favorite reels. Even my cheap 60$ daiwa is holding good in the salt. However my shimano Sahara isn’t worth a hoot and my quantum inshore smoke has been grinding out of the box🤦‍♂️

William Hawkins
3 years ago

I like my Stradic CI4. I’ll keep the .2 ounces and $600

Ronald H Mattson Sr
3 years ago

One big problem with any Daiwa reel that is sealed with magnetic oil is one has to have the tool necessary to re-lube when necessary. Without the tool,lube and knowledge needed the cost is a little high.

Lee Chaney inner club member
3 years ago

Some of us converted bass fisherman on here fish baitcasters. Luke is so convinced that spinning reels are the only way to go you don’t have any bait casting tackle in the store. I realize chicks like the long ball, but casting distance is far less important than accuracy. But you guys think a spinnerbait is only used in dirty water. There are so many advantages to baitcasters over spinning especially target casting. No discounts for us but no profit for SaltStrong.

Andy Hong
3 years ago

“We can custom order high-end reels like this for our members.”

Whaaaat?!?!? Can I special-order Daiwa Tatula bass rods and Daiwa Procyon AL reels at member prices? (They’re not expensive… but they’re not in the SS store.)

Andy Hong
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Simonds

Okey doke. Thanks Joe!

Andy Hong
3 years ago

Holy schmoly! High-end fishing gear — what a wormhole! I’m dizzy from reading the comments here!!!

3 years ago

Nice to see someone that can afford that reel, but let’s be realistic most wives will have our nuts in a pair of vice grips faster than you can say boo ! Retired and getting the shaft from Uncle Sam and the Medical Companies for life saving drugs ! That’s the Deal.

3 years ago

Really nice to see someone trying that reel out. I’ve used the previous stella models back to the FD in 1000, 2500 and 3000. Although they are really awesome reels, last year I picked up the 2500 exist and it’s the finest smaller spinning reel I’ve used. Looks, casting, drag, and reeling has been phenomenal. I wish I actually ordered the JDM model 2500D which has a deeper spool like the Lucius models and holds line like the 3000. From catching crappie, gills, bass…to reds flounder, drum and trout, I recommend a custom rod because you can have one made that is better than the new gloomed conquest and the components will be what you want and handle length as well. Sunline sx1 10lb and 4-12lb leaders on a custom FTU “finesse” inshore blank and it’s been heaven


Do what the “SMART ANGLERS” are doing and join the Insider Club.

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