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Review: Daiwa 18 Ninja LT Fishing Reel

  • Product Quality
  • Value for Money
  • Effectiveness
  • Durability
4.6/5Overall Score

In search of an affordable yet high-performing lure fishing reel? The Daiwa 18 Ninja LT is a prime choice. Typically, the addition of the term ‘budget’ may evoke negative associations of clunky build, inferior materials, and toy-like quality.

However, this budget-friendly reel defies such stereotypes, boasting a premium feel, lightweight design, and superior functionality that surpasses expectations.

Tell me About the Daiwa 18 Ninja LT Fishing Reel

The reel’s name, LT, denotes Daiwa’s cutting-edge technology that is both light and tough, which it certainly delivers on both aspects, providing a well-balanced feel that complements virtually any rod. Moreover, it features functional power that allows you to capitalise on every situation, thereby increasing your chances of swiftly and effortlessly catching a new personal best and depositing it into your net.

Crafted with a graphite body and rotor, this reel boasts exceptional durability and lightness. Its advanced Digigear drive technology ensures reliable performance, while the ABS spool can endure the most strenuous of casts and heavy loads. The ATD drag system delivers impressive pulling power and a smooth feel, enabling you to focus on the fish and maintain control during intense battles. With this reel, you can confidently tackle even the most lively catches with ease and precision.

The Daiwa 18 Ninja LT Reel comes in various sizes, making it a practical choice for anglers across different styles of angling. The reel’s understated design belies its effectiveness, and its adaptable nature allows it to cater to a wide range of angling needs.

A brace of autumnal Perch caught whilst using the Daiwa 18 Ninja LT reel

How Did I Get on with the Daiwa 18 Ninja LT Fishing Reel?

As an individual who enjoys angling for perch and pike, with a preference for utilising light lures, I chose to opt for the 2500-sized model. This particular model provided me with adequate line capacity, which can cater to even the most active of pike. Additionally, it is small and lightweight, making it easy to hold for extended periods of time. 

This reel was paired with the Korum Snapper ZT 2-14g Spin rod and the combination was well-balanced. Prior to this coupling, the Fox Rage Warrior Reel (2500) was mounted on the rod. Although the Fox Rage Warrior Reel looked the part, was lightweight, and durable, it felt a bit cheap.

I am uncertain if I was unfortunate, but the Fox Warrior reel I utilised appeared to be defective, as I had to tighten the reel handle after every few casts, which was quite annoying. As a result, having used a moderately priced reel before, I was in a good position to evaluate the Daiwa 18 Ninja LT.

For several weeks now, I have been using this reel on the setup mentioned above and it has proven to be very effective. I found that opening and closing the bail arm was incredibly easy, and the drag was exceptionally smooth. After casting, watching the braided line peel off the spool effortlessly was a joy and it helped alleviate any concerns I had about potential wind knots. 

I’ve been lucky enough to catch 3 Perch recently over 2lb+ whilst using the Daiwa 18 Ninja LT and I had no concerns. When adjusted accordingly the drag performed well, allowing the fish to take line when required without ‘slipping’ – something that can happen on reels at the cheaper end of the market. Also when required, I’ve been able to ‘bully’ fish away from submerged snags and felt in control the entire time. The Ninja’s capacity for additional heavy load handles it effortlessly. 

Daiwa 18 Ninja LT Specification

  • LT Light & Tough
  • Graphite AIR ROTOR
  • Graphite Body
  • Tough Digigear
  • ABS spool
  • ATD drag
  • Machine cut Aluminium handle
  • Soft touch Handle knob
A 2lb+ Autumnal Perch from a session targeting them on drop shot, using the Daiwa 18 Ninja LT reel.

Daiwa 18 Ninja LT Models

ModelRatio / CrankB/BearingsLine CapacityWeightDrag

In Conclusion

Based on my personal use, I feel the Daiwa 18 Ninja LT could be considered one of the top-notch budget-friendly lure fishing reels available in the current market. This reel has some exceptional features that can make it stand out from other reels in the same price range.

The decision to purchase a second Daiwa 18 Ninja LT has been on my mind for some time now. I am confident that if I had a suitable rod, I would not hesitate to add another Ninja reel to my collection. The Daiwa 18 Ninja LT is a highly reliable and affordable lure fishing reel that is likely to meet your expectations. If you’re in the market for a new lure fishing reel – have a look at the Ninja!