Please select your home edition

DAIWA: Judged by a Jury of its Peers

by Daiwa 17 Feb 16:41 UTC

Best Overall Reel for 2024 

Outdoor Life tested and reviewed the DAIWA Ballistic MQ LT and calls it the best of the best.

FOOTHILL RANCH, CA (February 16, 2024) The truth tends to come out when judged by a jury of your peers. Such was the case when writer and avid angler Derek Horner tested and reviewed DAIWAs Ballistic MQ LT, ultimately judging it the Best Overall for 2024.

Pitted against a wealth of other brands and models angling for bass, panfish, trout, and saltwater species the Ballistic MQ LT rose to the top.

Instead of us telling how great it is, well let Outdoor Life author Derek Horner put it in his own words:

The author with a 25-pound freshwater striped bass he landed with the Daiwa Ballistic MQ LT 2500D.

How I Chose the Best Fishing Reels

By Derek Horner

Selecting a fishing reel that fits both your needs and your budget can be a daunting task. Hundreds of options are available, and if youre not sure what youre looking for, it can quickly become overwhelming.

Thats why I got my hands on the top reels from the top brands in the fishing industry to put through a summer of abuse and tournament bass fishing. Here are picks for the best fishing reels after a year of testing.

As a tournament bass angler, I spend most of my summer on the water, dialing in patterns and trying to perfect new techniques. With many hours spent on the deck of my bass boat, and the resulting stripped gears and sheared-off components, its become clear to me that Im not easy on my gear. Thats probably a relief to you, though, because you can trust me when I say the reels below all stood up to the torture test.

Testing Spinning Reels

I spent months fishing for smallmouth, largemouth, stripers, and lake trout tearing drag and testing the quality of these reels. I feel very confident in telling you that each and every one of these reels deserves a shot to be on your reel seat.

Due to that fact, deciding which reels are better than the others was more difficult than I had ever expected. Thankfully, after a lot of thought and in-field research, Im confident the reels below deserve the top spots.

The DAIWA Ballistic MQ LT 2500D is more than deserving of our best overall award. Throughout the summer of battling largemouth, smallmouth, lake trout, and even a 25-pound freshwater striped bass, the high-quality drag never showed even the slightest sign of slipping or failing. The quality of this reel can be felt with each turn of the handle, which fits perfectly in your hand with a well-thought-out handle design.

Coming in at just below 7 ounces, you dont have to worry about the weight of your reel wearing you down throughout a long day on the water. A final piece worth noting with this phenomenal reel is the castability. The first time I reared back and fired out a ¼-ounce swimbait head with a 3.8-inch soft plastic swimbait on the back, I was stunned at just how far along the bluff wall it went. It was almost like I was long lining the bait, but in reality, I had simply cast it out there.

If youre looking for a high-quality reel at a very reasonable price, I wouldnt look any further than the DAIWA Ballistic MQ LT 2500D.

Best Overall: DAIWA Ballistic MQ LT 2500D

Key Features:

  • Price: $229.99
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Weight: 6.9-Ounces
  • Bearings: 2CRBB + 6BB + 1RB
  • Line Capacity: 10/250 (Test/Yard)
  • Drag Weight: 22-Pounds


  • Incredibly smooth while reeling
  • Castability
  • A drag weight heavy enough to battle even the largest bass


  • The gear ratio is a bit lower than other options, meaning a slower retrieve on the water

If youre looking for a high-quality reel at a very reasonable price, I wouldnt look any further than the Daiwa Ballistic MQ LT 2500D.


For Daiwas latest color catalog and/or information on Daiwa dealers in your area, call Daiwas Customer Service Department at 562-375-6800 or e-mail inquiries to: The URL for Daiwas web site is


Related Articles

Daiwa - Just what the doctor ordered
The new Dr. Minnow Jointed Sinking Jerkbait New DAIWA Dr. Minnow Jointed Sinking Jerkbait sports vivid details and tight action with an extra kick. Posted on 29 Mar
Bettering the “Bait Finesse” Fishing
Just when you thought every conceivable freshwater fishing technique was a, “been there, done that” Just when you thought every conceivable freshwater fishing technique was a, “been there, done that,” something novel comes along. Such is the case with “Bait Finesse,” aka BF. Posted on 23 Mar
DAIWA bets on your bass fishing success
New Zillion technique-specific rod series being introduced at the Bassmaster Classic Expo With unique rod technology features from the blanks to the the reel seat, DAIWA is putting the odds in your favor for a successful day targeting bass with its new 16-model Zillion bass rod series Posted on 16 Mar
Get your STEEZ on!
How high does that ladder go? DAIWA knows DAIWA's new STEEZ SV achieves the pinnacle in baitcasting reel design and performance. Posted on 11 Mar
Daiwa: Greatness gets greater
Technology, features, and new size added to the legendary CERTATE spinning reel series DAIWA adds technology, features, and new size to the legendary CERTATE spinning reel series. Posted on 29 Feb
Daiwa: Colossal Line Capacity
Ever been spooled? By popular demand, DAIWA's new LX HD 500 is engineered for long casts with big baits to pelagic predators and inland muskies. Posted on 27 Feb
DAIWA: Trickledown Technology
DAIWA's new Regal LT offers extraordinary performance at a reasonable price "Trickledown" gets a bad rap these days. But whether you fall on the Reaganomics or Bidenomics side of things doesn't matter when we're talking about fishing. Posted on 31 Jan
Daiwa Free Swimmer EX now available
Swims freely, hit ferociously If you haven't live-lined, you haven't lived. Like a kid seeing a bobber slide under the surface, watching line jump, or better, run, with free-lined live bait off the back of a nearshore or offshore vessel is adrenalizing. Posted on 11 Jan
Daiwa's new LAZY FA SHAD now available
Winding through the water like a relaxed baitfish Full-bodied swimbaits have proven that a carefree, practically lazy motion can trigger massive strikes. Works on freshwater bass. Dittos for inshore. Posted on 26 Dec 2023
Daiwa D-BOX Tackle System
Daiwa's new system recycles plastic into premium utility tackle trays When the technological leader in rod and reel manufacturing introduces a commodity product, you can safely wager it's better than the others. Posted on 22 Dec 2023