Still on Fire? Daiwa’s New
Total Score: 8.25 -
BEST VALUE AWARD!
Once one of the hottest
reels in the Daiwa lineup the Fuego Series has shown signs of making a comeback
in recent seasons. First with a standard aluminum based Fuego and now with the
even more aggressively priced Fuego CT. While the Fuego CT drops in bearing
count it manages to come in under the 100 dollar price point and still deliver
plenty of what anglers love about Daiwa reels, including a rigid aluminum frame,
Magforce-Z cast control, and the company’s Ultimate Tournament Drag. Does the
Fuego CT have what it takes to be a hot contender or is it time for this series
to flame out?
CT Casting Reel
Capacity (lbs / yds)
6.3:1 (7.3:1, 8.1:1 also
Measured Max. Drag
14.1 lbs measured
max drag (13.5lbs. published spec)
5BB + 1CRRB
Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag UTD with 13.2 lbs. of drag
Magforce-Z cast control
6.3:1, 7.3:1 & 8.1:1 gear ratios
Large, 90mm swept power handle with cutouts for reduced weight
The newest Daiwa Fuego isn't red
at all, instead the CT reel is all murdered out
Impressions: Do you
remember when the first Daiwa Fuego Baitcaster was introduced? This play on the
original TD-Z debuted 15 years ago and retailed for $229 dollars. The Fuego
possessed a lot of the same features and performance that angler’s loved about
the premium TD-Z, all at a price that many more anglers could stomach.
The Fuego CT is all about value,
providing plenty of Daiwa features for only 99 dollars
Together the original Sol
and Fuego baitcasters were a one two punch that solidified Daiwa’s “near
premium” offerings. Fast forward 15 years later and Daiwa has introduced their
latest Fuego, only this time the new CT reel is not designed to be a high-end
product but a value oriented one at only 99 dollars.
The reel may be affordable but
still comes with the externally adjustable Magforce-Z cast control system
How did Daiwa get the price of the new Fuego under the 100 dollar mark? For
starters you won’t find any magnesium on this reel, instead the frame is
constructed out of aluminum, which is still a better option than many graphite
framed reels at this same price point. The Fuego also makes use of the standard
casting design versus the T-Wing system that is being implemented throughout
Daiwa’s mid-high end baitcaster lineup.
No T-Wing here
In terms of form factor the Fuego CT is even sleeker than the standard Fuego,
and actually shares the same platform as the more expensive Tatula CT. The new
reel features a darker more sinister finish, and basically the entire reel has
been murdered out so that the anodized red spool really stands out. I like the
way the Fuego CT looks, and it reminds me of the classic Daiwa Black Widow
reels. It also pairs easily with many rods, but for the field tests I spent the
majority of time fishing it with a matching Daiwa Fuego rod.
Time to see what the Fuego CT can
do on the water
Real World Tests: Together as a complete combo the Fuego CT reel and rod
match up nicely in terms of styling and balance. Over the last two months I
fished a variety of techniques, testing the reel’s ability to fish both light
plastics and fast moving reaction baits. In terms of lines I spooled up with
Trilene Big Game for our reaction tests and Sunline Shooter Fluorocarbon for
finesse fishing plastics.
The Fuego CT paired with a Fuego
Casting: No T-Wing here! The Daiwa Fuego CT feels much more like Daiwa’s
previous generation reels, but delivers very reliable and consistent casts with
anything 1/8oz. and heavier on 10lb. line. The Fuego CT can handle finesse
applications but really shines casting heavier hard or wire based baits. The
Fuego CT comes with the company’s proven Magforce-Z cast control system that
provides a predictable freespool with a very manageable cast from start to
The Fuego CT casts a wide range of
baits very well, each cast is predictable and consistant
Retrieve & Drag: The Fuego CT is available in the upper range of retrieve
ratios including 6.3:1, 7.3:1, and 8.3:1, and the only thing missing is a power
crank model, though the 6.3:1 gear ratio handles a wide range of applications
very well, pulling in 26.3” of line per handle turn thanks to the oversized 90mm
swept power handle.
The secret behind the quality
casting is no secret at all, Magforce-Z is still among the best casting systems
on the market
The Fuego CT is also quite smooth, but not nearly as smooth as other Daiwa reels
we have fished in the past. I had a brief opportunity to compare the Fuego CT’s
out of the box retrieve versus the standard Fuego reel and the standard was
slightly smoother when cranked, which isn’t a surprise considering it has six
The handle side sideplate is
There is an infinite
anti-reverse in this reel but I observed some slight play in the handle between
the connection of the handle and the master gearing, which equates to about 1mm
in overall play, which is small but still perceptible.
The brass gearing features larger
teeth that are durable but not as smooth as reels with smaller teethed gears
that mesh better
The Fuego CT may be a value oriented reel but it comes loaded with Daiwa’s
Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag which consists of oversized carbon washers
sandwiched between the gearing. The result is plenty of stopping power and a
very wide range of adjustment.
The heart of the Daiwa U.T. drag
is a combination of washers and plenty of surface area
This drag performed beautifully during our lab tests, doling out nearly 14.1lbs.
of drag pressure under full lockdown, which is .6lbs. greater than even Daiwa’s
rated specification. In the field I caught multiple 4+ lb. largemouth that not
only showcased the Daiwa CT’s sheer stopping power but also how smooth the drag
system was under load. The U.T. drag is the real deal, and it is great to see
that even Daiwa’s sub 100 dollar reels come loaded with a quality drag system.
The main gearing is all brass
Plenty of Bang for the Buck!