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Reel Review

Fighting Smallies with Fire, Daiwa Fuego style (continued)

Durability: Gone are the days when anglers were warned to keep their magnesium reels away from salt, for fear they would corrode promptly. Many manufacturers are going to great lengths in order to make their magnesium reels saltwater safe, or at least saltwater friendly.


Side by side with the Steez for comparison

Daiwa doesnít come out and recommend the Fuego for use in saltwater, but the reel is capable of holding its own in the salt, and certainly in brackish water conditions. Both the inside and outside of this reel is treated with a protective finish, and the outside has a painted surface that further protects the base metal. The reel features a seven bearing drive system, with three of those being corrosion resistant bearings, and the remainder are all constructed out of stainless steel.


The external bail trip engages when it comes in contact with the handle

Gaskets line all critical areas, including the drag system, and the Fuego is designed so that it is easy to lubricate the worm gear without having to physically separate the magnesium body and side cover. All in all the Fuego is nearly as durable as an aluminum reel, and is designed to take a beating from fish and the elements. There are no areas of concern when it comes to durability, and with proper care the reel will last many seasons.

The Fuego is made in Japan

Price and Applications: The Fuego is priced with a flat structure, in which every size retails for the same amount of 249.99. This is a boon for anglers, as they can choose the right reel for their particular application without having to concern themselves with the varying cost of ownership. In terms of value the Fuego is everything it is made out to be, and in terms of competition it offers true magnesium lightweight attributes with the quality performance and refinement that Daiwa is known for.

A close look at the Fuego's rich finish

When matched up to the competition the Fuego is priced higher than opponent offerings, but this is rational considering there is more liberal use of genuine magnesium in this reelís construction. The Fuego can compare to the Certate in many ways, and just feels a bit less fluid, but nonetheless very close in refinement. If you want a magnesium reel from the Daiwa spinning lineup the Fuego and Steez are the two choices, as the Certate offers all the refinement housed within an aluminum alloy body.

The handle is the same one used on the Sol and Tierra

The Fuego is a good value overall, maybe not as good of a value as the Shimano Stradic MgFA, but when it comes to refinement the reel stands on its own. Is it worth the 249.99 price tag? Yes. Is it a better reel than the Sol? No. It is in fact just about the same when it comes to performance as the Sol, just with the advantage of being slightly lighter. Now the tough question, how does it compare to the Steez? Truth is that the Steez is really twice the reel that the Fuego is. It is lighter, it is more refined, and is unmatched when it comes to smoothness and power. But then, how many anglers can really afford the Steezís price tag of 499.99?


On the other side a knob locks the handle in place

That is where the Fuego comes in. Though it may not be pinnacle of spinning refinement, it is only half the price. This in itself should make it an attractive solution for Daiwa fans. While the most discriminating spinning angler will not settle for anything less than the Steez, there are a great many anglers, myself included, that will pick up the Fuego and use that leftover money and put it towards a matching red Steez rod.


Daiwa Fuego 2000 spinning reel Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Fuego is built solid and makes generous use of magnesium on the frame and sideplate 9
Performance The performance of the Fuego is rock solid overall. The reel performed well for a wide range of applications and the drag is exceptional on this tiny reel. It does however get .5 a point knocked off for the external bail trip system which needs some momentum to disengage properly.  8
Price While not as good of a deal as the Shimano Stradic MgFA the Fuego does stand on its own and makes use of more magnesium in its construction for further weight reduction 8.5
Features The Fuego has a number of quality features that range from the extra spool to the quality sealed drag system 8
Design (Ergonomics) The Fuego is extremely compact and overall ergonomics are very good. If the knob was supported with quality bearings it would be even smoother... but then again it would be entering the edge of Steez territory 8
Application The Fuego is finally available in an ultralight size making it great for a wider range of applications. But like our tests prove it sin't just about small fish 8.5

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Magnesium frame and sideplate L External bail trip system needs more momentum to disengage
J Available in full range of sizes L Not as aggressively priced as some competitor Mg reels
J Attractive high-quality red finish  
J Excellent drag  
J Identical spare spool  
J Reasonable price for a reel of this quality  


The Fuego 200 size can be used to land both small trout and lunker sized bass


Conclusion: Fighting smallies with fire, thatís exactly what it felt like with the brightly colored Fuego. Though the Smallmouths were hard fighters they really were no match for the blazing hot performance put on by the new smaller Fuego. This reel isnít perfect, but it is an exceptional balance of a great many things, including weight, drag performance, and price. I loved the reelís small size and compact profile, and the reel both aesthetically and weight-wise was a match made in heaven with the Steez compile-X rod. The one thing that had me torn on this reel was the external bail return, but the simplicity of the design did make it easy to service the product. All in all the positives far outweighed that single concern, and when it comes to price the Fuego is one of the few reels on the market that are priced below 300 dollars to offer both a magnesium frame and sideplate. The washable drag system put this reel over the edge in my book, and the release of the 2000 size makes the series complete. If the reel had made use of an internal bail return system and used quality support bearings on the knob it would have been perfect, but as it currently stands the Fuego is still a fantastic spinning reel. Those looking for a premium true magnesium spinning reel the Fuego is the most polished Mg solution under 300 dollars, and a red hot value overall.   











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