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Rod Review

 

The Surprisingly Versatile Steez AGS "The Sensor" Casting Rod (continued)

Sensitivity: So how did that titanium tip perform? To be honest, I felt the benefit of The Sensor's tip was more in the visual clues to a bite than the actual feel. This is the same conclusion I've come to with rods built with a solid carbon tip. That extra degree of flexibility in the rod's tip can be invaluable when dragging your bait across the bottom and letting you know with that visual "tap" you have a bite. This is actually more reliable because fish don't always pick up your bait in an aggressive enough manner to send enough vibrations through the line for you to feel.


The cork rear grip of The Sensor

However, there's more mistaking the flex in the rod's tip when your bait stops. You just need to be able and distinguish between a pick up and your bait getting hung up on the bottom or in a weed. The Sensor gives you plenty of feedback in that regard to help you make that distinction, and while I personally don't always decipher that information correctly, that's no fault of the rod's.


Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our
Daiwa Steez AGS STAGS701MMHXB-SM The Sensor against the historical averages of similarly powered rods we've tested over the past twenty years

Power: Things get a little confusing is back in the lab. Because of The Sensor's flexible tip, it charts in our deflection tests as a super light power, but in reality that tip transitions to a backbone more reliably in the medium power range. The combination gives you the flexibility to fish light baits but a good amount of power to both set the hook and battle your catch. Its an interesting dichotomy enabling both super light, five pound test finesse techniques while also having the ability to support techniques requiring the use of heavier line. That medium powered backbone is quite apparent with The Sensor.


Checking out that unusual tip

Design & Ergonomics: With a refreshed blank and reel seat comes a new look for Daiwa's Steez series. It is a look and feel that for me is decidedly more USDM. This probably has to do with the use of cork for the grip rather than EVA. The Sensor's balance and weight are right in line with our historical average for a medium powered stick.

Lab Results for Daiwa Steez AGS STAGS701MMHXB-SM The Sensor

Model
Avg RoD
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Daiwa Steez AGS STAGS701MMHXB-SM The Sensor
3.15
Fast
4.1
8.5
0.19
What the Finesse Avg
2.94
--
3.9
7.3
0.15
Medium Pwr Avg
2.19
--
4.2
7.9
0.18


Daiwa introduces their take on the flexible and movable, plastic hook keeper

An interesting little feature of the new Steez AGS rods is the newly designed hook keeper. Fuji's EZ Keeper has been quietly growing in popularity because it's both versatile in how you use it and where you can place it. Daiwa introduces their own take on this design with movable hangar that has the ability to stow both exposed and hidden hook points and drop shot weights without the need to flip it open or closed. The shape of that plastic hangar is very clever, but I found the band holding the hangar in place a bit too loose and the hangar itself a bit large. The great thing about it though is if you find you don't like it or it gets in the way, you can simply move it or take it off the rod completely. I appreciate the flexibility.


The decorative reel seat hood caps off the handle assembly

Price & Applications: Now for the more difficult news. Daiwa's Steez AGS STAGS701MMHXB-SM The Sensor retails for a cool $599. The cost for all this technology and innovation at the top end of Daiwa's rod lineup comes at a steep price. If The Sensor is within your budget, know it is a very good choice in a stick that can do both finesse and more conventional, vertical bait techniques. With its flexible tip, it can likely handle horizontal presentations in a pinch as well, but its strengths are in techniques where that tip can help you detect the lightest of pick ups.

Ratings:

Daiwa Steez AGS STAGS701MMHXB-SM The Sensor Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A clean, detailed build 9
Performance Sneaky versatile, with good sensitivity and power 9
Price High end sticks have all seen an incredible jump in price of late and the new Steez AGS is no exception 6
Features AGS guides, Titanium tip, custom, versatile hook hangar 8
Design (Ergonomics) Good weight to balance ratio but nothing extraordinary 7
Application A nice choice in a casting rod for vertical presentations 8

Total Score

7.83
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

 

Pluses and Minuses:

Plus

Minus
+ Full of Daiwa's latest rod tech - Cost to acquire is high
+ Carbon framed guides  
+ Very versatile in the range of lure weights you can fish  
+ The titanium tip helps to detect the softest of pickups  


While not the finesse casting rod I was hoping for, Daiwa's STAGS701MMHXB-SM, The Sensor, that can do so much more

Conclusion: Daiwa's carbon framed AGS guides are probably my favorite rod innovation of theirs in the last decade. The guides have a reputation for being fragile, and so are not for everyone, but if you take care of your gear like I do, the added degree of sensitivity is real. I was pretty excited to learn about the new Steez AGS series updated with Daiwa's latest Compile-X blank. That excitement was a bit tempered when upon receipt of my STAGS701MMHXB-SM, I discovered my beloved Air Beam reel seat was gone. Out on the water, The Sensor proved to be much more versatile than I imagined and really an excellent choice in a stick to fish any variety of jig you can imagine from micro to football to casting to swimming. I'm not sure if I'm sold on the titanium tip, but it certainly adds value. Overall, the STAGS701MMHXB-SM, isn't quite the finesse casting rod I was hoping for, but it is a stick that can do so much more.

 

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