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Enthusiast Review

What the Finesse : Daiwa's Mega-Where? (continued)

Sensitivity: Where Phenix’s Iron Feather stick fell short with us was in the area of sensitivity. However, it got a pass because of the rod’s intended application as a high end trout stick. In a bass stick, we want to both see AND feel the strike, so the STZ6101MXBA-SPX is afforded no such luxury.

This little guy didn't stand a chance.

Daiwa must have known this because their Megatop casting rod is wonderful at strike detection. Naturally, the tip moves at the slightest provocation, but nips and nibbles are also easily discernable through the rod’s length. My skepticism was proven unfounded when an interesting looking sunfish decided to inhale my Damiki finesse jig on the fall during some test casts. As I was checking the state of my Alpha Finesse’s spool, out of the corner of my eye I could seen the rod’s tip flex and at the same time, I felt the tiny thump of the fish’s bite through the reel seat! Caught off guard, I reeled in the slack without setting the hook and voila, the STZ6101MXBA-SPX had landed its first catch.

The STZ6101MXBA-SPX has a really soft tip, but also a very stout backbone by comparison.

Power: Fighting a fish with the STZ6101MXBA-SPX is exhilarating. Thanks to the rod’s soft tip, transition to the backbone is quick but because the top section of the rod is so flexible, you get the impression whatever you catch at the end of the line is going to be big because the rod bends over so much! It’s the kind of fun that epitomizes our “What the Finesse” year!

Daiwa changed the end cap design for this rod.

Any time you’re using light line, thin wire hooks, and small baits, the last thing on your mind should be horsing a fish in. The STZ6101MXBA-SPX does a good job of reminding you of that fact while at the same time delivering more power than you might be used to in a rod with such a flexible tip section.

Gold trim rings highlight this rod.

Application: We ran the STZ6101MXBA-SPX through a standard array of tests but want to note, this is not really a standard casting rod. It has a very specialized tip that really is best suited for finesse applications in deep, clear water reservoirs where your presentation is more vertical than horizontal. Casting accuracy is not really paramount in these situations as much as detecting the bite in depths of thirty to forty feet or more. Even with the most sensitive sticks, it’s difficult to detect bites at these depths and most hits come across as a different kind of pressure at the end of your line. Well, with the Steez Megatop rods, you can see your rod load up in situations where you’d normally be sitting there and thinking, “is that a bite”?

Daiwa's implementation of the reel seat locking mechanism is a personal favorite - it is so comfortable to hold.

I experienced this first hand. After playing around seeing how low the STZ6101MXBA-SPX could go on a cast with the Damiki micro finesse jig, I switched up and rigged a drop shot with an Owner #2 Wacky Hook, River 2 Sea cylinder style tungsten weight, and 4 inch Robo straight tail worm. Zander and I motored the boat out to a submerged island and dropped our lines down to about twenty five feet.

Hey Zander! Grab the camera!

We were in luck and started loading up on feisty spots to about thirteen inches. Zander was fishing his NRX822S and while we were both catching fish, I seemed to be doing so at a quicker pace. Spots are anything but subtle most of the time, so over half my bites were no doubt tick-tick-ticks, but I had several of those pressure bites too where if it weren’t for the movement in the tip of my STZ6101MXBA-SPX, I would have either missed those fish or ended up gut hooking them.

'Cuz I got another one!

Availability & Warranty: The Steez Megatop bass rods have been available since the beginning of 2011 and are offered in one casting and one spinning rod configuration. They’re both rated with extra-fast tips and the spinning rod is rated roughly a power lighter than the casting. Both sticks retail for right around $510 each and come with Daiwa’s Limited Lifetime Warranty.



Daiwa Steez STZ6101MXBA-SPX Megatop Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Clean and precise 9
Performance Surprisingly sensitive 8.5
Price Daiwa Steez is not acquired with ease 4
Features It's all about the rod's unique tip 9
Design (Ergonomics) The metal lock nut on the Steez reel seat is my absolute favorite in terms of comfort 9
Application If you're looking for a finesse casting stick.. this is it. 9

Total Score

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:


+ Enthusiast level and quality with a full US Warranty - The continued fall of the US Dollar vs the JPY is really putting many of the top end Daiwa products out of reasonable reach
+ The tip's flexibility is not provided at the expense of the rod's sensitivity  
+ Really soft tip + good backbone  


Conclusion: There are paces you need to run through in order to make proper comparisons between one product and the next, and then there are special pieces of tackle that break the mold and defy comparisons. The Daiwa Steez STZ6101MXBA-SPX Megatop rod is one such product. It threatens to redefine what a finesse specific rod should be by featuring a characteristic that has little use in any other bass fishing technique. The Megatop tip walks a very fine line between flexibility and sensitivity being just flexible enough to show you hits you might otherwise miss with a standard rod without sacrificing sensitivity so that the rod is dead in your hands. It's a balance that couldn't have been easy to achieve yet, because of the rod's price point, is likely to go unappreciated by the masses.

Daiwa's STZ6101MXBA-SPX offers a unique experience for finesse fishing and qualifies for our Ultimate Enthusiast Award!

Then again, that's part of the allure of a rod in the Enthusiast category anyway, isn't it? The opportunity to have in your possession, a tool that your buddy is not likely to have giving you a leg up on those days out on the water while partaking in friendly competition. The only negative? Now that we've written about it, chances are your buddy will now see the light. For now, Daiwa's Steez Megatop casting rod qualifies for our Ultimate Enthusiast Award.

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