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Enthusiast Review

Yuki Ito's Take on Daiwa's Flagship : The IS73 (continued)

For more endurance and power testing, I took the IS73 reel down to the Amazon, spooled it with 40lb Suffix 832, and paired it with a Megabass F6-69XRC Racing Condition rod. Were it available in left hand, I'd have loved to toss choppers on this setup, but I was unable to work that chopper while holding the rod in my left hand, so instead, I tied a traditional streamer style hair jig to the end of the line.

The IS73 performed well enough in the Amazon for us to declare it Amazon Certified!

The IS73 shined down in the Amazon, but realistically, no more so than I would have expected a standard Steez reel to perform. Though rated down to one quarter of an ounce in lure weight, it takes a bit of weight to load the F6-69XRC for casting, it's a stout rod. Quite often, in cases like this, a tuned reel can make up for a little in casting performance. I didn't feel the IS73 made any difference at all mounted on the F6-69XRC when trying to cast those half ounce peacock jigs.

But in the end there was no real discernable difference in casting from this reel to the 100SH.

Conversely, mounted on my F6-72X4 Destruction, the IS73 casted both jigs and topwater plugs like a dream, but then again, so did my Zillion Type-R. Again, the difference here was more in the rods than actual reels. The F6-72X4 just happens to be a very easy loading rod and is extremely proficient in casting performance.

Cosmetic differences include the red highlighted cast control knob ...

The swept carbon handle on the IS73 is a standard, 80mm in length, and the knobs, well, they take some getting used to. They look great, and after a while, feel pretty good under your finger tips, but they are also difficult to grasp hold of at first and easy to lose when trying to make a hasty retrieve. Surprisingly, in the Amazon, knobs like this actually work better for your grip because the soft, rubbery grips common on most reels contribute to blisters and raw finger tips, where the hard, aluminum knobs don't.

... and levelwind.

Design: We touched upon most of the design features of the IS73.  In addition to those mentioned above, two of the three red anodized accents are additions over the standard Steez 100SH (level wind and cast control knob), while one is missing (handle nut lock washer). One difference that is difficult to see through pictures is the IS73 is actually a different color than the standard Steez. Instead of the stealth grey, the IS73 is actually an even stealthier flat black that has to be seen and touched in person to appreciate.

The IS73 is a worthwhile reel, but given the current exchange rate, perhaps not THAT worthwhile.

Availability: The Megabass IS73 and the IS63 are currently in production with no indication of when this will end. Given their current retail price of $850, those reels already out in the market today will likely be slow to move. A factor that will likely affect future production runs more so than any desire to intentionally make these reels a limited run product.


Megabass IS73 Competition Baitcaster Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Never in question 9.5
Performance I prefer the Type-R+ rotor 7.5
Price The current exchange rate makes it really really difficult 1
Features Nice gear upgrade to 7.3:1, but that's about it 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) I like the cosmetic upgrades along with the carbon handle 9
Application A good all purpose caster but not better than the standard 103 8

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:


+ Nice cosmetic enhancements - No lefty version in 7.3:1
+ Very refined but capable of taking on big fish - Super premium price


Conclusion: As with most things recently Megabass, if the words worth and practicality are in your vocabulary, the IS73 is not a product you will appreciate. The only true performance enhancement this reel has over the Steez 100SH is a 0.2 increase in retrieve ratio and the 0.4 ounce reduction in weight. The IS73’s $850 price tag may seem completely out of whack, but keep in mind, because of the current state of the US Dollar, even the standard Japanese market Steez 100SH retails for right around $660. So instead of a price tag that is almost twice that of a US Market Steez, the IS73 is “only” twenty nine percent more than it’s standard edition counterpart in Japan. Assuming the exchange rate were normalized, this would mean the cost of the IS73 would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $620 instead of $850.


It would have been great if Yuki Ito could have facilitated a left hand version of this reel instead of giving those who prefer left handed reels a retread.

As with most things in life, nothing is ever quite as memorable or special as your first (you fill in the blank) experience. The first generation TD-Ito, and all its “Ito-esque” counterparts were, and still are a coveted set of reels. Each successive Ito interpretation has paled in comparison to this original set because expectations were so high to begin with. The current front runner in these collections? Probably the Bespoke series of reels, but even those are merely cosmetic improvements upon the first version, the Monoblock 100XR/XR-L. While the one true enhancement the IS73 delivers is a 7.3:1 gear set to the flagship Steez, we would have preferred if Yuki Ito flexed his stock option muscles and proved his influence by producing this reel in both left and right hand retrieve. But he didn’t. In the end, a factor that could have made the IS73 just a little bit more special, instead makes the reel feel just a tad bit too much like a “me too”, and when the “Ito” name is attached to a product, “me too” should never even be a consideration.









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