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Reel Review

The Daiwa Steez is light in Weight but not in Sophistication

Date: 4/27/08
Tackle type: Reels
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.33 + EDITORS CHOICE!

Prior to the release of the Steez in the US our Enthusiast Editor, Cal, took a look at the Japanese version and published the article a week prior to ICAST. Since then we have fished the US model for over a year and after the release of the Shimano Core we take another look at the world’s lightest premium baitcaster and see how it stacks up with the latest competition.


Daiwa Steez 103HA Specifications

Line Capacity (lbs / yds) 12/120, 14/100
Gear Ratio (actual retrieve) 6.3:1 (26 inches per turn)
Measured Weight 5.5 ounces
Max. Drag 8.8lbs
Bearings 11BB + 1RB
Features MagForce V, Duralumin dimple spool, Mg Frame & Sideplates, High Efficiency wet Drag
MSRP $449.00

Impressions: When we first looked at the Steez we focused primarily on features and basic performance tests, but it was too early to draw long term conclusions on the baitcaster. It won our Ultimate Enthusiast Award, our top honor for truly “enthusiast” grade products, many of which like other exotic goods consumers have to import.

The Daiwa Steez US version looks identical to the JDM version minus logos on the knobs

We were pleased to see that the Steez unlike many JDM reels did make it to the US with all its performance tuned features intact. The only real difference between the US and Japanese domestic version is the number of grooves in the pinion gear. The Japanese version has 4 grooves while the US version has two. In theory this should result in faster engagement of the gearing, but the US version should be stronger. Either way when we compared the two we found it near impossible to tell a difference in either performance or durability, neither of our reels has failed after all this time.

The Steez weighs in at only 5.5oz, making it the lightest premium magnesium baitcaster on the market

Let’s first revisit the Steez’s specifications. The Steez represents Team Daiwa's flagship reel and is the lightest metal bodied baitcaster on the market. With its ''super metal'' magnesium frame and side-plate, it weighs in at only 5.5 ounces, and believe me it does feel that light in your hands. The Steez sports a full-sized gearbox that is home to a 12-bearing system (11 ball bearings plus an Infinite Anti-Reverse roller bearing) in support of a free-floating super-lightweight Duralumin dimpled spool. The popular ''swept'' handle and drag star match up with the Dura-Loc™ pinion, and cast control is provide via Daiwa’s Magforce®-V cast control system.

For our tests we paired the Steez up with a Steez rod of course

Both the spool tension knob and drag star are micro-click adjustable, and the Steez features an 8-disc drag system which is designed to operate even when wet. Daiwa tops it all off with a branded neoprene reel cover which can be used to store the reel or protect it when mounted on a rod during transport.

A stunning profile, the sculpted lines on the Steez remind us of sports car angles

Steez is also the name of Daiwa’s flagship rod line, and together the rod and reel are among the lightest baitcast rigs on the market. Since the original introduction Daiwa has introduced new right and left hand 100HA/100HLA Steez reels that offer 20 more yards of capacity (when using 14lb test). These models weigh .1oz more but have the same 6.3:1 retrieve ratio. The 100HA was released last ICAST and extends the applications that the Steez line is able to tackle, though the original is still preferable for the light finesse baits.

The Steez excelled at controlled and precise short distance casts

Daiwa has long been known for their magnesium reels and the Daiwa TD-Z was a cult favorite both here and in Japan. Daiwa seemed to grasp before all other manufacturers that many anglers put a premium on reduced weight. However Daiwa did what few manufacturers have been able to do, build a magnesium reel that offered refinement, adequate power, a quality drag, all while maintaining an overall very light footprint. When the Shimano Metanium Mg/Core was introduced Shimano put together a package that was a lot more robust than their previous Chronarch Mg. Here was a reel that offered more power than anglers were used to in a magnesium reel, and at a price point that was a hundred dollars below that of the pre-existing Steez. The battle was on.

Next Section: Enough reflection, time to test









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