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Reel Review

Still on Fire? Daiwa’s New Fuego Baitcaster (continued)


Ergonomics: The Fuego CT feels solid in hand and I like the sleeker profile of the front of the reel, which helps set the reel apart from Daiwa’s more squared off modern-day reels including the Aird, Coastal, and standard Tatula. The profile of the reel is comfortable to palm and as with so many of Daiwa’s reels the external cast control is excellent, allowing for quick one finger adjustments.


The Fuego CT palms very comfortably

Weighing in at 7.6oz. the Fuego CT is also reasonably lightweight, and even .2oz. lighter than the standard Fuego 100H reels, while the line capacity remains the same. Daiwa also did anglers a solid by introducing all three retrieve ratios in both right and left hand retrieve. The knobs on the Fuego CT are a little overkill, and while it is hard to complain about having the additional surface area it would have been nice to see if smaller knobs could have reduced the overall reel weight even more.


Giant power knobs provide plenty of grip

Price & Applications: Baitcasters have gotten so much better over the last 15 years, and there are actually a number of good options at the 100 dollar price range, but not many that provide anglers with an aluminum frame and enough bearings to actually make the reel something anglers actually want to fish.


One of the reasons the reel doesn't feel as smooth as Daiwa's higher end offerings is the lack of bearings in the knobs, just bushings here


At this price point anglers will mostly consider the Fuego CT versus the Shimano Caenan 100 which costs the same and weighs less (7.2oz) but does not have an aluminum frame, the Abu Garcia Revo3 which also weighs less (7.4oz) and has an alloy frame, or the Lew’s new Mach3 which is also lighter (7.2oz) but has a graphite frame. The Okuma Cerros, which weighs more at 7.9oz., retails for 99 dollars and also makes use of a die-cast aluminum frame, as does the Pflueger Supreme which is also the same price and weighs in at 7.8oz.


The reel sits nicely on most rods

Notice a trend? While most of the competitors at this price point offer slightly lighter reels few of them are achieving this by making use of aluminum. The Fuego CT may weigh slightly more but it delivers that characteristic solid feel that anglers expect from a mainstream workhorse baitcaster. The Fuego CT represents a strong value for anglers looking for a quality reel at a very reasonable price.


The Fuego CT has a large spool opening for easy access

When it comes to balancing out features, quality of materials, and overall ergonomics Daiwa seems to have cracked the code better than just about every other manufacturer with this reel. The biggest competition may be coming from a reel that is just about to hit the market, the new 13 Fishing One3 Origin C which also retails for 99 dollars and makes use of an aluminum frame. Only time will tell as the Origin C will not be available for a few more months.


I found the Fuego CT surprisingly fun to fish, it fishes like a higher end reel, and is certainly worth a hundred bucks

The Fuego CT is a great workhorse reel, one that anglers will be able to count on day in and day out for everything in the middle of the spectrum. It isn’t the best finesse reel, nor is it the most powerful cranker, but for everything in between it does the job admirably, and is as good as or better than just about every reel in the same price range.


Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Daiwa Fuego CT Casting Reel Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Though the sideplates are not metal the aluminum frame provides a quality platform that gives the Fuego CT a very solid overall feel 8
Performance The Fuego CT performed well in just about every category and the standout area was the excellent drag 8.5
Price The Fuego CT is an excellent value at only 99 dollars and fishes like a more expensive reel. An excellent balance of performance and value 9
Features Many of the original features that made Daiwa so popular including Magforce-Z cast control and a swept handle, but not the newer T-Wing casting system 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Very good ergonomics at this price point. The reel is comfortable to palm and feels better than some of the larger Daiwa reels when fished all day 8
Application The Fuego CT may not be the most refined reel but it is a good all round workhorse reel for everything from light applications to power fishing. The reel hold up to power fishing and can be used for both fresh and inshore applications 8.5

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:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ Solid feel, aluminum frame - Could be smoother
+ Simple and reliable design - Some play observed in the handle
+ Compact and ergonomic  
+ U.T. Drag is excellent  
+ Great value for the money, the Fuego CT fishes like a more expensive reel  


The Fuego CT delivers plenty of bang for the buck


Conclusion: The Fuego CT doesn’t attempt to be the most refined reel, nor does it exhibit a wealth of new features or innovations. What it does do is take proven Daiwa features and bring them together in a solid platform that is immediately familiar. While the original Fuego was popular with mainstream to high performance oriented anglers looking to take advantage of a magnesium based reel without having to step up to the TD-Z the latest iteration moves things downstream, and the Fuego CT is instead designed to spark the interest among anglers for Daiwa baitcasters.


The Fuego CT may not be expensive but it catches just as good as many more expensive reels

The Fuego CT is the most affordable Fuego yet, and it is pretty impressive that it retails for less than fifty percent of what the original cost from a decade and a half ago. It doesn’t make use of magnesium or some fancy carbon composite but not only is that ok, it is desirable by many anglers looking for a mainstream reel at this price point. The Fuego CT is above all, solid and reliable, and while it may cost less than 100 dollars it certainly fishes like it belongs at a higher price point, which in itself really is the definition of what a “Best Value Award” winner should exhibit. Daiwa brings the right balance of performance and value with the Fuego CT, proving that the Fuego Series is not only still relevant, it is hot!

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