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Reel Review

Re-Sculpting Daiwa's Style with Ease in Aluminum : The Steez A TW 1016 (continued)

Drag: As our First Look Inside article revealed, Daiwa has abandoned the multi-stack drag washers on the Steez A TW 1016 and has instead gone with a single disc drag system. Well, technically two since there's another composite disc on the backside of the main drag. These designs tend to provide smoother performance since there are less parts in the way and the Steez Z TW 1016 certainly has a smooth and consistent drag. The manufacturer specification on max drag is thirteen pounds (13lbs).

The clicking drag is enabled, in part, by the little nub you see in the side of that silver washer above.

The feature about this reel's drag that will divide freshwater bass anglers is the fact that it clicks and there is no on/off button for the clicking alert on the outgoing drag. It's provided for inshore anglers, but if you're a bass fisherman with your heart set on this reel and don't like that clicking drag feature, your only alternative is to open the reel up and remove the pin on the aluminum disc nestled within the main gear.

The original Steez 103HL (left) vs the new Steez A TW (right).

Design & Ergonomics: The original Steez 103H is among my favorite reels ergonomically. The original Tatula is low on that list. I find it uncomfortably wide to palm, but the reason why the original Tatula is so wide is to make room for its unique line guide. My primary concern, upon learning of the T-Wing line guide implementation into the Steez platform is what that would do to the Steez's ergonomics.

The reels' heights are similar, but the Steez A TW is wider at the front to accommodate the wider T-Wing line guide system.

Compared side by side, we can see the Steez A TW 1016 is in fact wider at the front of the reel as compared to the original Steez 103H. However, the wide front quickly tapers to a thin back section. This taper makes the Steez A TW 1016 a bit more comfortable to palm than the original Tatula but the wider front section interferes with that original Steez comfort. The Steez Z TW 1016 still sits very low on the reel like the original Steez, but otherwise, it's just a different reel.

Admittedly, we're knit picking here, but we're not too fond of the knobs on this reel.

Judging it on its own, I do like the aluminum frame implementation and the stealthy gray finish. Additionally, the reel's 90mm handle is a good length, but the handle knobs, while comfortable, are much more low end Daiwa than high end and not quite befitting of the "Steez" moniker. I'd have preferred the simple, smooth, rubber coated cork i-knobs from the original Steez lineup.

We much prefer the standard i-knobs (right) on the original Steez.

Features: The Steez A TW 1016 is chock-full of features. Some of these features come across as pure marketing, others are under the radar, and still others are genuine. The question is where to begin. Well, the feature Daiwa markets that we find a simple play on words is their Zero Adjuster. This refers to the spool tension knob and is a simple inference that the reel is perfectly adjusted from the factory so there is no need to fine tune this setting. However, the knob is still adjustable (it does not click), so if you find the factory setting unsatisfactory, you can adjust the Zero Adjuster.

The "Zero Adjuster" is just a fancy way to let you know Daiwa has preset the spool tension knob out of the factory for optimum performance.

The big feature for the Steez A TW 1016 of course is its aluminum frame, and to go along with that engineering is the handle sideplate also made of aluminum. The non handle sideplate is Zaion, a carbon fiber composite material. Another interesting and very real feature is the MagSeal bearing underneath the Zero Adjuster knob, but this is the only MagSeal bearing in the reel even though the two bearings supporting the level wind worm gear would seem to be just as susceptible, if not more so, to saltwater intrusion, thank the spool tension bearing.

The MagSeal bearing is a nice touch.

Lastly, the feature we wanted to point out that is under the radar for the Steez A TW 1016 but one that Daiwa's chief rival, Shimano enjoys pointing out in their reels is the fact this reel's pinion gear is supported by an additional bearing located within the frame. Placement of a bearing at this spot adds to the fluidity of a reel's gearing enhancing that smooth feel you get when turning the reel's handle.

We really like the idea behind this reel - an aluminum framed Steez.

Price & Applications: I find it a bit ironic that Daiwa finally makes an aluminum framed version of their flagship reel, but that the US price on it is the same as when the Steez 103H was first introduced back in 2006 - $450. Of course, if you shop around, the reel can be found for much less, but if you go the route we're inferring, then you do so with no warranty support from Daiwa USA. Is it worth the risk? That's a question only you can answer for yourself.

But at only $50 less than the Mg version, where's the incentive?

In terms of the reel's utility, I found the Steez A TW 1016 to be more than adequate as a general purpose casting reel. It handles a wide variety of applications very well and has a spool with good line capacity so you don't have to compromise with light lines or braid if you'd prefer otherwise.



Daiwa Steez A TW1016 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A very refined reel 9
Performance Very good at a lot of things, but doesn't excel at any one thing in particular 9
Price Aluminum construction but only $50 less expensive than the Steez SV TWS magnesium? Price difference through JDM sources is $100. 6.5
Features T-Wing line guide, aluminum frame, bearing supported worm gear, MagSealed Bearing, double bearing supported pinion 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) Comfortable reel to fish but not as comfortable as the original 7.5
Application A very good choice in a general purpose casting reel built saltwater safe 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, solid feel - Clicking drag on a casting reel is not for everyone
+ Good line capacity - Despite aluminum construction, only $50 less expensive than the Mg
+ Capable caster  
+ Saltwater Safe  

Conclusion: Perhaps I'm a bit too jaded at this point, but I still remember the sheer elation I had upon receiving and fishing for the first time, my Steez 103HL. The reel did not receive the popularity it deserved and was quickly watered down with variants that tamed its raw nature. I was cautiously optimistic the Steez A TW 1016 would recapture some of that old magic. I really liked the idea of a more affordable, aluminum version of the original platform, unfortunately the costs don't work out that way domestically.

The Steez A TW is more than capable as a general purpose casting reel.


Out on the water, the Steez A TW 1016 is more than capable in all areas we tested it, but for some reason, the "it" factor was missing for me.


It could very well be because of the MagForce Z braking system. It's a very capable system, but more utilitarian and not super inspiring when it comes to bass fishing. Granted this reel was designed more for the inshore fisherman and not necessarily the bass fisherman, so we can't hold that against it - and we didn't. The Steez A TW 1016 receives a high score by TackleTour standards, so if you're looking for a high end, aluminum framed reel chock-full of features, look no further, Daiwa delivers.


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