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Enthusiast Review

What the Finesse : Daiwa's Mega-Where?


Date: 11/12/11
Tackle type: Enthusiast
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Cal


Mention the term “finesse combos” to any group of bass fisherman and four out of every five of those anglers are likely to think of spinning gear. To the uninitiated, spinning gear goes part and parcel with the term “finesse”. By “uninitiated”, we mean those anglers not familiar with Daiwa’s Japanese market bass gear. For nearly 10 years, the Daiwa Pixy has defined the finesse baitcaster category in Japan finding its way to US shores officially, only within the last few months as the PX TypeR. However, before this reel’s introduction to US Shores, more than a year ago at ICAST 2010, Daiwa US hinted at their intention to bring Japanese finesse tactic gear to the North America with the introduction of their Steez Megatop rods, a series of sticks featuring a solid carbon tip. Today, we continue our “What the Finesse” theme, but step away from the spinning gear to check out the Steez STZ6101MXBA-SPX, Daiwa’s 6’10” medium powered baitcasting stick.


Daiwa Steez STZ6101MXBA-SPX Megatop Specifications

Material SPX Graphite, Bias Construction
Length 6' - 10"
Line Wt. 6-16 lb
Lure Wt. 3/32 - 1 oz
Pieces one
Guides 8 + tip top (Fuji Ti/SiC)
Power Rating Medium Light
Taper Extra Fast
Rod Weight 4.1
Origin Not Specified on the Rod
MSRP $510


Impressions: The Daiwa Steez rod lineup is among my favorite, high end, USDM product line. The rods are all very refined, well built, and pardon the pun, but styled with ease. At first clutch, the Steez casting Megatop stick feels like any other rod in the Steez lineup but snap your wrist with the rod in your hand and it's obvious something else is going on here.


Introducing Daiwa's Steez STZ 6101MXBA-SPX Megatop casting rod.


For me, it was déjà  vu with Phenix's Iron Feather spinning rod. The STZ6101MXBA-SPX features the same, super flexible tip that actually made me leery of this rod's utility. The Iron Feather fared very well in our tests because we were envisioning it for its intended purpose as a trout stick. If you're fishing with Powerbait, night crawlers, crickets, or other offerings where your line is just sitting there out in the water, sensitivity is not as important as strike detection. The Iron Feather excels at strike detection.

Daiwa's Steez fishing rods offer JDM appeal with a full, lifetime warranty.

In bass fishing, you're throwing mostly artificial baits and being able to feel what's going on at the end of your line is just as important, if not more so, than actually seeing your rod tip move. The skeptic in me needed some convincing.

The tip of this rod is solid SPX Graphite and is extremely flexible.

The Lab: But first things first. Our STZ6101MXBA-SPX had an appointment with the RoD WRACK before hitting the water. Classified as a “medium” powered stick but with an anomaly of a tip, we were a bit confused as to which sticks to make our comparison. In the end, we stuck to our “What the Finesse” them and recalibrated the chart to take into account our casting rod measurements.

Fig 1: This chart illustrates the deflection characteristics of the STZ6101MBXA-SPX casting rod as compared to our two WTF baseline rods and normalized for the load range of 2-32 ounces (as opposed to 1-32 with our normal spinning rods). As you can see, while the tip of the Steez Megatop rod is softer than our baseline sticks, the backbone takes this rod into an entirely different power curve.

As we suspected, the STZ6101MXBA-SPX’s tip compares favorably in deflection to rods that are two steps lower in power, and conversely, this stick’s backbone is definitely more than either of our baseline WTF rods can handle.

Lab Results for Daiwa Steez STZ6101MXBA-SPX Megatop

Avg RoD (2-32 oz)
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Daiwa Steez STZ6101MXBA-SPX Megatop

A look a the STZ6101MXBA-SPX's handle assembly.

Field Tests: We paired the STZ6101MXBA-SPX with a new Daiwa Japan Alphas Finesse Custom 105HL, spooled the reel up with 10lb Sufix 832 braid, slid the combo into the rod locker and made our way up to Lake Berryessa for another round of field tests.

Rigged and ready to go with an Alphas Finesse Custom from Japan.

Casting: First tests with the Megatop rod and Alphas Finesse custom was with a 3 gram Damiki Finesse jig (for those not metric speaking readers this equates to roughly 3/32nds of an ounce). With something this light, it really comes down to the combination of rod and reel as to whether or not the bait is castable or not. My first few attempts were not very inspiring, but after dialing the reel in and loosening up the braid on the Alpha Finesse’s spool, I was able to gain consistent casts of roughly forty to forty five feet away.

First catch while testing the casting ability of this stick.

Distance was not proving to be too big of a challenge, but accuracy was. Despite the Megatop rod’s lithe tip, I couldn’t get a feel for the 3 gram finesse jig at the end of the line in order to make consistent, accurate casts. Switching reels to a Pixy PX68L helped a little bit, but not much.

1-2-3 ...

With heavier offerings, like a drop shot rig with a eighth ounce weight and bait, this was less of an issue. So as with any rod and reel combo, the ability of the STZ6101MXBA-SPX to make a good cast entirely a function of how much weight you’re tying to the end of your line. While this stick can handle baits lower than others in the “medium” power class, you won’t necessarily have a good feel for these baits when making a cast.

That's a fish!

Next Section: So what about Sensitivity?









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