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Reel Review

The Daiwa Steez is light in Weight but not in Sophistication (continued)

Real World Tests: Shimano versus Daiwa, Daiwa versus Shimano, no other mêlée seems to inspire as much fervor from anglers (with the possible exception of the discussions that ensue concerning custom rod brands), and with the Core Shimano goes for the jugular of what Daiwa does best, refined lightweight reels. We test the Steez for over a year and compare our original results to the long term tests, and then evaluate the Steez series versus the Core series. Our tests centered on a number of Northern California bodies of water including Berryessa, Sonoma, Pardee, and Clear Lake, as well as the California Delta.

The first fish we caught with the Steez, not a big one but just many that would be caught on this reel during a test that spanned seasons

Casting: The battle begins with casting tests. Daiwa gets bonus points immediately for external cast controls which make it easier to adjust cast controls for various baits on the fly. Shimano continues to rely on their proven VBS cast system, and makes it easier to change out settings with escape hatch trigger which drops down the sideplate for faster access to the brakes.

The Steez offers generous access to the spool

When it comes to actual casting we were surprised with how good of a caster the Core actually was. The Magnumlite spool has a very low startup inertia and it is possible to get baits going quickly with little effort. Daiwa’s own 7075 dimpled spool is not very different in that it features thin walls and a balanced core, only they add dimples to further reduce the weight. Though the Steez features Daiwa’s free floating spool design the Core consistently outcasted the Steez in our tests when it came to sheer distance, and if you really wanted to work the spool for maximum distance it is possible to physically remove the brake weights on the Core, though you better be an expert at casting if you don’t want a backlash on every cast. For normal use the Core also benefits from a tapered titanium levelwind insert which minimizes friction on the outcast. 

The Steez feels more precise and refined than powerful

While the Core proved to be our distance winner the Steez proved to be better at short accurate casts like flipping and pitching. Here the Magforce excelled at applying just the right amounts of resistance at the tail end of the casts. (Round 1: Tie. This category is going to strongly depend on what you intend to use the reel for. If you plan to do a lot of plastics work then the Steez has what you are looking for, but if you plan on using the reel for wire and hardbaits the Core is going to make more sense. Both reels are relatively well rounded and can deliver on both sides of the spectrum but they definitely have unique areas that they excel in.)

It is possible to adjust the Magforce cast controls with the same hand holding the rod by extending your thumb forward

Retrieve: It is in this category that the reels vary the most. Like most Daiwa reels the Steez emphasizes refinement and feel over power. The Steez is a marvelous reel when it comes to feel, never before has an angler felt so connected to the lure on the end of the line. Fishing plastics with the Steez seems natural, and with the new 100HA version it is possible to use the Steez as a serious cranking reel as well.

A turn of the screw releases the sideplate to access the spool

Still the 100HA does not feel as powerful as the Core when there is a large lure on the line. The Core on the other hand does not feel as refined as the Steez when it comes to retrieve but does feel more powerful both with a large lure or a fish in tow. Shimano manages this with their enlarged HEG (High Efficiency Gearing).

Next Section: A bigger fish tests the Steez's gearing









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