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Reel Review

Still on Fire? Daiwa's new Fuego-A Spinning Reel (continued)


Ergonomics: The original Fuego spinning reel was already quite good ergonomically speaking but the new Fuego-A definitely dials up the heat when it comes to refinement. The magnesium based original 2000 sized reel weighed in at a respectable 7.9oz. while the new Fuego-A 2000 weighs only 7.0oz., and the difference is actually noticeable when paired with lightweight rods. The new internal drag system now makes it easier to advance the reel no matter where the open bail is angled.


Each reel comes with a machined aluminum spare spool


Durability: So does the Fuego-A feel like it is constructed out of metal? No. The reelís Zaion frame actually feels like aluminum when you tap on it. It is important to note that the entire reel is constructed out of Zaion, not just the frame, this includes the sideplate and the rotor. During testing I did observe some boat rash to the finish of the Fuego-A and while it did get scratched up the good thing is that unlike magnesium scratches do not increase the chance of corrosion. These scratches are purely cosmetic and did nothing to alter the performance of the reel whatsoever.


The drag knob features a gasket to seal the system


Price & Applications: The Fuego A performed well throughout our tests but when it comes to price the new reel may simply be too expensive for some mainstream consumers. The previous generation Fuego retailed for $249 dollars and the new version costs an additional 30 dollars. That small increase can probably be stomached by most anglers but then you have the competition to contend with. The Shimano Stradic CI4 retails for only $199-$219 depending on size, thatís significantly less than the Daiwa offering.


The drag system is pinned in place by a wire spring


Daiwa fans will still likely buy the Fuego but donít mistake the Fuego for a more affordable Steez, it is by no means even close to being as refined or smooth on retrieves. If you fish with the Fuego-A by itself I caution you regarding picking up a Steez. The Fuego-A will feel extremely smooth up until that moment when you crank the handle on the Steez, fished side by side the Steez is in a class of its own. Of course the comparison really isnít fair when you consider that the Steez is 220 dollars more expensive than the Fuego.


The handle is easily screwed on either side for right or left hand retrieve


The Zaion body on the Fuego-A does make it a much more viable option for saltwater inshore fishing and anglers can use this reel for multiple species. The Fuego-A series of reels is available in a wide range of sizes from 1000-3000 and the larger reels pair well with medium action rods and sport beefy drags capable of handling larger species.


The entire handle arm is anodized red in keeping with the Fuego "fire" theme


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-A Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The new Fuego-A makes use of Zaion throughout the reel's construction and while I was originally skeptical this material was rigid enough to make a refined reel by the end of the tests I grew confident in the reel's construction 9
Performance Great casting and retrieve but a little on the light side when it comes to the drag. The 2000 size is great for finesse fishing and the reel is very light making it great for pairing with lightweight rods for drop shot and shaky head fishing 8.5
Price The Fuego-A is 30 dollars more than the previous version and faces stiff competition from the more affordable Stradic CI4 7
Features Lots of features here starting the corrosion resistant yet lightweight Zaion construction. The washable design and spare aluminum spool are both nice additions as well.  8
Design (Ergonomics) Lightweight and easy to fish with all day long. The Fuego-A is a very smooth reel and lighter than the previous generation 8.5
Application Good for both fresh and saltwater applications, there are multiple sizes so anglers can pick the right reel for different species 9

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

+ Durable Zaion construction is more corrosion resistant than magnesium - More pricey than the previous version and the competition
+ Light in overall weight, lighter than previous version - Smooth drag but not as strong as competing drag systems
+ The internal bail trip is a major upgrade from the previous version  
+ Washable design with a sealed drag system  
+ Included spare identical aluminum spool  


The Daiwa Fuego-A is yet another quality spinning reel from Daiwa and a definite upgrade from the previous version. Though I had initial concerns about the Zaion construction by the end of the tests I was a believer


Conclusion: The Fuego-A may not be as flashy as the previous generation but when it comes to performance enhancements the new reel is a definite upgrade. The only real downside for the Fuego-A is the increase in cost and the fact it faces very stiff competition from the more affordable Shimano Stradic CI4 which also is made from advanced carbon composites. Both reels deliver light overall weight that is very comparable and when it comes to which performs better consumers will likely stay within party lines and pick the manufacturer they have traditionally stuck with. Though the Fuego-A costs sixty dollars more Daiwa fans that want a lightweight refined reel but donít want to go all out for that premium Steez reel will find that the Fuego-A is yet another quality spinning reel from Team Daiwa. This reel is a step up from both the previous generation Fuego and Sol spinning reels and try as they might the competition still canít extinguish the fire that is that is the Daiwa Fuego.


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