Fighting Smallies with Fire, Daiwa Fuego style
smallie the Fuego hung right in there, coughing up just the right amount of drag
counter resistance as these aggressive fish tried to shake the hooks. A strong
drag isn’t as important as a consistent one when fishing hard fighting smaller
fish like smallmouth bass and trout, as anglers are likely using ultralight
The Fuego features a titanium
nitrided ball bearing line roller
The 2000 Fuego showcased
13.1 lbs of drag counter pressure in our lab test, which is phenomenal for a
reel of this size. Anglers most likely will not button down this reel often, but
its good to know there is plenty of reserve drag just in case. The drag features
a microclick adjustment which we found very refined, and allowed us to fine-tune
drag settings in .3lb increments.
Line is laid evenly on the spool
protects the drag with a sealed “washable system.” This design allows anglers to
wash off the reel without forcing moisture or salt inside the drag system. The
system basically utilizes a washer to provide an extra barrier of protection
from any type of debris. In our tests we found it excellent for splashes and
even effective for complete submerges for short periods. The washable design
makes a lot of sense for the Fuego since routine rinses and wipe-downs will
ensure the reel’s magnesium finish will remain as good as new.
The familiar tubular Air-Bail
Ergonomics and the “Triple Crown”: After catching smallmouth for two days my
arm still felt great after countless casts and retrieves. Perhaps it was the
combination of the Fuego with the premium Steez compile-X rod, but the total rig
was an absolute pleasure to fish.
When fishing for smallies we needed to cast
many lightweight split shot rigs
The outfit balanced out so
nicely I didn’t feel like I had to tightly grip the rod as I brought lures to
life with ultralight 4lb line. When fish took the plastics the drag would do
most of the work as I patiently allowed the smallmouths to work out their
aggression, reeling them in as they began to tire.
be smaller in size, but certainly not in "fight"
Save the external bail
return, the Fuego is exceptional when it comes to ergonomics. The reel looks
much more compact than the Sol, and really feels quite light….well that is until
you compare it side by side with the ultralight Steez, which is the ultimate
performance match for the compile-x spinning rod.
Stressing the seals on the washable drag
After the Fuego had put the
hurt on so many smallies I decided to go for what Cal calls the “Triple Crown,”
catching smallies, spots, and largemouth all in the same day on the same lake. I
had already caught a few spots that fell for the same plastic rigs I had dipped
for smallmouth, but I was yet to catch any good old bucketmouths. We powered
across the lake into some deeper water loaded with more structure to pursue some
largemouth as the sun started to make its decent.
The drag knob
Next Section: The
pursuit of bigger prey