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Selecting the right Rod, Reel, and Line for Your Walking Bait Arsenal

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Reel Review

Fighting Smallies with Fire, Daiwa Fuego style (continued)

The pursuit continues: The Fuego comes with an identical spare spool, which I had loaded up with 6lb test. This was a bit light for fishing through wood, but I decided it was a good test to see just how well the pint sized Fuego would handle both larger lures and hopefully bigger fish. I tied on the fattest wood negotiating lure I had in the boat, which happened to be a pre-release Daiwa RPM crank. Once I cast towards the structure and started retrieving the line felt immediately strained as the lure kicked back and forth, but the reel did just fine. The lure was certainly a bit much for 6lb test, but nonetheless I decided to keep on casting as I didn’t have time to re-spool with 8lb test.


Underneath the spool we find the support mechanism and clicker

The Fuego brought back the RPM crank admirably but after thirty minutes it looked as if the “Triple Crown” was going to slip through my fingers. As we rounded the final point towards the ramp and trolled parallel to shore the sun dropped behind the hill and the swallows came out and skirted the surface of the lake. Just a few more casts….  


The Fuego knob has a gasket to seal out contaminates

With the launch ramp no more than three hundred feet away I cast towards the shore and cursed as I snagged up. Cal immediately slowed the bait to see if we needed to turn back and liberate the lure, but there was no need. What I thought was a snag was a largemouth that had tagged the RPM crank. It didn’t move until I had tightened the line, and as it realized that something was wrong it suddenly came shooting out of the surface. “Nice one!” Cal exclaimed as JIP grabbed the camera. A nice one indeed, I thought as the Fuego’s drag came to life. “Take your time” Cal said as he opened up the stowaway net he had just packed up less than five minutes ago.

The oiled surface on the drag adjustment knob

The tiny 2000 Fuego released line consistently as I tried to turn the fish. The Steez rod responded, and while the tip continued to dance the overall rig suddenly didn’t feel outmatched. Though the smallmouth I had caught earlier had fought more violently this fight was much more satisfying.

The drag system is held in place with a wire spring

The fish on the end of the line seemed to have plenty of fight, and as it started to come in I got a glimpse of the fish and suddenly realized that I had a serious chance of losing this fish as it had taken the rear hook, and was caught right on the tip of her lip.

The inside of the spool

I eased up on the Fuego, and slowly guided the fish in, at which time Cal exploded on the fish with the net. I let out a sigh of relief as the three of us stared at the 8lbr in the net. What followed was a victory roar that had anglers at the nearby ramp scrambling to see what we had boated.


The larger Fuego reels come with a paddle handle, while the 2000 makes use of teh familiar barrel knob

Though the Fuego may have been built for smaller fish like Trout, Crappie, and smallmouth, it certainly proved that it has the muscle to tangle with bigger fish. The reel’s ergonomics are ideal for smaller fish, and while the larger power handle found on the 3000 would have been nice for this fight, the small barrel handle worked out just fine in the end.

Zander hooks into a fish, and this one isn't a "smallie"


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