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Drag: The drag of our Presso was very smooth and free from any studdering or awkward pulls, but the maximum drag on our reel tested at a disappointing two pounds of pressure. We re-tested the Pixy to verify our calibration and found the same results as when we tested it for review - a maximum of three pounds of pressure. Back to the Presso. Fished under its intended purpose as a true ultralight baitcaster using light line on a light action rod, we surmised the Presso's drag performance to be acceptable and probably even more suited for 4lb test than the 6lb test line we were using.

The Presso baitcaster features attractive anodized orange highlights


Out on the water, our battle with bass up to a pound and a half proved lengthy yet exhilarating - something to be expected when using light to ultra-light gear - yet we felt in more control of the fish because we were using baitcasting gear. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful at coaxing any trout to bite during our tests, but would expect such a battle to prove even more thrilling as trout typically take longer and harder runs than a bass of equal size or weight.

Ergonomics: Matching the profile and palmability of the Pixy, we were quite familiar with the Presso's shape and size. We were surprised, however, that the smaller handle proved to not be bothersome and we, of course, enjoyed the feathery 5.4 ounces of the reel's weight. Aside from that, the externally adjustable brake control and position of the thumb bar were things we enjoyed, while the non-clicking dragstar an cast control cap continue to serve as this editor's pet peeve.


The line guide of our Daiwa Presso baitcaster


Though the spool of the Daiwa Presso appears very shallow, we were surprised to find out it holds the same amount of line as the Daiwa Pixy

Design & Upgrades: In a departure from its slightly flashier sibling, the Pixy, the Daiwa Presso features an attractive black anodized finish with orange highlights and an s-curve stamped metal handle and dragstar. The composition of this reel seems to infer a slightly more ominous target prey than trout but it is certainly a handsome design. Those whose favorite sports teams share this same color scheme (e.g. Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants) might just see this reel as a must have!

The split reel foot of our Daiwa Presso baitcaster

For the true enthusiast, and those who like to tweak and customize their reels, you will be happy to know the same upgrades that can be made to the Daiwa Pixy translate to the Presso baitcaster. In fact, we were able to outfit our Presso with the very rare ZPI CP-301 Mg Pixy spool, a carbon handle by Bassart, and the popular Daiwa cork knobs and bearing kit. Throw in some SIC bearings and maybe an upgrade to the drag washers and what enthusiast could resist but grin from ear to ear from this masterpiece?


Those not satisfied with their reels "out of the box", will be happy to know there are upgrades available for this reel including the out of production, difficult to find ZPI CP-301 Mg Pixy spool, Bassart carbon handle, and Daiwa Cork knobs.


Daiwa Presso Baitcaster Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good things come in small packages and our Daiwa Presso is no exception but we'd still like to see a forged handle and dragstar or maybe a stock, carbon handle. 8.5
Performance Performance differences between this reel and the Pixy were minimal, but there nonetheless. Unfortunately, one of those differences was not in casting ability of light weight offerings. 8
Price Initially well above the Pixy price point, the cost to acquire a Presso baitcaster has since normalized but it's still a pricey reel 8
Features The real key here is in the reel's weight.. 5.4 ounces!! 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) So small and light it almost disappears in your palm 9
Application As a species specific trout reel, this baitcaster is in the same vein as an Ultra Light spinning reel and probably best suited for this intended purpose 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Super light at 5.4 ounces L No micro-click drag adjustment
J Externally adjustable brake control L UL powered drag
J Bearing supported knobs on handle (one bearing per knob)
J Nice, anodized finish


One last look at our Daiwa Presso, a species specific baitcaster targeted at trout

Conclusion: As a species specific ultra light baitcaster targeted at trout, the Daiwa Presso will serve its intended purpose and serve it well. We were disappointed, however, that our experience showed the castability of the reel did not exceed that of our Pixy when it came to throwing super light offerings. We expected more. As a finesse casting alternative to the Pixy targeting black bass or any fish, including trout, of significant size, we really question the difference in drag pressure uncovered during our tests. Kept in context with 4lb test line and an appropriately rated rod, the drag will be fine, but anything more demanding than that, and the reel will likely fall short of hopes. This is not a knock against the reel as it was not designed for this purpose, but a data point for anyone considering this reel to keep in mind.

Daiwa has certainly introduced the Presso amidst a seemingly untapped market - a TRUE ultralight baitcasting reel. The question then is, in a segment dominated by spinning tackle, is the Presso a viable alternative? With benefits including a lighter overall setup and the line management benefits of baitcasting gear, assuming the Presso is matched with an appropriately rated rod, we answer with a qualified "yes".












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