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Reel Review

Daiwa’s Steez EX 100XS offers a Deadly Combination of Both Speed and Precision (continued)

Ergonomics: I’ve always liked the way that the Steez reels feel in hand when mounted on any low profile reel seat. The reel sits low to the rod and palms naturally, allowing anglers to feather the spool with their thumbs and easily extend an index finger to make contact with the line during finesse applications. Weighing in at only 5.8oz. the Steez EX100XS matches beautifully with lightweight rods in the company’s own lineup or premium offerings from the likes of Megabass which cosmetically pair especially well.

Ergonomically the Steez EX XS is both lightweight and comfortable to palm

Putting this lightweight reel on a rod that weighs too much or is tip heavy defeats the purpose of investing in such a premium reel, the entire outfit must feel lightweight and balanced to fully appreciate the XS reel.

My favorite rod to pair with the Steez EX XS was the Megabass Super Bandersnatch

When you find the right rod to pair with this reel the effect is inspiring. For me the perfect rod was the Megabass Super Bandersnatch which also has a pared down sculpted design. Together this combination felt like a weapon, and inspired me to go out and attack the water. I love the oversized 100mm swept handle on the Steez XS, which features cutouts for weight reduction and extremely comfortable coated cork grips.

The Steez EX XS features a long 105mm handle

All the knobs on the reel have audible clicking adjustment and feel both refined and precise, something absolutely required of a reel at this price point. There is only one real problem with the Steez XS series when it comes to ergonomics, and that is the fact that it is only available in right hand retrieve. This is a huge bummer for enthusiasts (like our own Enthusiast Editor Cal), that are firmly set on fishing lefties.

Design & Ergonomics Ratings for Daiwa Steez EX100XS

Handle Length (1-5)
Knobs (1-5)
Palming (1-5)
Overall Weight (1-5)
Ease of Breakdown (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

The handle is also aggressively ported for lighter weight

Price & Applications: Daiwa has often been accused of catering only to the high end angler but in recent seasons the company has done a lot to balance out the line with more mainstream offerings like the Lexa and Tatula series. As a result reel unit sales have gone way up but some hardcore Daiwa enthusiasts have started complaining that the company has gone too mainstream.

Like previous Steez EX reels the XS has a flat profile and provides plenty of access to the spool

It reminds me of when Porsche released the Cayenne sport utility vehicle. The decision to introduce a Porsche badged SAV was seen as sacrilege to many Porsche enthusiasts, and yet the Cayenne has proven to be the company’s bestselling vehicle year after year, enabling the brand to grow and put even more resources on the design and manufacture of their premium sports cars. Perhaps the Lexa and Tatula will do just that for Daiwa.  

The knobs are cork dipped in slightly translucent rubber

It is hard to please everyone but reel’s like the Steez EX100XS are a testament to Daiwa’s desire to continue delivering premium products that push the envelope in terms of refinement. Designed for ultra fast applications like power fishing or tossing reaction baits this baitcaster not only gets the job done, it does so in style, but retailing at a whopping $599.99 per unit makes this reel a significant investment for any angler. Does anyone really “need” an ultra premium lightweight high speed baitcaster? As we all know “need” and “want” are two totally separate things and while the XS reel is certainly not for everyone it is a great reel for those anglers that want the best ultra high speed magnesium baitcaster that money can buy.

Application Ratings for Daiwa Steez EX100XS

Horizontal (1-5)
Vertical (1-5)
Finesse (1-5)
Big Baits (1-5)
Topwater (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)


Some anglers have reported that the Steez Series reels do not hold up well to the rigors of tournament fishing, that the gearing easily strips under pressure. I personally haven’t experienced this and have actually personally ruined more TD-Z reels than Steez reels. Like any reel the Steez EX100XS does require some maintenance over time and I found that a simple lube after heavy use was enough to keep it performing well. While I definitely recommend the Zillion reels over the Steez EX100XS when it comes to selecting a workhorse reel for day in and day out use, the Steez EX reel is still the go to reel for applications requiring ultimate refinement and finesse.


Is this the most refined high speed magnesium based reel ever built? It very well might be



Daiwa Steez EX100XS Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality High end materials and tight tolerances throughout, this reel is the definition of high quality construction 10
Performance strong performance in speed and finesse. if you are looking for a workhorse every day reel this is not it, but if you want the ultimate in lightweight speed and precision the Steez EX XS will not disappoint 8.8
Price Expensive, very expensive. 5
Features Strong portfolio of features including a beefed up drag system 9.28
Design (Ergonomics) Excellent ergonomics throughout. This reel is easy to palm and fish all day long 9.2
Application Good for high speed and finesse applications 8.4

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:


+ Looks and performs like a true flagship "halo" reel. The XS builds upon the already excellent Steez Series for high speed power fishing - Costly, a lot of dough, a boatload of cash... any way you slice it this reel is expensive, which is exactly what you expect for a enthusiast reel
+ Excellent ergonomics, light and comfortable to fish - More of a niche performer than an all round workhorse reel
+ A surprisingly powerful drag for a Daiwa finesse reel - The Steez EX XS is not available in left hand retrieve
+ Exceptionally refined  


Conclusion: A few seasons ago when I reviewed the Steez XBD rod I found it so refined that I compared it to a samurai sword. The Steez EX100XS is the same, it delivers that unique combination of incredible speed and refinement. This is one reel that looks and feels like a functional work of art and at such a high price point it would be tempting for enthusiasts to baby this reel and leave it on the rod rack at home but that would be a shame. Like a premium sports car the Steez EX100XS begs to be driven, pushed to its limits, and it will continue to surprise you by just how truly capable it is.


The Steez EX100XS is a purpose built tool that delivers that rare combination of speed and precision

Make no mistake there is nothing practical about the Steez EX100XS, but sometimes it just feels so good to embrace the darkside and feed your passion, this is what an Ultimate Enthusiast product is all about. The Steez EX100XS is to Daiwa what the 911 GT3 is to Porsche, a purpose built machine, albeit an expensive one, that is designed to be both precise and engaging. Unlike so many other products the Steez EX truly delivers that rare combination of speed and precision, all in one very sleek package.

Looking for the Daiwa Steez EX XS? Try Tackle Warehouse










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