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Rod Review

CB Rod Wars Part 8: Daiwa’s Steez Fle-X-Lite Cranking Sticks are Scary Slick (continued)

Casting: On short casts the Fle-X-Lite rod feels precise but when cast overhand assertively the regular action really has plenty of give allowing anglers to really sling larger baits. The rod behaves like a glass rod when casting and while I was conservatively casting at first by the end of the first day with the rod I felt confident really putting muscle behind casts and whipping out everything from 1/4 oz. speed traps to 5/8oz. deep diving Norman DD14’s and DD22’s. 


Casting tests begin conservatively


Retrieve: The minute I started towing lures, even the shallow running ones would bend the tip over on the Fle-X-Lite. When the first fish took the lure I set normally and found the rod loaded up very evenly but further down the blank than I expected. When the next fish struck my lure I went into a full on “pro” set and really loaded the blank, again no problems but it was getting hard to believe that the Fle-X-Lite wasn’t a hybrid glass rod like the Phenix X-10. Like the recently completed Dobyns glass rod the Fle-X-Lite delivers true fiberglass like action without the weight penalty or loss in sensitivity.  


The rod features a split grip


Though completely graphite the Fle-X-Lite rods are designed to offer up a soft parabolic “giving” action that allows fish to inhale a lure deeper before feeling any resistance, increasing the chances of a hook-up. At the same time the blank flexes just enough to absorb shock and help prevent fine wire hooks from tearing loose and then it quickly transitions into backbone for fish control.


After a while we gain confidence in the rod and whip out larger baits


The Fle-X-Lite STZ701MRBA-FL is probably the best all round cranking rod in the Steez lineup. The shorter 6’5” rod is good for smaller and lighter crankbaits that do not dive deep down and the longer 7’2” rod is good for heavy lipless crankbaits and very long lipped deep divers, but the 7’ Medium STZ701MRBA-FL that we tested is the best all round rod and can handle a very wide range of baits from 1/8-1oz., and is also an excellent choice for many jerkbaits.


The Fle-X-Lite makes use of Fuji titanium framed SiC guides


The Fle-X-Lite is an absolute pleasure to fish with, the air-foam grips feel great in hand and after fishing with the rod paired with a Steez reel it is actually easy to get spoiled. Just a few hours with this rig and you will start to take the light overall weight for granted, and it is only after switching back to another rig do you start to realize just how light the Steez combo really is.


A top view of the Air-Beam reel seat


Power: When it comes to power the Steez Fle-X-Lite feels just like the Phenix X-10, and while it is not the most powerful rod it does feel confident and the taper of the blank is perfectly matched for crankbait fishing. Load up the blank and it will keep the proper tension on fish and you really don’t muscle in fish so much as the rod backbone protects the line and bait as you guide the fish in.


From multiple angles the Air-Beam reel seat seems to glow different colors

Sensitivity, that high price and performance










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