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Rod Review

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

Sensitivity: In terms of sensitivity in a reaction bait rod it just doesn’t get any better than this. The Daiwa Fle-X-Lite delivers the soft parabolic action required in a quality crankbait rod and while you would swear that the tip is glass when it comes to action the SVF material reminds you this rod is all graphite and proves exceptional at transmitting even the slightest brushes with structure.


The Fle-X-Lite is finished with a gold laser engraved butt cap


While cranking with fluorocarbon isn’t always my first choice it is an absolute blast with the Fle-X-Lite rod. The combination of fluorocarbon with this blank delivers the feeling that you know exactly what the crank or reaction bait is doing on the end of the line. The reduced stretch telegraphs every tiny tick and when fish bite there is simply no mistaking it.


The rod transitions nicely when loaded up


Ergonomics: If you purchase the Fle-X-Lite be ready to fork out the extra money for a matching Steez reel. The pairing with a Steez reel multiplies how much you will like this rod. While it is good with a reel like the Zillion, it is absolutely phenomenal when paired with a Steez reel when it comes to overall ergonomics.


A delta bass gets cranked up on the Fle-X-Lite


The Steez SVF Fle-X-Lite’s ergonomic Air-Beam reel seat that reduces rod weight fits easily in the user’s hand and adds to the overall aesthetics. Rod weight is reduced further by the Air Foam grips, which supply a comfortable secure hold, yet are lighter than cork or ordinary EVA foam.


9.9oz total weight. This is one light combo!


The Fle-X-Lite weighs in at 4.2oz. by itself and only 9.9oz. with a Steez reel bolted on, compare that to 13oz. total weight when paired with a Zillion 100SHA. That’s an incredibly low overall weight for a cranking rig, and pretty much the polar extreme from the heavy and dead feeling glass cranking sticks of the past. In comparison to traditional glass cranking rods the Steez Fle-X-Lite paired with a Steez reel feels like a precision weapon in hand…the samurai sword of cranking rods.


Sorry no hook hanger here just like the JDM product


Price & Applications: The Steez Fle-X-Lite blew us away in almost every category and when it comes to ergonomics this rod is extremely comfortable to fish with all day long. Even deep cranking lures puts little strain on your arms or wrists as the consistent yet lightweight blank absorbs all the shock and yet is still able to deliver exceptional sensitivity.


A bigger fish on the line and the rod's taper protects the line and keeps the fish pinned


The Fle-X-Lite 7 foot (STZ701MRBA-FL) casting rod is excellent for both shallow to medium crankbaits as well as large topwaters and even the occasional spinnerbait. I found it extremely good for fast shallow running crankbaits like Speed Traps, and the superior sensitivity will help anglers work around both soft and hard cover. Unfortunately like many premium products all of this comes at a cost, and that cost is whopping $449 dollars per rod. It is actually possible to buy some of the other rods in our Crankbait Rod Wars as well as a decent reel and still come in under the price point of the Fle-X-Lite alone.


The Fle-X-Lite is one extremely refined rod, and is an absolute pleasure to fish with. When paired with a Steez reel it gets even better, and when you go back to other combos they feel downright heavy


The Daiwa Steez series has never been about aggressive prices or even about total cost of ownership, the series is built for the most discriminating of anglers. This is the flagship product in the line and is made for the tackle aficionado that not only wants to fish with the best that the company has to offer but is also willing to pay for it. As expected the Steez SVF Fle-X-Lite rods come with Daiwa’s Limited Lifetime Warranty for peace of mind.


Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Daiwa Steez STZ701MRBA-FL Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Daiwa is built with exceptional materials and has excellent attention to detail in construction 9.5
Performance The performance of this rod is excellent in just about every category 9
Price Ouch, the Daiwa Steez rods are expensive and the Fle-X-Lite is a serious investment for anglers. There are few non import rods in the crankbait rod wars that cost as much as the Steez. At 450 dollars this rod is the same price as the Jackall Poison cranking stick 5
Features Top end components but no hook hanger here just like the JDM rods, if you want one your going to need to add and aftermarket one. 8
Design (Ergonomics) Pair this stick with a Steez reel and it is a ergonomic match made in heaven 9.5
Application This rod is great for a wide range of cranking and moving bait applications. The most well rounded rod in the Daiwa Fle-X-Lite series 9

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:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Excellent build quality, and very refined. Feels like glass yet has the positive attributes of graphite L Alone this rod costs more than many of the competing crankbait rod war rods plus a reel
J True enthusiast appeal L No hook hanger for those that want one
J Feels very precise, truly the samurai sword of cranking rods  
J Exceptional ergonomics  
J Paired with a Steez reel it gets even better  

Conclusion: While there is no disputing the incredible ergonomics of the Steez combo the $929 dollar price tag for the Fle-X-Lite and a matching Steez reel is no small investment. I almost don’t know if I should fish with the combo or just mount the rig in a glass case, but make no mistake the Fle-X-Lite is a quality cranking stick that can really hold its own against the best that any other competing rod in our crankbait rod wars, and that includes the currently available JDM product. While not cheap the Fle-X-Lite’s super volume fiber material comes the closest of all the rods in the crankbait rod wars to mimicking the attributes of glass for high-torque cranking while still offering the impressive light weight and sensitivity properties of graphite. Daiwa makes no compromises with the Fle-X-Lite, and while there are better values than this costly stick there are not many rods that can contend with this first-class offering when it comes to quality, refinement, and sheer enthusiast appeal. The Daiwa Fle-X-Lite is so slick it is actually scary, and that is exactly what makes this rod an “Ultimate Enthusiast” class product.


Looking for a Daiwa Steez Fle-X-Lite Rod? Try Tackle Warehouse.










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