This reel retails for $109.99 on Tackle Warehouse and I have several reels in this price range. The Daiwa Fuego CT, however, may be one of the smoothest in my collection at this particular price point. I was honestly shocked to feel how smoothly I was able to retrieve my line. If you were to close your eyes and I put this reel into your hands, you would think it's much more expensive than it is.
Does a smooth reel necessarily help you catch more fish? You could argue either side probably. But it certainly gives me more confidence that I'm holding a quality-made reel instead of one that could fall apart at any second. Trust me, it has happened to be before.
Feels great in your hands
Normally, you can hold a reel in your hands and pretty easily guess what it costs. But once again, the Fuego CT will throw you for a loop. This reel is actually built using the same palm-sized aluminum frame as the Tatula CT.
Weight-wise, the Fuego CT impresses once again. It's not an ultra low-profile reel, but it certainly doesn't feel heavy in your hand. In fact, it has just enough "meat" to it in order to make it feel sturdy and durable.
The contoured, swept handles are also a fantastic touch to this reel. They feel outstanding throughout the entire retrieve and they seem to resist fish slime and water quite well. Not once have I felt my hand slipping off the reel, even with the added torque of a bass on the end of my line.
The drag is plenty powerful
The Fuego CT also features Daiwa's popular U.T.D. (Ultimate Tournament Drag) system. It's tough as nails and you won't have any problems whatsoever with the drag slipping when you're fighting big fish. Personally speaking, I like to lock my drag down at all times and even when pulling 5-pound fish from underneath boat docks and over cross braces, I've never had a millimeter of line dispensed.
I also threw a shallow-crankbait with this reel and made it a point to loosen the drag to test its smoothness. Again, it was impressive and quite smooth. There was very little surging as the fish made last-minute runs at the boat.
Backlashes won't be much of a worry
Perhaps the quality that will hook anglers the quickest will the castability of this reel. Whether you're skipping docks or throwing a small crankbait directly into a stiff breeze, you're not going to have to "baby" this reel. The adjustable casting control allows you to find the near-perfect setting for just about any lure you're using. I took the reel straight out of the box and was skipping docks within a minute or two.
This is one of the more first-class reels I've tested in that $100 price point. It looks good, performs very well and feels like a much more expensive reel in your hand. I think this is going to be one of those reels that once anglers buy one and use it, they'll be buying several more throughout the year.