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Daiwa Fuego LT Review

In this review of the Diawa Fuego LT, we will take a look at this new reel that was released at the 2017 ICAST event.  Based on the reels name, we would have to ask ourselves is this really a HOT, LIGHT & TOUGH reel –  let’s dig in and see.

As many of you who follow Salted Angler know we are really big fans of the Diawa brand with the Daiwa BG SW being our favorite reel for under a $100 (most models).  Does the Daiwa Fuego LT live up to the Daiwa reputation?

We like the fact that this is a lighter weight reel than the Daiwa BG SW (its carbon body is lite and tough).  The main shaft is protected by Daiwa’s Magsealed design.  The Fuego LT uses the same Digigear drive system as the Daiwa BG SW and a similar machined aluminum screw in handle for strength that can be reversed for right or left-handed use. The Fuego LT also uses a 7 bearing (6BB + 1 RB) system for smooth casts and retrieves like the BG.

The primary difference between the two reels is going to be in the weight category.  The Fuego LT 2000 weights in at 7.2 oz vs. the 9.3 oz of the BG 2000 that is almost a 25% reduction in weight.  The same goes for the largest model the Fuego LT 4000 which weighs in at 8.4 oz vs. the same sized BG 4000 at 14.3 oz which is a whopping 41% drop in weight for the same sized reel.

The Bottom Line

  • Another favorite saltwater reel from Daiwa in the $100 range for inshore fishing
  • Very smooth reel with a great drag
  • Lightweight due to the carbon infused body
  • Magsealed technology to keep saltwater out

The Daiwa Fuego LT reel is an all-around winner and is available HERE.

Features

Sleek design, yet strong and durable – Daiwa has focused on reducing the weight of the Fuego over previous models and has created a reel that meets all the criteria for a finesse saltwater reel.

Lightweight, sturdy carbon-infused housing – The carbon infused housing of the Daiwa Fuego LT means that you are going to have a reel that is both lightweight and durable.

Air Rotor with Air Bail – The air rotor is very lightweight and does a great job of distributing the stress on the rotor and is very well balanced.  The air bail is also very lightweight due to its hollow construction of stainless steel.  While hollow the bail appears to still be sturdy and should hold up over years of fishing.

DigiGear computer-driven gear design – These over-sized gears are digitally cut on what we believe to be a CNC machine, Daiwa is pretty hush-hush about how this is actually done.

The over-sized gear allows for more teeth to be in contact simultaneously which means that you get a smoother retrieve and extended life of your reel as there is not as much stress on any one tooth at a time.  Torque is also increased and therefore you have more power when retrieving a larger fish.  The Daiwa Fuego LT reels come in 3 gear ratios 5.2:1, 5.3:1 & 6.2:1 to handle a variety of fishing lures and styles.

Magsealed technology protects the main shaft – Magseal technology uses Magoil that can be magnetically solidified similar to how a boat’s propeller shaft uses packing to keep water, dirt, and salt out of the main shaft.  The advantage of this is that you will have a reel that feels like a new reel for a much longer time.

Buttery smooth 7-bearing (6+1) system – There are seven anti-rust stainless steel ball bearings in the Daiwa Fuego LT, but they are not shielded for water protection as you will find in most of the higher-end reels from Daiwa.

Extremely powerful drag system – The drag system on the Daiwa Fuego LT is excellent and provides the proper amount of drag for even your hard fighting inshore species such as snook.  I like the fact that it is also protected from water.

Ergonomic machined aluminum handle – The machined aluminum handle has a gentle sway to it that just feels right in your hands.  The handle is designed to screw in for a solid feel with no slop and can easily be adapted for both right or left handed retrieving.

 Features at a Glance

  • Sleek design, yet strong and durable
  • Lightweight, sturdy carbon-infused housing
  • Air Rotor with Air Bail
  • DigiGear computer-driven gear design
  • Magsealed technology protects the main shaft
  • Buttery smooth 7-bearing (6+1) system
  • Extremely powerful drag system
  • Ergonomic machined aluminum handle
  • Adapts to either right- or left-hand retrieve

Field Test

For my field test, I paired a Daiwa Fuego LT 2500 with a 5.3:1 gear ratio to one of my favorite rods – the St. Croix Mojo Inshore.  The combination of these two gives me a very lightweight setup with a total weight of just over 13 oz. loaded with 20 lb test braid.

Since the fishing has been horrible around here lately due to our algae runoff from Lake Okeechobee and the red tide, I decided to head on over to Mosquito Lagoon on the east coast and target some redfish and spotted sea trout with artificials.  On a side note, if you have not taken the time to learn about what is going on in South Florida please visit Captains For Clean Water.

Ok back to the review — but these water quality issues have me heated.

The reel performed very well, I was impressed with how smooth the reel is out of the box.  While I have just started using the Fuego LT myself, I have spoken with a number of fellow fishermen who have been using the reel for the last 6-9 months and all of them had very positive things to say.  The reel seems to hold up after extensive use in saltwater.  One person commented that after 2 weeks of fishing every day and no rinsing that there was a small amount of binding, however, that was easily resolved with a thorough cleaning that did not involve having to break the reel down.

I was able to get into some decent sized redfish 24″-28″ and the drag was flawless, no jerkiness just smooth.  I also found the retrieve to be very smooth with the oversized DigiGears and the ever so slightly bent aluminum handle.  I got into and was able to land a few trout in the 20″-22″ range with a much lighter drag setting and the reel proved to be a lot of fun to use here as well, I love light tackle!  I personally did not experience any issues with drag in the lighter settings, however, some people have reported slight sticking in the light drag setting.

I have been a fan of the Daiwa product for the last few years as I feel that it delivers a great bang for the buck and the Daiwa Fuego LT is no different, in fact, I think that it is a step up from the Daiwa BG SW which I fish a lot.  Personally, I love this reel and it will most likely be replacing my Daiwa BG SW as it is a lot lighter and actually has more drag with 22 lbs on the Fuego LT vs. 13.2 lbs on the BG SW.

For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.

ModelLine Retrieve (in)Gear RatioMono Cap(lbs/yd)Max Drag (lb)Ball BearingsWeight (oz)
FGLT1000D25.55.2:14/250
6/160
8/110
86+16.4
FGLT2500D29.65.3:18/240
10/210
12/160
226+17.2
FGLT2500D-XH34.56.2:18/240
10/210
12/160
226+17.2
FGLT3000D-C31.65.3:110/280
12/220
16/160
226+17.5
FGLT4000D-C32.55.2:110/280
12/220
16/160
26.56+18.4

The Daiwa Fuego LT comes in 4 sizes the Fuego LT 1000, Fuego LT 2500 (2 gear ratios, Fuego LT 3000 and the largest the Fuego LT 4000).  With the range of sizes, you can find one to fit your needs for everything from teasing small mangrove snappers out from their cover to fighting a nice sized redfish or snook.

As I mentioned earlier the Daiwa Fuego LT is a newer reel and so it will take a few years to get detailed feedback from a large group of people to see how well the reel actually holds up over the long haul.  With that said I have spoken with several guides and pros that are using these and the general consensus seems to be that so far so good.

Pros

  • Very lightweight
  • Sealed against the elements
  • Smooth drag

Cons

  • Some reports of a slightly sticky drag in the light setting, I did not have this issue.
  • Some reports of the bail being off balance, I did not have this issue.

Alternatives

Sticking with the Daiwa brand, I would have to direct you to the Daiwa BG SW which is still one of my favorite reels and has been proven over the years.  What you won’t get with the BG is the lightweight that you get with the Fuego LT.  Remember in a 2500 series, the BG weighs in at 9.3 oz. vs. 7.2 oz which is about 25% more for the BG.  Read the full Daiwa BG SW review HERE.

In the lightweight category, I would recommend that you also look at the Quantum Smoke Inshore PT.  This reel is going to be very similar in features and weight with a little bit more in the water protection category and will run you about 50% more.  Read the full Quantum Smoke Inshore review HERE.

The last reel you might want to consider would be the Shimano Stradic Ci4+ which is even lighter than the Fuego LT but comes at about twice the price.  Read the full Shimano Stradic Ci4+ review HERE.

In Conclusion

Overall I am very impressed with the Daiwa Fuego LT and look forward to continuing fishing with it for the foreseeable future when I am throwing light artificials.  When compared to other options, I think that it is hard to go wrong at this price point.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Daiwa Fuego LT
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