While many inexperienced anglers only ever use the reel that comes with their fishing rod, more experienced individuals know that the best reels are ones you buy separately and attach yourself.

If you enjoy a broad range of fishing styles and want something as versatile as you are, then you will have no doubt heard of the Daiwa Fuego CT. 

The Fuego CT has dominated the Daiwa brand for several decades, often appearing in conversations about the best budget reels for skilled anglers. 

Does this reel live up to the hype it has? Read on to find out.

Daiwa Fuego CT

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The Fuego series was once one of the most popular options made by Daiwa in the early 2000s and 2010s, and it has recently made a comeback due to some redesigns and new styling.

The Daiwa Fuego CT is a durable series of baitcasting fishing reels with a low bearing count, lightweight construction, and creative paint style. 

The series is more affordable than many of the other options from Daiwa and is designed to improve accuracy and control when casting in regular freshwater conditions.

Who Is This Product For?

The Fuego CT stands out because of its versatility. 

The reel is suitable for many different types of fishing and is flexible enough to be used by both beginners and experienced anglers.

However, the product is best when in the hands of someone with experience because it provides better control.

The reel really shines casting heavier hard or wire-based baits and is excellent when combined with heavy braid or monofilament line. 

For this reason, it is popular for every style of fishing except fly, which requires lighter materials.

What’s Included?

When you purchase the Fuego CT from Daiwa, you get the aluminum reel itself but no additional gear. 

The reel is painted in a sinister dark red and black, which provides a sleek and polished appearance. 

For best use, it is recommended you use the reel with longer, sturdier rods.

Overview of the Features

There are several excellent features of the Fuego CT that help it stand out from the competition.

One of the most significant is its lightweight aluminum construction, which is durable but easy to clean.

The interior also boasts full air rotation for a simpler crank and better retrieval. 

The Fuego CT can be used with the following line capacities: 12/150 and 14/120.

The line is easy to install and replace even after you have been using the reel for a while, and it has had a chance to wear down from repeated use.

There are several gear ratios available to choose from. The standard ratio is 6.3:1, but you can also select 7.3:1 or 8.1:1.

The total weight of the reel is 7.6 ounces, which is average for a versatile reel like the Fuego CT.

The drag is a bit of a sticking point.

While Daiwa lists the max drag as 13.5 pounds, most anglers are able to push the reel to 14.1 pounds without difficulty.

There are five interior stainless steel bearings and one extra for better balance. 

Unlike many other models currently on the market, the Fuego CT features an excellent anti-reverse system, which gives the user better control. 

The handle is also unique and quite beneficial.

It is a 90mm swept power handle with cutouts for reduced weight and greater casting.

If you open the reel, the interior boasts Daiwa’s Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag system of oversized carbon washers, which increase overall stopping power and make the reel a breeze to use.

If there is one downside, it is how the Fuego CT does occasionally demonstrate its status as an economy reel.

For example, it is not as accurate as other Daiwa models and is more prone to sticking during retrieval.

Nevertheless, for the money, it is still a great option.


  • Great drag
  • Easy to cast
  • Well-balanced
  • Lightweight
  • Accurate


  • Some sticking during retrieval
  • Paint flakes easily

How to Use This Reel

When you purchase a separate reel, you need to install it on your current rod. 

There are two different processes you will need to complete for proper installation. 

The first is actually attaching the reel to your rod. The second is making sure you have the line correctly installed so that it doesn’t jam when you are running it through the rest of the rod. 

To attach your reel, follow these simple steps. 

Step 1: Loosen the reel seat on your fishing rod.

Step 2: Place the reel foot of the Fuego CT reel into the reel seat.

Step 3: Tighten the reel seat so that it does not wobble at all. 

Next, follow these steps to get your line started.

Step 1: Open the bail and place the line around the reel once so that there are two separate “pieces” still connected.

Step 2: Tie a standard or overhand knot in the line using the two “pieces.”

Step 3: Tie another knot with the pieces of line that develop as a result of the original knot.

You will have a loose piece of line that needs to be cut 1/4″ away from the reel

Step 4: Close the bail.

Step 5: Hold the line taut at least 12 inches away from the reel to prevent tangles.

Step 6: Turn the reel until you have your desired amount of line.


One of the most popular alternatives to Daiwa’s Fuego CT is the Abu Garcia Pro Max Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel

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This Abu Garcia model is one of the most common reels to see because it is a budget option that is lightweight and versatile.

It possesses many of the same features as the Fuego CT but is less accurate.

In exchange, you will get an ever lighter reel that is easy to install.


Overall, Daiwa’s Fuego CT is an excellent budget reel suitable for almost every type of fishing possible.

It is lightweight and easy to install, and it has great drag and accuracy.

Plus, with the money you save, you will be able to purchase other fun fishing equipment, like an underwater camera, for example.