By Les Albjerg
I have had the chance to fish the Daiwa Presso ST 56XUL for the past two weeks. Chris' review is of the 4-piece rod. I fished the 2-piece rod.
I own the Daiwa Iprimi 60XUL-4. I also compared the rod to the Shimano Cardiff Exlead S57SUL/R-GS. I'll just say it, you really do get what you pay for. The Presso ST is in between the other two rods. I was able to fish the Presso ST in a pond, a spring,and a creek. I really like the Iprimi in still or very slow water. It doesn't have the backbone for creek fishing. The Daiwa ST has enough backbone for moderate currents. The handle of the Daiwa ST is very comfortable. It holds the reel firmly and positions the hand nicely for controlling the line. The construction of rod is excellent. You can feel the quality in the hand and see it when you look over the rod.
Fishing this rod was a real joy. It casts well. It didn't take long to get the accuracy dialed in. Even with the 0.9 gram lures I was able to get incredible distance. It also casts the 0.5 gram spoons. I could do the "wave" cast that Joe Robinson talks about in "Piscatorial Absurdities" although the cast is much easier with the Iprimi.
After building a rod to Joe's specifications and working on the wave cast, I have deemed it more of a novelty than a useful cast. Our modern graphite rods do well with simply a short cast to get the lure out to where it is needed or an underhand side cast. You can really feel this rod load what ever lure you use. I fished a 3 gram lure, which is at the upper limit of the rod, and it didn't get whippy at all. The Presso ST is an excellent casting rod and gives you control and accuracy.
Fighting the fish with this rod is excellent. In Chris' write-up he covers the ability of this rod to handle small fish with the sensitivity to enjoy the battle. I just want to say it handles a larger fish well too. I caught several 12 inch rainbows out of a pond and spring (slow moving water) and this rod has the backbone to handle them. My gripe about the Iprimi is that it doesn't handle fish over 15 inches well. The Presso ST gave me a stunning battle with a 17 inch rainbow. This rod has an excellent parabolic curve during the fight. It protects the light line as well as gives you full feel of the battle. I also caught a 15 inch rainbow in a creek and I had enough backbone to move the fish in the current.
In my book, this rod is worth the extra money over the Iprimi. The 4-piece rod will make an excellent pack rod, and the 2-piece is a joy to fish. I can highly recommend this rod. The next step up are two rods in the 400 dollar range. The Shimano Cardiff Exlead S57SUL/IR-GS or the Tenyru Rayz RZA62UL-S. When it comes to the fight, I can say the Presso ST and the Cardiff Exlead are a tie in my opinion. You will have to decided if the extra features are worth the price of a Shimano or a Tenyru.
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The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.