How do you select a rod & reel?
Response by Craig Baugher - Dated 2/06/2000

       There is a lot of argument over whose rods are better, and who has the best return policy. But here is my opinion:

Great Rods
G. Loomis
St. Croix

Very Good Rods
Fenwick (HMG Series)
Daiwa (TDS Series)
Quantum (Touring Series)
Berkley (Lightning Rod - Hank Parker Series)
Falcon (LowRider Series)
Cabela's (Fish Eagle Series)
Bass Pro's (Pro Qualifier/Extreme Series)

       When buying a rod always ask it the rod will handle super lines (braided). If they answer yes, ask if that is in writing or if they are willing to put it in writing. Cheap guides cannot handle superlines and will break or wear out under the stress.

       If you want to really test a rod and you feel like carrying some additional weight on you, carry a one pound weight. With a reel attached, tie the line onto the one pound weight and lift. That one pound dry weight is roughly equal to catching a ten pound fish. You will also see the true action of the rod. It is also a Great way to test the reel as well. The reel in most cases will have a real hard time cranking in a one pound dry weight. If it handles it with ease, its a should be a good reel, especially if it is real smooth feel when pulling the weight up.

       Watch the reaction of the salesperson when you pull that weight out. If they freak out and don't let you, you don't want their product in the first place.

       With reels it's a more of a personal feel, do you like the feel of the traditional cylinder (Round) or low profile. But most reels made with five plus (stainless steel) ballbearing and all brass gears are going to last you a long time. I personally use Shimano's Curado Reels (which does not meet the standard but it is close, it has 4 stainless steel ballbearing and 1 roller bearing (5 total) and has all but one brass gears, one gear is plastic).

       Look for key words like: Stainless Steel Ballbearings and Brass Gears. Where some will say 6 ball bearings and all Metal construction. The bearings are made of steel, and the gears are made of steel, plastic or cheap power-metal. Steel rusts, plastic wears out quickly, and power-metal breaks easily under stress (a good size fish). The one pound test is perfect for these conditions. I also believe in the carpet test for feel or sensitivity, but I also use a hookless jig when I do this test to see how the rod relays the feel through the guides. If you do these tests, you will end up with a great rood and reel that is perfect for you.

       One final note: I do believe in sticking with one series of rods and reels to ensure I maintain  consistency of feel.

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