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nater

New Baitcasting Rod Decision

14 posts in this topic

I am looking at getting a new baitcasting rod for this summer and want to get a higher quality rod. I currently only have spinning setups besides my muskie rod, so I'm not to sure what to look for in a good baitcaster or the main differences between manufacturers.

I am looking at getting a 6'6" MH rod that I can use for casting for bass, northern, etc. So far I have narrowed my options down to: Fenwick HMG, G-Loomis GL-2, St. Croix Avid. I would like to stay in that price range, but am open to suggestions.

Thanks for you help!

Nate

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I use my loomis rods more than my St. Croix's. I prefer the feel of them. Cabelas has the MBR783C: 6'6", 10-17#, 1 1/4-3/4 oz lure, Fast Action, Medium Heavy for $150 on their site.

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Between the three listed ($125-$175), I'd probably go with the GL-2,

Outside of the three, I would seriously consider a Shimano Crucial or even Cabelas XML's.

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I should run down to Cabela's and take a look at their rods, its been awhile since I have been there. I think the Shimano is a good option as well. When I go out and look at casting rods what is a feature to pay close attention to? Length of the cork handle? Flexibility of the tip? # of guides?

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I would recommend the crucials or the loomis. The loomis megabass rods are extremely nice but they are a little more expensive.

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 Originally Posted By: nater
When I go out and look at casting rods what is a feature to pay close attention to? Length of the cork handle? Flexibility of the tip? # of guides?

I would think that it would be whatever feels the best in your hands. I am a smaller guy and prefer lighter weight rods. When looking around this always seems hinder my decision. I would think flexibility would depend on how you plan on fishing? Jigs, Swim baits, etc.

Have fun shopping \:\)

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I think the avid are great rods for the money. A lot of places have the "obsolete" 2007 models for as little as $99.

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I own a lot of rods purchased from different places. I have learned that you gotta pay at least $65 to get a quality rod. Look for a 7 footer with a handle that is cork and a bit longer than most of the cheaper models. That longer handle gives you better casting leverage. Medium heavy is a good all-around stiffness for casting various lures.

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I would go with the Avid if it was me. I also saw a couple 6'6" Med Heavy Legend Tournaments at Gander for $149.

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 Originally Posted By: nater
I should run down to Cabela's and take a look at their rods, its been awhile since I have been there. I think the Shimano is a good option as well. When I go out and look at casting rods what is a feature to pay close attention to? Length of the cork handle? Flexibility of the tip? # of guides?

Personally when I look at rods, I look at just about everything. I examine the pits in the cork to see how much wood stuffing there is. Look for a composite cork butt end, it's much more durable. Look for a little metal ring on the reel seat. Examine all the line guides to be sure they're inline. Look at all the line guides and make sure that none of the guides have been bent or there's a loose ring in the guide, especially the tip guide. Look at the epoxy coatings, make sure it's all uniform and not excessive. Feel the blank, check for smoothness. Check for nicks or scratches that my indicate rod damage.

The only true way to check rod tip bend is to run a line through the guides. Check to see if line will brush against blank. This is where more guides is better. Now is a really good time to check the spline as you twist the rod while bent, look carefully at the line guides to see if any of them twists.

Finally check rod balance point w/o reel. Most will be tip heavy, but check at how fast tip falls and how easy it is to stop it dead track in middle of fall. The real trick is to see if you can duplicate similar feel by moving mere inch away from that balance point. Hopefully it's really close to reel seat.

Just remember, eventhough it looks great, feels great, doesn't always mean that it will perform great. You want to check to make sure you didn't get that one damaged rod. Even if you compare two exact same rods side by side, you'll notice some small details differences. Not all tip action will perform alike if they come off of a different machine.

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If your really going to buy a new rod for $100 plus dollars due yourself a favor and go to a store like Thorne Bros (or other specialized) have one of the employees explain what you are getting. Explain what you are looking for, doesn't seem there should be a huge variation in a simple Muskie rod, but there is and you may as well get what you need. if you get the right one you'll love it. If not, you'll be looking to spend more on a different one later. I found the 8 foot rod the way to go for me. knowlegdable staff at these stores are there for your specific needs. The hardest part for all us know it alls, is to ask for their help.

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Look for a custom rod builder who can get you exactly what you want and fit it to you. I would really look at a spiral wrap, cool design that rotates the guides to the bottom of the rod similar to a spinning rod. It relieves torque stress on the rod and you don't need quite as many guides to try to keep the line off the blank when fighting a fish.

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As a first step, go to Scheels and Sportsman's Warehouse in your hometown and see what feels right. These shops carry every line you mentioned, and you'll be able to touch and feel the differences. (You may be a bit early in the season, however, for maximum selection) You're probably looking for a rod spec'd for 1/4 to 3/4 ounce lures, 10 to 15 pound test line, and 6 1/2 to 7 feet in length. However, the specs are just guidelines, and it's your sense of feel that really matters. Also remember that no single rod can do everything well. If you're going to use braided/super lines, I recommend a slower action rod. A shorter rod is better for quick, accurate, underhand and side-arm casts, while a longer rod is better for distance casting, and heavier lures.

As someone said earlier, you'll have to start at about $75.00 to have significant options, but rods are always on sale somewhere. Specifically, I like Bass Pro Shops Bionic Blade Rods and Cabelas Fish Eagle and XML series. Price range on these is $80.00 to $129.00. The selections are quite large, and the warranties feature no-questions-asked returns. Right now, Cabelas, in Rogers, has a large closeout bin of last years Fish Eagle rods for $49.00. Bass Pro always has a buy-2-get 1-free in the spring.

Buy what feels right.

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This becomes a Chevy vs. Ford vs. Dodge type of question. Preference and budget are big factors for me.

Custom rods can be had for around the same price as an upper end off-the-rack rod, and you'll get exactly what you're looking for.

Store options: The Shimano Compre and Crucial rods are really nice, they revamped the line a couple years ago and are very nice sticks. As mentioned earlier, you can find some great deals on St Croix Avid 2007 models, I picked up a 6'8" M Xfast for $90. Tournament Series rods can be had for around the $150 mark. Cabela's has nice models too, and if you have their credit card you can make some really good things happen.

All in all, do it right the first time and get the best you can afford up front, I'm still upgrading on things I bought that were "good enough" and replacing with what I really wanted all along.

Chris

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