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MinnesotaMongo

Sanely priced rods and reels...

27 posts in this topic

The problem with watching too much of "Angling Edge" is that you think EVERYONE owns high priced Shimano (or name your brand) equipment. Well - guess what, I don't. In fact, I recently treated myself to - what I thought was a very nice jigging rod and reel (for bass) to my collection - A Cabela's Fish Eagle II 603 blank with a Cabela's Tournament ZX 2000 reel. Total combo price - around 110 bucks (give or take). It's a nice general purpose reel that I am really enjoying. But 110 bucks is a lot of dough, when the boy needs football cleats, daughter is in college, fuel cost etc....

I'm just not going to lay out 150 for a reel and another 200 for a rod. My economics don't allow me to do that, if I want to have a collection of rods/reels for various applications. So I try to keep my rigs on the more economical side.

So I'm wondering what you do? Are you all purchasing 500 dollar combos and I'm just a tight wad? Or are you checking out the Tourney Trails, etc....

What are some good economical rods? Reels? Combos? You know what we're looking for - light weight, sound design, sensitive, decent drags, etc....

Any brands/models which comes to mind? Just curious....

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I like to have a couple higher end models but then the rest are cheaper rods that get the job done. Some of the Rapala combos work well for about $40. Any cheaper than that and they fall apart.

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I usually just stay with the store brand stuff I do have one st.croix rob but I bought it with a pro form. scheels/gander/cabelas. all make rods/reels better than par.

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I agree the store rods are a good buy! Most of my rods a St. Croix, but I just bought a couple Guide series rods from Gander for $45 for 2. Cant beat that! Reels, if you spend $60 bucks you will get a decent reel.

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I didn't start out getting the higher quality rods and reels but I will say that I've been lucky enough to be able to treat myself now and then. Some rods that I feel are a tremendous value would be the Shimano Clarus line. Great sticks at a decent price and come with a lifetime/over the counter warranty. These range from 59-69 bucks. Rapala rods are also a pretty decent value as they seem to hold up pretty well and fit your description. The Shimano reels like the Sahara and Sedona are really very nice and also priced in the 40-60 buck range. Sounds like you picked out a nice combo--hope you enjoy it!!

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MinnesotaMongo, I have a system I use for purchasing fishing equipment for myself.

My system is very simple: spend cheap on rods, and more on reels. Generally this means ~$30 rods, and $70-150 on reels.

This is because I have only ever used one rod I didn't like(I'll get into that specific rod later) but have used crappy reels that would ruin an entire day of fishing. I have used $100+ rods that belonged to friends and family, and frankly the durability, casting, and bite-sensitivity of the expensive rods wasn't any different than of my current favorite $30 medium rod.(or at least not different enough for me to notice)

Cheap reels however have caused me frustration. Some had non-functioning drag, some were extremely prone to spooling the line poorly and somehow causing tangles, and two even (literally) fell apart, with pieces falling off of the reel. I have a price range for reels that I feel is both able to purchase quality equipment but also realistic for my finances.

Now, this is not to say that you HAVE to spend as much as I do on reels and rods for good fishing. One thing to keep in mind is that fish don't care what your rod or reel is when they decide to bite. You can fish cheap stuff very successfully.

Now on to the one and only rod I didn't really like.. I was in Alaska recently, and the family bought some $30 salmon fishing combos that had spooled reel/rod/multiple lures and hooks/sinkers/stringer rope/and a booklet on salmon fishing. We got them from Walmart, and it was the cheapest way for us to go salmon fishing. We took the rods fishing in streams, and caught tons of big, hard-fighting, delicious fish. However, the rod was made of walmart materials, and so they way that walmart makes a rod that can handle a fish that fights like salmon is they just make it big and heavy and bulky. Not easy to cast with, tiring after using it for an afternoon and an evening. I swear the thing looked like a shark or tuna rod. Also one of the reels broke within the first 10 minutes of using it.

So even though the cheapest of the cheap wasn't the most comfortable, and one of the reels was pretty much broken right out of the store, we still had great successes with catching salmon.

For fishing here in minnesota I will stick to $30 rods from gander mountain or cabelas. I stick to my dad's 5, maybe even 10 year old shimano reels that he gave me and my one $75 reel I bought for myself.

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You can get quality for a good price. Check into the Limit Creek rods. Turk, the Croixsippi guide and moderator on this site, sells them. They are his line of rods and are great rods. The prices are under a hundered and worth everypenny. I've put them against my St. Croix and won't go back to the Croix.

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Personally, I don't know if what I have is top-end or not but it was within my price range and I liked how it felt in my hands. It is my top-end rod and reel combination. My jigging system is a St. Croix Premium 6'-6" one-piece ($100) with a Pflueger Trion spinning reel ($60), filled with 6# Berkley Fireline.

I used to think the rod, reel, and line didn't make that much difference but now I'm not so sure. I can definitely feel the difference between this outfit and my older ones, which were certainly lower quality. Smoother casts, lighter weight, better balance, more sensitivity. It would be interesting to test something of truly high end quality but then I suppose I'd be inclined to want to get myself outfitted.

Bob

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I keep it simple.I have 10- 7 foot ugly sticks with mitchel 300x reels.I also have 7 ugly sticks that are 5.6 foot to 6.6 foot with mitchel 300x reels.The ugly sticks are $30 each and all the mitchel reels i bought on hsolist from $16 - $23 each.I have yet to break an ugly stick.Its whatever works for you.I do alot of crankbait trolling and this makes it easy to switch crankbaits.

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The Guide Series "Pro Select" rods by Gander Mountain are a top notch line at a great price.

If you wish a combo than it is hard to beat the Guide Series GST Tournament reels and rod combo's. They ofer 10 ball baring reels with IM 7 to IM 8 rods for under $100. I have several, love them reels! (Tip...Pflueger makes them for GM, and they are as good as their high end $100 + reels)

The Berkley Gary Roach Edition rods run about $40 and are very nice sticks. I love the trolling rods.

The Fenwick Eagle GT rod series are well made rods for the cost. I much prefer the Fenwick HMX rod series as there top value with high performance, at a reasonable price. (5 year warranty)

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Mr. Walleye makes some great rods for $40-$50, but I would shy away from their combo's the reels have let me down as of late.

With spinning gear I look to buying a nicer rod and a cheaper reel, my reasoning is that the applications I use spinning rods for require more sensitivity and finess, like lindy rigging or casting jigs. Also cheaper ($30-60) spinning reels work very well, and there is a diminishing return as you spend more money. But for the things I use a baitcaster for, (not to many), mostly casting lipless cranks and a linecounter for trolling, sensetivity isn't that important, but being able to cast easily and with out backlashes is. And this requires dropping a little bit of money on a reel, usually upwards of $70.

That being said, there is a differnce in high end expensive rods, but you can get by with out them.

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Cortland quietly makes a good rod at a non-loomis/croix price. I I checked their web site and a few mom & pop places around the metro carry them, as well as Cabela's.

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I got my youngest daughter her first quality set up this year 6'6" Fenwick Techna AV with a Mitchel Advocet Gold, total cost under $60. I'm lucky to live close to Pure Fishings outlet store, may be marked as 2nds but fish don't care and allows me to run top end rods cheap. Now my muskie set ups I buy alot of used stuff to save cash but still spend on avg $200 on a rod or reel.

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Buying used is a really good way to get quality equipment pretty cheap. I have a couple of used Curados that I got for 50 bucks each. Pretty killer deal on them.

I have used cheap equipment as well as some ultra high end stuff. You can tell a difference between the two if you are an avid fisherman, but if you aren't you may not notice much. One thing I have seen, is people buying high end equipment and it really being too much for them. You will notice with some of the high end stuff that it takes more skill to use it, but once you develope those skills it is really tough to go back.

Case in point. My mom loves to fish and for years she has been using a 5'-6" Medium action Ugly Stick with a Mitchell spincast reel. Well just the other night she was having trouble with the line twisting and digging into the spool so I told her its time. I adjusted a couple settings on my Shimano Citica so that the magnetic brakes were on and the spool tension was kinda tight. After about 5 casts, she had it down and then she was telling me that she wasn't giving the rod back. She kept saying how much nicer and easier it was to fish with a better rod. We were tossing cranks and then I handed her my Curado and Croix Pro-Glass 7'-0" with a DT10 tied on. That was a mistake as she fished with it for the rest of the night.

The best advice I ever got for buying equipment is to spend proportionately to how much you will use it. When you keep that in mind, for me, spending 300-400 on a combo doesn't seem out of reality. Now consider that the 7'-0" Pro-Glass rod and Curado combo I bought used for 75 bucks, that was a smokin deal. For about 75-100 bucks you can get a great spinning combo but you generally need to be in the 150 range for a good-great casting combo.

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There's other rods in the boat, of course, but my go-to stick is a 6'6" medium action Pflueger graphite I've had for thirty years. The sun baked most of the enamel as well as the name off of it sometime in the early 90s, so now I just call it my "magic wand." Total cost: $0.00, plus or minus the eight reels that have lost their guts to running fish while attached. I may just have to put some money into a reel for her.

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Thanks for all the great replies. I've always liked Cabela's Fish Eagle blanks (although I broke my new one already this morning on a hook set). I do have two of the Scheel's branded IM7's - which I do NOT like. I'm not much of a combo buyer - although I did combo the Cabela's because they were offering a nice discount if I paired it up with reel...

It was great to read how everyone else goes about purchasing rods/reels. I already eliminated a couple reel series I bought this year - which I ALMOST chucked into the lake, but then realized I had another post on lake pollution which kept me from flinging it like a discus.

I think I will order a couple limit creek rods and see how they work, as well as some of the other suggestions you guys have made.

Again - thanks so very much.

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I had to pay those college bills and I feel your pain, but it ends and the cash will eventually flow to your pocket . I have several high end rods along with a lot of other nice gear, but I like a good deal just as well as anyone else. To combat high prices I walk around the big box stores and look for deals. I also shop at the end of a season. I bought most of my ice fishing gear at the end of the season sales at less than 50% of seasonal prices. Last winter I found a Shamano Claris rod with a Stradic 1000 reel for $129 at one big box store. I also shop the used market. I bought two 7 foot St. Croix Avid walleye rods for $100 (for both) off of Craig's list and I got a near new Lowrance XD135 unit for $150 off of the FM ads. So look around and the deals will appear.

No doubt a high quality rod is a real plus, but there are many $50 rods that will work well. I have a couple of Gander rods that I used for several years. I still hand them out as loaners from time to time.

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I tell you what guys, I just bought two new rods, one spinning and one baitcasting from a company called Arcadia. You can google them and order over the internet but they have a few lines of rods and reels and I just tried a few of their lower priced rods. I got two full graphite rods for $50 and I would put them up against rods that are three times the price. They come with all the bells and whistles and the company is trying to make a name for itself. I worked them pretty hard up at Cass Lake on our two week fishing trip and they did just fine. I have not tried one of their reels but if they are anything like their rods I would not hesistate to buy one and give it a shot. Check them out!

Windy

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I have several ugly sticks and other Shakespeare rods and reels for...unbeatable durability and value that I still wouldn't give up or sell away.

But I do own some insanely priced stuff as well.

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I could have spent big bucks on cat gear, Moyer rods, Abu reels...

I could have, if I had it. instead, king kat casting rods (20 buck plus or minus), second hand Fenwick Riggersticks (20 bucks each) and a handfull of secondhand Penn 209's, one new cabela's brand trolling reel, and a Zebco 733. all reels were 20 bucks each, except for the Depthmaster, which was 35 bucks on clearance.

for the Medium weight stuff, a 15 dollar Cabela's E-glass rod, and Zebco 33 Platinum spincaster, worth about 17 bucks.

it all holds up to whatever I need it to. no questions asked.

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For Rods I would say limit creek, Turk has a great product line and stands behind his products. Very sensitive with a great backbone to boot.

For reels, I have been happy with the Gander Mountain branded ones, very similar to the more expensive one's haven't had any issues with bad drags or durability.

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I think there are decent store brands out there and I have 2 Limit Creek Rods that I really like. I agree with some others that it is better to put the $ into the reels. I think there are several decent reels around the $60 range. I usually spend $100 - $175 per combo. For me, much above that, there is a point of diminishing returns.

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Does it really matter what others are using? If your happy with what you use then fish with it. If you are curious if the others rods are "worth it", maybe fish with someone that has a few and borrow one. One thing to remember that G. Loomis and the good St. Croix blanks are made here in the USA by American labor and that alone is worth it to some people. It cost more, but somethings are worth it. As for the other blanks, I can't speak for all of them but almost all other blanks are "off shore" manufactured.

Some people drive Kia's and some people drive BMW's. Do they both get you from point A to point B? Yep. Do you feel the same when you get there? Probably not. Buy what's in your budget and what makes you happy and not worry about what the others have.

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I think you make a good point mnfishinguy. I also suspected the reason for asking was probably more out of curiosity than a matter of keeping up with the Jones'. At least that's why I replied.

Bob

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Your probably right, but it seems today that more than ever everyone wants to keep up with the jones (can you say mortage/credit crisis?) and I'm just trying to drive home a point to be happy with what you can afford and not worry about what the other guy has.

If theres anything I've learned in life it's that you can't keep up with the Jones's, cuz as soon as you catch em', they move to a better neighborhood!

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