Start-Up Kit: Rod and Reel Recommendations

Like everything else in life, finding the perfect fishing rod comes down to your personal preference. Which one fits your style of fishing? Which one fits your pocketbook? Complicating matters is fishing rod and reel combinations vary greatly in price — and the most expensive ones may not be worth the money. Here are some ways to simplify a complicated process, plus a few of my own recommendations:

Get started on the right foot

After you research the Web and talk with fishermen, determine what action you want with the rod and what gear ratio you want with the reel. I would recommend talking with salesmen at an outdoors store to get specifics about rod actions and reel ratios.

In general, heavy and medium-heavy action rods are stiffer than medium and medium-light action rods. Reels with higher gear ratios will retrieve more line per reel revolution of the handle than lower ratios.

Since I fish for bass and large fish, I prefer heavy to medium-heavy rods and the highest gear ratio possible, like 7:1. If you are targeting smaller fish, you may want to go with lighter action rods and a slower ratio on the reels.

Size is important

It’s really all about the size of lure you are using and the strength (size) of the line on the reel. The smaller the lure and line, the more flexible the rod should be. This will help with the casting ability of the rod and reel combination.

The length of the rod can help with the casting and accuracy of the lures. In general, the longer the rod, the farther you can cast a lure, and the added length can also help with the hook set when you get a fish to bite the lure. However, the longer rods will negatively affect your casting accuracy and sometimes create too much leverage for the line, resulting in line breaks.

I like a happy medium with 7-foot to 7.5-foot rod lengths and the appropriate line strength (the longer the rod, the higher the line poundage).

Find your happy medium

In general, the two most popular styles of fishing combos are bait-casting and spinning. Brand recommendations are up to the individual, but keep in mind price, reputation, warranty and the recommendations of other fishermen. The more expensive rods and reels tend to be easier to use, and are sometimes more durable. However, unless you fish for a living, some of the higher-end combinations are not worth the price. Find a happy medium that fits you.

Clint’s recommendations

Spinning reels:

1. Shimano Stradic
2. Shimano Sedona
3. Abu Garcia Revo

Spinning rods:

1. G Loomis E6X
2. Duckett White Ice
3. Daiwa Lexa

Bait-casting reels:

1. Shimano Curado
2. Abu Garcia Revo
3. Quantum Energy

Bait-casting rods:

1. G Loomis E6X
2. Coosa Rods
3. Duckett Micro Magic

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