Some of you are newer to this great sport of bass fishing, others have been at it a long time or longer then I. I’ve been fishing my whole life, we wont touch on how long that is. Lets just say things have changed a lot. Back when I began there was only a few rod brands that really stood out. G Loomis comes to mind, as well as a few others. What I’m getting at is there was a significant difference in products available. If a rod was under say $250 it was noticeably heavier then its less expensive competitors. Not to mention sensitivity and quality. Boy have things changed, and changed for the better. Fast forward to today. Lets just say there are no shortage or rods available that in my mind are every bit as good as those $400 rods of yesterday.
One only has to venture down to the nearest sporting goods store or tackle shop to find a vast assortment of choices. There are so many quality rods available for less then $200 now day. Ill go so far as to say there are almost as many for $130 or less. They are light, sensitive, and often look great as well. How does one choose from all of these? Well I don’t have that answer for you. I really believe rods are a personal choice. I hate hearing something is the best! I mean how do you prove it’s the best? The truth of the matter is its all opinion. So look around, read reviews, put as many rods in your hand as you can and most importantly try them on the water where it matters.
My personal choice is Powell rods. I’ve fished many rods over the past 30 years. I switched to Powell rods when they first entered the bass fishing market. The introduced the Powell Max line of rods at a very reasonable price of $159 I believe it was. I sold all my G Loomis IMX and GLX rods and bought Powell’s. Why? Because it was a better value to me. I didn’t want to have to pay $300 to $450 for a quality rod. The great part for all fisherman is this seemed to spur a change in the industry. More and more quality rods were introduced to the market at a value price point. In times of skyrocketing prices for most everything we can still get Powell 3D Max rods for the same price of $159. Powell is no the only one providing quality at a great price point. Pretty much every rod company has nice rods at these value price points.
So, I’m still a firm believer in Powell rods today. I’ve tried many others over the years and find myself always choosing my Powell’s over the others. Anyway lets move on and look at some other items. Reels are the partner of the rod and soon become one with the rod. Matching a reel to a rod used to be a bit more work. Now we have a vast array of choices when it comes to reels. I have not used em all, but again I’ve used many. Recently I’ve replaced almost all my reels with current models. I have Daiwa’s, and some Abu Garcia’s, and some Ardents. Again there are many choices and once again very tough to say something is the best. Personal choice once again comes into play.
Where reels are different is they have not come down in price for quality. Actually they have gone up. Not that its been a huge increase but none the les they have had the inflation effect over the years. There are still some great values. I’m sure if I got to use every brand Id have a longer list of great value reels. That said it gets expensive to buy reels just to try em out. Word of mouth from friends, reviews, and reputation go a long ways when deciding on a new reel for me. Of the 8 or so I’ve used in the past year I’ve developed my favorites. Daiwa has long been a great product when it comes to reels. Although back in the day I wouldn’t have put them in the value category. Today I see them as the leader in the value category. My new favorite is the Daiwa Tatula. Durable, consistent, tough, and functional. It has several adjustments for fine tuning that other company’s only offer on more expensive reels. They also offer tons of models for all types of buyers or needs. Personally, IM really liking the CT line of reels by Daiwa. It has a smaller line capacity at about 100 yards of 16lb line. More then enough for me as I have not yet spooled myself on a long cast. This leads to less wasted line when refilling spools. The Tatula CT R model is by far my favorite. Something about this reel just makes me want to use it. I have many Tatulas from the base model to the new Tatula SV. The SV offers some new technology and is a great reel. Good looking and great performance. However, it is getting into that $200 price range so its getting on the edge of that value category. That said, its only a value if it lasts. For those of you that have been around for a while, you know that Daiwa products are known for durability and longevity.
Another new reel I am really enjoying is the new Abu Garcia ALX. This reel is super light, casts like a super star, and is compact. The down side is its price tag. At a list price of $249 it is out of my value category. In the past my Abu’s have been very durable, as I just replaced all of my Gen 1 Revos. All were still working well when I sold em and they had years of abuse put on em. Hopefully this new ALX will also perform for many years to come. The STX is a long time favorite. I’ve recently purchased 2 of these as well. A good solid reel that I’m very familiar with. It has all the fine-tuning ability mentioned with the Daiwa, only at a higher price point.
So as far as reels go I don’t see the big improvement that we saw over the years with rods. Maybe they were already near great. Perhaps the price point was already near the minimal profit. Perhaps its still to come. Time will tell.
Power poles, Spot lock trolling motors, lake chips for graphs, sure have changed the game. Even fish care is on the rise thanks to company’s like Cal Coast Fishing and their new Clip n Cull puncture free culling system. Graphs are another huge upgrade. Matter of fact it seems like every couple years if we don’t upgrade we are at a disadvantage. Problem is I can now buy 2 graphs with all the bells and whistles and pay more then I did for my first boat. So along with fish care there is equipment care. Back in the day a broken tip or eye was common place. Now we have Rod Gloves to protect our rods. For a co anglers or others Cal Coast Fishing has the Rod Mule, a great way to carry and protect your rods. Bait Sacks to protect our baits and keep am tangle free. Times change and things get better. The game changes, and we adapt.
One last thing. Tackle Stores. We have a lot of choices here. Most of us buy on line. I know I do, but I also tend to buy from the local shop. When I buy on line I buy from https://www.outdoorproshop.com/?Click=4319 They have amazing service and great choices. I’ve have been called several times over the years about my orders. If the inventory was wrong, or something else came up they would call and offer me options on my order. Free shipping on orders over $50 and a huge selection for all of my fishing needs. Check em out and give em a try, I know you will be happy with them. Also check out some of their exclusive products they are well worth it. Also you can check out the huge line up of Powell Rods here. Id suggest the 755 CB in either the Inferno of 3D Max for your chatter bait fishing as well as Whopper Ploppers.