Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The rod or the reel? – By Jason Houchins



The rod or the reel?
Well another open ended question with lots of opinions, but for once I’m going to convince you that my opinion is right. With all the thousands of choices of both, it can be a mind boggling decision just to settle with one brand, much less anything else. Gear ratios, ball bearings, action, lengths, and the list goes on and on. Of course they both have sprawling prices from $50 to $500 a piece for either a rod or a reel. Wow where do I start? If I only have so much money what’s the most important? Hopefully I will help simplify and persuade you that one is more important than the other.
For the record my uncle is an excellent tournament angler with a win and few top 10s in some major AAA level tournaments. When it comes to fishing he has taught me a bunch, so naturally I want to know what he thinks on this subject. Well he uses a rod that cost $300 a piece and reels that cost almost $300 a piece! Why? He said he will only use the best when he’s tournament fishing, he will not lose because of bad equipment. Now he also says that winning doesn’t matter that much to him, I don’t believe that for a minute. He does have a great point though, but is there really that much difference between a $100 rod and a $300 rod? That’s awesome that you can afford that for your equipment, but most of us can’t. He also says that both are equally important, and that seems to make sense. But is that really true?
I tend to disagree with some of what he is saying, especially with the amount of money it costs to fish these days. I mean what if your wife says hey you can spend $200 on a rod and reel, that’s it! What do you do? Or even worse what if she says you can only afford one or the other, not both! Man I know some of you are reading this and saying, hey that’s me. Well stay calm because I am a veteran of losing the battle to the wife, so I have been in this situation a bunch. I am going to give you a few pointers that will get you the best you can afford and how to decide which is most important.
First off to me it’s simple the rod is number one; it’s your hands, eyes, and ears in one. You feel everything with your rod, from the bite of a fish to the action of your lure, to the sound of your rattle bait. It’s all your senses wrapped up in that one piece of equipment. It tells you when to set the hook, or when to stop, and when to pop; it’s the true link between you and catching a fish. I mean really, what does a reel do? Reel a fish in? Reel your bait in? I heard this from someone before and can’t remember exactly who it was and I loved it immediately. He said, “You don’t need 10 ball bearings to reel in a fish.” That’s exactly right in my opinion.
If you take care of a decent reel it will last you a long time and be very productive for you. You can’t buy total junk and expect it to last, but there are several reels in the $50-$60 range that are an excellent buy for the money. Also look into purchasing used reels from individuals that you know or at online sites like the Outdoor Scavenger. I don’t have a favorite but stick to your big names and you will find better quality. Look for a good gear ratio depending on what you’re looking for. I used to be all into thinking I needed a certain gear ratio for certain things, now I pretty much think 6.3:1 is good for everything. I would also look at the adjustments on the reel. I only want two adjustments, line feed and drag, everything else is something that will hinder casting in my opinion. I don’t want all this anti backlash fighting star break system, just something that will break.
Now for the rod. Well first off I look for quality at a good price, and to me something around $100 is pretty good. For the highest in Quality I highly recommend a Kistler rod no matter what your budget. Yes, I do have a staff deal with Kistler and yes I am promoting their rods. I do this because I believe they are the best on the market and they are good people. Now for around $100 you can get a super high quality rod made from the best materials available. Most of my rods are Carbon Steel model which they quit producing last year but they are still available at places like Tackle Warehouse starting at around $90. This year they have come out with the Pro Series rod which is an exceptional product, this will start at around $120. You can also step it up to their KLX, Z Bone, or the new Helium series of rods that the some of the top people in tournament fishing use. Yes there are other rods, but this is my opinion. There are plenty of rods in this price range from all sorts of companies, I’m just giving you the best option available for your money.
If you are looking for a rod and reel, I hope I have persuaded you. You don’t need a $300 rod or reel to be a great angler, although you should get quality for your money. Once again you need to do what is best for you and use what you like. All of this is important to your mind set when you’re fishing. You need confidence in your equipment just like you do in your decisions on the water. So before you break the bank on a $500 dollar combo, take a minute to read this article and make the best decision for you.

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