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So I've been wondering about this for awhile now. What makes a rod good? or better than another one. I remember in one of fluke masters videos on how to cast a bait caster that he said the Abu Garcia combo had a good reel but a crap rod. I'm wondering what makes a rod "good" or "great"? the bend? the material? what? same with the reels. What makes them "good"? how many bearings they have? or how many brakes? what kind of brakes? Any input is greatly appreciated as I am completely lost on this one.

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There are a lot of factors that play on making a rod or reel good or bad. With rods it's the balance, sensitivity, components, power and action, and build quality.  A lot of it has to do with how all of those blend together. Some rods just have a dead feeling to them, like you can't feel anything with them. They may have a poor build quality with the guides not straight, or the guides themselves might be cheap and be easily grooved. 

As far as reels are concerned, a lot comes down to build quality, components, smoothness, durability, tolerances and overall weight.  You can buy a pretty cheap reel these days with lots of bearings in it, but if they're crap bearings it's not going to keep your reel smooth. A good reel with have an adequate number of bearings and have tight tolerances. It won't have lots of slop where pieces come together. You can feel the difference in smoothness between a good and bad reel. A bad one might be ok right off the shelf, but when you use it a bit, you'll feel the difference for sure. On poorly built model, you'll definitely feel it when the reel is under strain. It feels like you have gravel inside the thing at times where a quality reel with remain smooth. 

There's a lot that goes into it, but that's a bit of a rundown to give you an idea. 

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Great post!

:love7:

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First thing first, what makes a rod good is having the right rod for the task at hand. The blank should behave in a manner that best accommodates the technique / bait you're using in terms of pulling power, tip speed, and and flex characteristics. Rod blanks designed with a carbon scrim or no scrim at all will typically offer better feedback. The higher grade of graphite the same, however it makes the blank more brittle. The type of resin used and the greater compression strength the blank is rolled under also attribute to the blanks sensitivity and strength. All that being said it doesn't mean a hoot if the rest of the rod is built poorly. Keeping the weight of added components to a minimum while maintaining the balance of the overall rod build is critical in allowing the blank to perform at its peak performance. Typically you will find either stainless steel or titanium guide frames. Titanium grade levels vary a lot. Titanium is lighter. The inserts are typically some sort of ceramic material and they vary in terms of degree of hardness. Size of guides is typically personal preference, however imo overly large guides are not necessary and add unneeded weight. A guide that is just large enough to pass a leader knot is pretty standard these days. Placement of guides along the blank is also important to avoid the line slapping against the blank when the rod is under load. Fancy colored bling trim parts are not necessary either. They do add weight, however some folks like the looks. Unfortunately the majority of this can only be achieved through a custom built rod. When buying a rod off the shelf the best thing you can do is bring the reel you will be using loaded with line. Mount the reel and pull the line through all the guides. Tighten the drag and pull the line putting a bend in the rod. Check to see if the line touches the blank anywhere. This should also give you an idea as to how much power the rod has and what kind of backbone it has. Get a feel for how the tip of the rod behaves. If you're happy with it at this point go over the build quality with a fine tooth comb. Check to see that the guides are aligned properly and straight without excess gobs or drips of epoxy, and that there isn't any visible gaps or misalignment between the rod grip and reel seat. Unfortunately if purchasing a rod a line you're buying blind, and the best thing to do is look at reviews and ask questions about that particular rod series and model. The bad side to that is opinions vary greatly. 

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Thank you guys for the responses! its all starting to make a bit more sense to me now. I always thought that a rod with graphite is poor quality and ones with e glass are medium and ones with s glass are top of the line. yet I see so many great companies making rods of graphite that I got confused.

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