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Abu Garcia Silver Max, Max Z or Pinnacle Solene?

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Just purchased my first bait caster today - actually 3 of them: Abu Garcia Silver Max, Abu Garcia Max Z and a Pinnacle Solene. Bought them all slightly used for a steal. Regardless of the fact that I've never used one, If I had to keep only one, which one should I keep? Is there a dime's worth of difference between them? They are all on Rhino's 5'6 Medium Action rods (Indestructible Glow-Tip). Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Keep the Silver Max for sure. Get rid of the rod. If you are on a budget, lightning rod shock 7 ft medium heavy. If not, get a mh rod that you like. My 2 cents

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That's exactly the kind of info I'm looking for. Thanks, Caliyak. What's a good moderately priced 7 ft. medium heavy rod you would recommend? And would you use braided line?

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Berkeley Lightning Shock rod as he said. I personally would use 12lb P-Line CXX not braid. Line is personal preference a lot of times.

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Answer this question. If you walked into a fishing store and there were rods that cost $50 or less in one aisle, and the next aisle had rods from $60 to $99 and the third had rods that cost $105 to $160 dollars which isle would you be shopping in. If the answer is isle one then here is my best advice. Go to your local walmart and pick up a Berkley Lightning Shock rod. I would look at both the 6'6" M and the 7 foot MH rod. If you want to keep 2 of your reels that is not a bad way to go, if not if I was choosing only one I would go for the 7 footer. Now these rods were in my Walmart two days ago on clearance for $30 down from over $40. Each store seems to have different inventory at different prices so you might have to shop around. My wife and I own three of these rods 

Next I would stop in your local Dicks Sporting Goods and look at a Quantum Escalade, it is one of my favorites and I fish with all sorts of rods, some costing over $300. They have a 7 foot 1/4 to1 1/4  MH rod. One 6'6" medium Lightning Shock rod would cover rattletraps, crankbaits and even spinnerbaits.  The Quantum is a mh fast tapered rod so it is better for texas rigs, carolina rigs, creature baits etc. This rod is on sale for $49. It regularly sells for $100.  If you are going shopping in aisle one, these two fit the bill well. It sounds like this would fit your budget and needs. They would cover different needs and compliment each other in your arsenal without  spending a fortune. My next suggestion is to add a 6'6" to a 6'10' medium action spinning rod to throw really small or lightweight finesse baits like 1/4 ounce texas rigged baits or weightless Sencos, drop shots and Ned Rigs( they have 1/10 ounce jig heads) You may already have one, if not that would be your next best rig to save up for. Consider a Pflueger 6930 spinning reel to go along with it.

If aisle two is you pick look at Gander Mountain. They sell a series called the Gander Mountain Tournament Casting Rod. It sells for $79 dollars and is very well built. They have those rods in a 6'6" Medium, a 7 foot Medium, and a 7 foot MH very similar to the Escalade.  Any of these rods are worth the money for sure. Bass Pro has its carbonLite rod on sale somewhere near this price I think also.

Aisle three I would send you off to look at a Dobyns, Powell, St Croix or even a Shimano, but I do not think this is what you re looking for. 

One thing you failed to mention was specs for the reels. What gear ratios are they?  Hopefully the SilverMax and Z Max are around 6.3 to 1. If so i think those two are your best reels. I would play around with the Pinnacle but I think you will like the other two best.

Let's say you go with my idea and keep the two Abu reels. I would match them to a 6'6" medium Shock rod and a 7 foot MH Escalade. Here is what I would do to match lines to them for its purpose.  I would buy a spool of Stren Original Clear blue 14 pound mono. It costs about $9 for a 330 yard spool.   Mono is the cheapest line so we will use it to save money. Let's start by matching the SilverMax to the 6'6"M Berkley Lightning Shock rod (You will have to decide which reel feels best on each rod, but I would  prefer to have the faster gear ratio on the Shock rod). I would fill that reel with the 14 pound test mono.  The reel I put on the Escalade I would fill the reel up halfway with the mono and then fill it up the rest with Power Pro Spectra braid in 30 pound test.  A spool of that braid will cost $15 for 150 yards. Since you spooled it up with the mono backing you only need 1/2 as much line so that 150 yard spool will fill more than one reel thus cutting he cost to fill a reel in half.  If you fish a technique that you want to use a leader on the braid then get a spool of ten pound test  P Line CXX in moss green. I use that exact setup all of the time.   Now the mono will work well on the crankbaits, spinner baits, rattle traps etc.  The braid will work well with the bottom contact stuff.

I know I wrote a book and most of it only applies if it fits in your budget, but it would set you up with some well designed combos relatively economically.  I know the rods I suggested work for the purpose I suggested because they exist right here in my tackle room as I type this.  Eventually if you can upgrade your equipment, all you would have to do is purchase some higher end reels and these rods will still be worth fishing.

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I honestly have never heard of the max z or pinnacle solene. I'd keep whichever one had the best braking system. The silver max just has simple progressive magnetic brakes so if the other 2 have centifugal or dual brakes I'd keep those or the one that did. Magnetic brakes are OK but basically choke off the entire cast based on where you set the dial. If they are all magnetic keep the newest nicest one or just keep all 3 as you probably aren't going to get much for them. As far as a rod the best deals I've seen in rods under 100 bucks are the fenwick hmx on the fenwick site, and fenwick, abu, berkley, and others on the ffo-tackle.com website. Around 100 I'd look at the fenwick aetos on the fenwick site, tatula on sportsmans outfitters site,  powell max 3d on sheltons clothing site, and 13 *** green on tackle warehouse. There are lots of good rods at 100 retail but all these are on sale and retail for quite a bit more and any would be a very nice rod that you will want to keep for awhile. 

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Fishncamp, man I owe you! That is exactly the kind of advice I was hoping for. Timsford made some good points as well. Fishncamp, to answer your question, I'd be on isle one until the wife walked into another part of the store, and then I'd find my way to isle 2. :-) Probably wouldn't bother with isle 3, as these are my first baitcasters and I'm just wanting to get the hang of it. 

I've decided I'm going to keep the two Abu Garcia's and not try too hard to sell the Pinnacle. The Max Z and Silvermax are both 6:4:1 gear ratio. The Pinnacle is a 6:2:1 gear ratio. I'm absolutely going to take your advice on the rods and line. I really appreciate your input in this. Thanks so much!

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Here is a little more things I have learned over 40 + years of fishing and11 boats. Man am I lucky to have a wife that got addicted to smallmouth bass back when she was only my girlfriend!  Anyway it is super important on a baitcaster to get tie a tight arbor knot. If you allow that knot (the knot you tie your fishing line to the reel) to slip the brake system will not work.  You will have a terrible time casting so search " tieing arbor knot" on youtube.  Also learn the Double UNI knot, it is used to tie mono to braid, braid and fluoro etc.  The two other knots worth learning are the Palomar knot and he Trilene Knot, both are used to tie a lure on and both create a strong knot.  For the last 15 years I have used a tool from Berkley called a line Winder. It cost $20  and is available from Cabelas, Bass Pro and many other places. It holds both spinning and baitcasting reels securely. AT the same time you can load your spool of line and hold it under tension so all you have to do is pay attention and fill a reel nice and smoothly. This also helps when learning how to cast.  Make sure you stop putting line on the reel when there is about 1/8 of the spool left unfilled. Too much line is as bad as too little. Good Luck and let us know how it is going. Here is a link to the tool I spoke of.

http://www.cabelas.com/product/fishing/fishing-line/line-winders-strippers-tools|/pc/104793480/c/104719680/sc/103939380/berkley-reg-line-winder/1729189.uts?destination=%2Fcatalog%2Fbrowse%2Fline-winders-strippers-tools%2F_%2FN-1100388%2FNs-CATEGORY_SEQ_103939380

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I've never fished a Quantum Escalade, but have handled one in store.  Nice light rod.  It impressed me.  Wanted one.  My local DSG only had about 3 of them.  I waited for them to go on sale.  They didn't.  When I asked my friendly salesman about them, he said they never went on sale because they had no problem selling them at full price.  I believe him.  Too bad, tho, as I don't like paying full price.  Haven't seen any lately so I thought maybe Dick's dropped the line.  Unfortunately my local store doesn't carry many rods worth looking at.

Can't help with the reels.  The Silver Max seems to be well liked at its price point.

I will say that you should look at the Aetos on Fenwick's website if you can afford the $95.  An amazing rod at that price, and a very good one at the $180 full price.

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1 hour ago, NCRiptide said:

 

Fishncamp, man I owe you! That is exactly the kind of advice I was hoping for. Timsford made some good points as well. Fishncamp, to answer your question, I'd be on isle one until the wife walked into another part of the store, and then I'd find my way to isle 2. :-) Probably wouldn't bother with isle 3, as these are my first baitcasters and I'm just wanting to get the hang of it. 

I've decided I'm going to keep the two Abu Garcia's and not try too hard to sell the Pinnacle. The Max Z and Silvermax are both 6:4:1 gear ratio. The Pinnacle is a 6:2:1 gear ratio. I'm absolutely going to take your advice on the rods and line. I really appreciate your input in this. Thanks so much!

That is a great pick. The pinnacle can be a great "for when a friend goes with me" set up, cheap mono. You can't go wrong with the Shock rods. Make one a medium heavy flipping/pitching/worm set up with braid and the other a crankbait/buzzbait medium action set up with mono. You cover many options with two set ups.  many of us are on a budget and our boss has a short leash on us (you know who I'm talking about) so you can get great rods for under $50. If you are planning on fishing tournaments and going big time, then upgrade. If not, keep it reasonable and avoid your boss sending you to the guess bedroom. LOL 

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new2BC4bass they are on sale right now at Dicks. I have had the 7 ft MH baitcaster for three years now and love it for bottom contact stuff, it rates 1/4 to 1 1/4.  I just purchased a 6'6" medium spinning rod last Friday. It was on sale at Dicks here in White Marsh MD. They only had a total of 5 rods in stock ( both spinning and baitcasting). It cost $49 on sale, its regular price is $99. Go to different Dicks Sporting Goods stores or call around. I saw it was advertised as on sale on the website then checked with two stores to locate the one I wanted. 

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3 hours ago, fishnkamp said:

new2BC4bass they are on sale right now at Dicks. I have had the 7 ft MH baitcaster for three years now and love it for bottom contact stuff, it rates 1/4 to 1 1/4.  I just purchased a 6'6" medium spinning rod last Friday. It was on sale at Dicks here in White Marsh MD. They only had a total of 5 rods in stock ( both spinning and baitcasting). It cost $49 on sale, its regular price is $99. Go to different Dicks Sporting Goods stores or call around. I saw it was advertised as on sale on the website then checked with two stores to locate the one I wanted. 

Whoa!  Thanks.  I check rod section every time I stop at DSG.  Haven't seen an Escalade in 2-3 years.  Called.  They have 2 spinning and 2 b/c in stock.  Both b/c are MH.  Hopefully they will still have one left when I get there tomorrow.

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Went out today practicing casting for the first time using a baitcaster and did not have a single problem. No squirrels nest! (Knock on wood). Need to practice my accuracy, but overall very stoked. All three reels cast as smooth as silk, but what was surprising to me was the Max Z out performed them all, even the Silver Max.  The Max Z is one sweet reel! After casting with all of them I'm definitely going to keep them all and do the setup fishnkamp suggested. Thanks for all of the advice. 

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That is cool, you will have a well built arsenal with different rods that compliment each other, covering all different techniques. Add in the one medium spinning rod and you will have it all covered. Depending on the water conditions you can choose what you take with you that day.  Realize I say you will have it all covered, as I stand on top of a rod locker containing 15 rods!   LOL

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On September 3, 2016 at 0:34 PM, fishnkamp said:

That is cool, you will have a well built arsenal with different rods that compliment each other, covering all different techniques. Add in the one medium spinning rod and you will have it all covered. Depending on the water conditions you can choose what you take with you that day.  Realize I say you will have it all covered, as I stand on top of a rod locker containing 15 rods!   LOL

Fishncamp, went to Dicks yesterday and ended up with the 7', MH, Escalade HD for $49 and a St. Croix Triumph X, 6'6, MH fast action for $79. I already have several spinning rods. For fresh water I have a  Pflueger Trion reel on a Abu Garcia Vengeance 7' M rod, a Penn 1000 on a Penn 6' light action Rod, and a Bass Pro Shop Offshore Angler Tightline TL4000 on a 7' TL Medium Rod that I use for fresh and salt water, loaded with 20lb braid. I have a Penn Silverado 5000 on a Penn Pursuit 7' graphite Rod that I use mainly for saltwater as well as several larger saltwater spinning reels. Most of my fishing up to this point has been saltwater. It's only within the last year that I've stepped up my fresh water fishing and now my journey into fresh water baitcasters. I'm really loving the feel of these baitcasters and it is not as difficult to cast as I've been led to believe. I pretty much know as soon as I release a bad cast, so I simply just stop the reel and try again. I have a lot to learn, especially about what reel to use under certain conditions but bait casting is not as hard as I was led on to believe. I appreciate yours and everyone's input. I'll most certainly pick your brains in the future! Thanks!

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