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Bassin2604

I have $500 to spend on my first baitcaster and/or inflatable pfds at Basspro.

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I have $500 to spend on gear that I normally wouldn’t even look at and I’m reading that it’s ideal for a beginner to jump into the med, med-high end if they can. I’ve been using plastic shimano spinners and shakespeare rods for a couple decades now. I was pretty floored just by how light the 100 dollar rods were.

I almost walked out of basspro with a $199 Lew’s (Tourney pro g) and a random 100 dollar rod. I’m now currently looking at Fenwick $80 HMX, $100 HMG, & $200 AEOS. I don’t know what price point to stop at on the reels either, but I really do like the feel of the high end Lews models.

One more thing: While I was imagining myself diving into stumpy water after losing any of those rods and reels, I got to thinking about the brand name inflatable pfds there that I’ve been looking at for a while now. It would be nice to have one I’d actually wear instead of sit on and wont accidentally inflate from humidity or rain.

So I walked out thinking that before I take the plunge (LLOOLOL) on an expensive reel combo, maybe I should subtract 150+ dollars from the equation on one or two pfd's. That is unless it would be better put towards the higher rod and reel price tier?

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my latest baitcasting combo is a shimano curado 200i with a G. Loomis E6X MBR843c. should be within your budget. just an idea there are a million great combos out there you could get and love them all.

others will have other suggestions on combos they love.

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Welcome aboard!

I'm a fan of Bass Pro's Carbonlite rods paired with
a nice Shimano Chronarch. I've heard great things
about the Aetos, but I'd also look at a St. Croix 
Legend Tournament, fantastic rods, though starting
around $240.
 
As for PFDs, what are you in? Bass boat, jon boat, 
canoe, kayak? I recommend a PFD and it doesn't
have to be brand name, for all of those. I always 
wear my PFD when kayaking. Always. It happens
to be a Bass Pro Ascend version and has worked
well for many years. There are the Mustang or 
BPS inflatables, that would give you a little more 
comfort and lightness. Just have to have extra
gear for reloading if they inflate on you.

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Thanks Darren. I no longer have access to a bass boat, so I've been fishing mainly from johnboat rentals and banks this year. I've been thinking about getting a kayak off craiglist eventually, but I see bass trips w/ a guide more in my future. I mostly fish with soft plastics, spinnerbaits, and buzzbaits and 6ft rods

I decided to stay away from the cheaper inflatables without the pressure sensor, because I didn't want it to go off accidently. I honestly can see myself getting mad and putting the pfd on craiglist before I'd buy a 30 dollar rearm. I didn't name brand drop since I'm new, but I was looking at the cheapest mustang BPS sold.

Thanks for the rec Hulkster. I'm thinking about just dropping the pfd idea, but I really wish I could find the right price point on rods and reels to squeeze a 150 pfd or two in.

Edit: Darren, I just noticed that you were talking about regular pfds. I keep one with me already, but it's just too cumbersome and hot to have on all the time. I sit on a flotation device too for padding. I have checked out the acsend fishing pfds with the mesh at one point in time and it didn't seem that much different then what i have already.

 

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How long is your $500 good for?  Can you wait until their spring fishing classic?  You will get much better prices.  I also have a couple of Carbonlites and can't say anything bad about them especially if you get them on sale.  

If you are looking at a Tourney G, don't leave out the BB1 Pro. I prefer it to my Tourney and have three of them.  They all seem to cast longer and just feel more comfortable to me for some reason I can't put my finger on.  

I have a Mustang PFD and really like it.  I fished a tournament last weekend and pretty much just left it on the whole time since we were bouncing around the lake a bit.  It is lightweight and out of the way.  I also do the Jon boat rental thing and will be bringing it with me especially as the water cools.  Cold water survival swimming is not a hobby of mine. Also, as you stated, I spend a fair amount of time with guides.  I have a 50" chest so it was just easier for me to bring my own PFD when I can.  

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5 hours ago, Bassin2604 said:

Thanks Darren. I no longer have access to a bass boat, so I've been fishing mainly from johnboat rentals and banks this year. I've been thinking about getting a kayak off craiglist eventually, but I see bass trips w/ a guide more in my future. I mostly fish with soft plastics, spinnerbaits, and buzzbaits and 6ft rods

I decided to stay away from the cheaper inflatables without the pressure sensor, because I didn't want it to go off accidently. I honestly can see myself getting mad and putting the pfd on craiglist before I'd buy a 30 dollar rearm. I didn't name brand drop since I'm new, but I was looking at the cheapest mustang BPS sold.

Thanks for the rec Hulkster. I'm thinking about just dropping the pfd idea, but I really wish I could find the right price point on rods and reels to squeeze a 150 pfd or two in.

Edit: Darren, I just noticed that you were talking about regular pfds. I keep one with me already, but it's just too cumbersome and hot to have on all the time. I sit on a flotation device too for padding. I have checked out the acsend fishing pfds with the mesh at one point in time and it didn't seem that much different then what i have already.

 

In your situation of just fun fishing I don't see you needing to spend more than $250 on a nice nice combo.  

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Bassin, you know a good vest costs upwards of $200 and more so don't figure on a lower price in your equation. Mustangs are expensive but they are comfortable and you can keep them on at all times and not have them interfere with your fishing.

May I suggest going on the Internet to Tackle Warehouse and reading about different baitcasting rods and reels?

Then check out the styles you like on the BPS web page.

If the rod and reel are less expensive on-line then in the store you can order it and pick it up at your local BPS without paying shipping. Otherwise you can order it at the store and have them sent to your local BPS free of charge.

The guy who fixes reels in the greater Richmond, Virginia area likes Lew's and them Shimano for reels. He is not crazy about other brands.

As for rods, your choice. Just remember to double check the rod's parameters to make sure they fit your fishing techniques and bait sizes.

Good luck and circle around and let us know what you bought.

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If you we're looking at the hmg or aetos,  the aetos rods are on clearance on the fenwick site for 100. Daiwa tatula rods can be found for 110 on eBay.  Just starting out with baitcasting,  an excellent rod to start with would be the Powell Max 3d 684c on sheltons clothing site for 100.  It's a great all around rod that can do about anything.  All these are rods that retail for well over 150 for around 100 shipped.  Another good place to look at rods and reels is ffo-tackle.com. Lots of good deals on that site.  And if you like lews reels the tournament mb can be found for 108 nib on flea bay so I'd say you can find the tpro g on there cheaper too.  I'd recommend the tatula or tatula ct reels off fleabay as excellent reels for the price that will last.  Instead of going to bass pro and paying over 300 with tax for a 300 combo you could get an aetos and a tatula and have a combo that retails for well over 300 for under 200. 

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:fishing-026:

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If you are truly a beginner, you will not notice the difference between a $50 reel and a $500 reel. I also may suggest you would be doing yourself a disservice to jump into a high end reel right away. As the other members posted here, the carbonlight combo can be had at the right time of year for about $100. Which is a great setup, also read through the other threads on here about rods and reels like roadwarrior posted. This forum has great info, read as much as you can. As far as inflatables, I'm not much help there, I also don't like the cumbersome jacket, I purchased a kayak jacket and it's great.

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I disagree.  A beginner should not go with a $50 reel.  Total waste of time and money.  Once you're in the $150-200, you in the sweet spot.  Reels in that bracket work well, need little service and will last years longer than a $50 hunk of junk.  Over that amount, I agree, the beginner will not appreciate the differences, which are incrementally minor.  For a rod, anything starting at $100 is pretty sensitive, in most brands.

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With $500 bucks I would have 3 or 4 combos vs just one. I own all BPS pro qualifier reels and have zero issues. I also don't buy high dollar rods. All of mine are under a $100. I know many tournament anglers who use similar equipment and catch the same or even more fish than guys with expensive setups. Being a good angler has nothing to do with your wallet.

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Cabela's has Fenwick Silverhawks for $60 (regular $100) and Cabela's Prodigy reels (made by Daiwa) for $60 (regular 100) with coupon code... Those are both great deals, get 2 of each, that's only half your budget and you get 2 nice setups.

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My own feeling about inflatables is I don't trust them.  Would rather go old school.  Just my issues though....

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Well far as the rod and reels go I will let others help you with the endless possibilities, but as far as inflatable PDF's go I have one of the Bass Pro ones and it works like a champ. Don't ask me how I know...

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1 hour ago, RB 77 said:

Don't ask me how I know...

Don't need to...

autoInflate.jpg

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Welcome to the forum!  

I would check out the fenwick site to see if they're still selling last year's Aetos for $94.  They're excellent rods for $180 and a ridiculous value for under $100.  As far as reels, J Francho is spot on.  Cheap baitcasters are much more difficult to learn on and are typically prone to backlashing a lot more in inexperienced hands.  Most of mine are Chronarchs that can be bought for around $200 and are very easy to use, reliable reels.  I would also back them with 15-20lb mono and spool them with a quality braid.  The braid will make learning easier because it carries no memory, makes picking out backlashes much easier, and takes less damage during backlashes.  Going this route will cost under $350, will set you up well with a combo you'll enjoy for a long time, and frees up $150 to pick up a PFD and a few spools of mono or copolymer for leaders.  

 

Also, with inflatable PFDs, pick up a couple of extra cylinders if possible.   

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My 2 cents.  In your situation there is no reason to pay retail prices for anything your looking at.  Take your time and shop around...once you find what you want wait for the end of year, black friday, or spring sales.  I'm curious why you are committed to BassPro?  The only reason I can think of is gift cards??

If I were in your situation I would look at:
Onyx Deluxe inflatable - I've had mine since 2013 and its been great in wind, sun, snow, and torrential downpours.  Got a mine for under $100.
1 Baitcasting combo:  As mentioned there's tons of great reels/rods in your price range...shop around for the best deal.  I'd look for a 6'6" to 7' MH with a soft tip for a well rounded all purpose rod.  Cabela's just had their ZX rods on sale for $80.  I had a $20 off coupon plus bought a gift card off giftcardgranny and ended up paying about $50 for a $100 rod...brand new with warranty.  Reel same thing.  When BPS discounts they're Pro Qualifiers to 30% off that's a hard deal to beat.  Also check several forums.  I just bought a like new Lew's Tournament Pro G ($200) for just under $100.
1 Good spinning combo:  Same story here.  Don't necessarily commit to a specific brand but shop for value.  Hard to beat a Shimano Sedona once they go 20% off during Black Friday deals.
 

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Between myself and my wife we fish with close to 2 dozen rods. My experience with baitcasters is simple. The ones under $100 work, but you will benefit greatly by looking at reels that "RETAIL " between $100 and $175. I say retail because often you can get them online or on sale.  Lews makes some great reels in that category. I personally prefer Diawas. In that budget look closely at the Exceler which can be purchased online for around $60 (retails for $99) the Tatula 100 which can be purchased online for around $100 (retails $149) the Tatula CT which is a bit smaller framed version for around $129. Choose a 6 to7  to 1 gear ratio as this is a good all around speed.  All of these reels are solidly built. I presently own 6 of them and am slowly replacing my others as time goes on.  They have battled some large bass, big catfish and stripers.  

Now for a rod. In recent years rod manufacturers have sort built great rods in the $50 to $150 range, the $160 to $225 range and the $250 to ridiculous range.  These are great rods if you are a good enough angler with a big bank account and the talent to even notice the difference. But group 1 and 2 have some very good offering that will provide enjoyment for years.  I think the most popular rod spec for all around bass fishing is 6'6" to 7' in a medium action with a fast tip. It sorta does the most for the buck.   Since this is your first "good" baitcasting outfit the reel is much more important to your overall success and enjoyment. So stay in that $100 to $$175  retail category,

Here are some very good choices from group 1. Berkley Lightning Shock, Falcon Bucoo especially if you can find one at your local Walmart ( they retail for 99 but every year WM closes them out for $49) Dick has a series called Quantum Escalade they sell for $99 but are on sale for $50, Gander mountain has a series called the Gander Mountain Tournament Casting rod which are really nice for $79 and of course he BPS Carbon lites may be on sale still.

Above these are some bigger name rods which would be worth looking at. Lews has some nice rods, Dobyns has a FR 703c or an irod IRG693C “Harold’s Lone Star Special” which is a terrific all around rod. It sells for $149  Look at a Daiwa Tatula XT Casting Rod 7' Med Hvy for $99. Also the powell Max 683 and 684 are great rods. I own an original Powell (not max series) 683 that is my most versatile and fun rod to throw.  These run about $150.  Also look at St Croix rods like the Mojo Bass series in a 6'8" MXF for around $120. Abu Garcia has the Veritas rods $100 and the Veracity for around $129.  So if you pick one from this group you would have a "very" nice combo that will last you for years and should have around $270 in the combo.

The next group includes many of the the same company's higher end offerings which may have higher end components and maybe a different spec graphite but I do not think you will benefit enough to make it worth it.  Having one good baitcasting setup I would look to get an equally good spinning setup and for that I would get something like a Pflueger President reel for $60 and pick a nice 6'6" ,6'8" or even 7 foot for $50 to $100. 

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Thanks for all the good replies. I feel like I've gained a much better perspective from reading all of this. I did forget to mention that this is giftcard money, but I do think I might keep the better deals and future bps sales first in mind from here on. I'm going to dig more into other threads here while I'm free.  I'm not making any purchases until the weekend, but now I'm thinking about just shopping elsewhere and hanging on to the cards after all I've learned so far. :lol1: I've definitely scrapped the inflatable idea for now. I'm in no hurry for one, so I'll pick one of those up whenever i see them cheap and stay focused on tier 1 or 2 combos. Thanks again.

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Be patient and buy used. You can get top of the line in excellent condition for mid-level prices. 

After the pro circuits are over forums and eBay are flooded with stuff pros are selling because they changed sponsors, have a deal to upgrade, etc. 

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22 hours ago, J Francho said:

Don't need to...

autoInflate.jpg

Inflated and wet... Yup!

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On ‎9‎/‎15‎/‎2016 at 9:24 AM, J Francho said:

I disagree.  A beginner should not go with a $50 reel.  Total waste of time and money.  Once you're in the $150-200, you in the sweet spot.  Reels in that bracket work well, need little service and will last years longer than a $50 hunk of junk.  Over that amount, I agree, the beginner will not appreciate the differences, which are incrementally minor.  For a rod, anything starting at $100 is pretty sensitive, in most brands.

Hmm, where in my post did it say to buy a $50 reel? I was suggesting, that a high end reel to a beginner, he would not have the benefits a  seasoned angler would.  I don't think he needs a "$50 hunk of junk" either. You can put together a great combo for less than two hundred. I would find a good starter combo, learn how to fish with it, then down the road when comfortable, buy what you like. You gotta walk before you run, no?

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On 9/15/2016 at 10:17 AM, onetime said:

If you are truly a beginner, you will not notice the difference between a $50 reel and a $500 reel.

I'm calling this statement into question.

I disagree.  Simple as that.  If you're offended, sorry.  This is a place to express opinions.  No one attacked you.  I simply disagreed with your opinion. 

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18 minutes ago, onetime said:
19 minutes ago, onetime said:

 I would find a good starter combo, learn how to fish with it, then down the road when comfortable, buy what you like. You gotta walk before you run, no?

 

if the OP knows he is into fishing for the long run (he has been fishing for a couple decades) a starter combo would be a waste of money IMO

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