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Help needed in choosing new casting rod

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Little intro since the headline is probably quite vague.

I have been fishing all my life, but it was with whatever rod my dad handed me (spinning), and that was that. 90% of my fishing growing up was for northern pike in minnesota. Fast forward to last year, went through a divorce and rediscovered fishing. Now I go every day I can. 

With this I have a deep interest in learning more of the equipment side and its affects on the fish you get. Again, growing up it was just throw a daredevil on what you had and go. Now Im learning that some lures should be tied on and some need swivels and oh my I get overwhelmed. 

Now, I shore fish for 3 species from my one secret spot, bass, walleye, and northern pike (in NE Ohio). Primary tactics are senkos and flukes for bass, jigs for walleye, and recently started modifying daredevils for weedless with grub trailers for the pike. I just learned about drop shotting and have tried it twice so far with no luck, but still excited about it.

Onward...

I have two rods at the moment, both spinning. 

-Shakespeare (got it in a combo from gander) Wild Series, 6'6" Medium Action, 8-14lb, with an old shimano baitrunner 250, loaded with (iirc) 20lb braid. This is my current go to rig, I use everything on it. I used this reel with a St Croix Premier until it snapped and got this until i get the croix fixed. 
-Daiwa Strike SK-12 6'6" Medium Light action 8-12lb, with the shakespeare reel that came from the combo. Has the same line on it, but I have it loaded up with a 3' leader of sufix 10lb fluro with a drop shot hook on. I figured the light action was better for drop shot, this rig was my backup until i rigged it for the drop. 

 

I have quite a few jerkbaits/crankbaits but rarely use them due to weeds, but I would use them with the shakespeare rod. 


A few days ago I got a Shimano Curado 300E as a birthday present. It is my first baitcaster. 

Which brings us to the question!

Given what I have, and what I fish for and what techniques I use primarily, what type of action or weight should I get for the curado, and/or how would i reorganize my tactics with regards to what I am doing now with this addition? I am doing all the research I can but it is overwhelming and cant help but worry if i am using the wrong techniques with the wrong rods. 

To this point, I am looking at the St Croix Avid X, 7', medium fast, 10-17lb. 

Thank you for making it this far! A 22" walleye for your time (PB, nothing crazy but not bad from shore). 

14054020_10206696009225606_4810517334358471134_n.jpg

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I realize that I'm the newb and all, but, what are you working with for a budget?

 

for baitcasting rods, I love my loomis rods. for spiiners, st Croix is the way I roll.

 

the only exception is a st Croix premier  6'6 heavy action (musky rod)...much backbone as a shovel handle. could probably lift a mid-sized crossover vehicle.

 

 

(for quality without breaking the bank, lew's and dobyns seem like a pretty good bang for the buck....could have bought a lot of those for what I have tied up in loomis rods...just saying) 

 

i  have to disagree with you about that walleye.....that looks like a fantastic catch!

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I am looking around the $200 range, I prefer to go with a US made rod, and I love my st croix. I was looking at G.Loomis recently though, saw them in a local shop and didnt know they were US made. 

and yes, that walleye would have been good eating too had i taken my cooler that night! 

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Besides St. Croix, I can suggest Hammer rods as another made in the USA rod that is very good.  I have the 7'3"  MH in the All American Elite Micro Series and the Lady Angler Series.   What can I say, I got a good package deal on them.  Sorry guys, but I even like the pink color on the handle!  Daughter must be rubbing off on me.  :D  Pink is her favorite color.  Doesn't seem to affect the rod's performance, and makes it easy for me to pick out the rod.  :P

 

Check reviews here and on other sites.  A lot of rod for the money.  Some say near the sensitivity of an NRX at much less.....over $300 or more less.

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Lamiglas is a made in america rod company and has some good stuff.  I liked there original excel series rods in orange.  I did a quick search to see what came up and this should be right in your ball park.  http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Lamiglas-Certified-Pro-Series-Fast-Action-7-2-Senko-Bass-Casting-Rod-XC724-/391545620103?hash=item5b29f00687:g:QhgAAOSwFV9Xw7X5  I have not fished that rod and i would do way more looking that the 2 min i did.  They used to have a bass xmg series that people raved about and i really wanted to try but never found anyone that had one.

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3 minutes ago, Angry John said:

Lamiglas is a made in america rod company and has some good stuff.  I liked there original excel series rods in orange.  I did a quick search to see what came up and this should be right in your ball park.  http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Lamiglas-Certified-Pro-Series-Fast-Action-7-2-Senko-Bass-Casting-Rod-XC724-/391545620103?hash=item5b29f00687:g:QhgAAOSwFV9Xw7X5  I have not fished that rod and i would do way more looking that the 2 min i did.  They used to have a bass xmg series that people raved about and i really wanted to try but never found anyone that had one.

 

I fished one of those Lami Senko Specials for about 10 years. It has a really short handle for a 7'2" rod and it's top heavy, but still a good rod. I upgraded to the 723 Infinity and it's an amazing stick, but over the $200 range. 

 

The current Lami Pro-X line is very nice. I have the 735 model and for the $180ish I spent on it I feel like it was well worth it. They are built by hand in Washington. They are very comparable to a Dobyns Champion.

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