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Oldbritguy

What are you paying for in a top-quality casting rod???

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For years I've been building my own rods, so I'm a bit out of the picture with what's on the market nowadays.

But recently I've had the urge to maybe get myself a top-quality casting rod, just for the hell of it.

From my building experience I find the rods I cast best with

are about 6 - 6 1/2 feet, with a fairly moderate soft action, not too stiff in the tip.

I have several nice Shimano reels that I like to use; Curado D101; Older? Curado 201; Older? Citica 201 and a forthcoming Cronarch MG51 that I just bought on EBay.

I throw mostly 4-5 inch floating crankbaits (Bomber Long A's, Rapalas, etc.) for the local bass and pike, and occasional plastic craws into the weeds. I'm starting to use braided lines (Daiwa and Suffix) this season.

I'm not into tournaments or any of that big-time stuff. Just a crude farmer who enjoys fishing out from my place a few times a week. But I do enjoy the whole baitcasting process, and the great feel of a nicely-balanced outfit.

Question: What rods are out there that I should look at, assuming cost is not the "most important"?  factor ?

What can I expect to get for what cost, and just what practical difference does the extra cost make.

Love to hear what you guys have to say. . . .?

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Look for current rods at about the $100 price point (your lamiglas excels, shimano compres, st croix mojos, etc.) for a good place to start looking. At this level you will get good bang for the buck.

There are a few rods slightly below ($60-80 mark like the clarus', vendetta) and above ($150, crucials and others) might be worthy of your consideration as well.

Whether it is worth the cost is completely up to you. Some folks truly believe that the higher end rods are worth it to them and you may or may not arrive at the same conclusion.

Your application comes into play a bit. For the lures you plan to toss, I don't see myself ever justifying buying an extravagantly priced crankbait specific rod because it doesn't take much for me to feel the wiggle of a crankbait esepcially if even an Ugly Stick feels sufficiently sensitive enough in my hands for me to fish a senko.

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I own a St. Croix Avid, which in my opinion is a fantastic rod. It's a replacement for the original which broke last season. I told St. Croix the break may well have been my fault, I wasn't 100% sure as the break occured at night. I may have had the braid wrapped around the tip.

Anyhow, they replaced it no questions asked, so big points for St. Croix.

This season I have started using a Falcon Lowrider, which so far I love. Falcon does not seem to get the attention other rodmakers get, but for $110.00 I got one hell of a rod made with top shelf components:

http://falconrods.com/index.php/rods-reels/rods/lowrider.html

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Once you go above the $150-175 price point the return on investment as far as light weight and sensitivity really diminishes quickly.  You can find plenty of really nice rods in that $100 - $175 price range. 

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If you can build your own rods , why in the heck would you want to buy a mass produced rod ?

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Probably the benchmark for top quality rods is the G Loomis IMX at around $250. Above that price, there seem to be significantly diminishing returns for the increase in expense. Although I'd love a $500 Megabass rod :)

You can tell that the IMX is well respected because they have a great resale value, with 10 year rods still fetching more than $150. Once in a while, though, you can find a good deal.

For a fun match to your Chronarch 51 (congrats by the way) the Kistler Argon AFCB69C is a medium power graphite cranking rod. It has a moderate action, but is still stiff enough to use for Senkos. It's a bit of a gamble as a closeout (from Simmons), but it has a lot of the newest features - that I personally like. I also just purchased a Powell, but cannot comment on it just yet.

Leon

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id go for a mbr783c in IMX or GLX. if i could only keep one rod it would be my mbr783 glx as it is a great all around rod. $50 bucks will get you a new rod if it happens to break with the expeditor service. stay away from limited lifetime warranty. if shimano/loomis decides its not a defective rod, you cannot use the expeditor service afterwards.

if you want to spend a little less look at the st.croix avid series. st. croix has a similar warranty and the avids are an excellent value.

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If you can build your own rods , why in the heck would you want to buy a mass produced rod ?

Just one example would be the economy All Stars...  for the equivalent of one hour's pay I can buy a good utility or loaner rod.  I'd spend the same on material alone to build it. (and at least 8 hours to build my version of a utility rod)  Time isn't something I have much of right now so it's a better value to me to buy that utility rod.

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I would agree with flechero's point on a knock around rod, but once you reach what I consider "top-quality", I would build my own or seriously consider having a custom built.

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If you prefer a more moderate action I dont think you'll be happy with anything upper end made by any manufacturer. They'll all be exceptionally crisp and stiff even if they are light. I also prefer a 6 or 6'6" rod and todays technique specific trend in rods makes those sizes even harder to find. The closest thing to a nicely made moderate action rod Ive found is Loomis' crankbait series.

Flechero makes a very good point. I find myself more satisfied with a $80 Abu Vendetta I bought recently than I am with my Shimano Cumara's.  Side note, I'd love to find a good custom maker who could make a nice 5'6" pistol grip rod.  Cant bring myself to use a basspro marked one.

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