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Cheap Rod Vs. Not So Cheap Rod

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Ok, so I got a new Shimano Stradic FI 2500 I ordered from Cabela's in the mail today and wanted to get a rod for it. I currently have a 6'6", Cabela's ML two piece spinning rod that I use with my old Spirex 1000 reel. That rod is a bit too whippy for me. This new rod reel combo will be my spinning set up. Mostly soft plastics with a few light treble lures.

I took a cue from the Walmart threads here on BR and spent some time there. I was torn between the 6'6" Berkley Lightning Rod M and the 7' Falcon BoCoo MM, open hook rods. The Bocoo is more than twice the price of the Lightning Rod.

As one would expect, there was an obvious difference in the appearance of quality between the two. From the fit and finish to the number of guides, to the guide coatings, to the handle construction, etc. The whole time I was looking, I kept thinking of a recent thread here about how great someone thought the Lightning Rod was. The other thing was the voice of my wife in my head yelling about dropping $100 plus on more fishing gear.

So I did the "right thing" and walked out with the Lightning Rod. I got home, all proud of my thriftiness and slid the new reel onto its new rod. My heart sank. I'm currently fishing at least three days a week, and as summer comes around, I expect that number to grow. I don't know if I'm just a pretentious ***, but I found myself thinking that there is no way the Lightning Rod would last through the summer. So now, I have the new rod (now reel-less) sitting in the garage with the receipt ready for return in the morning.

My question is, am I better off holding out for a pay check or two and buying the more expensive rod, or should I keep the $40 Lightning Rod and use the heck out of it? I know this isn't a GLoomis with a Stella, but for me, I want to be sure I'm getting the most bang for my buck. The other question I have is, if it's only a case of appearances and if the Lightning Rod is just as durable as the Bocoo?

Thanks for any advice or insight,

Nathan

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I've read a lot of good reviews about the Lightning Rod. They seem well made too. But I don't like them in general. It's mostly the guides I don't like, among other things, the whole rod just doesn't suit my tastes.

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At its core a fishing rod is a tool. Form should follow function. The thing I don't care for in the Bucco is the moderate action rating. Fish can be caught with a cane pole and bailer twine but we're trying to stack the odds a little. IMO a rod for jigs and plastics is worthy of a little higher budget, for moving baits like cranks, not so much. The Lightning is a good budget rod, only you know if you can afford better. If spending the money is causing you anxiety, you probably shouldn't. Fish the Lightning and have fun. If you can swing a little higher end rod and feel good about it, your fishing experience will probably be enhanced. The point of diminishing returns on a factory rod is around $225 +/- IMO up to that point you get what you pay for to some extent.

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hey nathan, i still have lightning rods i bought in the early 80's that i was very fond of so, yes, i think they will hold up. actually, what you find is that the higher-end rods are more sensitive but less durable...that's the trade-off with higher modulus graphite: lighter and transmits vibrations better but at the cost of brittleness. i use mostly $200-$300 rods nowadays but i'd have no problem fishing if all i had was a 7' MH lightning rod. i say, keep it and go fishin'. i used to tear 'em up with lightning rods at lake patagonia and pena blanca lake back in the day (i'm originally from tucson).

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That lightning rod will last you a lifetime of good fishing. I use the shock rods on my baitcasters because I use braid. I fish tournaments and have no provlem feeling bites or wrestling fish in. Dont be fooled by all the $ hype for overpriced equipment, its not going to make you a better fisherman, just a unhappy husband while your wife nags you, haha. Enjoy that rod, they are amazing!

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Before I came to Bass Resource, I used, amongst other things, a lot of Lightning Rods. Never broke one that was not my own fault (car doors, etc...). I can't say that about some of the higher end rods I have used. I have or have had, $100 rods from a few of the higher end names in rods...like St Croix Mojo's, Kistler's, the old loomis GL2. For 1/2 the price the LR is as good as those, now if your talking about Avids, Legend Tournamets, Loomis IMX and GLX etc.....then no, they don't compair, and a compairison is actually quite laughable. It's your hard earned money, do what you want with it. I will also say this, my upgrading from Lighning Rods is not the reason I catch more fish now than I did 6-8 years ago, I regularly get my butt handed to me in tournaments by guys fishing with lightning rods, or other modestly priced gear. It ain't the stick, it's the guy holding it.

There is a lot of "keeping up with the Jones's" that goes on around here. Don't go broke buying fishng tackle because you fall in to that

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I used lighting rod, cherry wood, and lower end rods to start . Never had a problem with them. As my fishing ability increased so did the "want" for better tackle. I upgraded slightly on my equipment and was happy with middle of the road equipment ( vendettas ,daiwa tierras, etc.) . I have never been able to justify spending loads of money for one item but if its what you believe you need and what makes you happy fishing with then theres nothing wrong with that. My favorite set-up that i have is not the most expensive.

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Wow, thanks guys. I think maybe I'll hang-on to the LR. I appreciate all the feedback. My main question of durability has been answered. I'm curious to check out the difference in feel with the six line guides on the LR.

Now that I'm keeping the LR, I bought the 6'6", full handle one as opposed to the 7', split grip one. I believe both rods were rated the same, main difference was length and grip. Is it a preference thing, or do I want a specific length for my intended usage of soft plastics and treble hook lures? I thought I had read on BR about a 6'6" rod being ideal for such use.

Thanks again,

Nathan

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All else being equal, a shorter rod will cast more accurately and a longer rod will cast further. 7' is the average right now but a 6'6" rod is perfectly usable.

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I agree with Delaware Valley Tackle, the Falcon has too moderate of an action for using it with baits that you want to feel and were lite bite happen frequently. As for the Lightning rod, if is the best you can afford well then it will work but in my opinion you could do a little better, especially with the reel you have. If you are able to use a credit or debit card and have the ability to order a rod I highly recommend a Fenwick Elite Tech Smallmouth spinning rod. I've been getting some iritated at me for bringing these rods up all the time but in your case were you want a good rod but can't justify paying a lot for one, this is the rod. Even at the $129.99 retail they are a great buy, because I have fished with a lot of equipment in my time, from 29.99 K-Mart specials to $400 dollar customs and everywhere in between and these rods are phenominal at the price. I gave my grandson my Loomis SJR GL3 after getting my Fenwick just because the Fenwick was a better rod, and that is the truth. I'm not saying it is as good as a GLX or other super premium rods but it will hold its own against a St. Croix Avid all day long and you can find them online for 75 to 80 bucks. So if you save a few bucks here and there over time you may want to think about that rod but for now a LR will serve its purpose. And if you ever get into the world of casting I can help you out with good rods on the cheap.

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I'm all for finding the rod that will work for you. For the longest time I thought an Ugly Stik lite was the ticket, that is until I tried something better. And then something even better than that. ("better" is always subjective).

I tried and liked the Lightning Rod Shock, but took it back in favor of a Carbon-Lite, which was then replaced with a 6'3" Shimano Compre (cork handle) and couldn't been happier...well, maybe I could. Added a 5'9" Compre to my arsenal, both with Shimano Stradic 1000 FI, both for bass from soft plastics to certain hard plastics and jigs. Also, while I understand the rod length thing, I don't feel I *need* a 6'6" or longer rod to be successful for how I fish. For kayak fishing, I'm cool with, and prefer, the shorter varieties.

I still use an Ugly Stik Lite, too - for crankbaits. Is all I need.

You don't *have* to have pricey rods to have a good time fishing. Don't let the bait monkey tell you otherwise, because the desire is like a fire--insatiable. Thank God for my wife, the FireWoman.

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LR will last you a long time. I have a 7ft older model casting and it is still kicking

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Again, thanks for all the feedback. I went out and exchanged the 6'6" LR for a 7' LR Shock. Set the Stradic up this morning with 14lb Fireline and hit the pond. I couldn't be happier with the feel of the rod and my perceived accuracy with it. As many of you have said, it may not be much, but it's an upgrade for me. I think I will be happy with the rod for a year or two.

On a side note, I bagged a nice 2.5lb LM (good for the ponds I fish) with my Jig set up. As always, I had been striking out with everything as I worked my way around the pond. As I was heading back to the car, I threw in one last time in a cove I've had luck with in the past. Wham! My four year old son got so excited, I had to grab him by the back of his shirt to keep him from falling in. The LM had someone's 2/0 Gamakatsu SWG still hooked in the top of its mouth. Made for a nice outing with my boys.

Thanks,

Nathan

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Again, thanks for all the feedback. I went out and exchanged the 6'6" LR for a 7' LR Shock. Set the Stradic up this morning with 14lb Fireline and hit the pond. I couldn't be happier with the feel of the rod and my perceived accuracy with it. As many of you have said, it may not be much, but it's an upgrade for me. I think I will be happy with the rod for a year or two.

On a side note, I bagged a nice 2.5lb LM (good for the ponds I fish) with my Jig set up. As always, I had been striking out with everything as I worked my way around the pond. As I was heading back to the car, I threw in one last time in a cove I've had luck with in the past. Wham! My four year old son got so excited, I had to grab him by the back of his shirt to keep him from falling in. The LM had someone's 2/0 Gamakatsu SWG still hooked in the top of its mouth. Made for a nice outing with my boys.

Thanks,

Nathan

Congrats on the purchase and on the catch

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