While flipping through the outdoor channels on television one Saturday morning (because rain had screwed up my fishing plans and you really didn’t expect me to do anything productive around the house did you?) I came across a show conducting a product review on a new rifle scope.
I watched as they talked about the clarity and light gathering capabilities of the optics and blah blah blah (I quit listening because I have a short attention span)…then they hit me with the price. $4000. No I didn’t add an extra zero. Four stupid thousand dollars for a rifle scope! That’s ridiculous. Even if I was rich and famous, (instead of dang good looking) I don’t think I could bring myself to drop that kind of money on…well…just about anything that doesn’t have a motor and float.
I said all that to say this, I will never review something here that I don’t think the average person could afford. So, this blog is about a couple rod & reel combinations that I picked up from the local big-box outdoor store for under $100 total. These were not provided to me for testing; I just walked in one day and bought them for personal use.
If you ever stop by my house and there aren’t 74 neighbor kids running around you may want to call the police because something is wrong. There is usually a baseball game going on in the front yard, tree house shenanigans in the back, and bicycles everywhere. It’s a rare day when I get home and don’t hear, “can we go fishing?” from a kid I may or may not recognize.
Because of this I need an arsenal of fishing poles that are 1. Easy to use 2. Indestructible 3. Not Expensive. The two I picked up the other day fit the bill perfectly.
The first is a Mitchell 300 EX spinning reel matched up with a 662M (6ft 6inch medium action) rod. This is a well balanced combination with the center of gravity resting about an inch in front of the reel seat. So far it has been used for bream fishing with worms, throwing small spinners and weightless worms for bass.
PROS: light feel, sensitive so you can feel bites, quick tip, smooth reel, has enough backbone to handle bass up to four pounds (so far) but limber enough not to rip the hooks out of bream’s mouths. This would make a good vertical jigging rod for crappie as well. If I’m walking out the door with one rod to hit the local fishing hole this is normally the rod I grab.
CONS: The only issue so far is that the reel seat screw on lock keeps backing off so I have to keep an eye on it
The second set up is a Mitchell Avocet II S4000 spinning reel paired up with a 7ft medium/heavy spinning rod. This is a heavier rod and reel combination. The reel isn’t quite and smooth and the rod is thicker with less action at the tip, but then again that’s what it is made for. So far I’ve used it for throwing crankbaits and bouncing shaky head jigs. It is a stout set-up as I used it to haul in a nine pound grinnel recently. (No I wasn’t trying to catch it on purpose) It is 6 inches longer than the other rod but most of this is in the butt. The distance from reel to rod tip is only about 2 inches longer than the shorter rod.
PROS: Can handle good sized fish, inexpensive (under $40 for both rod and reel), casts a mile, can be beat on by kids and not worry about breaking
CONS: Not very sensitive (but really, for the price it’s good enough), the butt is too long to comfortably use for kayak fishing.