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By SteveRetrieve
I’m in the market for a high end casting rod, and I am getting a little obsessive with the research. I’d like to keep it to $300 or less, but for the sake of this post let’s assume money is no object.

What is your dream inshore rod? Or the favorite in your arsenal?

For you custom rod guys, how about your favorite blanks?

I’ve been eyeing Lagunas, Kistlers, and castaways because I wouldn’t mind buying a TX made rod, but I’m certainly open to more big box rod builders like g loomis.

Spec wise, personally, looking for an all around inshore rod - 7’ medium power fast action (or there abouts)

And Yes, I have a problem, and I am aware of it.

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By Ron Mc
here's the way I do it - viewtopic.php?p=2294734#p2294734
I'm pretty much covered
I always take out two rods, a 7' rod and a longer steelhead rod.
The long rod lets me double my cast where needed, and also the high tip keeps heavy lures above the grass.
A third would be throw a 3-pc backup in the hold.
If you throw any light lures, can't beat an ML rod.
Next week, dock fishing Arroyo City, all my long rods will be rigged for quick lure change-up.
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By Neumie
For me it's Waterloo. I have the 6'9" Slam Mag and 6'6" Salinity for my baitcasters and a 7'2" Crankin' Mag (discontinued) for my spinning setup. I've had the Slam Mag and Crankin' Mag for over a decade now and the Salinity for 4 years. My dad uses the HP Lite and it's a good one as well.

I've had a Laguna TX Wader, and they're great rods as well. Got it in 2006 and retired in 2015; caught lots of fish on that stick.

For me I'm probably going to stick with Waterloo, but if I were to look at something else I'd check out H&H or Laguna.
By SteveRetrieve
Ron - oh I definitely have enough rods. Just wanting to spoil myself. I typically bring 3 rods - 1 long spinner rod for extra light baits (St Croix mojo inshore ML - okay rod), a heavy baitcasters for spoons and live mullet (Curado - okay rod), and a medium or ML caster for plastics (the one I’d like to replace.) I’m not *in love* with any of my rod arsenal so that’s why I am thinking about going a little higher end.

Neumie - typical upper coast stuff. 1/8 oz jig heads or twist locks with various plastics. Maybe a top water here and there, or a twitch bait. Nothing terribly heavy - I’ve got a heavier rod for throwing finger mullet and spoons. And if I’m throwing super light/weightless I tend to use a spinner.

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Last edited by SteveRetrieve on Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By Ron Mc
I started using an MH steelhead rod inshore in the 90s - 8-1/2' Loomis GL2, which I still have - drift fishing a power boat on LLM - you can cast far away from hull slap noise. It's also a long enough rod for decent surf fishing with a 2-oz spider weight, and got me a few bull reds.
Whenever I loan the Loomis to a friend, they want it again and again - but I will take a Lamiglas G1000 Pro over the Loomis or any rod - you honestly can't tell the length by the light weight.
I do love my inexpensive 13fishing 7'1" ML, because it's so lightweight, and exceptional action designed into the blank.
The 13Fishing Envy Green is right at your price range, and may be my next rod in a 7'7" MM.

good choice on the Mojo ML - I recommended the same rod to a friend for his wife, and as a great rod for the price, but he doubled that ante and bought her a Lami MTC - I suspect he plans to use it some, too.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By karstopo
I’m not up on the latest and greatest bait-casting rods. Sub $300 in the fly rod World is Medium low end, silly as that is. High end is $800, mas y menos. A G. Loomis Asquith 8 weight runs $1,100.

I like Shimano/G.Loomis rods (the same people these days). Blanks from many makers are largely made in Asia, components might be too.

You pay for less weight and better components, that’s my assessment. What do you want the better rod to do that the current rods don’t?

Go retro and get you a fiberglass rod. Ron will likely have identified and thoroughly researched about a dozen good ones.

Any Texas rod is likely made in Asia and finished in Texas. Nothing wrong with Asia. Carbon fiber is carbon fiber, epoxy is epoxy.
By mwatson71
My 6' 6" Waterloo Salinity is my favorite rod. I recently went on a trip to Port Mansfield and the guide had us throwing some crazy $400 rods the first day but the second day I went back to my Salinity.
By impulse
About 15 years ago, I brought a $700 4 piece 9 weight fly rod to a Korean owned factory in China and asked the guy to make an exact copy for me as a sample. When they delivered the prototype, I was appalled at the flat spots at each of the ferrules. Then the guy handed me the $700 rod and showed me that it, too, had flat spots at each of the ferrules. I'm not going to mention the brand of the rod I had knocked off, because it doesn't really matter. Every brand puts out some lemons. But I'd rather pay $100 for a lemon than $700. (Over $1,000 in today's dollars).

On an aside, my favorite fly rod was one I bought on close-out at Academy, half price for $20. Keep in mind that I chose it over the $700 rod, and several other popular brands that cost between $350 and $700. I can't explain it. I just liked it.

Since then, I don't shop brands. I shop features, performance, feel, and build quality.

Perfect rod? No such thing, unless you're throwing one lure in one body of water, under constant conditions. Change the lure, change your quarry, change the wind direction or any other variable and a different rod will be better. So I keep several rods on hand, and a bunch of rods back at the house to choose from- depending on where I'm going, what I'm fishing for, and how I'm pursuing them.

Spend as much as you want for a rod. It's your money. I rarely spend over $75 any more. Usually a lot less.
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By Ron Mc
I think so far Josh is the only one leading Steve in the direction he asked to be led.
For my money, there are worthwhile differences in USA-made rod blanks from St. Croix and Lamiglas, and I guess we'll let Loomis in here, even though they're now owned by Shimano. There are also differences in hardware and finishing quality on a hand-finished or custom rod.
I'm sure in bay casting and spin fishing, I've carried over my implicit knowledge of fly rod tapers, going back 100 years of cane rod trial, inspiration and epiphany - and even worse, supported by empirical tensor analysis and mechanics of continuous media, which always gets the "feeley" guys on fly rod boards up in arms. http://fiberglassflyrodders.com/forum/v ... 33#p359674
There are in fact perfect rods, but they're only perfect for their specific niches. Certainly in fly rods, making one rod to do all things ends up with a rod that's half-assed at everything. For this reason, every rod choice ends up being a compromise, weighted toward your intended use.

No one has taken the specialized fishing approach farther than the Japanese, which is a positive thing to say about their rod blanks. I have a couple of Japanese XUL rockfish rods (7-1/2' and 7'9") designed to throw fly-weight lures in the salt and still land inshore-size fish. This rod is rated to throw 0.5g (1/64th oz), fish 2-8-lb test, and the graphite weave on the butt section lets you stop and turn powerful fish.
I got my perfect distance-casting inshore fly rod, blank hand-rolled on order from S-glass in Japan, though even that rod is in a gang of mates that work better (or stow better) in certain situations, e.g., sitting in a kayak, or fast-accurate delivery (big specs in skinny water).
By SteveRetrieve
All replies are appreciated - thank you gentlemen.

I agree there’s no perfect all around rod, but I do enjoy fishing more with a nice setup in hand. Gluttonous, sure. But paddling is also more enjoyable with a good paddle. Chopping onions is more enjoyable with a nice chef knife, etc.

Going to look into Waterloo and Lamiglas a little more seriously. Those two are on pretty opposite ends of the spectrum, but in a great way. I always thought I’d end up with a long ass steelhead rod at some point, but I assumed it would be a spinner, hadn’t really considered pairing one up with my Lews caster and tossing plastics in Texas yet.
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By Ron Mc
ooh, ooh, ooh, the Lami MTC (M-F that doubles as an ML-F - it will throw 1/8 oz if you ask it)
I also have the older Lami Rogue River Special that's an MH version of the same fast rod, rated 3/8-2-oz - kinda funny they even gave it the same model number - has a really pretty dark green blank and all gold-TiN hardware - doesn't have the soft light-lure tip of the current MTC, and also my choice for exceeding the 5/8-oz lure limit on the G1000 Pro MTC. The RRS is a great rod for throwing 7/8 oz out of sight, and the older rod is not near as light in hand as the current rod.

I looked at the Waterloo rods - they're really well appointed, and bound to fish great.

Adding one more comment about my specific preference for ML casting rods, aside from the light lure option - this could totally be a personal thing, but the way I dog-walk a TSL grasswalker, I get just the right action on ML rods, which turns into more strikes for me. Then when I need to strike back (set), the fast part of the blank takes over - very much like a good dry-fly rod.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
By Tombo
Blanks can be different and as a previous post pointed out carbon fiber is carbon fiber. The difference is scrim, or filler between the fibers. Rather then get a great fishing rod for general use, buy one for a specific use say one made for topwater or spinner lures.
Example, I purchased one from Loomis designed for topwater use, and that was all I used it for. Also to get the most from your new fishing rod, get a comparable reel.
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By Ron Mc
Tom, you could say even more bamboo is bamboo, but you would be amazed at the performance difference attained over 100 years of designing different cane rod tapers for different uses - from offshore to mountain trout, and hundreds of variations on the latter alone.
Taper is the change in the bulk modulus (resistance to bending) moving along the rod length. What they did planing bamboo strips to get different rod tapers was trial and error learning - the same thing applies today with mandrels, linear fiber and resin (the result is a hollow artificial bamboo).

Most people today don't think about rods having tapers - they try to tell us about them in the rod specs - but they work exactly the same way as they did in bamboo (on average, lighter and faster today).
Scrim, btw, is the single spiral wind they use to hold the linear fibers together in place on the mandrel while they impregnate the plastic resin. On sanded rod blanks, most of the scrim is removed, but looking closely will find a scrim ghost in random spots on the rod.
If you guys want to see the scrim on an unsanded blank, here's an old Shakespeare glass spinning rod on FFR
http://fiberglassflyrodders.com/forum/v ... 35#p355498
Right now my Favorite rod is my NRX 842c MBR it’s a good all around inshore rod and I have it paired with a Chronarch 50e. My other Go to is a Waterloo HP lite, for lighter lures its great and fun to catch a big red or trout on since its light tackle. I do also have a Conquest 842c MBR I got myself last year as a birthday present and I would say its neck and neck with the NRX and probably a hair lighter. Cant really go wrong with Loomis or waterloo both great rods and I found both of those Loomis rods lightly used locally for a fraction of the retail price.

“unfortunately, for enthusiasts like myself, that's part of its appeal. High end tackle is a sickness that knows no practical cure so heed what we say and not what we do, because if you sample one, there is no going back.”- Dennis "Cal" Shew (Tackle Tour)
By penguin
Take a look at Gary Loomis edge rods. These are not the g loomis rods you can buy anywhere. These are from his current company. North fork blanks, carbon grips and titanium.guides make these rods lightweight and very sensitive.

I have a first strike and an inshore and think that they are the one of the best rods for the money that you can buy. They are $225.

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By Tombo
I have an idea. How about a retailer set up a fishing rod demo. We bring the reels and test on the different fishing rods. Only way I can test a rod is to wiggle it, play with it at the store. Buy it and hope for the best. Also I rely heavily on input from others on this site.
I have settled on three fishing rods but at the cost of buying other types and brands. I have sold off the fishing stuff I do not use but at a loss. That is an expensive way to learn.
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By Ron Mc
Tombo wrote:...Only way I can test a rod is to wiggle it, play with it at the store. Buy it and hope for the best. Also I rely heavily on input from others on this site.

Tom, the problem these days is rods are so fast they don't wiggle, and you can't tell the subtle differences in rod tapers until you cast a range of lure weights with them - I know that's what you're hoping to overcome with your rod demo suggestion.
In fly rods, especially custom rod makers, have regional "claves" where everyone gets together annually for a weekend of BBQ, and casting each other's pride and joy. Getting vendors to show up and help sponsor (e.g. door prize) is partly driven by $800 price tags.
For GRTU, their annual Expo. Troutfest, has become the largest focus of the chapter - http://www.grtu.org/troutfest/

A salt fishing Expo somewhere on the TX coast would be a great idea (kayak vendors could demo, too) - it might take an interest from a body the size of a CCA chapter to organize one - maybe the PACK guys could do it - they have the organization - plant a bug in them. Little Bay in Rockport would be a great venue.
Roys could also put out a rack of rods at their kayak demo weekends - it would be worth mentioning.
By WC53

I picked up this rod as a cheap alternative to the Lami you showed to see how I like the action of a Salmon rod. Very nice for the $70 I paid. I can throw the weightless TSL pretty darn far with less effort than my previous rod, which was too stiff. No decent size fish yet to test the backbone, but I have found my new distant sight casting rod.

Ok I failed at trying a photo,

Rod is Okuma SST 1701-C-MGM, which is 7-10” medium magnum taper. Lews inshore custom with Berkley 30lb prospec.
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By Ron Mc
way cool - thanks for posting, and try again on the photo if you want.
The SST rods are a good buy. Part of buying a US-made Lami is the hand-laid blank.
They also sell their offshore-made equivalent to the Okuma, the X-11 series.

I have an 8'2" Lami classic glass, which is inexpensive and on the heavy side, but a wonderful action with a grasswalker, and has been my go-to rod for S. Padre drift fishing. I'll be fishing it this trip from the boat, again with my old Lew's BB-25SW.
We're traveling in the blow tomorrow, and 45-degrees at Arroyo tomorrow night (hard freeze here), but Friday looks beautiful there, 70s with light wind, and it will be back into the 80s there by Monday.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By WC53
87 here in FL today, skeeters are horrible!

I put the lami on my Christmas list, is it a 50/50 split (the cork handled SST is a one piece)? If it is a 50/50 split I would just leave it in my underseat toolbox, just in case....

Thanks for your post and recommendations on the action of Salmon Rods
By impulse
Ron Mc wrote:
Tombo wrote:...Only way I can test a rod is to wiggle it, play with it at the store. Buy it and hope for the best. Also I rely heavily on input from others on this site.

Tom, the problem these days is rods are so fast they don't wiggle, and you can't tell the subtle differences in rod tapers until you cast a range of lure weights with them - I know that's what you're hoping to overcome with your rod demo suggestion.

One trick I learned at the Chinese and Korean factories is to press the tip on the ground and then flex the rod from above. That gives you a lot better feel for the taper than wiggling the rod in the air. Manipulate it a little and see where the flex is- in the butt, the tip, or wherever. It's still not as good as casting a bunch of times with different weights (and fighting a few fish), but a lot better than wiggling the tip in the air like I used to do.

Edit: I'd add that I have passed on a lot of rods when I found the taper to be truly sorry that way. Even some of the high end rods have dead spots or they flex somewhere in the middle as opposed to a nice, progressive taper toward the tip.
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By Ron Mc
I've spent some time on rod tapers
This is the 13Fishing mag taper ML at work with a running slot red - if it were a fly rod, I'd call it super-progressive, and would just about make a good 8-wt dry-fly rod if there were such a thing.
The little Japanese rockfish rod I showed above would make a Great light-line dry fly rod.
I agree wiggle doesn't tell a lot compared to fishing - way too many fly fishers use it for gauging rod taper - some of the greatest rods of all time would fail most peoples' wiggle test, like Vince Cumming's Water Witch.
Though with a fly rod you actually can tell something about how the rod loads if you make a real cast motion, stiff wrist, shoulder rotation and straight-line elbow extension. Using that once, I found a glue delmaination in a 100-y-o cane fly rod that wiggling missed - it finds clicking ferrules in old fly rods, but it's also a good indicator for taper.
Most bait rods are too stiff to find any kind of tip motion without line and weight at the low end of their range - a big part of that is also the relative length. A 7' MH rod generally feels like a broomstick, while a 9' MH rod is naturally progressive.
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