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We put the newest rods and reels through a drag-testing, line-flipping, rod-bending casting contest. Here are the results.
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American Premier

($39.95; 909-590-8160)

Best For: Light fresh water

Length/Pieces: 6 ft. 6 in. / 2-piece

Materials: Medium-high-modulus graphite

Guides: Titanium nitride

Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 4 - 10 / 1/8 - 3/8

The American Premier spinning rod garnered mixed performance reviews ranging from average to excellent. Make no mistake, this is an ultralight rod that is best suited for small lures; in fact, it should be able to lob a small artificial lure a country mile.

Bass Pro Shops Ocean Master Travel OMT6S

($99.99; 417-873-5000)

Best For: Salmon, bonefish, light salt water, medium fresh water

Length/Pieces: 7 ft. / 3-piece

Materials: IM6 (40 million mod)

Guides: Fuji Alconite

Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 6 - 12 / 1/4 - 5/8

This three-piece travel rod surprised one of our team members, who thought it would be heavier given the multiple sections. The rod's long handle design calls for two-handed casting, and distance casts were judged to be less accurate than medium and closer casts.

Cabela's Whuppin' Stick WSSM 702

($19.99; 800-237-4444)

Best For: General fresh water

Length/Pieces: 7 ft. / 2-piece

Materials: Fiberglass

Guides: Aluminum oxide, stainless-steel guide frames

Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 6 - 15 / 1/8 - 5/8

If you're looking for an inexpensive rod-one that can take abuse-for a young or casual angler, you need to check out Cabela's Whuppin' Stick. It can take rough treatment and can be used to land mid-sized catfish, panfish, bass or pike.

Daiwa Procyon PC661MFS

($54.95; 562-802-9589)

Best For: General bass, walleye fishing

Length/Pieces: 6 ft. 6 in. / 1-piece

Materials: IM7 graphite, matte finish

Guides: Fuji New Concept aluminum oxide

Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 6 - 14 / 1/8 - 3/4

This model was heavy, both in hand and in the tip. On the up side, it scored favorably in price and for its control of jigs and soft-plastics. This rod got high marks for casting accuracy.

Fenwick HMX S66M

($69.95; 877-336-7637)

Best For: Medium-light general fresh water

Length/Pieces: 6 ft. 6 in. / 1-piece

Materials: Medium-modulus graphite

Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 6 - 15 / 1/4 - 3/4

The Fenwick HMX S66M spinning rod was judged to be "not particularly attractive." But the model brought cheers for being one of the best casters, especially for long-distance casting with lures like in-line spinners. Overall, this is a good generalist's rod in an age of specialization.

G. Loomis Greenwater GWR782S

($175; 800-662-8818)

Best For: Small live bait, soft-plastics, jigs

Length/Pieces: 6 ft. 6 in. / 1-piece

Materials: Mid-range modulus

Guides: Fuji Alconite

Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 6 - 12 / 1/4 - 5/8

This rod is from a series that's designed for nearshore saltwater fishing. It was designed primarily to enable an angler to be able to cast small live baits without throwing them off, and as such is softer than most bass/walleye anglers prefer. One tester said he thought the rod was overpriced. Another called the model "an entry level rod from a maker of acclaimed high-end rods." However, some of the team members gave the Greenwater extremely high marks for casting distance and accuracy.

Pflueger Trion SP4766-2M

($49.99; 888-281-2278)

Best For: Medium fresh water

Length/Pieces: 6 ft. 6 in. / 2-piece

Materials: IM8 graphite with Kevlar braid

Guides: Fuji New Concept

Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 6 - 12 / 1/8 - 1/2

This rod received high scores for its casting and price. Some thought the finish was a bit rough. And one tester said that the rod "looks like it was put together in a hurry."

Pinnacle SPX3661SPM

($89.99; 803-794-8521)

Best For: Bass, walleyes, jigging, bottom-bouncing

Length/Pieces: 6 ft. 6 in. / 1-piece

Materials: High-modulus graphite

Guides: Ultra-hard rainbow titanium-shielded SIC

Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 8 - 17 / 1/8 - 1/2

The finish on the Pinnacle drew universal praise from all of our testers. Its casting was very accurate at all ranges and the butt power was just right for making serious hooksets.

Rapala Signature Series SE80SP67ML2

($100; 952-933-7060)

Best For: Medium light bass/walleye rod

Length/Pieces: 6 ft. 7 in. / 2-piece

Materials: High-modulus graphite

Guides: Fuji Alconite, New Guide Concept

Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 6 - 12 / 1/8 - 1/4

We felt that this rod's action was lighter than its medium-light designation claimed. That said, the rod was thought to be excellent for all-around finesse techniques. It was pleasantly light. Most liked its looks, and one of our panel members summed things up with, "For a two-piecer, it's a keeper."

Rogue Spin Jig SJ664S

($139; 877-352-7624)

Best For: General-purpose fast jig rod

Length/Pieces: 6 ft. 6 in. / 1-piece

Materials: High-modulus graphite

Guides: Fuji Alconite Concept

Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 10 - 20 / 1/4 - 3/4

Our entire team agreed that this rod is ideal for its stated purpose. There were many comments like: "This is a nice fast rod with some guts, but it's a little bit stiff in the midsection." One evaluator, however, thought that the rod was way overpriced.

Shimano Clarus CSS-66M-2

($59.99; 877-577-0600)

Best For: Medium general fresh water

Length/Pieces: 6 ft. 6 in. / 2-piece

Materials: Standard-modulus graphite

Guides: Fuji aluminum oxide

Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 6 - 12 / 1/8 - 1/2

Here's another general-purpose rod that can handle a multitude of fishing methods. Its sensitivity is good and its butt has plenty of backbone for hooksetting and lifting. This rod's $60 price tag makes it a bargain.

LAMIGLAS TI 2000/IM700 TBS661 OL's Editor's Choice

($420; 360-225-9436)

Best For: Bass, drop-shotting

Length/Line: 6 ft. 6 in. / 1-piece

Materials: Titanium/ IM7000 graphite

Guides: Fuji Concept

Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 6 - 17 / 1/4 - 5/8

This titanium/graphite model brought more impassioned comment than most. Accolades ranged from "This is a rod of rare quality," to "This rod is sharp, sensitive and has just the right tip action for drop-shotting." But it was also felt that the tip and midsection were slightly soft for the power titanium butt. However, the rod scored highest of any spin model.

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