Outdoor Life Online Editor


Best New Rods 1. G. Loomis Bronzeback SMR822S-GLX

This one’s for dedicated bass anglers. Sensitivity is the key when you use finesse baits like tubes, split-shot lizards and grubs. And with the combination of super-high-modulus GLX material, Recoil nickel-titanium alloy guides and extra-fast action, the Bronzeback rod has sensitivity in spades. It’s a medium-power stick aimed at smallies but fine for light-lure largemouths as well. The butt is a little stiffer than those on the classic Loomis two-power rods, but the tip is lighter. Your hand will feel the faintest of bites with this rig. _($355; 800-456-6647; gloomis.com) _

Best New Rods 2. Shakespeare Agility ASPI 6066-1MH
Here’s another rod for inshore saltwater fishing that has greater stiffness in the midriff than many traditional inshore rods. That makes it just fine for pike, bass and many walleye assignments as well. You’ll like the little touches like the hard butt cap that won’t easily snag your clothes, the cushioned stainless-steel hoods of the reel seat and the Soft-Touch material on the seat itself, but you’ll love the price best of all. ($30; 800-347-3759; shakespeare-fishing.com)


Best New Rods 3. Falcon SCTi-76M Cenderi

The beautifully finished Falcon Cenderi was designed for inshore saltwater anglers to catapult medium-size lures great distances, and it does so with ease. The 7½-footer got rave reviews for accuracy at both close and far ranges. Though its overall flexibility will let you handle heavier lures on monofilament up to 20-pound-test, we’d rather use lighter line and put the rod to use covering acres of open water or just wading with it from shore-and we don’t mean just marine shores. Use it in lakes and big rivers, too, and you’ll be well pleased._ ($200; 918-251-0020; falconrods.com)_

Best New Rods **4. Shakespeare Agility ACA 6066-1MH **
What can you say? The Agility series wins in the price/value category again. Like the spinning rods in the series, the bait-caster is made of the popular IM-8 graphite with now standard through-handle construction. The reel seat trigger-extension design proved extremely comfortable on this rod. And the Soft-Touch material of the seat enhances your grip and is pleasing to the touch. The handle provides exposed blank for sensitivity. An all-around tool that gives great performance for any bass assignment. ($30; 800-347-3759; shakespeare-fishing.com)