CASTING RODS

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

Outdoor Life Online Editor

American Premier OXC 669M

($49.95; 909-590-8160)
Best For: **All-around fresh water, light salt water
**Length/Pieces:
6 ft. 6 in. / 1-piece
Materials: **IM7 graphite
**Guides: **Aluminum oxide
**Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.):
12 - 20 / 3/8 - 2
Our entire panel felt that this rod was a sturdy, no-frills stick that would serve most freshwater applications. One team member suggested that it would be a decent backup rod because of its reasonable cost.

Bass Pro Ocean Master Travel OMT 8C

($99.99; 417-873-5000)
Best For: Heavy fresh water, light to medium salt water
Length/Pieces: 7 ft. / 3-piece
Materials: IM6 (40 million mod)
Guides: Fuji Alconite
Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 8 - 17 / 3/8 - 11/2

This is a multipiece rod that is designed for travel. It has a sharp finish. The team felt it would handle nearshore saltwater fishing as well as many heavy freshwater assignments.

**Daiwa Procyon PC661MRB **Ol Great Buy****

($54.95; 562-802-9589)
Best For: Topwaters, lipless and billed crankbaits
Length/Pieces: 6 ft. 6 in. / 1-piece
Materials: IM7 graphite
Guides: Fuji New Concept aluminum oxide
Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 8 - 17 / 1/4 - 3/4

For the price, this rod was judged to be one of the best all-around models of the bunch. One tester felt it would be better for subsurface lures than for topwater lures, and most thought it cast best at medium and close ranges.

Falcon Cara CC-4-166M

($120; 918-251-0020)
Best For: Medium fresh water
Length/Pieces: 6 ft. 6 in. / 1-piece
Materials: High (44 million) mod graphite
Guides: Fuji Hardloy, low-profile single foot
Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 8 - 17 / 1/4 - 3/4

This rod received across-the-board compliments for being sleek, handsome and well finished. The action and power are well suited to handling a variety of lure types and presentations.

Lamiglas Competitor CC661

($130; 360-225-9436)
Best For: Drop-shotting, topwaters
Length/Pieces: 6 ft. 6 in. / 1-piece
Materials: Intermediate graphite
Guides: Fuji Concept
Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 6 - 17 / 1/4 - 5/8
This rod's nice, easy action means that it is an accurate lure thrower and will be easy to handle for casters with a less-than-powerful arm. The guide placement, however, was such that the line touched the blank when the rod was bent over from a heavy load.

Pflueger Trion CA4766-1M

($49.99; 800-334-9105)
Best For: Medium fresh water, light salt water
Length/Pieces: 6 ft. 6 in. / 1-piece
Materials: IM 8 graphite with Aramid braid
Guides: Fuji Concept
Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 8 - 15 / 1/8 - 5/8
Our test team considered the Trion to be handsome, a real workhorse and one of the best values in the bunch. It performs exactly per manufacturer's stated specifications for general freshwater and light saltwater fishing.

Pinnacle SPX3661CA

($89.99; 888-281-2278)
Best For: Bass/walleyes: topwaters, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits
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 - 15 / 1/4 - 5/8
"This one will do exactly what it was designed for; it's light and has a reasonable price," said one of our tackle testers. We did notice a few finish glitches, but they certainly did not affect performancin any way. This rod wasn't the value leader, but it was a contender for that claim.

Quarrow Dream Catcher DC62JB5

($139.95; 888-568-5026)
Best For: **Medium-sized spinnerbaits and jerkbaits
**Length/Pieces: **6 ft. 2 in. / 1-piece
**Materials:
High-modulus graphite, new Fuji ECS reel seat
Guides: SIC titanium coat
**Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): **8 - 17 / 1/4 - 7/16

Though its tip was deemed to be a trifle light for heavy jerkbaits, this rod received compliments for having looks that are on a par with much more expensive rods.

Rapala Tournament TS70TR66M1

($84; 952-933-7060)
Best For: All-around bass/walleye rod
Length/Pieces: 6 ft. 6 in. / 1-piece
Materials: High-modulus graphite (45 million)
Guides: Fuji Hardloy
Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 8 - 17 / 1/4 - 5/8
Quality is what one expects from Rapala and that is just what one gets from the Tournament TS70TR66M1. The price was right; in fact, its value is over and above that of some more expensive models. One of the team members did not like the spiral design up the entire blank, but everyone felt that this rod was a fine all-around stick that was both powerful and sensitive.

Rogue Magnum Bass MB665C

($154; 877-352-7624)
Best For: **Heavy-medium spinnerbaits, jigs, worms and jerkbaits
**Length/Pieces:
6 ft. 6 in. / 1-piece
Materials: High-modulus graphite
Guides: Fuji Alconite Concept
Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 12 - 20 / 1/4 - 1
Our panelists agreed that this is a stout, tough rod with a sensitive touch and fast tip. Its finish was judged to be a bit Spartan, however, and it has fewer guides than most rods do.

St. Croix Avid AC66MM

($150; 800-826-7042)
Best For: **Light-medium crankbaiting
**Length/Pieces:
6 ft. 6 in. / 1-piece
Materials: SC III maximum-durability,
medium-high-modulus graphite
Guides: Fuji Alconite Concept System
Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 8 - 14 / 1/4 - 5/8

The St. Croix Avid AC66MM has a comfortable handle and is wonderfully light. The tip has enough give to prevent crankbait hooks from tearing out and is also ideal for throwing small lures. The rod's blank makes a smooth transition from a light tip to a powerful butt section. Its finish is understated yet handsome. This was one of the highest-scoring bait-cast models and finished second to the Legend Elite.

Shimano Clarus CSC-66M-2

($59.99; 877-577-0600)
Best For: Medium-heavy fresh water
Length/Pieces: **6 ft. 6 in. / 2-piece
**Materials:
Standard-modulus graphite
Guides: Fuji aluminum oxide
Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 8 - 17 / 1/4 - 5/8
This rod's stout action will easily handle big fish. When you don't want the bother of transporting a one-piece blank, you'll find this rod's two-piece construction handy. The use of standard-modulus materials helped to make the Clarus affordable.

**St. Croix Legend Elite EC68MXF(Casting) **OL Editor's Choice****

($300; 800-826-7042)
Best For: Drop-shotting, topwaters, bass/walleyes
Length/Pieces: 6 ft. 8 in. / 1-piece
Materials: **SC V high-modulus, high-strain graphite, graphite scrim
**Guides:
Fuji SiC Concept System
Line (lb.-test)/Lure (oz.): 8 - 14 / 3/16 - 5/8

All hands agreed that this rod is remarkably light. Its distance and close-up casting characteristics were deemed excellent. An "agile," rod, said one tester. "This one surprised me with its lightness, fast tip and quality," praised another. It has an extra-fast tip, a powerful middle and a stiff butt section. However, most agreed the price was higher than needed, and one evaluator felt the average fisherman would likely not perceive its subtle qualities. That point taken, this rod scored higher than any other casting rod.

[XLINK 234534 "Spinning Reels"] | [XLINK 234537 "Bait-Cast"] | [XLINK 234539 "Spin-Cast Reels"] | [XLINK 234664 "Casting Rods"] | [XLINK 234666 "Spinning Rods"] | [XLINK 234525 "Tackle Test Index"] her. It has an extra-fast tip, a powerful middle and a stiff butt section. However, most agreed the price was higher than needed, and one evaluator felt the average fisherman would likely not perceive its subtle qualities. That point taken, this rod scored higher than any other casting rod.

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