A brand new fishing season is upon us once again and our 2008 Tackle Test is coming to you in a new way, too. This year we're presenting it in three focused installments that'll make it easier for you to find all the info you need to create complete rigs for going after some of the most popular species of fish or types of angling. This month we're taking a look at the best, light spinning gear for panfish and trout. Next we'll deliver our wring-out of bass and general fishing gear, and in May we will report on the hottest, new 5-weight fly rods.
. Outdoor Life Online Editor

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Pflueger Asaro 5925
Retail: $50 Contact: pfluegerfishin.com
Performance: Very Good, Design: Very Good, Price/Value: Very Good A stainless steel main shaft and other corrosion-resistant components combined with eight ball bearings keep this good looking reel working smoothly. The audible click helps you know how much adjustment you’ve made on the classic oiled felt/stainless disc drag dial. Light line is protected as it passes over a titanium-coated lip on the anodized aluminum spool. The large diameter line roller also boasts titanium nitride coating to further reduce line friction. The bail stays open with a sure click and the machined aluminum handle features a cushy-feeling knob. If the drag remains up to snuff on big-running trout, the reel should be a winner. TESTERS’ COMMENTS:
A real slab whacker. Super nice and comfortable ridged knob. Good looking. Line spooling could be a little more even. A very good buy overall. CHECK OUT THE TACKLE TEST VIDEOS HERE Outdoor Life Online Editor
Quantum Tour Edition PTi TE10PTi-A
Retail: $240 Contact: quantumfishing.com
Performance: Excellent, Design: Excellent, Price/Value: Very Good This is the lightest model in a new series that the manufacturer calls the best it has ever produced. The polymer/stainless bearing technology is the same type that is used in aircraft turbines. The magnetic bail has a 30-dregree larger opening than usual, which decreases potential line slap and as a result, ultimately, increases cast distance. Additionally, the bail-closing trip snaps shut quicker than most models. A slim profile aluminum frame and side cover along with a very cool-looking skeletal titanium handle reduces overall weight. The drag appears smooth enough to handle the largest fish you¿d be inclined to target with 4-pound test line. TESTERS’ COMMENTS
Great line management. Cool little package. Silk-smooth retrieve. A joy to cast. Built well enough to handle braid, meaning greater line capacity and stronger line for the hottest fish. A great looker. CHECK OUT THE TACKLE TEST VIDEOS HERE Outdoor Life Online Editor
Shakespeare Intrepid INT425F
Retail: $20 Contact: shakespeare-fishing.com
Performance: Very Good, Design: Very Good, Price/Value: Excellent This is definitely an ultralight rig, ideal for any panfish and most trout, except, perhaps, for the largest, longest running trophies. Though it has but three bearings, it is a surprisingly smooth mill. The spool is made of machined aluminum and the reel comes with a spare graphite spool. The line roller is oversized and designed to reduce line twist. The front drag is smooth. The bail opens precisely, and unlike some reels, stays that way with its Sure-Click design. TESTERS’ COMMENTS
You simply can’t beat this one for the money. A true panfish reel at a panfish price. Drag seems really smooth, too. No real slack line management, but you can live with that at this price. CHECK OUT THE TACKLE TEST VIDEOS HERE Outdoor Life Online Editor
Shimano Stradic ST 1000FI
Retail: $160 Contact: shimano.com
Performance: Excellent, Design: Excellent, Price/Value: Very Good This reel is the lightest model in a totally redesigned series. Not only will it handle line down to a mere 2-pound test, it is fully capable of spooling 6-pound mono for light tackle or finesse fishing for smallmouth bass. If you spooled up with stronger, small diameter braid (increasing line on the spool) the reel would be capable of handling far stronger fish than advertised. Gearing on all of the reels in the series has been enhanced for durability through a cold forging process. The drag system is waterproof and has a repairable clicker. There is a maintenance port permitting lubrication without tearing things down. More efficient power transmission, less vibration is the result of attaching the drive gear directly to the handle. The frame is aluminum with a graphite rotor and side plates. TESTERS’ COMMENTS:
Big boy features in a small package. Drag adjust knob a little small to reach quickly. A definite long-life winner. This one can be pushed to the limit. CHECK OUT THE TACKLE TEST VIDEOS HERE Outdoor Life Online Editor
Pflueger Razor Tip RTSP 4570-2L
Retail: $50 Contact: pfluegerfishing.com
Performance: Very Good, Design: Very Good, Price/Value: Excellent Designed for 4 to 8-pound test line and 3/16 to 1/4 -ounce lures, this is the “long-ranger,” 7-footer (in two-piece configuration for convenience) of a brand new series. Models span the waterfront in length, from this long test rod, all the way down to a 4 1/2-footer for really tight places. Through recent advancements in graphite technology, all the entire series has been designed with solid carbon fiber tips, reportedly making them up to 250 percent stronger than rod tips with normal tubular construction. It also makes for greater sensitivity. The mid-section is relatively fast, but remains gutsy enough to bring fish under quick control. TESTERS’ COMMENTS:
Really nice rod for the money. Could even double as a light bass rod. Super accurate and long casting. If the tip lives up to its billing, this one will be hard to beat. CHECK OUT THE TACKLE TEST VIDEOS HERE Outdoor Life Online Editor
Quantum Todd Huckabee-XPD 701M
Retail: $70 Contact: quantumfishing.com
Performance: Excellent, Design: Excellent, Price/Value: Excellent One of two new models in the Xtralite series (the other is 8 feet long and comes in two pieces), the Todd Huckabee Signature Series 701M will handle lures from 1/64 ounce to 1/4 ounce. The 7-foot rod is designed by a tournament crappie professional who uses it to dip a jig or minnow vertically beside stumps or other standing structure. The one-piece rod tapers fast to a medium flex mid-section. The handle features Tennessee-style sliding rings that allow your reel to be placed anywhere along the long cork grip for a balance that best suits you. TESTERS’ COMMENTS::
Awesome handle. Buttery and sublime. Fairly large handle diameter means it’ll be a little stretch to feather outgoing line with your forefinger on the cast using small reels. Good price. CHECK OUT THE TACKLE TEST VIDEOS HERE Outdoor Life Online Editor
St. Croix Avid AVS70ULM2
Retail: $160 Contact: stcroixrods.com
Performance: Excellent, Design: Excellent, Price/Value: Excellent The rod is designed to handle from 2- through 6-pound test lines (though the latter could be stretching things) and lures in the 1/32- to 3/16-ounce range. Its 7-foot length makes this ultralight great for trout and panfish in lakes or ponds, producing longer casts and aiding in vertical presentations. The blank comes in two pieces for convenient travel, and the action is moderate overall. TESTERS’ COMMENTS:
Love this rod! A trout slayer. Loads up with little effort. Though the tip is pretty noodly it’s surprisingly accurate. Soft, parabolic action means even smaller fish will feel like Moby D. CHECK OUT THE TACKLE TEST VIDEOS HERE Outdoor Life Online Editor
TEST DETAILS OL’s test team included (left to right) Editor-in Chief Todd Smith; Fishing Editor Jerry Gibbs; Maine guide Brooke Hidell (207-415-3787; maineguide@maine.rr.com ) and Online Editor Lindsay Goldenberg. For the fifth year we held the event at beautiful, woods-secluded Migis Lodge on the shores of Maine’s Lake Sebago. Along with stellar meals and accommodations, Migis offers fast fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass, landlocked salmon, lake trout and big crappie (207-655-4524; migis.com). During the testing procedure, in order to maintain consistency, all of our test reels were fitted to Quantum Alliance ALST 662L rods and spooled with 4-pound test Suffix Siege mono. All of the test rods wore Quantum Xtralite XPS05 reels filled with the same Suffix line.
Click ‘next’ to see the results! CHECK OUT THE TACKLE TEST VIDEOS HERE Outdoor Life Online Editor

The OL team puts the latest light tackle to the test.