It’s not true! OUTDOOR LIFE editors aren’t always fishing or hunting. Sometimes we have to spend hours playing with the latest outdoor equipment under field conditions just so we can tell you what’s hot–or not.
And that’s exactly what we did with this year’s slew of new fishing gear. We cast and probed for days, rating rods and reels on performance and design.
How We Test: All manufacturers were invited to participate. From those who did we chose to review tackle that handles a variety of freshwater fishing as well as inshore saltwater fishing. All products were rated on a scale of 1–100; we don’t include anything here that scored less than 70. In our system 70–79 is good, 80–89 very good, and 90–100 excellent.
Quantum, Pure Fishing and Shimano were our official “control” reel and rod companies this year. Test casting rods were fitted with Quantum Accurist bait-casting reels, our Editor’s Choice last year. Test spinning rods sported Pure Fishing’s Cardinal 302s by Abu Garcia. Test spinning reels went on Shimano Convergence rods, while Shimano Clarus casting rods were fitted with the test bait-casting reels.
Our official tackle test line was Shakespeare’s red, U.S.-made Cajun Advantage. We spooled 8-pound-test mono on spinning reels and 12-pound-test on bait-casters. These controls left only the test gear itself as the variable.
MEET THE TEAM
Clockwise from top left: John Taranto Senior Associate Editor Taranto grew up fishing the Northeast’s bountiful waters.
Todd Smith Editor-in-Chief Smith is a veteran angler who has played tug-of-war with freshwater and saltwater fish from coast to coast.
Jerry Gibbs Nobody has more practical experience with fishing tackle than OUTDOOR LIFE’s longtime Fishing Editor.
Brooke Hidell A registered Maine fishing guide, Hidell has been testing tackle for years (207-655-2467; maineland locked.com)