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Yes, there’s an increasing number of technique- or species-specific rods out there, but manufacturers note that those seemingly one-job models are really well suited to several types of fishing.

Versatile Drop-Shotters: Take the split-handle spin rods previously etched in our gray matter as drop-shot-only tools. Anglers willing to experiment are discovering these rods are just fine for other finesse presentations like wacky worming or shaky-head worming. Kistler, for instance, is touting its 6-foot 9-inch Magnesium TS as just the ticket for such variety.

Swimbait Brutes: Some rods seem more niche oriented than others, though. Cortland’s Endurance Spin rod is a brute of a stick that the company won’t even rate for lure weight. You could use it to sling the heaviest swimbait or weighty sinker/live without fear. Likewise, this company’s Endurance Musky rod, when fitted with a hefty bait-cast reel, will do much the same thing.

St. Croix’s TBC 79HF Legend Tournament Swimbait rod has been specifically designed for those giant heavy swimbaits that weigh up to 4 ounces, and there’s yet another model (which we did not test) to handle lures weighing half a pound. It’s likely that both rods will also be used for some extreme fishing assignments that the company never imagined.

Salmon and Steelhead Rods: Wright & McGill launched a series of 26 salmon and steelhead casting and spinning rods this year. In addition to the traditional lengths for specific techniques (in one- and two-piece configurations), there’s a four-piece, 9-foot travel steelhead spinning drift rod that is ideal for Great Lakes and Northwest rivers as well as some steelhead waters in the Northeast. The snazzy-looking rod comes in a leather-trimmed hard case.