Niche Casting Rods

THE RATINGS •Excellent •Very Good •Good •Fair Wright & McGill Essentials WME MDR 86C-2 FINAL SCORE:Excellent Retail: $170 Performance: Excellent … Continued

THE RATINGS •Excellent •Very Good •Good •Fair

Wright & McGill Essentials WME MDR 86C-2

FINAL SCORE:Excellent Retail: $170 Performance: Excellent Design: Excellent Price/Value: Very Good

A nice 2-piece,8½ -foot drift rod for salmon and steelhead–and at a good price. Has a fast tipand stiff butt. Could handle light to heavy terminal rigs. Fuji Alconite guideskeep line friction down. 720-941-8700; wright-mcgill.com

St. Croix LegendTournament Swimbait 79HF

FINAL SCORE: VeryGood Retail: $270 Performance: Very Good Design: Very Good Price/Value: Very Good

The muscle SUV ofbass rods. Clearly aimed at throwing big swimbaits into the next county. Lightfor its Louisville Slugger-like power. Good for big pike and muskie, too.800-826-7042; stcroixrods.com

CortlandEndurance Musky

FINAL SCORE: VeryGood Retail: $80 Performance: Very Good Design: Very Good Price/Value: Very Good

A jousting lanceof a rod. Will heave even the biggest muskie lures with ease. Could use a bitmore tip flex to make working jerkbaits easier. Has plenty of power to spare.607-756-2851; cortlandline.com