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On The Hunt For Smallie Combo


Mike Clifford
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I'm on the hunt this weekend for a new rod 'n reel combo, but can't make up my mind on which path to take.

I'm absolutely in love with Falcon rods, but don't have the time to figure out which reel to balance it with (unless someone can help me with that dilemma).

What I will do is settle for a nice spin combo in med-heavy or heavy rod.

 

Help me out here, gear aficionados.

I fish a lot of plastics most of the year, crankbaits only occasionally.

Obviously that is 2 different set-ups, so I'll dump the money into the plastics gear this time.

 

Looking to spend no more than $175 if possible (been a tough winter in construction), so what am I looking at?

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If you are going to get something to throw plastics, I'd choose something like a St Coix Premier rod 6'6", Medium Light - rated for 4 - 10 lb line, 1/8 - 1/2 oz baits and retails for $110. Their medium action rods are rated for 6 to 12 pound line.

Every company is different but, St. Croix medium heavy rods are rated for up to 17 pound test and 1 ounce lures. I think that's too much rod to throw plastics with. A 1/4 oz jig is not going to load a medium heavy rod enough to let you get any distance on your cast. St. Croix does not even offer a spinning rod rated heavy action.

If you wanted to put more of your dough into the reel, you could get a decent IM7 or IM8 graphite rod for $50 to $75, and pick up a little higher end reel. Most of today's name brand reels are pretty similar. Anything in a 2000 or maybe a 2500 series size reel will mate pretty well with a medium light to medium action rod. I like Quantum reels but everybody has their favorites. I like the drag systems on the Quantums and the magnetic bail and titanium bail wire they use instead of a bail spring. I've got 4 Quantums and have had no problems with any of them.

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I use it occasionally from a boat, but don't care for it while standing in the river.

I agree on the casting rod.

 

But here is your spinning outfit from Bass Pro-well within your budget at $120. 38-954-598-07. You get the tried and true Spirex 2500 with a 2 piece MH 7' rod. Besides not having to pay extra for shipping a long rod, you will love the convenience of 2 pieces. BP also has other model reel combos in your range. If you do not want to go "big box", maybee KenDarga can help you out.

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That does look nice, Mike.

 

The problem is Bass Pro is way too far away.

I think I'll probably hit a local (within 30 miles) "bait store" type place and drop money where it is most needed.

That's where I bought my last Falcon rod, and got tremendous service and knowledge about the product.

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I would hold out and save up to get a St Croix Avid. Lifetime Guarantee. Go with a 7ft Medium light. Perfect all around smallie rod. I think they are about $170 bucks. You'll never need to upgrade and if your wife breaks it over your head you can get a brand new one for 50 bucks.

So basically, unless you lose it, you got a rod for life. And a great one.

 

They are light, sensitive and reasonably durable. I have two of them. a medium and a ML. ML is probably a little more versatile. 7FT cause you can launch baits a mile with it. a good thing on the kank.

 

They make a 2 piece (I have it). I like the 1 piece better.

 

 

Matt Straw recently wrote an article for In-Fisherman Pamphlet (too skinny to call a "magazine" anymore). He basically said if you are going to have one rod for smallies, that 7ft ML avid would be a good choice. You can throw cranks, plastic, live bait whatever. You can handle a big fish with it no problem.

 

As far as reels go, they all pretty much suck. Spend about 60 bucks, you'll get something that'll work and last a couple of years if you are lucky.

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Decided to go with the St. Croix Triumph 7' Medium power, extra fast action. 70 bucks.

It was that or the $100 Mojo Bass, but all that was available in that one was 6'9".

 

For the reel:

Didn't have time to travel for a decent Quantum.

Shimano Sahara 3000FD. $80

6.2:1 gear ratio

35 in line retrieve per crank.

That's gonna make for some fun buzzbaitin' right there.

Was looking hard at the 2500 and almost bought it, then realized it was actually a tad heavier than the 3000.

Had it spooled with 10lb Power Pro...my first try with this line.

 

Bring on the fish.

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Decided to go with the St. Croix Triumph 7' Medium power, extra fast action. 70 bucks.

It was that or the $100 Mojo Bass, but all that was available in that one was 6'9".

 

For the reel:

Didn't have time to travel for a decent Quantum.

Shimano Sahara 3000FD. $80

6.2:1 gear ratio

35 in line retrieve per crank.

That's gonna make for some fun buzzbaitin' right there.

Was looking hard at the 2500 and almost bought it, then realized it was actually a tad heavier than the 3000.

Had it spooled with 10lb Power Pro...my first try with this line.

 

Bring on the fish.

have no complaints using power pro. all i use now, stuff lasts forever.

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Mike,

 

The Sahara would have been my alternate recommendation if the Spirex was too funky for you. You squeeked under the bar with $150 for the outfit. Who was the dealer within your 30 mile radius? Shoping local keeps the cash local. B)

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I like your pick. One advantage with the 3000 is the wider spool which will help with casting distance and less tangles. I know a guide that uses the Sahara for himself and his clients all day every day from April through October and he has no problems.

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Mike G-

I'm ashamed to say that it was a local big box store (Dick's).

BTW- the Quantum Escalade reel is not exactly in their actual line. It is made specifically for that store and getting parts would likely be impossible.

That's what prior research on the net will get you.

 

My first choice?

Angler's Outlet in Markham gives ISA members 10% off, actually.

I called though and he didn't have the Falcon Low Rider I was looking for.

 

As for the budget, I was informed that my daughter also needed a new bike, so $200 was flying out of my wallet before I even got to choose my gear.

That's OK- her smile upon receiving it with her Easter basket this morning was priceless.

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Figured I'd leave my report here, since I have no photos of fish to share.

 

Took the rig out for a test drive this morning on the Kankakee.

I tried everything in the bag to get a feel for plastics, cranks and spinnerbaits on this.

The determination is that I love it for all of the above!

Only problem is that the Power Pro is very difficult to thread through a bullet weight.

Will need to keep in mind the hole size or modify from now on.

 

The sensitivity is remarkable.

 

As I seem to do every season, I lost my first smallie (12" or so) because I didn't set the hook.

Yeah, just keep reeling Mike- that pesky smallmouth will go away soon enough.

It sure did.

Rebel Wee Craw didn't help, with those tiny hooks.

Airborne one second, gone the next.

Of course, after that I set the hook on everything.

Lost a fair share of jigs as well...all lead-free, BTW. Don't want to have any of those Loons flying around this watershed to mistake them for rocks in aiding their digestion.

But seriously, the lead-free versions show me no difference in castability or retrieve.

 

Never saw another fish or anyone else land one.

 

But what a fantastic morning to be out!

 

Happy Easter, all!

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I should also add......

Almost drove off the road when it dawned on me as I pulled into the State Park that I forgot to renew my license online.

 

Turned around and went to the Trading Post.

Always nice to chat with Nick anyway.

 

I asked if we can photocopy the actual license, and Nick says he understands we cannot use that.

 

Bummer!

So if we buy it out in the real world, that's the only one we can carry?

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Mike G-

I'm ashamed to say that it was a local big box store (Dick's).

 

No shame. It is getting hard to find "little box" shops. When we moved to Lombard 20 years ago there were several-within a 5 mile radius that I could visit on my way home from work:

 

Peppers, Glen Ellyn

Fly and Field, Glen Ellyn

Midwest Rod and Reel, Downers Grove

American Angler, Villa Park

 

When we moved out of Lombard 2 years ago, none of these were still open. The local big box was Galyan's which became Dick's. That is the only one still there. So it is hard to blame anyone.

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So if we buy it out in the real world, that's the only one we can carry?

 

Try to go online to see if you can find it using you SSN, DL or original IDNR customer number. Maybe you can do a reprint if its there.

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