Buyer's Guide: Best Rod/Reel Combos Under $200

Looking for the best gear this Holiday season? We've got 5 rods and 5 reels that you need to take a look at. They're light, sensitive, and best of all they won't break the bank! Whether you're a new fisherman or just looking for a deal, we've got you covered!

In the past we've struggled to locate any rods below the $100 mark that we felt were worth a mention. That mark seems to be the cut off for purchasing quality equipment but we searched high and low and found 2 options that are worth trying. Additionally

Below is a break down of the 5 lines of rods and 5 models of reels we recommend trying. For your convenience we've including some of our favorite models from each line of rods. The Black Friday sale begins today at 8 AM Pacific time so be sure to check them out! If you were hoping for high end tackle for Black Friday keep in mind the sale will run Friday through Tuesday so be patient, high end content is coming!

The Rods...

-Dobyns Colt:

Favorite models include 7' MH, 7' MH Cranking, 7'3" Heavy

-13 Fishing Defy Black:

Favorite Models Include 7'1" Medium, 7'1' Medium Heavy, 7'6" Medium Heavy

-Dobyns Fury Casting Rods:

Favorite Models Include 7' Med/Heavy, 7' Heavy, 7'3" Mag Heavy, 7'6" med Heavy.

-Shimano SLX Casting Rods:

Favorite Models Include 6'10 Medium, 7'2" Medium, 7'2" Medium Heavy, 7'2" Heavy, 7'5" Heavy

-Shimano SLX Spinning Rods:

Favorite Models Include 6'9" Medium, 7' Medium Light, 7' Medium

-St. Croix Bass X Casting Rods:

Favorite Models Include 7'1" medium, 7'2" Medium Heavy, 7'4" Heavy

-Dobyns Fury Spinning Rods:

Favorite Models Include 7' Medium Light, 7' Medium

The Reels...

Daiwa CR 80 Casting Reel:

13 Fishing Origin TX Casting Reel:

Shimano SLX Casting Reel:

Shimano NASCI Spinning Reel:

Daiwa Fuego LT Spinning Reel:


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Shimano Curado 150 DC : An In-Depth Look

Shimano's new Digitally Controlled reel is a hit! The Shimano Curado DC will be on the market soon and you need to check it out. Come along as Tim tests the casting distance with both braid and fluorocarbon and puts it through the real world tests as he fishes with the reel on Clearlake. 

The Curado DC Is available for Pre-Order NOW at Tackle Warehouse. 

Curado 150 DC:

Whether you enjoy finesse fishing or serious power fishing, this reel has a place in your arsenal. We're very excited to see the DC reels return to the US market!

Tim paired the reel with two different rods...

Frog Rod- Expride 7'3" XH:
Jig Rod- Expride 6' 10" M:

The baits...

Frog- River2Sea Bully Wa 2:
Jig- Dirty Jigs 3/8 oz Football Jig:
Trailer- Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver:

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Shimano Bantam MGL Casting Reel Review

Is It Worth The Money? What sets this reel apart from the rest? Tim explores the technology in the all-new Shimano Bantam MGL and puts it to the test. 

This reel lands between the Metanium MGL and Chronarch MGL on price with a retail price of $349.99 At that price there better be some serious technology to back it up. Shimano did not disappoint! This is the first low-profile bait caster to incorporate a solid frame construction. Why should that matter to you? The sensitivity is absolutely unmatched. You literally feel more bites through the reel than you will with a traditional reel. It also has micro module gearing, infinite braking, X-Ship, Hagane, and a variety of other proprietary technologies. 

When will it be available? Some gear ratios are available now, the rest are available for pre-order and will be shipping in a few weeks. 

Bantam MGL Reel:

Tim paired it with... 
Expride 6'10" Medium:
Sunline Sniper 12 lb Fluorocarbon:
Flash Pointer 115 Jerkbait:

Is $349 out of your budget? No worries! Here are some of our other favorite reels at different price points from lowest to highest...

$89- Caenan 150 A:
$99- Casitas 150:
$179- Curado 200K:
$279- Chronarch MGL:
$419- Metanium MGL:


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Shimano Curado Rod Review | Worth the Money???

Have you seen the new Shimano Curado Rods? We all know about the new Curado K Reel but now there is a rod to match! We got the opportunity to fish them this Summer and really give them a test run. Here are our thoughts...

If you visit Shimano's site they'll teach you about UD Carbon, NanoResins, and quality of cork. That's not the style of review we are interested in. Instead, we're going to give you a quick rundown of the rods, how they fished, and whether or not we'd purchase them again in the future. 

New Shimano Curado Casting Rods:
New Shimano Curado Crankbait Rods:
New Shimano Curado Spinning Rods:

Stand Out Models...
7'2" Heavy- Frogs, Light Flipping
7'5" Heavy - Frogs, Flipping, pitching
7'6" Med/Hvy Moderate- Jigs, Texas Rigs, Light Flip
7'6" Heavy - Heavy Flipping, Frogging, Pitching
7'8" Medium Heavy Crankbait: Crankbaits with size 2 or larger trebles
7'2" Medium Crankbait: Size 6 or larger trebles
7'1" Medium Spinning: All-around Spinning Rod

Shimano Curado K Reel:

High End Rods with Comparable models- Expride Series:
Price Point Rods with Comparable models- Exage Series:

Other rod options with "moderate actions"...
Dobyns Champion 765 Flip:
St. Croix Legend Elite 7'6" Med/Hvy Mod:
St. Croix Legend Tournament 7'2" or 7'6" Moderate:

Line Recommendations for various applications...
Frog and Flip- 65 lb Sufix 832:
All-around fishing Braid- 50 lb Power Pro MaxCuatro:
All-around fishing fluoro- 15 lb Sunline Assassin:
Crankbait Braid- 20 lb Sufix 832:
Crankbait fluoro- 12 lb Sunline Assassin:
Leader Material- Maxima Ultragreen (8-30 lb):

Lure on the rod- Strike King 8.0:
Rod Racks on the wall:


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