Walleye and Crappie Fishing Rods, Reels, and Line Reviews

February 21, 2009 by  

By Eric Hustad

This spring I put some new walleye gear to the test and I promised opinions on where a person should throw some hard earned money. I put G. Loomis’s IMX rod up against St.Croix’s Legend Elite, and I have to say that I was really impressed with the St. Croix rod. It has a shorter handle which is easier on the wrist for the day of fishing 10+ hours. I was using a six foot, medium, fast action rod. It was great with Lindy rigs and also jigs. It is now my favorite rod. The IMX from G. Loomis is a great rod also, but not quite the top of their line as that would be the GLX. Still I liked the Loomis but thought it was a little stiffer than the St. Croix when it comes to finesse walleye presentations. The IMX model I have is a 6 ft. medium action rod. I also picked up a used Fenwick hardcore graphite rod and for $30.00 I thought it was a steal because it has a great balance and feel to it. Now these rods can get really spendy and a person has to gauge how much time they will actually spend using the rod. Some other great rods at a good price are the Cabela’s Platinum ZX, Cabela’s XML, and also their Fish Eagle II rods. So there is a lot of choice out there at both ends of the price spectrum. If a person had to pick that one “dream” rod then I would take the St. Croix Legend Elite hands down!

I  also tried some new fishing reels for the spring and those were Shimano’s Sustain in the 1000 and 2000 models and also their Calais casting reel. I have used reels from different companies but have just come to find that Shimano just seems to hold up the best. I have their Stradic and it had never let me down so I upgraded for this year with their Sustain and I wasn’t disappointed. The drag system on the Sustain is great and the reeling action is so smooth that I just couldn’t put the reel down. I have to say that this reel is one of the best. It handled all types of fishing conditions and never failed once on a hook-set. The Calais is also a great reel, although to be fair I need to give it more work with the crankbaits. However, my first impressions are that money could be better spent on a less expensive model. Besides the Shimano, I again have to come back to Cabela’s products. I have their platinum ZX reel along with their Fish Eagle Plus reel and both have been very dependable. Conclusion: Put a Sustain reel on a ST. Croix rod and you will not be able to put it down all day. Combined it is a top of the line combo that makes fishing a real pleasure.

I  had better put a quick follow-up on fishing line as well. I tried the Silver Thread mono for the first time this year and really liked it. I used 4 and 6lb for crappies and walleyes and didn’t lose a single fish due to line snapping. In fact, I was surprised how strong the 4lb test was when fishing for cappies along the reeds. I lost very few rigs due to snags into the weeds and northern attacks. I continue to use fireline and really like it for jigs and rigs in the spring. Along with this is Berkley’s Vanish for jigging walleyes and Sensi-thin for crappies. I put different types of line on different reels and in different conditions and thought the Silver Thread performed the best. Tight Lines!


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