The Hottest New Rods

These new models provide a wider range of options than ever before. (March 2007)

The fishing season is hard upon us like a hungry catfish on a school of baitfish, and if you're like most anglers, that has you thinking about purchasing a new rod or reel, or maybe both. You're sure to want one -- or several -- even more after checking out the new products that'll be available at your local sporting goods store this year. Many exciting new innovations are evident in the 2007 lineup of just-released goodies.

In the rod category, anglers will continue to see manufacturers expanding their lines of technique-specific tackle for the buyer who wants rods special-made for his favorite fishing tactics. Also, to keep pace with the increasing popularity of saltwater angling, rod makers are producing more models designed especially for the rigors of that fishing. There's a definite trend toward lighter rods with more durable components as well, which is good news for the give-it-all-you've-got fishing fanatic who's tough on tackle and on the water hundreds of hours a year.

Here's some of what you'll see this fishing season.

ALL STAR RODS (AllStarRods.com)

All Star has ventured into offshore fishing in 2007 with the launch of the meticulously designed Coastal Classic Series, which is available in seven conventional actions from 6 to 7 feet in length and four spinning actions from 6 feet, 9 inches to 7 feet in length. Made to handle all offshore applications from 12- to 50-pound-test line-class, the series has features such as high-strain graphite and E-Glass blended blank construction; stainless-steel wide-frame guides with aluminum oxide inserts; Fuji heavy-duty graphite reel seats; EVA contoured triangle-shaped foregrips; and aluminum gimbals with rubber butt covers.

BERKLEY (Berkeley-Fishing.com)

Berkley's new Tactix rods were specially designed by the Berkley Pro Staff for a variety of applications, from drop-shotting for bass to jigging for walleyes to casting for monster pike and muskies. The carbon fiber pattern of the IM7 graphite blank makes for an extremely resilient yet sensitive rod, and its hard chromium SS304 guide system is 55 percent lighter yet 20 times tougher than conventional aluminum oxide guides. An unsanded tip gives the Tactix a durable and consistent rod action for more precise fishing. Hand-wound epoxy UV thread wraps increase guide strength and abrasion resistance. Models include Jigging & Worming (spinning or casting), Wacky Rigging (spinning), Drop Shot/Finesse (spinning), Flippin' Stik, Spinnerbait, Muskie, Cranking (casting) and Salmon/Steelhead (spinning and casting).

Berkley also has re-engineered its Lightning rods to be lighter, faster and stronger. Features now include titanium-footed guides with SS rings for greater sensitivity; hand-wound epoxy/UV thread wraps for increased guide strength and abrasion resistance; and a graphite reel seat with an extra-secure cone lock to prevent slippage. With an all-new silver/black/red look, they're value-priced in seven different lengths and a near-countless number of actions.

CABELA'S (Cabelas.com)

Cabela's has added five new technique-specific models to its performance-driven XML Ti series of fishing rods. Anglers can now find their niche with rods for Vertical Jigging, Pitchin' Jig, Dropshot and two different Rig n' Jig styles. Like the original XML Ti series, these rods are light, super-sensitive and extremely durable. Each has special Recoil guides constructed from super-tough nickel-titanium alloy. These guides have unsurpassed "shape-memory," returning to their original shape even after repeated deformations. They can be pushed flat against the blank with no adverse effects, springing back into action instantly. Recoil guides also flex with the rod, eliminating flat spots and creating a true arc under heavy strain. Plus, Recoil guides will not corrode under any conditions, making XML Ti rods suitable for freshwater and saltwater anglers alike. Crafted using XML 64-million-modulus blanks with a strength-enhancing Spiral-Core Technology and Gen-III bonding resin, these rods are 25 percent stronger and 10 percent lighter than the original XML series.

BASS PRO SHOPS (BassPro.com)

The Johnny Morris Elite Series casting rods are the latest from Bass Pro. Made from high-quality graphite blanks with slit carbon powerwall construction, each features a full-contact reel seat, Rec recoil guides, carbide tip and premium cork grip. Models are on line for a wide variety of applications.

DAIWA (Daiwa.com)

New from Daiwa are several models of technique-specific spinning and bait-casting rods under the Steez logo, each with design features that reduce weight while maintaining a stylish look. Each Steez rod is constructed using Daiwa's exclusive lightweight SVF graphite or SVF Compile-X graphite blank. Air-Beam reel seats reduce weight further by eliminating excess material in the core, and a machined aluminum forenut eliminates the traditional, seldom-used foregrip to lock the reel securely and make the rod even lighter. The grip material is Air-Foam, which is lighter than cork or ordinary EVA foam. The result is a series of good-looking, extremely lightweight rods that are much more sensitive and produce less fatigue for the angler.

G. LOOMIS (GLoomis.com)

G. Loomis just released its new 19-model MossyBack series featuring mid-range graphite blanks and actions designed to fish jigs, plastic worms, lizards and grubs in waters ranging from clear, open lakes in the North to brushy, tight cover in the Midwest and South. Each rod features a fast recovery rate that reduces line drag through the guides for more casting distance and exceptional casting accuracy. The 15 casting rods include eight models specifically for jig-and-worms, two Carolina-rig rods, two Senko rods and three flipping rods. The four spinning rods are designed for jig-and-worm fishing, and there's also one Senko model. All the rods have fast or extra-fast tapers, creating a lower trajectory on the cast to combat wind for longer casts and to provide improved accuracy. The low-friction Fuji Alconite guides also contribute to longer casts. Other features include composite cork butt caps, cork handles and blank-through-handle construction on the casting rods so you have direct contact with the blank to feel every bump.

KISTLER (KistlerRods.com)

Kistler bills its new Helium 2 LTX rods as "the lightest fishing rod on the planet." Each rod weighs just over 3 ounces (even lighter than Kistler's original Heliums) and features a sure-grip split handle wrapped with graphite "Ampli-Fibers

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