Skip to main content Skip to main content

Readers' Choice Awards 2016: Best Fishing Gear

Readers' Choice Awards 2016: Best Fishing Gear

Readers' Choice Awards results are in! More than 2,700 of you voted for your favorite new fishing gear in 12 categories.

This year, we were impressed at how the new Ugly Stik Elites dominated both the Spinning Rod and Baitcasting Rod categories. YETI again put a lid on the competition. There were a few close calls, too, like a Cabela's-Terminator head-to-head in the Soft Bait category.

Thanks to all who voted!

Spinning Reel

Shimano Stradic

Shimano | Stradic FK


"Great, smooth reel with enough ball bearings to do the job and great line pickup." — Mark Ray, NC


Plueger President Limited - 19.4%

Abu Garcia  MGX - 17.3%

Baitcasting Reel

Abu Garcia Pro Max

Abu Garcia | Pro Max Low Profile


"I am just struck on the new Pro Max. It has an ultra-smooth feed-off, a great retrieve speed and absolutely no skip or jump."  — Steve Garner, NC 


Shimano Curado 200 - 28.1%

Quantum Tour MG - 17.6%

 Hard Bait

Rapala Shadow Rap

Rapala | Shadow Rap


"Rapala Shadow Rap ... Awesome lure. I use it for multiple species. It has incredible action with innovative creativity. " — Daniel Middleton


Rebel Bluegill - 13.7%

Booyah Bosspop - 8.8%

Spinning Rod 

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning

Shakespeare | Ugly Stik Elite 


"The Ugly Stick can pull a bucketmouth out of the nastiest stuff any lake or pond can offer."  — Dick MacLaury, NY


St. Croix Legend Elite - 16.8%

G. Loomis E6X - 10.5%

Baitcasting Rod 

Ugly Stik Baitcasting Rod

Shakespeare | Ugly Stik Elite


"Inexpensive and lasts forever. I use it for catfish, lake trout - — even jig-and-pig for largemouth bass."     — Dennis Kudron, NE


St. Croix MOJO Bass - 13.5%

G.Loomis E6X - 11.4%

Soft Bait 

Cabala's Go-to Swim Minnow

Cabela's | Go-To Swim Minnow

"The swimming action is superb at all speeds. This is easily the most versatile swimbait I have ever used. It works great as a trailer on a swimjig or Chatterbait and Texas-rigged. With a weighted swimbait hook, the lure has a slight roll and a great kick." — Alex L., WI


ZOOM Z-3 Swamp Crawler - 13.2%

YUM! Christie Critter - 12.9%

Terminator Walking Frog

Rapala | Terminator Walking Frog


"I've caught big bass and muskies deep in the thick pads and grass."  — Mike Muscatiello, PA


Cabela's Angler Jacket

Cabela's | Angler Jacket


"This keeps me dry. It cuts the wind to nothing. It meets all my needs while fishing in bad weather."

— John Brackin, KS


SIMMS ProDry - 19.6%

Columbia Force - 12 15.8%


Smoke Venom Sunglasses

Vicious Vision | Venom Smoke


"Good eye protection at higher speeds and great protection in bright light like in the Florida Keys." — Mark Konrad, WI


Costa Del Mar Rooster - 31.5%

WileyX Tide - 28.6%


Lowrance HDS Gen 3

Lowrance |  HDS Gen3


"Been using Lowrance products for 45 years, and I've never been disappointed. Outstanding customer care and state-of-the-art technology. The fishfinder leader in the industry."  — Martin Sierocki, OH


Humminbird Helix - 7 41.1%

Garmin Panoptix - 11.7%


YETI tundra

YETI | Tundra


"I have tested this in extreme heat, 90-plus degrees, and it kept ice for five days. It performs as advertised and is made of high quality materials. — John Iker, OH


Cabela's Polar Cap Equalizer - 14.3%

Pelican ProGear Elite - 13.9%

Bass Boat

Alumacraft Competitor 205

Alumacraft | Competitor 205  


"The hull configuration is great! Price-wise, it's very comparable to a lot of over-priced boats on the market." — Jon Wilke, NE


Ranger RP190 - 29.2%

Triton 21TrX - 23.3%


Mercury 115 FourStroke

Mercury | 115 FourStroke


"This Mercury is quiet and easy to maintain. It's a good-running motor that is good on gas." — Brian Baynes, MD


Yamaha VMAX SHO 115 - 19.0%

Honda BF100 - 16.9%

Readers who voted in our Readers' Choice Awards represent a dedicated bunch of anglers.

More than 1 in 5 fished more than 75 days. Some 220 of you fished more than 180 days. That's three straight months of fishing! No wonder you know so much about your gear and are obviously passionate about it. Most voters fished about 44 days in the past 12 months.

But how successful were you? According to the answers, more than a third of the 2,700 entrants caught more than 75 fish. A full 21 percent caught a boat-swamping 200 or more!

If you're wondering where everyone is fishing, most in lakes and reservoirs (81.3%), while 59.2% fish in rivers and streams. Anglers who primarily fish in saltwater add up to 24.4% and about 10 percent float their boat in the Great Lakes.

Sign up for our e-newsletter at the bottom of for a heads-up on the next round of voting.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Backyard Whiskey Sour for a Romantic Evening

Backyard Whiskey Sour for a Romantic Evening

Getting away doesn't always require time-consuming plans and expensive trips. A simple whiskey sour or old fashioned can be mixed up and poured for your favorite person on your back patio as the sun fades below the horizon.

Follow Your Dreams

Follow Your Dreams

Inspired by passion and Stanley, Thomas Allen talks about his dream to make a career working in the fishing industry. Dreams don't come true without being surrounded by people who not only see and understand your passion but consider your dream as their own and see the same endgame. The most important people in your life make your dreams a reality.

DIY Garage Bow Mechanic: List of Tools and How to Get Started

DIY Garage Bow Mechanic: List of Tools and How to Get Started

Wanting to tune, tinker, and test your archery equipment without taking a trip to the pro shop? Great. Here's a list of tools you'll need and how to get setup to become a DIY bow mechanic in your garage.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now