June 22, 2018
By M.D. Johnson
Here's a quick look at some rods and reels options for smallmouth bass fishing in 2018.
Cabela's XML Spinning Rods
Proprietary nano-resins and high-modulus HM85 graphite allowed Cabela's to craft custom tapers that give these new sweet, strong, sensitive sticks the best blank the World's Foremost Outfitter ever put its name on. Ten feature-rich models are available to cover any bassin' need. cabelas.com $130
Okuma EVx "b"
Okuma's EVx "b" series bass rods feature ultra-sensitive and responsive 30-Ton carbon fiber blanks with action refinements inspired by top pros. Four spinning, eight casting and two dedicated crankbait versions offer a stick for every smallmouth situation. okumafishingusa.com $100 - $125
ON NEWSSTANDS NOW
Zebco 33 Cork Combo
The Zebco 33 has been reeling in bass for years. For 2018, the iconic spincast reel is paired with a series of new cork-handled, IM6 graphite composite rods. Available in full and split-grip options, the medium-power rods come in 6- and 6 1/2-foot lengths, in 1- and 2-piece options. zebco.com $35
13 Fishing Prototype X
Armed with high-performance features including long-lasting 4D forged gears, Flatback Bail, Airfoil carbon body and rotor, seamless FREAK drag and bulletproof anti-reverse, this new spinning reel is a light, smooth operator great for hardcore smallmouth adventures. 13Fishing.com $200
Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0
Tweaked for strength, speed and smoothness, this slick new baitcaster fuels aggressive retrieves with blistering gear ratios of up to 8.3:1. Features include double-anodized, machined aluminum spool; rigid 1-piece aluminum frame; titanium nitride-coated line guide; 10 premium bearings; dual braking system; six-disc carbon drag; and Powerlock anti-reverse. The rods come in five models. basspro.com $119
Built with the same gear-aligning, uni-body construction as the popular Quantum Throttle, but retailing for under 40 bucks, the new Quantum Drive spinning reel busts bass, but not the bank. Comes in four sizes and variety of rod-and-reel combo options, paired with eight different Quantum IM7 graphite rods. quantumfishing.com $39