G&F Great Buy: Best Value Spinning Rod & Reel

In our extensive tackle testing, we found this spinning rod and reel to be great choices.

G&F Great Buy: Best Value Spinning Rod & Reel

Photo by Ron Sinfelt

Game & Fish sent our gear experts into the briny marshes of Louisiana where the crew tested the latest bass gear against the largest and hardest-fighting redfish in North America.

Last week, we revealed what our testers chose for the Game & Fish Editor’s Choice award for best overall spinning reel and rod.

Here's a look at the Great Buy award winners:

G&F Great Buy: Best Value Spinning Reel

Cadence CS10

“Cadence
Cadence CS10

Cadence is a relatively new company that manufactures feature-rich rods and reels at value-pricing. The CS10, at $119.99, has a stylized magnesium frame and a dramatically skeletonized, carbon composite rotor. Both are designed to trim weight.


With eleven bearings, the CS10 turns true on a machined aluminum pinion gear and main shaft. We liked the CNC machined, all-aluminum spool. It promises years of trouble-free service over some other manufacturers' molded or cast spools. Additionally, the spool securely accommodates both braid and clear lines (mono or fluorocarbon), and that adds to the reel’s overall versatility.


Attention-to-design detail is seen in an intricately machined handle spindle and carbon fiber arm, which carries an EVA knob. Multiple carbon fiber discs manage drag duties without any hiccups.

We envision the CS10 as a great reel for beginners shopping for a generalist spinning reel, one that will handle a variety of techniques well.

Hits: The reel is rugged and capable of withstanding plenty of rough-and-tumble use.

Misses: The bail is a bit clumsy and loud.


G&F Great Buy: Best Value Spinning Rod

Dobyns Colt Series

“Dobyns
Dobyns Colt Series

Gary Dobyns is an accomplished professional bass fishermen who builds some of the best high-end rods on the market. His Colt Series now offers cost-conscious fishermen the chance to own a Dobyns quality rod, at a very reasonable retail.

The 7-footer we tested featured a medium-light power with a fast action. The rod is technique specific (as are all in the series), designed for dart heads, drop shots, shaky heads, tubes and gitzit-style baits. However, any finesse bait will benefit from being saddled to this Colt.

The rod is rated for 6- to 12-pound test and 1/8- to 1/2-ounce baits. We found the rod’s sweet spot in the 1/4- to 3/8-ounce range, as 1/2-ounce baits overloaded the blank a bit on the cast. The 12 3/4-inch EVA split-grip is sized well for manipulating finesse baits, without jamming into your forearm while painting the bottom with these infinitely small offerings.


Hits: A great action well-suited for a variety of finesse techniques.

Misses: Some felt the hook keeper is oddly placed.

“Dobyns”
It's great to see a Dobyns rod for $79. They usually cost at least $150 and as high as $500.

How we tested

The Game & Fish tackle test utilized a comprehensive 10-criterion matrix to evaluate each rod and reel. Our test team is comprised of salty veterans of the fishing industry, professional guides and editors.

Scores were tallied after each day on the water; once we crunched the numbers (and after some heated debates), winners in each gear category were named.

The Editor’s Choice award goes to the best all-around gear, and the Great Buy award goes to those products in each category that performed the best and provided the greatest value.

The Final Scores

“Spin
How the tested rods and reels ranked.

MEET THE TEAM

  • Captain Jamie Harris: Considered a master of Florida’s Mosquito Lagoon and has been fishing for more than 40 years.
  • Captain Joe DiMarco: Spends more than 220 days a year fishing and guiding fishermen to reds, bass and sea trout.
  • Captain Cody Obiol: A fishing guide out of Cajun Fishing Adventures in Buras, Louisiana. He has been at it full-time for more than nine years.
  • Todd Ceisner: Editor of the bass-tournament site, BassFan.com. He is considered a major gearhead. He's been fishing for 20 years.
  • Dr. Todd Kuhn: Game & Fish state editor who holds a Ph.D. in environmental engineering. He has been fishing in excess of 50 years.
  • John Geiger: Game & Fish editor in chief and former gear editor for the magazine and web site. He's been fishing for 30 years.

Please, No More Exposed Threads!

Why is it that a few rod manufacturers insist on subjecting us bass fishermen to exposed reel seat threads? These threads seem to be the only thing you feel while working a bait.

During the test, there were several great rods, whose only downfall was the exposed threads. Most rod manufacturers have solved this problem, with creative foregrips that cover the threads.

For those manufacturers who haven’t, we implore you — “please, no more exposed threads!”

Along those same lines, hook holders are great, however, manufacturers need to spend some time considering where to place them on the rod. An ill-placed hook keeper can be distracting when placed where your fingers or hand are in constant contact with it. Plus, sometimes when you cast, a poorly placed hook-keep can snag the line mid-cast. This means you'll make a super long cast, but your lure won't be attached to your line anymore. Grrr.

Abu Garcia's Ike reel has a drop-shot keeper on the actual reel (below). That's innovative.— John Geiger, Editor In Chief

HOODIE TECH

Columbia Sportswear has a shirt that is full of technology, like a built-in neck gaiter and tiny titanium sun deflectors. John Geiger and Brent Brauner of Columbia tell the story behind the very cool fishing hoodie.

Be a Fishing Machine

There are a lot of new cooling technologies out there, but we know for sure Columbia Sportswear has something to brag about. When we did our tests, temperatures soared and could have hobbled our efforts to test a huge number of rods and reels, but we stayed cool. Brent Brauner of Columbia told me all about the features in their Terminal Deflector Zero shirt, but what stands out are two technologies:

1) Omni-Shade Sun Deflector. They inserted small dots made of titanium dioxide, similar to zinc oxide (the stuff lifeguards put on their noses). Both substances reflect the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, but the titanium is less sticky, that’s for sure.

2) Omni-Freeze Zero. When you look at the inside of the shirt, you see small rings. They are actually super absorbent areas that are sweat-activated to hold moisture. It pulls it away from the skin, where it cools and then when your skin touches it again, it feels cool to touch.

It used to be that a shirt was just a shirt, but it’s actually a good thing that they now have so much technology. Yet you don’t feel like a cyborg or robot; you feel like a fishing machine. — JG

Match Maker

So, where do you begin when it comes to matching a rod to a reel? To get you in the ballpark, try matching line weights. Both rods and reels come with line ratings, a range of line weights they are best suited for. Match these line weights for the best performance.

You’ll next want to balance the combo. Balancing is simply matching a reel to a rod so it feels right or balances in hand. A good general rule of thumb is this: if you settle on a lightweight rod, you’ll need an equally light reel.

Syncing a light rod to a heavy reel throws off the balance and makes for an awkward combo. And by all means, mate the rod and reel in the store to get a sense of the feel prior to purchasing the pair. By balancing a combo, you’ll fish baits much more effectively and reduce arm fatigue. —TK

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

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

13 Fishing Inception SZ

13 Fishing Inception SZ

Florida angling pro Jessie Mizell knows that the saltwater found in Sunshine State coastal fisheries can wreak havoc on even the best fishing gear. But with 13 Fishing's new feature laden Inception SZ saltwater baitcasting reel, tackling inshore and light tackle saltwater game fish just got a whole lot easier!

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

Major League Fishing pros talk about the first lure they choose when targeting spawning bass.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies. Panfish

Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the biggest pike come from Europe. Records

Top 10 Biggest Pike World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - August 19, 2015

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the...

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record. Walleye

Record-Sized Walleye Was Foul-Hooked, Agency Says

G&F Online Staff

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record.

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some great bass pond fishing. Bass

Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some...

See More Trending Articles

More Reels

A behind-the-scenes look at our bass-fishing gear reviews from Lake Picachos. Bass

Tackle Test 2020: Postcards from Mexico

Scott Bernarde - June 12, 2020

A behind-the-scenes look at our bass-fishing gear reviews from Lake Picachos.

We pick the best combinations for different fishing styles. Reels

Gear Reviews: 6 Killer Rod-and-Reel Combos

Dr. Todd A. Kuhn - April 09, 2019

We pick the best combinations for different fishing styles.

Check out how the Denali Fission and Academy Mettle HD fared against other new-for-2019 baitcasting gear. Reels

Baitcaster Showdown: G&F Great Buy Rod and Reel 2019

G&F Editors - February 22, 2019

Check out how the Denali Fission and Academy Mettle HD fared against other new-for-2019...

A detailed pros-and-cons review of the Abu Garcia Revo ALX baitcasting reel. Reels

Reel Review: Abu Garcia Revo ALX Baitcaster

Gary Elliott

A detailed pros-and-cons review of the Abu Garcia Revo ALX baitcasting reel.

See More Reels

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

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 mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now