Great new rods and reels for open water 2012

There’s a definite trend among the new fishing rods and reels for 2012: lighter and species-specific models.

It appears most major rod-and-reel manufacturers have set their sights on producing the lightest and fastest moving equipment they can without sacrificing durability. In addition, they’ve set their sights on building products that cater to anglers with specific needs from panfish to muskie.

For more information on the new lures for 2012, click here.

Here’s a look at the top of the stick and crank class for the upcoming open water season.

New Rods

Shimano Crucial Bass Rods

It doesn’t matter the type of presentation you like to throw at bass, the Crucial Series by Shimano has a rod that matches it. From the lightest finesse baits to burning stealth crankbaits and jerkbaits, Crucial rods are the way to go.

Built by angler demand, Crucial rods are available in more than 60 different models. Bass anglers asked for specific rods to accomplish specific jobs on the water and Shimano delivered. 

These rods come in a wide range of lengths and actions from 6-foot, 8-inch models for casting jigs and plastics up to the medium- to heavy-powered 7-foot, 11-inch sticks that put an extra emphasis on big bait use. Between them is a whole series of flippin’, pitchin’, and drop-shot riggin’ rods for bass fishermen.

Now considered the backbone of Shimano’s bass rod line-up, Crucial rods come with IM-10 graphite blanks, which offer even more sensitivity and newly designed reel seats that have no exposed threads.

Using what Shimano calls “fossil wood,” a type of carbon for the inner body section of the reel seat, Shimano increased the feel of the blank plus provided anglers with never-before-felt smoothness. It’s a clean look that adds up to a comfortable, productive day of fishing.

Abu Garcia Veritas

Veritas rods by Abu Garcia are easily recognizable because of their bold, white finish. But there’s more to these rods than just good looks – there’s a lightweight rod that hasn’t sacrificed strength and balance in the final product.

The popular Veritas family of rods has grown from last year now offering five new Micro-Guide models, two Winch series models for crankbaits, and a 7-foot, 11-inch flipping stick. In addition, five of the original Veritas rods now come in two-piece models.

The sensitivity, strength, and balance in all Veritas rods is the result of Abu Garcia’s Nano Technology, which manipulates the lightweight graphite of the Veritas rod blank on an atomic level. The improved strength stands up to nicks and dings that make other rods snap.

While the trend for fishing rods in recent years has been to go lighter, too many companies are forgetting to build durability into their lightweight models. But not Abu Garcia, the Veritas series is tough and remains one of the most sensitive, easy-to-handle rods you’ll work.


Abu Garcia Villain

Anglers demand two characteristics out of a fishing rod – performance and reliability. The new Abu Garcia Villain rods offer both with cutting edge technology that offer superior performance with amazing breakthroughs in lightweight design and engineering.

The new technology in the Villain series comes via a new blank made of 40 Ton Low Resin Content graphite that reduces weight and still provides maximum sensitivity. This allows you to feel the vibrations from even the lightest bite.

The Villain series offers nine baitcast models and five spinning models that weigh as little as 3.7 ounces. They come with Titanium alloy guides with Titanium Nitride coated Titanium inserts and each guide is carbon wrapped to reduce the overall weight of the rod even more.

Berkley Lightning Rod

The Lightning Rod series by Berkley has been around for years, but it received a few tweaks for 2012 making it lighter, stronger, and even better looking than past models.

The updated Lightning Rod now comes in 11 spinning models – five one-piece and six two-piece versions, as well as nine one-piece baitcast versions. Bold graphics, a Skeleton Reel Seat that delivers increased sensitivity while reducing overall weight, and a new fore-grip that completely covers the reel seat threads highlight the new look.

Berkley also incorporated a Multi-Modulus Graphite for the strength and sensitivity comparable to other high-end graphite rods. All Lightning Rods also come with SS304 guides that are 20 times tougher and more than 50 percent lighter than most aluminum oxide guides.


Carbon X Rods

Every Carbon X rod is built by using patterns of graphite, not just one piece of graphite. How the patterns are cut and rolled along with the modulus of that graphite has great bearing on the action and performance of the rod.

Other factors that affect performance of the rod blank are diameter, hoop size, wall thickness, and blank taper. All these attributes are given consideration when a Carbon X rod is built, which is how they produce an exceptional performing fishing rod.

The X1 graphite rod models use both SM and IM graphite in patterns and blends that deliver superior action to individual rod models. The X2 models use higher modulus IM and HM graphite to deliver even higher performance rod models.

The C3 7-foot MH Power casting rod for example, is a very high end, high performance graphite rod. Anglers that have already used this stick have raved about its sensitivity, casting ability, and the fact that it outperforms other high-end rods they’ve used.

That’s the type of quality craftsmanship and fish-catching ability you’ll find in all Carbon X casting and spinning rod models.

Daiwa Ballistic Rods

When you put heavy loads on a casting rod, the guides sitting on top of the blank work as levers, twisting the blank to one side as you set the hook or muscle a fish out of thick cover. To reduce the twisting, Daiwa utilizes X-Torque bias construction on its Ballistic series.

This allows them to offer a wide range of actions in their blank materials and design rods that are matched for specific bass fishing techniques. The more power X-Torque construction is designed for jigging, flipping, and topwater baits.

For softer action, Daiwa has built crankbait and spinnerbait rods that use highly resilient and flexible Glatech blank construction. It’s a method that sandwiches unidirectional fiberglass between layers of 90-degree biased graphite.

This allows for the ideal Ballistic combination of light tip action and firm backbone. When matched with the new Ballistic baitcasting and spinning reels, you might have the perfect bass producing combination in 2012.

Fenwick Elite Tech Smallmouth Rods

In recent years, smallmouth bass have become one of the most sought after gamefish that swims, but until Fenwick designed its new Elite Tech Smallmouth Rods, there wasn’t a stick made specifically for old bronzeback.

It’s available in five spinning and five baitcast models, each built with the quality and workmanship that has made Fenwick one of the most recognizable names in the industry.

These rods start with high modulus graphite blanks and titanium frame guides with lightweight Zirconium inserts that reduce line wear and overall weight. Its Technically Advanced Construction (TAC) reel seat features cork handles for optimum comfort.

Each rod is designed for specific types of presentations, which means there’s a length and action to handle everything from tiny, smallmouth enticing tubes and grubs to bigger rods for heavier crankbaits and swimbaits.

Jason Mitchell Rods

Clam Corporation is following up its exciting winter rod line by introducing a new Jason Mitchell Elite Series of rods for the 2012 open water season. New this year is a four-piece 6-foot, 4-inch sectional rod that breaks down for easy travel, a 5-foot ultra-light, a new 6-foot combo in the Meat Stick line, and a 9-foot Jason Mitchell Elite Series Muskie rod.

Muskie anglers are going with the theme that bigger is better, so the new 9-footer should be a huge hit since it allows you to cast farther, cast those big lures that have become a recent rage, allow you to work boat side techniques, and provide more hook setting power.

The Meat Stick series has been a huge part of the ice fishing scene and that technology has been passed on to the new Meat Stick open water combo. At 6 feet, it should cover everything from panfish to trout.

The new 5-footer is an ultra-light, fast action rod designed for youth anglers. There just aren’t many quality rods for young anglers and certainly not many ultra-lights.

The latter two rods come equipped with a new reel – the JM600. It’s balanced, offers a multi-disc drag, and wide arbor spool, which is ideal for 4- to 6-pound-test line.

Lew’s Rods

Lew’s continues to expand its rod offerings in 2012 with another quality introduction – the Laser LG graphite rod series. They are designed with realization that anglers can get a quality rod at an affordable price, and one that meets the type of fishing you prefer.

The Laser LG rods come in 13 different models, including one pistol grip version, four triggerstick casting models, and eight spinning rods. Rod lengths go from 5 feet, 6 inches to 7 feet and each is constructed of IM6 graphite blanks and armed with six to 10 guides depending on length.

Lew’s also offers the new Speed Stick SG rods, which are built with strong, but sensitive IM7 Endurance graphite blanks. They feature lightweight graphite reel seats with cushioned stainless steel hoods for great stability and comfort. The Speed Stick SG line is available in 34 models with actions from moderate to extra fast and ultra-light to extra heavy.

The new Lew’s Laser SL rods are constructed with lightweight and super sensitive 45 million modulus high strain graphite blanks. They feature skeletal graphite reel seats and an exposed blank-thru-handle design to help transmit better feel from the blank to the angler. The Laser SL line is available in 13 models – six casting, two cranking, and five spinning options.

Last, but not least, is the new Slab Shaker pole from Lew’s. It’s a graphite telescopic pole that brings a whole new option to panfish anglers – this isn’t your grandfather’s cane pole. The Slab Shaker has a unique graphite/fiberglass construction that results in a lightweight, yet strong and sensitive pole. There are four models from 9 to 12 feet long.

Okuma Rods

In 2009, Okuma introduced its C3 rods with split grip design and it changed how  people fished. In 2012, this rod has been completely redesigned into the new C3-40X Carbon Cone Concept rods, which are even more lighter, more responsive, and more sensitive than ever.

Built of low-resin, 40-ton carbon blanks and new Pac-Bay Minima reel seats with carbon threads, and strong ALPS titanium guide frames the new changes will reward anglers with comfort, reduced weight, and increased sensitivity. The C3-40X includes 12 casting models, 10 spinning models, and two heavy-powered swimbait rods.

The Okuma Citrix Travel rods deliver elite performance in four pieces, but maintains one-piece performance, which makes it the ultimate travel fishing rod. It comes with all of Okuma’s claimed features including IM8 blank construction, EVA split rings, Pac Bay Minima reel seats and ALPS guides with braid-ready Zirconium inserts. If you need to travel and still want to fish when you get there, this is the best run money can buy.

The introduction of Okuma’s Crappie High Performance rods will push panfish anglers to elite status because this rod is built specifically for their needs. They include four casting and four one-piece spinning models from 5 feet, to 6 feet, 6 inches in length. With IM6 graphite you can cast the lightest crappie jig and feel the slightest tick when they hit it.

Okuma didn’t leave walleye anglers out of the mix in 2012. In fact, they’ve introduced 23 technique specific walleye rods in its new Dead Eye Walleye rod series. They cover everything from fast-action spinning models, to two bottom bouncer rods, three trolling/planer board rods, two big board rods and several specialty models. Each is equipped with the features that have made Okuma one of the most respected names in the rod business.

G. Loomis Rods

Completely redesigned for 2012, G. Loomis introduces an entire new series of GL2 bass and trout rods for this season. The series includes 18 jig and worm models, 12 casting, six spinning rods, six crankbait casting rods, two models each of spinnerbait, swimbait and drop shot rods, a flipping stick, and six trout jig spinning rods. These rods won the Best Freshwater Rod award during the ICAST show’s new product showcase.

While GL2 has been a major player in the fishing rod world since 1994, G. Loomis has taken a painstaking amount of time to perfect these models, which are faster and lighter and produced with a new look, including a new logo design.

Beyond the quality that comes with every G. Loomis rod, all of the new GL2 bass and trout rods are backed by G. Loomis’ popular “Wild Card” program, providing anglers with a one-time-only free replacement, no questions asked. They also feature a limited lifetime warranty like all other G. Loomis rods.

New Reels

Shimano Tranx

The new Tranx from Shimano is already what some high-profile muskie anglers are calling the best reel ever built for fishing Cowgirls. Doesn’t matter if you’re burning them or working them slow, the Tranx combines the comfort of a low profile reel with the line capacity of a conventional reel.

The Tranx is available in two versions, the “speed to burn” TRX500HG with a 6.6:1 gear ratio and the “power to pull” TRX500PG with a 4.6:1 gear ratio. Other prominent features include a SuperFree bearing supported pinion gear, seven shielded anti-rust bearings, Super Stopper for no handle backplay, a VBS brake system, and an ergonomic Power Handle.

Shimano’s goal was to provide the ultimate reel to work big lures for big muskies and they’ve done that by matching massive cranking power with smooth, effortless retrieve. Your casting distance will be longer and muskie anglers know that keeping their lure in the water longer is going to trigger more strikes. The Tranx might be the best muskie reel on the water this season.

Abu Garcia Reels

The evolution of baitcast reels continues and Abu Garcia remains on top with the new Revo MGX. At just 5.4 ounces, this low profile reel has taken lightweight design to an entirely new level.

The combination of enhanced compact design, a one-piece X-Mag magnesium alloy frame and lighter-than-aluminum C6 carbon sideplates provides the next generation of baitcasting reel. The Infinitely Variable Centrifugal Brake system can be adjusted externally without removing the sideplate, unlike standard brake systems do.

Abu Garcia also introduces an expansion to its spinning reel line with two new sizes of its popular Revo Premier. These reels are graphite light, but pack the strength of an all metal body reel. With its NanoShield technology, the reels components are up to 50 percent lighter than aluminum and 300 percent stronger than graphite.

The Revo Premier comes in two sizes, the small PRM10 for light and ultra-light applications and the larger PRM40 for heftier techniques and fish. Both have 11 stainless steel ball bearings that create an amazingly smooth ride and Abu Garcia’s Everlast bail system for reliable line retrieve.

Daiwa Reels

Daiwa continues to expand its line-up of reels with several new models in 2012. Among them are four new Ballistic spinning reels that are made of lightweight, corrosion-proof Zaion Carbon construction. Daiwa’s lightweight Air Rotor and Air Bail give these reels a light, smooth retrieve and increased sensitivity.

The ultra-compact PX Type R Baitcaster by Daiwa weighs in at just 5.3 ounces. Although compact in size, it offers the finesse angler an exceptional performance option with ultra light lines and lures. The PX features a super-fast 6.8:1 retrieve ratio, hi-speed level wind drive, 10 ball bearings, Magforce Z anti-backlash system, and soft touch handle grips.

Daiwa T3 reels are another new baitcaster for this season and it offers a unique levelwind mechanism called the T-Wing System. The T-Wing system is a t-shaped levelwind aperture that’s designed to reduce casting friction while at the same time providing precise, level wind of line upon retrieve – it promises improved casting performance.

With ordinary levelwinds, line coming off the spool ends is forced to bend at a sharp angle in order to pass through the traditional levelwind aperture during a cast. This causes friction and with Daiwa’s new system, the line flows freely ultimately increasing casting distance.

Lew’s Reels

Serious anglers have turned to Lew’s Tournament Pro Series reels for years and now the series is complete with the introduction of the TP1S. It’s designed for power, and anglers who throw deep-running crankbaits will appreciate all the features packed into the TP1S Tournament Pro Speed Spool reel.

The TP1S weighs just 6.7 ounces and offers a 5.4:1 gear ratio, but what separates this reel is the deeper, large capacity spool machined out of aircraft grade Duralumin. It has the capacity to hold 150 yards of 12-pound-test line – ideal for long crankbait runs.

The new Laser Speed Spin spinning reels from Lew’s consists of four different models, the LS100, LS200, LS300, and LS400 and each has a gear ratio of 5.2:1. They feature a rugged graphite body and double anodized aluminum spool with a titanium lip. The large spool reduces line memory and twists and allows longer casts.

Okuma Krios and Komodo

The new Krios reels from Okuma are a low-profile baitcast reel available in both right- and left-retrieve that offers a 7.3:1 gear ratio. The Krios provides a Alumilite Construction die cast aluminum frame, A6061-T6 machined aluminum spool and a multi-disk drag system with micro-click adjustment.

With a dual cast control system the reel is easy to use for anglers new to the baitcasting world. An externally adjustable magnetic cast control works with an eight position internally adjusted centrifugal system to address all casting conditions and lure weights, again making it easy to operate for any level of angler.

The Okuma Komodo baitcast reels offer an aluminum frame constructed of all new T480 aluminum alloy couples with right- and left-side aluminum side plates. Its interior offers heavy duty gears and shafts cut from aluminum that reduce weight, but not strength.

But it’s on the water where an angler will experience the true benefits of the Komodo. With a multi-disc drag system that produces up to 14 pounds of unrelenting drag pressure and a micro-click drag adjustment feature, you can finesse fish but have enough power to reel those big fish.


Categories: Buyers Guide

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