Sunday, January 29th, 2023
Sunday, January 29th, 2023

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Top five rods under $200

(Photo courtesy of Rapala) Used:

By Dan Durbin

Contributing Writer


Modestly priced rods today have technology that a few years ago would have doubled their 2021 price tag. The fishing rods listed here were selected based on their high-tech blanks, species-specific tapers, and handles that appeal to a wide variety of anglers. But here’s one bit of advice: If possible, get out and feel the rod tapers at your local dealer instead of ordering blindly.


Daiwa PROCYON Series starting at $79.99

Daiwa’s Procyon rods offer a full range of lightweight IM7 graphite spinning, trigger, and flipping rods that cover all freshwater and some light saltwater angling. Minima reel seats allow finger-contact to the blank when bites are light but the strength-to-weight ratio of the blank can handle big hits and all-day casting without fatigue. There are options from panfish to light muskie and saltwater angling.


Species: Bass, trout, stripers, walleyes, and panfish


Rods in series: 34 styles, including two travel rods


Lengths: 6’6″ – 7′


Blank: IM7 carbon graphite


Handle: Cork handle


Lew’s: Kevin VanDam Series starting at $99

KVD Series rods feature IM8 graphite blanks, split-grip EVA handles, and new Lew’s proprietary Full Contact reel seats with increased blank contact for improved comfort. A patented braided line No Foul hook keeper is handy. VanDam designed them to the exact specific actions, rod and handle lengths, for competitive bass angling that even a weekend angler can afford without the sponsors.


Species: Bass, walleyes, and northern pike


Rods in series: 23


Lengths: 6’8″ – 7’10”


Blank: IM8


Handle: Split-grip AVA


St. Croix Mojo Bass Series starting at $140

St. Croix has constantly upgraded and added to its Mojo Bass series because anglers appreciate the reasonable price with a huge variety of options in strength, taper, lengths, and technique-driven blanks. The rods are offered in SIII graphite or S-Glass (for you crankbait folks) and feature St. Croix’s Integrated Poly Curve technology. Mojo has rod series for kayakers, catfish anglers, and muskie hunters.


Species: Both bass species, walleyes, light muskies


Rods in series: 28


Lengths: 6’8″ – 9’6″


Blank: High-modulus SCIII graphite


Handle: Fugi ECS (casting), Fugi DPS (spinning)


Abu Garcia Veritas Series starting at $99

New Veritas rods offer Powerlux 100 resin, which increases strength by 15% while also reducing weight by 5%. The system distributes nano-particles between each carbon fiber to enhance the rod’s performance and strength by preventing cracks in the blank material. A custom-designed reel seat delivers hypersensitivity around the exposed blank sections and improves comfort for all-day fishing.


Species: Bass, walleyes, northern pike, light muskies


Rods in series: 15


Lengths: 6’3″ – 9′


Blank: Graphite 


Handle: Closed-Cell EVA Split


Shimano Zodias starting at $199

Newly redesigned, the Zodias rods incorporate Carbon Monocoque technology that when coupled with its CI4+ reel seats provide a 30% gain in sensitivity over conventionally constructed models. In addition, Shimano’s Hi-Power X technology increases the transfer of energy through the rod for enhanced accuracy and casting distance, as well as reduced blank twist for better control when fighting those big fish.


Species: Bass, walleyes, northern pike


Rods in series: 17


Lengths: 6’10” – 7’6″


Blank: Hi-Power X


Handle: Carbon Monocoque

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