Pointers for buying a rod and reel for Dad


Considering the purchase of a new rod and reel for Dad? If so, here’s what you need to know.

There are three basic types of rod and reel sets: closed face, open face spinning and bait casting.


Closed face outfits are basic in nature, fairly bullet proof, and less expensive than the others. Almost every beginner starts with a closed face reel and matching rod for the simple fact that it is nearly impossible to mess up.

These basic outfits feature adjustable drag systems that allow unhappy fish to pull line out without breaking it.

Although closed face reels and kids often show up in the same photo, the newer reels have been drastically improved and now appeal to the casual angler and occasionally to the serious fisherman with a specific intent such as the pursuit of crappies

But really, if you are going to make Pop happy, it’s going to take a bait caster or open face outfit, so let’s get serious.


More and more anglers are shopping for bait casting gear. Why? Because that’s what they see in the hands of TV fishermen and weekend warriors and figure if it’s good enough for Hank, Jimmy, and every other sponsor-fueled bass whacker, it’s good enough for me.

Understand this, bait casting reels have been around nearly as long as largemouth bass. The worked then and they work now.

In the old days, casting reels were the right choice because they were the only choice. If nothing else, early casting reels featured gobs of back lash tangles as lines looped and flipped and tied themselves into ugly messes several time each day.

But that’s all in the past. New bait casting reels are high tech and very user friendly. A med-level bait casting reel will feature not only a drag, but several adjustments that prevent tangles and other problems.

An upper level reel (spell that v-e-r-y-e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e) is loaded with better everything, including several bearings instead of bushings, that make them easier yet to use and nearly impossible to wear out.


The real reason bass anglers especially like bait casting rigs is for power. Power that is, to yank big bass right out of the weeds, from under logs, out of brush piles, and, well you get it.

Serious bass fishermen, the ones on TV and in tournaments where a fish might be worth a new truck or boat, don’t fight a fish — they land it and they do it right now. In fact, half the fish professional bass fishermen catch are out of the water before they get their mouth closed. Heavy duty is the right word, and bait casting gear provides that.

Spinning rigs are probably the most popular fishing rigs. They use lighter line, lighter rods, cast lighter lures, cast further with less effort, and require hardly any maintenance. One mid-range open face spinning outfit can be used to fish for bluegills or walleyes and everything in between.

An open face spinning reel doesn’t have a revolving spool. Instead, the line pops off of the spool somewhat like a Slinky uncoils. There’s no friction to limit a cast, and few moving parts.

Another advantage of spinning gear is the comfortable balance and the act of casting does not require the fisherman to change hands.

Keep in mind any type of outfit must be matched with the right line.

Check return policy

Shoppers are encouraged to purchase with a promise the gear can be returned and/or exchanged because rods and reels come in a wide range of sizes, lengths, weights, etc. and Dad deserves a good match.


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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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