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Okuma, Shimano, All Star get high marks

For anglers who want a step up from the Shakespeare Ugly Stik and other inexpensive fishing rods in terms of both quality and price, reviewers say the Okuma Guide Select (*Est. $75) hits the balance between higher-end components and cost. TackleTour.com gives the rod a 2008 "Best Value" rating, saying they were surprised at the power of the rod for the relatively low price. Okuma Guide Select fishing rods are made entirely out of IM-8 graphite, meaning they offer a high level of sensitivity, though aren't as durable as fiberglass or higher-grade graphite rods. The Guide Select also features molded cork handles, which reviewers say provide a solid, comfortable grip without sacrificing flexibility in the rest of the rod. Some reviewers think that the rod's balance feels a little off, however, with a heavy tip that can interfere with casting.

Another rod in this price range is the Shimano Crucial (*Est. $120), which received TackleTour.com's 2005 "Best Value" rating. Reviewers praise the Crucial for being lightweight (almost half the weight of the Guide Select) and incredibly sensitive, to the point where, as one reviewer on Tackletour.com notes, "You can feel the 'tick' of your rod from simply reeling in the slack." One key feature of this fishing rod is its split-reel seat, which exposes part of the blank (the actual rod) to your finger, allowing for even more sensitivity. The same reviewer does say, however, that the lightness and sensitivity take away from the rod's overall power, making it better-suited for smaller fish and open waters free of snags.

The Team All Star (*Est. $95) gets a glowing review from About.com freshwater fishing guide Ronnie Garrison. Garrison says the rod is ideal for bass fishing and praises its stiff feel, which helps in reeling in larger fish. The rod broke accidentally while he was using it, and he also highlights the company's warranty, saying he received a new fishing rod quickly despite losing his warranty card. Team All Star rods feature IM-10 graphite and high-grade cork handles. Several users at BassPro.com have good comments, but this rod isn't featured in any other professional reviews, which for fishing rod reviews may mean there are better choices.

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Okuma Guide Select Graphite 4 Piece Spey Rod
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $189.99   
Average Customer Review:  
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Shakespeare Ugly Stik Spinning Combo
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $49.99   
Average Customer Review:  
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All Star Team All Star 6-Feet 6-Inch Medium Spinning Rod
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $79.95   
Average Customer Review:  

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