Each of the following test categories was worth up to 20 points, for a maximum total score of 100: Casting For each species category, we matched the rods with the same appropriately sized reel and casting weight. Then Cermele and I took numerous throws with every rod, rating each for how well it loaded up and how far it cast.
Components We carefully inspected the handle material, guides and inserts, reel seats, and wraps and gave each rod a cumulative score for the quality of its hardware.
Sensitivity Cermele and I repeatedly cast and dragged weights across grass, concrete, macadam, and mud to test how well subtle signals were transmitted through the rod.
Blank Quality We assessed initial blank quality and overall performance.
Feel and Finish Taking into consideration weight, grip, and ergonomics, we rated the rods for comfort, and we examined the wraps, handle, reel seat, and overall appearance of each model. —M.M.