Our picks for the best new species-specific outfits of 2019
1 PANFISH/TROUT St. Croix Legend Elite Panfish/ Abu Garcia Elite Max
The Elite Panfish might be pricey, but it’s an amazing perch, bluegill, and trout rod. It’s got a perfectly honed action for panfish and features high-end Torzite guide rings in titanium frames and super-grade cork. Abu Garcia’s Elite Max is the perfect match for the rod. Seven ball bearings provide fluid action, and a smaller spool size is well-suited for lighter lines. rod, $360; reel, $70
2 CATFISH Team Catfish Thunderstick/ Penn Spinfisher VI Live Liner
Team Catfish has added a 12foot heaver to its popular Thunderstick line. The extended length of the professionalgrade rod maxes out casting distance and provides supreme control when fighting fish.
For catfishing, a stick like this needs a baitrunner, and Penn’s Spinfisher VI Live Liner offers the spool capacity, durability, and stopping power you’ll need. rod, $90; reel, $180
3 MUSKIES Savage Gear Browser/ Shimano Calcutta Conquest
Savage Gear’s Browser is a beefy swimbait stick with a perfect blend of unidirectional fibers and a 24-ton carbon tip section. This blank design enables the Browser to throw the heaviest baits around without sacrificing feel. With an infusion of cutting-edge technologies, the Conquest is the benchmark reel for the performance and durability muskies require. rod, $80; reel, $580
4 WALLEYES Okuma Dead-eye Custom/ H2O Express Mettle
For its ideal mix of sensitivity and responsiveness, Okuma’s Dead-eye Classic is our top walleye rod choice. The stick features custom cork and EVA split grips, a helix-wrapped blank, and a specialized guide train to complement a range of walleye techniques. Pair it with an H20 Express Mettle for its durable all-aluminum construction and smooth operation. rod, $130; reel, $60
The perfect rod-and-reel pairings for your favorite targets.