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Reels and Rods

Reels and rods are part of fishing 101, but with the constant upgrades in technology and build quality it’s important to keep an eye out for the latest gear. Here are our current picks for fishing reels and rods for Alaska.

Penn Fathom II Level Wind Line Counter
A full-metal body on this new line-counting reel from Penn keeps gear alignment precise. Penn’s powerful HT-100 drag is incorporated to stop fish in their tracks and the 4+1 stainless-steel bearing system makes for a smooth turn. With an easy-access side plate for maintenance, the model is available in both left and right-hand retrieve options.

Penn Fathom II Level Wind Line Counter
KastKing Krome Series Salmon / Steelhead Rods
KastKing Krome Series rods are made with Toray IM8 carbon blanks and finished using high-tech nano-silica resins. Krome rods are among the lightest, most sensitive and strongest rods available in the Pacific Northwest. Each blank is reinforced with true Kevlar from the butt section through its Fuji reel seat for incredible hook sets and impact resistance. KastKing uses premium Fuji K-Frame, tangle-free guides plus custom carbon handles for extreme durability, and the rods are easily removed from rod holders. They are available at
Okuma Low Profile Line Counter CW-454D
The Cold Water Low Profile Line Counter 454D packs over 30 pounds of drag into its compact aluminum frame with its multi-disc, Carbonite drag system. With 3BB+1RB stainless-steel ball bearings, a capacity of 300 yards of 50-pound-test braid, a 5.4:1 gear ratio, and left- or right-hand-retrieve, the Cold Water Low Profile Line Counter is designed to fit your needs on the water. This reel will shine for backtrolling jumbo divers and bait or large plugs for Chinook, downrigger fishing, and trolling heavy weights or divers with or without flashers.
Daiwa Lexa-WN 300 and 400 Series
Built for the most discerning salmon and steelhead fishermen and featuring a new look for two of the most popular bait-casting reels on the market, these beautiful new Lexa-WN 300 and 400 series reels feature comfortable WINN Grip knobs with two ball-bearings, an A7075 aircraft-grade aluminum swept handle with weight-reducing cutout, a 7-bearing system, including two corrosion-resistant CRBB bearings, and extra line capacity for large fish. Magforce Cast Control assures increased distance and trouble-free casting, while Daiwa’s Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag exerts an impressive and smooth 25 pounds of drag.
Okuma Tesoro Star Drag Reel
Packing all its strength and updated technology into size 10- and 12 reels, the Tesoro Star Drag features 6061-T6 forged then machine-cut aluminum frames, side-plates and spool, as well as a Mechanical Stabilizing System to keep all key components aligned and running smoothly. A silent and smooth carbonite drag system puts out a fish-stopping 22 pounds of drag, while 46 inches of line-retrieve-per-turn helps anglers gain ground fast. We look forward to testing this in the saltwater in 2018.
Ugly Stik Bigwater Casting Rod
There are a wide range of models in this series to meet a spectrum of angler needs. We’ve fished with the 6-foot, medium-heavy, one-piece rod rated for 20- to 50-pound-test (model USBWB2050C601). It is tough, as one would expect, yet surprisingly sensitive and able to transmit light bites. Other features include EVA grips and corrosion-resistant Ugly Tuff guides.
Okuma Coldwater 450 Low Profile Line Counter Reel CW-454D
With a tremendous amount of capacity, and over 30 pounds of pure stopping power, the new Okuma Coldwater Low Profile Line Counter Reel will soon become a staple in every arsenal. With its low-profile, compact frame and ergonomic handle design, the reel is built for all-day comfort. Available in left and right hand retrieve, this reel makes the perfect addition to your trolling or back-trolling lineup.

Want more? Check out our yearly Editors’ Choice Awards for the best fishing gear

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