Last year I got two Sea Striker Aries spinning combos at a pretty fair discount and tested them out. the reels hung in there just fine despite a complete lack of maintenance which is part of the testing. One of the graphite rods broke while we were fishing for big bottom fish with the drags cranked down. Graphite rods are great, but they really are pushing the limit in order to get that light weight and fast action, so all it takes is a nick, like say from banging the hell out of the tee top a few times and they are subject to break. If you buy a big name brand you can send the rod back and get it replaced most of the time, but it can cost some shipping and handling and other hidden stuff along with the time out of service. Lots of people go that route, but being excessively frugal, I rather just get a cheap replacement.
The Sea Striker combos cost me $75 dollars a piece and I still have one in great shape and switched the reel to another cheap rod so I never missed a beat. For $31 I can get another matching rod, but when looking I found out I could get another outfit for about the same price.
So pictured are the excessively frugal spinning combos. The rods are by Sea Striker which I got for $13 each and the reels are a Chinese knock off model DK6000 whatever that means. I spooled them up with Berkley Big Game clear of course 15 pound line so I have some very light yellow tail/patch/rockpile rods which I only have to tie a hook on in order to catch fish. The clear 15 pound works just about as well as flourocarbon when it is brand new which saves a lot of rigging time.
Just like last year I am going to fish these til something breaks and not bother breaking them down for maintenance. With shipping, tax and line, a little over 200 yards each, each outfit cost less than $35.
Don't expect to get a matching outfit for the same price I paid. I happened to get lucky on the rods which generally sell for $30 online and $60 in your local "discount" fishing/athletic department stores. The reels though are easy to find, just no one in their right mind would buy one based on the goofy Chinese attempts at marketing. If the Chinese could get a better interpreter, they would sell more but I have been studying English for a while now and still haven't got it down, so I understand their predicament.
The ads for these reels list things like 11 or 12 ball bearings plus one and things like they are carp catching machines. The reels I bought actually have two ball bearings in the normal sense of the term and two bushings, with a respectable front drag and composite body. The composite body will have some flex if you confuse the reel with a winch, but then the other trial combo reels had the same issue. Not really a problem in my opinion, but it does turn some folks off. I though can live with the flex thanks to the weeks worth of groceries price difference. That would be compared to just a mid range reel like say a Penn Battle which retails for around $125 the last time I looked.
I do have two larger Chinese knockoffs on order, $15 each including shipping from the Far East that should hold close to 300 yards of 20# line, but I haven't decided on what cheap but sexy looking rod to pair with them yet. It is hard to find a 15-30# rod that is graphite and inexpensive, relatively speaking with the full cork handle.
Fishing wise my book is open other than a family fun half day on the Lady Catherine tomorrow. The winds are predicted to be borderline PITA for the next week so I doubt I will get many calls until they calm down a bit. Since the Easter rush is over I haven't seen many reports from the locals and most of the snowbirds are packing to head back north again.
Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.