Travel Rods and Reels
Now it’s easier to take your fishing gear along.
By Gibbs Milliken
As more anglers travel to exotic destinations, they are increasingly turning to compact rods and reels that can be easily carried in a suitcase. Manufacturers are scrambling to develop and build multi-section rods that perform virtually as well as one-piece rods and still meet new air regulations on luggage.
Among the top rods we tested is the three-piece, 7-foot G. Loomis Escape Casting Rod. The action is fast and crisp with enough stiffness to throw large baits and handle aggressive species like peacock bass and inshore jacks. It has all the premium features, including an exposed section of the blank under your trigger finger for sensing even the slightest take of deep-running lures. Fit this rod with a precision-made Swedish Abu-Garcia Mörrum Reel, and experienced anglers will instantly sense its easy handling combination of ultra-smooth casting and retrieving characteristics. Many consider the Mörrum to be the finest reel ever made in the Ambassadeur Series. ($270, Escape Casting Rod, Model ETR84-3MC-14, G. Loomis, (800) 456-6647, www.gloomis.com ) ($249.99, Mörrum Reel, Model 6600CL, Pure Fishing, (877) 777-3850. www.purefishing.com)
If you prefer spin fishing, the 7-foot Fenwick Eagle GT Rod has a snappy medium-light action capable of throwing tiny 1/8-ounce lures good distances even with 30-pound test (10-lb diameter in mono) Stren Super Braid line. It has a cork-over reel seat for a comfortable grip and breaks down into four sections to take airborne or stow in your backpack. The reel is the top-of-the-line Shimano Stella with 14 anti-rust ball bearings for ultra-smooth operation. This combo is an outstanding choice for travelers fishing a wide range of conditions and species. ($64.95, Fenwick Eagle, #EGT70SML-4, Fenwick, (877) 336-7637, www.fenwickfishing.com) ($499.99, Stella 2500FA Reel, Shimano, Inc., (800) 274-4626, www.shimano.com)($12.99, 125 Yards 30 lb., Stren Super Braid, Pure Fishing)
Spincasters will find the Bass Pro Micro-Lite Pack Rod great for casting from and to the tight spots. This 6-foot medium action 4-piece design features a wide cork pistol grip and positive twist-lock reel seat. Add the Omega ZO3 Reel, the most advanced and well-constructed spincast currently available, and you have an inexpensive compact outfit for fishing the most challenging places on your outback travels. ($39.99, Micro-Lite Rod, #ML60MC-4, Bass Pro Shops, (800) 227-7776, www.basspro.com ) ($49.95, Omega ZO3 Reel, Zebco, (918) 836-5581, www.zebco.com)
True excellence is not an overstatement when describing the new 9-foot, 8 wt. G. Loomis Cross Current GLX Fly Rod. The product of research and extensive testing by some of the world’s best fly fishers, it incorporates numerous innovative features like solid titanium guides that resist damage by bending and springing back into place, a unique swell-forward handle design and an extremely fast action for handling big flies and windy conditions. The rod is built on a translucent olive-green 4-piece high-modulus blank that is light in the hand with enough spine to put lots of line in the air over great distances. Completing this outfit is the new Scientific Anglers’ System 2LA Reel which has a light open frame, extra-fast retrieve, smooth disc drag and a nicely audible outgoing click that adds to the thrill of a strong running fish. ($635, Cross Current GLX Fly Rod, # FR1088-4CCGLX, G. Loomis) ($254.95, System 2 LA Reel, #LA890, 3M Scientific Anglers’, 800-364-3577, www.3m.com/us/home_leisure/scianglers)
Regardless of the type of rod and reel you plan to take traveling, always carry a backup and spare spools of line for different conditions. These simple precautions just might save the trip in case an outfit is damaged or the line is lost to one or more big fish.