I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

• Gander Mountain Guide Series Competitor Rod

The Gander Mountain Guide Series Competitor rods were practically a bottom of the barrel graphite rod and it is my understanding that they have been discontinued. I believe I bought this rod in June of 2007 and I think I only paid $12 for it. I didn't need to go all out. I was going on a trip to visit family, but did not have any way to pack a fishing rod for the flight. Even if I had, packing a fishing rod properly is still no guarantee that it won't get broken in transit. I knew I could purchase an inexpensive rod and still get a few good days of fishing in. Over the course of two days, I caught 17 bass from the small farm pond. I guess you could say I broke it in really good tossing a 1/4oz spinnerbait, buzzbait, and even a Senko.

I have to admit, I'm not the best person to do a rod review. I cannot fully appreciate all that goes into designing a "quality" fishing rod. I can only evaulate a fishing rod in terms of what I need from it. Isn't that what counts?

I bought the 6'6 medium version (GSC-661CMT) because I'm more comfortable with rods that height. It was rated for 1/4oz to 3/4oz lures, a range that medium rods typically handle. The line rating was 8-20lb test. I'm not sure what the graphite rating is on these particular rods. I'm going to take a guess and say it was IM-6. At first glance, those specs were fairly average and ideal for what I planned to do.

This particular rod did not have a fast tip. Most medium action rods I've handled have not been quite this stiff. This rod actually felt more like a medium heavy rod. Although I have it set up as a backup rod for plastics, it has enough backbone in my opinion to be a good jig rod too. While the tip does not have a very fast quality, it still has a little bit of bounce. So what the Competitor Series offers is an all around great rod for jigs, plastics, spinnerbaits, topwater lures, and medium to large crankbaits. I also like it for pitching. Like I said, I find 6'6" to be an all around comfortable fishing rod length.

The graphite construction gave me a fairly light rod with good balance, although compared to my other rods, it still seemed a bit heavy. The one thing I am really picky about in a fishing rod is the foregrip. It has to be very unobtrusive. Many rod foregrips out there are bulky and I prefer a little less cork. The ergonomic trigger fits comfortably against my hand when casting or pitching. The rod also features a hook keeper which is really impressive when compared with other rods in the same price range.

Because this rod is a little on the stiff side, all the sensitivity is going to come from the line. I'm not the type of angler who palms his reel either. I retrieve with one hand on the foregrip using my fingers to feel the line. So no, not the most sensitive rod. At least you can count on getting a pretty solid hookset out of it.

Other info
I decided to take a few measurements. The cork handle of the rod is 8.5 inches from the butt to the reel seat. The first line guide is about 19 inches away from the reel seat which is significantly closer than many other rods I own. Does that distance make much of a difference? There has to be a reason behind placing the first line guide a certain distance away from the reel seat, right? There are seven individual line guides including the rod tip. I've found most 6'6" rods only have seven guides.

The closest Gander Mountain is probably over in Tyler, Texas. I have read online that the Competitor series was discontinued, so I won't be driving over into Texas to pick another one up. In fact, I try not to go into Texas for anything. However, I am impressed enough with this rod that if I ever happen to be near Tyler, I might check out the latest offering from Gander Mountain. Since the rod was discontinued, this post may not be all that useful unless you happen upon one of these rods on Ebay.