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  • Writer's pictureMallick Adventures

Preparing for the 2024 Fishing Season: A Lineup of New Rods and Reels

This is the second article in a series on apparel, equipment, and tips to make your 2024 fishing season more enjoyable and productive.



Before the highly anticipated opening day of the 2024 fishing season, now is the time to check your equipment and make any upgrades that could maximize your success on the water.


So, what do I look for in a good spinning rod? Basically, a good rod should meet the following criteria. First, it should be sensitive to the action of your lure and sensitive to the touch of a walleye or panfish bite and both often resemble just a few soft “tap, tap, taps.”


Second, the rod should improve your casting performance and your jigging or still fishing technique. For the purposes of jig-fishing, I look for a rod that is designed to handle 1/8- to 3/8-ounce jigs yet strong enough to land a ten-pound walleye. The rod should be well balanced, comfortable to hold, and light in weight so as not to result in arm fatigue after a day of casting. A good panfish rod will have all of these qualities, yet will not interfere or distort the sensitivity of a bobber.


Another important criterion that is often overlooked is the manufacturer’s warranty and return policies. What happens if you snap the tip of the rod in your car door, or your brother-in-law steps on your rod while getting into the boat? Before investing in a rod, be sure to check out the manufacturer’s warranty and return policies because they could save you a few hundred dollars if you have to replace a damaged rod.


Finally, you must consider the type of fishing technique and the lake environment. Do you plan to troll on the Great Lakes or some other large body of water, jig-fish, or still fish for crappie, blue gill, or perch in a smaller lake? Most of my guests prefer to jig-fish or still fish in our inland lakes, so with that in mind I will discuss rods that are best suited for this type of fishing environment and also meet the above criteria.


With that being said, there are many rod and reel combinations on the market today that are sure to guarantee your success on the water.


St. Croix, Fenwick, and G. Loomis are three manufactures that I highly recommend. All three have introduced several new rods that are ergonomically enjoyable to use, deliver outstanding performance, and are technologically superior to other competing rods on the market.


In St. Croix's famous Legend Elite Series, the new Legend Elite Panfish rod, stands out as one of the must have rods for pan fishing enthusiasts. Whether it be bluegill, crappie, or perch, the Legend Elite will definitely enhance your pan fishing success and satisfaction. I particularly enjoy the ultra-light versions of this rod, which come in a 5'6" and 6' lengths; however, for the fishermen that want a longer rod, the Legend Elite Panfish rod is also available in 6'4", 6'9", and 7' lengths. When paired with an ultra-light spinning reel with 2- to- 4 pound test-line, the Legend Elite Panfish rod will set you apart from the crowd.


The sensitivity of the Legend Elite Panfish rod is unlike any other, making for an ultra-light cast with enough backbone to pull in your biggest catch. With light jigs and a bobber, this rod will do all the casting for you. Retailing from $385 to $410, the Legend Elite Panfish rod is worth every penny, considering their phenomenal customer service and return policies. In fishing related accidents, St. Croix will replace your rod for only a $20 shipping fee, and in the event of a non-fishing related incident, St. Croix charges $85 plus shipping in return for a brand new rod.


St. Croix's flagship product line, the Legend Elite Series, remains among the go-to rods for the avid walleye fishermen. This series comes in a number of different lengths, ranging from 6' to 7'6" and both of the x-fast and fast action versions are available.


The Legend Elite Panfish and the Legend Elite Series represent the most advanced spinning rods on the market today. I highly recommend any of the new models that St.Croix introduced this year for the 2024 fishing season.


Fenwick is a long-time industry leader and their handcrafted rods are designed to enhance every anglers experience. With updated ergonomic handles, lightweight body styles, and balanced sensitivity features, these rods are a pleasure to use. I highly recommend the Elite Walleye Spinning Rod, which comes in 6'3"-7'6" in length.


This one-piece rod can handle 1/8- to 3/4-ounce jigs with a 4- to 12-pound test line, amplifying your ability to detect changes in bites and lure movements. For a price of $229.95 with a lifetime warranty, you can't beat the durability and sensitivity of this rod.


Long known for their reputation in crafting high-quality rods, G. Loomis has all the criteria to be your go-to rod this season. Offering a variety of rod models, anglers have trusted G. Loomis to deliver innovative products to the market.


I highly recommend their GLX Walleye Spinning Rod, specifically the GLX 822S WJR model. In this one piece, 6'10'' rod with medium power and fast action, you can use 1/8 - 3/8 ounce jigs with a 6-to-12 pound line. This rod is amongst the most prestigious on the market, coming in at $500. With a limited lifetime warranty and a no-fault replacement process, the GLX Walleye Spinning Rod will satisfy any expert angler.


St. Croix's Legend Elite, Fenwick's Elite Walleye Spinning, and G. Loomis' GLX Walleye Spinning are the three most sensitive and technically advanced rods on the market today. I recommend any of the above rods to maximize your fishing experience this summer.


The Shimano Stradic Ci4+ spinning series reels pair well with any of the above rods. With a powerful drag and a precise, long and smooth cast, these reels are best suited for a 6- to 10-pound test line and retail for around $229.99. The Shimano Stradic is a light reel that can cast 1/8-ounce jigs and provides a very smooth retrieve.


The Abu Garcia Revo S Spinning Reel series is another popular reel and is a favorite of mine. These reels retail for $129 to $139, handling 6- to 12-pound test line and perform well with any quality spinning rod, providing flawless performance with minimal effort.


For all of our guests at Mallick Adventures who do not have their own equipment, we will provide the highest quality fishing equipment during your visit free of charge.  Our guests merely have to come prepared for a great and exciting day of fishing.


Gregg Mallick with his St. Croix Legend Elite rod ready to catch a finnicky walleye.












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