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The top fishing rod and reel brand review for 2021

Rods and Reels

Our top picks for rods and reel brands currently on the market. Each product mentioned today has been trialled by myself.

Freshwater Fishing


The Hardy firm remains at the centre of the cutting edge of tackle development. Hardy has a new range of SINTRIX rods setting a challenge that its competitors will find hard to match

The Rod -

The Zephrus DH Rod has been trialled and tested by myself. I can give a first-hand account of this being the best fly rod I have used. A massively expanded and improved range of two-handed fly

rods with Sintrix 440 construction. The Zephrus range of two-handed rods is the perfect combination of strength, power, and agility using two-handed rod applications from small freestone streams to mighty fast-flowing rivers.

The Reel -

spool release, and high line capacity. The Hardy Ultralite is their first fly reel to feature a hybrid carbon fibre/alloy main frame construction with a sealed disc drag system. It is strong, light, and contains a beautiful industrial design. A highly recommended reel currently on the market.


Orvis’s brand promise. “We live to develop and share our equipment, apparel, and expertise to outfit deeper connections and authentic experiences in the outdoors for a more inspired life.”

The Rod -

The Helios 3D Fly Rod is an ultra-high performing fly rod. Orvis designed the Helios 3D fly rod with the intention to cast at impressive distances without sacrificing the power their other rods

have. Orvis has deducted the variables at the point of release to focus the energy behind every single cast. They have Increased the hoop strength meaning they will have reduced vibration for a consistently crisp, clean release. They know “accuracy is paramount.”

The Reel -

The brand new

Mirage LT is everything its big brother was but even better. It is designed to balance completely perfect with smaller rods and yet still offer outstanding Mirage performance. The Mirage LT has a lighter version of the sealed and maintenance-free carbon and stainless steel disc drag system that adjusts from zero to full drag in a single drag knob rotation. The LT has an

ergonomically designed machined aluminium handle. It also features a quick-release spool that easily converts from left- to right- on hand retrieve. Some more key features are the Titanium shaft that reduces weight and adds more durable power. It has a fully radiused reel foot that prevents kinked leaders. A low-profile counterweight won't catch fingers or fly lines. At midnight with silver accents, olive with silver accents. The reel is made in the USA

Ugly Stik -

Ugly sticks are my favourite childhood rods. They are budget-friendly, unbelievably strong and altogether th

ey make brilliant rods and reels for beginners. The Ugly Stik combo is one of the cheaper options on today’s list

Ugly Stik Carbon Spinning Combo -

The Ugly Stik Carbon series features 100% graphite for a lightweight rod, crisp actions, and increased sensitivity when a fish touches your bait. This still maintaining ugly sticks legendary toughness. Some of the ugly sticks Cabron combo’s features:

● The lightest Ugly stick made.

● Solid graphite tip provides increased sensitivity while maintaining the legendary toughness you’ve come to expect from Ugly Stik

● Ugly Tech construction featuring 100% 24-ton graphite for a lightweight and well-balanced rod ● One-piece stainless steel Ugly guides provided for maximized durability for use with all types of line (including braid) and this helps to eliminate insert pop-outs

● The Fuji reel seat for added comfort

● It has Winn split grips providing added comfort and control

Saltwater Fishing


Since 1897, Shakespeare has been the leader in quality, affordable fishing tackle. Their inspiration comes from their 115 years of passion and experience. Shakespeare makes a variety of equipment for freshwater and saltwater fishing. Although, their saltwater gear exceeds all other brands.

The Rod -

Shakespeare’s Agility 2 Expedition Beach 11ft6 120-240g has proved very popular for the modern sea fisherman in recent times. The massive strength of these multi-piece rods is unmatched. The action has not been adversely affected by the addition of the extra spigots. The reduced length of the rods will help.

The Reel -

The Shakespeare Agility Surf Reel was built for UK beach fishing, Shakespeare's new Agility Surf range is designed to handle saltwater use, and are thoroughly tested for reliability. They are coated to reduced any saltwater erosion. They are available in two sizes, the Agility Surf features a large capacity, distance casting spool, matched with a smooth drag system that can be locked down when casting, to maximise full power potential. This will help when aiming for larger casting distances into deeper watermarks

The reel features:

● A 7 + 1 Stainless steel ball bearings

● An anti-twist line roller

● The smooth, strong drag system

● Saltwater protected - corrosion resistant

● One way clutch with anti-reverse

● Aluminium power handle

● Low ratio power gear system

● supplied with graphite spare spool


Daiwa has a history of perfect design and technology. In addition, it has always maintained an emphasis on innovation and quality. Daiwa covers a large range of fishing equipment. They have a budget-friendly rod and reel combos which are great for all saltwater use.

Daiwa D Match Combo

The Daiwa D Match Combo has a premium grade carbon blank with a low glare matt tape finish for improved weight and crisper action in use. The stainless steel frame guides with aluminium oxide rings. It has a hook keeper to avoid any tackle catches or entanglements.

We hope you have enjoyed today’s list of superb rod and reel brands. Each of the brands has exquisite design and technology behind all of their equipment.

I can recommend them as I have tested all of t h e e q uip m e n t m e n tio n e d t o d a y. E a c h

b r a n d h a s a hig h r e p u t a tio n a n d s t r o n g c u s t o m e r e n g a g e m e n t.

By Daniel O'Neill

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