Cheapo Rod/Cheapo Reel: Berkley 5' 6" light spinning rod with Shimano 1000 series reel. Bought both from Walmart. I replaced the tip guide with a better quality guide that I bought from the dude in the back of Sportsman's warehouse in Thornton. Grooves are no longer a problem in my tip guide so the rod actually is a good bang for buck.
Will be buying a Shimano light spinning rod in 5' 6" pretty soon and putting a Shimano 2000 series reel on it for spinnin lures. As for bottom fishing, I'm gonna get an "ugly" Ugly Stick.
I've fished several Cabela's Fish Eagle II's the last few years, both spinning rods for smallmouth and walleyes and baitcast rods to throw jigs & cranks for bass, walleyes and to jig lakers. They run about $80 (sometimes on sale for $60) and are light, sensitive, but have some backbone, too. Great rod value for the price.
For flyshing I have 2 Scott rods and 2 Sage. Love all four.
For the baitcasters I use Quantum Jimmy Houston signature rods but I'm selling all of those and stepping up to either Falcon Cara or All Star Original rods. Still undecided on that.
I have to agree with you on the IM7 rods, Ed. Those are really nice...Ialso bought some rods at cabelas last year that are old-school fiberglass...I really like those for the huge walleye when jigging....Seem to have great flex throughout the entire rod, so I feel very confident putting some serious bend on them and keeping the line even tighter than usual...
Honestly thoguh, if there's one thing I think a guy can go a bit cheaper on, its' the rod itself...especially if you are choosing where to save some money rod vs. reel...I'll splurge on a reel ANY DAY!
I really like my 7 ft Shimono Claris for about everything casting or jigging. I also have 2 cableas IM6 spinning (fish eagle II) and 2 casting (Guide pro), 2 bass pro shop medium action spinning, 2 8-9 ft ?? surf casting, 2 wire line solid glass, and 4 rods for my kids. I have a low end Sage and 4 peice Cabelas travel fly rod, and 4 ice fishing rods. I need some depth counter/downrigger rods to use with down riggers but the bait casters seem to work ok in the interium. I had been looking at the Cabelas Okuma combo line counters, 109 each... but that will be next year.
i used to be a dyed in the wool shimano fan, but have not liked what they having been doing to their rods for a while now. but 4 years ago i met up with a Berkeley rep in Ontario. I fished with the guy a bunch on my home lake and the Ottawa River. He appreciated it so much, to return the favor he had 11 signature specialty rods made for me. he asked me what i wanted and i told him. i like a two piece rod for travel purposes. they are all IM& graphite. the spinning rods range from 5' ultra light up to 7' medium heavy. my favorite is the 6'6" medium and the 6'3" medium heavy. the casting/trolling rods are 6'6" to 7"6". they are awesome rods, cork handles etc. they were a line the Berkeley Canadian division made for Canadian guides. they are called the Candaian Guide Series. I use these rods and love them. they retailed for about $90 and up. nice to fish with someone with connections.