Good saltwater rods cost over a hundred dollars because the salt and a thirty pound fish can crush a cheap rod. But is there a reason why trout rods need to cost a hundred dollars or more? Will a highly engineered trout rod help you catch more fish than an inexpensive spinning rod? I purchased a 7 foot light power Shakespeare Micro Series Spinning Rod at Wal-Mart for $17 to see how it performed and to find out if an inexpensive trout rod was worth buying.
7 Foot Shakespeare Micro Series Spinning Rod Specs
|Lure Weight||1/16 – 3/8th oz|
|Line Rating||4 – 10 lb|
Fit and Finish
The Shakespeare Micro Series rod I purchased is well put together. I pulled the two pieces apart and felt around on the tip and didn’t notice anything that would indicate that the rod was cheaply made. I examined the line guides to see if they were properly seated and was quite happy with the workmanship of this rod. The color of the rod is a matte dark gray. Matte finishes are my preference because unlike a bright or glossy finish, this rod will not cause bright reflections that could potentially scare away trout.
I slid the two pieces of the rod together and they fit perfectly without any unevenness to betray their low price point. During the entire time of my test the rod performed above average, exhibiting a remarkable amount of good workmanship in the fit and finish.
Description of the Shakespeare Micro Series Rod
The rod is a composite rod, which is pretty good for a rod under twenty dollars. There are six line guides that are the right size for the type of line they handle. Six line guides is the ideal amount of line guides because they will help control the line and keep it from forming into wind knots. The rod feels light in the hand and is easy to cast. The tip is on the whippy side but the rod quickly becomes stiff lower down, preventing the entire rod from behaving in a whippy manner. This is ideal and is becoming a common way of building high end rods, so it’s nice to see this kind of build in a spinning rod at this price point. The light tip allows you to cast lures a long distance while the stiffer lower half of the rod provide “backbone” for absorbing the head shakes and tugs of a fighting fish, allowing you to land your fish with authority. I have fished with rods that were considerably more expensive that were too whippy for my taste but that’s not the case with the Shakespeare Micro Series in the light power rating. The Shakespeare Micro Series has a good action to it that feels the way a “light” powered rod should.
How the Shakespeare Micro Series Rod Casts
For this test I used a 4# test Berkley Trilene XL on UL budget spinning reel (Okuma Avenger 20b) as well as a 2500 size budget Cabelas Fish Eagle reel spooled with 6# test P-Line mono. Four pound test fishing line can be tough to deal with if it is not kept under control. Use it on the wrong rod and it will cause endless knots and hang ups. That did not happen with this rod. I believe that the small line guides did a remarkable job keeping the 4# test line flying out of the reel. I used a tungsten weight of 1/8th ounce to cast out into a lake and was able to achieve a reasonable distance. I think the Ultra Light version of this rod may be able to cast this line further but that’s not a knock on this rod because it’s a light powered rod and it performed exceptionally well.
Next I went to a different lake that has strong winds. For this I switched to the 6# test fishing line and experimented with weights from 1/4 ounce to as high as 5/8th of an ounce, a bit higher than what this rod is rated for. Surprisingly, this rod did not feel overpowered by the 5/8th ounce weight. In fact it felt quite at home. The Shakespeare Micro Series spinning rod has a fantastic loading action; when you pull the rod back you can actually feel the weight pulling down on the rod tip and loading it up for a slingshot effect on the cast. I was able to achieve remarkable casting distance with a half ounce weight without the rod feeling stressed in any way.
I then switched to a 1/4 oz Kastmaster lure and was pleasantly surprised at the rods ability to load on the back cast and slingshot the lure a satisfying distance out into the lake. My more expensive rods matched with higher end reels can cast a bit further but not by much and certainly not two hundred dollars further.
The Shakespeare Micro Series rod was used extensively and it performed perfectly in every regard. I did not experience any wind knots when casting and setting the hook on a trout was easy. The rod felt powerful and confident handling trout 12 inches and less and I am confident it could handle larger fish.
I was skeptical about the rod when I saw how much it cost. But the quality of the workmanship and the relative light weight of the rod are qualities of a rod costing much more. The Shakespeare Micro Series spinning rod performed flawlessly and was a pleasure to use and represents an excellent value.
There is some tip oscillation when casting and a fair to small bit of “whippiness” which keeps you from making precise casts. This is to be expected in a rod of this class. Yet it was the rod’s ability to load and spring back that gave it that extra casting power. If you have trouble casting for distance, this rod will have you casting like a pro.
This spinning rod does not compare directly with a high end graphite rod but this rod is not competing directly with that market. Judged strictly as a budget light action rod, it’s my opinion that it exceeded my expectations and can recommend it if you’re considering purchasing a light action fishing rod that can handle ultralight lines as low as 4 pound test all the way to 10lb test line.
There is no reason to spend hundreds of dollars on a fishing rod for trout when rods like this one exist. I’m a fan. Years from now this rod is going to be fondly remembered by many as a classic.