Tackle Test 2015: Gear Reviews of 42 New Rods and Reels

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Our annual on-the-water evaluation reveals what to expect from the newest rods and reels. Photographs by Nathaniel Welch.

Over the last decade, the fishing industry has experienced explosive technological growth. Today’s bass fishermen electronically see under docks in vivid, three-­dimensional detail. Pro ­anglers pre-fish tournaments on screens from their cockpit seats, practically eliminating the need to wet a line.

When it comes to science-driven enhancements, tackle makers are hustling to stay in step with the competition. Rod designers manipulate carbon on a supramolecular scale, and their work lets us cast farther and with greater accuracy than ever before. Advancements in metallurgy and materials science have produced substances from which smoother, quieter fishing reel gear trains and drags have been created.

Such changes aren’t just for show. These products are all lighter and more ergonomic, which means we can fish longer with less fatigue.

For 2015, rod and reel manufacturers have once again eclipsed the previous year’s innovations. Here’s our take on the best of what’s new.

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