Reviewed by Captain Mike Schoonveld

Are you needing a new diver rod and reel combo? Could you use another rod and reel able to comfortably fit 10 colors of leadcore line or 300 feet of copper wire? Is money the main reason you don’t have these already?

Both leadcore and copper line are thick and require a large size, large capacity reel to accommodate the backing, the heavy line and the leader. Fishing with these long, heavy lines or dangling a diver off the side requires a rod with plenty of backbone just to hold up to the pressure of dragging that stuff around.
You may want to check out the StrataMaxx Combo from Bass Pro Shops. It features an 8′ 6″ medium heavy rod matched to a solidly built, relatively large, line counter reel. This combo retails for $89.99. I have “name brand” combos on my boat that cost more than twice as much. Do they work twice as good? Will they last twice as long?


The answers are no and only time will tell. I used my StrataMaxx Combo as a 10 color LC set-up in June and later in the summer I switched it to a 300-copper (45 pound). I used 200 yards of 40-pound braid as backing for the heavy lines. Both types of line fit comfortably.


The rod held up nicely to the drag of the long lines trolling at speeds up to 3 knots even when pulling large dodgers or flashers. It also easily handled the kings, cohos and Skamania steelheads that fell for the lures I was pulling.


I often ran this set up straight down the chute behind the boat. No planer board on the line or stretchy rubber band release off the big board planers. When the fish bit, the rod has to absorb the pressure of the strike and the drag has to smoothly start to slip. It’s fun to experiment with new gear, but when I have paying customers on the boat, I don’t play with new stuff that may not be up to the task.


This combo performed time and again all season long and feels as good now as the first day it was put to work.



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