I have tried several different makes and models of pack rods through the years and have settled on the MajorCraft Finetail Trekking and Traveler series of rods.
The species of fish I’m chasing (Micropterus dolomieu velox…Neosho-strain Smallmouth Bass) do not require heavy tackle so these rods are more than adequate. I wanted something compact that I could stow in one of my packs and these are perfect for my needs.
I chose the MajorCraft Finetail Trekking and Traveler Switch Style FTX-46/505UL and the baitcast version, the FTX-B46/505UL. MajorCraft does make shorter or longer versions of these rods.
As you can see, they come in a heavy duty zippered pouch which thoroughly protects the rods. However, that comes at a significant weight- 12.1 ounces for the spinning rod and 13.1 ounces for the baitcast rod. So I opted to ditch the zippered cases and just stow the rods in the cloth sleeves they come in thereby reducing the weight to 3.6 ounces for the spinning rod and 4.1 ounces for the baitcast rods.
I find this setup suits most of my needs for the small streams I have been fishing lately. As of yet I haven’t felt underpowered and have all the leverage I need and my casting distance is on par with other JDM rods I have. As a bonus, all of my gear fits inside my pack during transport so I rarely worry about the rods being broken.
For open stretches of a river I prefer the spinning rod but when things get tricky with overhanging trees and such, I prefer the baitcast rod since I find it to be more accurate. Plus, it also depends on what type of lures I’m using at any given time. Since these are 5-piece rods, I have the option to remove the 6 inch insert section and go with a shorter rod if necessary. I have yet to have one of these rods come apart while fishing, but I do check the sections periodically to make sure they are still in place.
I’ve caught quite a few fish on these and have been very pleased with their performance.