Do you love big bluegill?
Sounds like a nice setup.
My personal favorite is a Shakespeare U/L spinning rig that I got from ebay last season. IT's a dandy.
I'm not really a "rod puritan," myself, although I find the whole "custom fishing gear" business interesting. I really cant imagine me buying or making a custom rod. It's just not something that moves me. Perhaps if I had a few I'd change my mind. But I like fishing to be simple and low-cost.
Really, as long as everything works flawlessly and is rugged enough to hold up, I'm pretty good with any light rod for brim. Add a good telescoping pole of mid-long length and Im set.
From what I've seen, I could outfit myself with most everything needed for a season of fishing with the money spent on just one custom rig. But hey, "whatever floats your boat," as we say here in Dixie!
I have not built a rod in 20 years back in my bassin days. I have numerous UL rods I have some berkleys, garcia, St. Croix from5' to 6 1/2'. To pick out a rod I like I'll pick it up and see if it feels balanced to me. I'll shake the rod to see how limber it is. I don't like a real limber rod I like a rod with some back bone and most of the action in the tip. Now for the reels I have tried lots of then in the UL spinning daiwa, garcia, shimano, quantum, and pflueger. I'm so happy with the Pflueger line of reels at this time that all I use. They are very smooth running and the price is reasonable. Now to tie the rod and reel together for a that smooth running unit I use flourocarbon 4 to 6 lb test line, occasionally even going to 2 lb test. Hey have a great day and GOOD FISHIN..
I learned a while back that using a quality reel is more important than using a quality rod. Case in point...I've got some cheap Berkley Cherrywood's, 5-6 light action rods paired up with Pflueger reels and I've caught 12 inch redear on them.
On the flip side, I've also got four or five St. Croix's paired up with Pflueger's too and they're NO BETTER at landing fish IMO. I mean this from the bottom of my heart..actually, the St. Croix's bother me. They have to many line guides near the tip and they creat opportunities for the line to wrap around the ends of your poles on nearly every other cast...I'm to the point where buying expensive rods just isn't worth it, BUT don't go cheap on your reels.
I've also discovered that for chasing BIG bluegill/redear, don't go shorter than a 5-6 pole, preferably a 6 foot pole. The action is also switching gears away from the ultra lite of yesterday and going to pure light action poles. They give you enough back bone to not miss your 2lb wall hanger that you'll likely miss on tiny poles.
Troy, I've never had any issues with line wrapping around my rods, but I am a believer in a short, ultralight rod. Perhaps your longer rods have more bounce in the tip, thereby leading to your problem. Without seeing your setup, and watching you cast with it, I'm not sure what advice I could give you to avoid the situation.
The only advantage I see to a longer rod, is the possibility of casting further. When you're bank fishing, crouched down under overhanging branches ,and in the middle of brush that comes right down to the waters' edge, a short rod is a godsend.
As far as "backbone" goes, in my St Croix I don't have any doubts that it will land any fish I am likely to hook up with. Those two Channel Cats I caught by accident while Bluegill fishing will testify to that. One went 10.5lbs, the other 8lbs. The Hybrid Bluegill I'm raising regularly top out over a pound now, and I don't have any issues with them either.
Everyone who picks up the rod comments on how light it is, and how well balanced it is. Once they actually fish with it, and feel how awesome the fight of a big bluegill is on a well constructed rod specifically made for that purpose, they always want one for themselves.
If a particular piece of equipment enhances your fishing experience, for whatever reason, then I believe you should use it. It's about enjoyment, after all.
I'd have to agree with you Troy, in general. A good rod with a good reel makes for some good fishing. Junky stuff, "cheaplastijunk," as my dad used to call it, comes apart on you before long. I tend to stick with what I know works and has worked.
Take the venerable Zebco reel, for example. Given a modicum of care, these things will last forever and keep right on rolling. I have old ones that were made when Eisenhower was president that work just like new. It's hard to beat that.
As for rods, I do like the newer spun glass and graphite models. The older solid glass rods don't hold a candle to these. Luckily, decent quality models can be had from almost every maker these days.