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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Top Of The Best Cafe Rods Reviewed In 2018Last Updated January 1, 2018
№1 – Graber 5/16-Inch Swivel End Sash Curtain Rods – 2 Rods – 21 – 38 Inch Adjustable Width, White with Nickel Ends
№2 – Bali Blinds 1/2″ Trumpet Petite Cafe, 22- 40″, Nickel
№3 – GOLD/BRASS CAFE ROD. Adjustable from 28″ to 48″. ALL HARDWARE INCLUDED.
Select a pole
These come in lengths: 120, 150 or 180cm. If these lengths don’t work for you, we have a made to measure service too.
Choose one that’s long enough to allow your curtains to stack back to the sides of the windows. Poles can be cut to size, or joined with a connector if made from metal. Wood poles come with a double end screw to join them. You’ll need an extra centre bracket for poles over 180cm in length.
Choose your curtain rings It’s best to allow one ring for every 10cm of pole.
Choose your brackets
All poles will need 2x side brackets, and those over 180cm long will also need a centre bracket and connector.
For bay windows you’ll need to use flexible bay corners in conjunction with passing brackets. These brackets give intermediate support and, with the open ended passing rings, allow the curtains to move across them freely.
Should adjoining rooms have the same rods? It depends. If you can see all the windows at the same time, then yes. You might even need the same drapery between rooms if your home is very open concept. The more obvious separation there is between rooms, though, the less you need to be concerned with coordinating rods between them.
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You will be pleased to know that curtain rods are available in a large variety of sizes, styles, designs, finishes as well as prices. Here is a list of guidelines to assist you to choose the right curtain rods –
First of all, you need to determine the place where you are supposed to mount the curtain rods. This in turn shall vary with the type of curtain you are employing. Few curtain types look good if hung above the window frame, whereas many are hung within the window frame.
Textured patterned fabrics using natural styles are popular, but there are endless possibilities when it comes to selecting a fabric. The better the quality of fabric, the better it will hang. Sheer curtains let in light and the heavier the drape, the better the block-out capacity. Chiffon, Silk-dupion and Organza are fuss free. For daily use cottons or polysters. If you have time for maintain drapes, then try velvets and raw silk.
Curtain length is typically measured from the top of the rod pocket to the bottom edge of the curtain. If the curtain has a header (the part above the rod pocket), this is typically not included in the length of the curtain. If the header is included in the length of the curtain, it will be specified in the description of the curtain.
Tab curtain lengths include the tabs unless specified.
The length of the fringe or edging sewn to a curtain or a dust ruffle should be added to the curtain length or dust ruffle drop length. The fringe length is specified in the description of the curtain.
If you plan to use clip rings, remember the top of the curtain will start at the clip so you will need to take the length of the ring into account when determining what curtain length to purchase.
Overall curtain length is a matter of personal preference and need not be exact. If you have not yet installed your rod, you can adjust the placement of your rod, a little higher or lower, to get the bottom of the curtain to fall where you want at your window.
Using a metal tape measure or a wooden yardstick, measure the width of the window area you would like to cover, typically from bracket to bracket.
For proper fullness, order curtain pair widths that are approximately one and a half times to double the width of the window area you would like to cover.
For wider windows, order wider width pairs, available in many styles, or order an extra pair of regular width curtains.
How to Select & Install a Rod Pocket Panel or Tailored Panel Curtains:
Rod Pocket Panels/Tailored Panels usually comes in sized pockets, a standard pocket which usually varies between 1/4″ & 3/4″, this type of pocket usually works with curtain rods less then 3/4″ in diameter. The second type of pocket is called the wide pocket, this pocket is 3″W & usually works with a 1/2″ wide pocket curtain rod or a decorative rod up to 1/4″ in diameter. For added decor many customers are now installing them with decorative curtain rods & clip rings.
Fullness is subjective, so here is a guide, use approximately times your window width in fabric. For thinner fabrics use more fullness as much 1/times your window width, for thicker fabrics use less fullness. If you want more privacy use more fullness, if you want more light use less fullness. If you want to just soften your window, you can use one panel one each side with a tie back or a hold back. Selecting this type of panel usually means that you are not going to draw them open & closed a lot, they are usually used more for decor.
The standard width of a panel usually coincides with the width of the bolt of fabric the manufacturer started with. So if you want to same money & buy a standard sized panel, it is not unusual to have to use multiple panels to achieve your desired fullness. So you usually need panels for a single window & panels for a double window, etc. Some customers think they need a special width to fit their windows, this is simply not true. You can achieve your desired width with any sized panel we offer.
In the complete set the Swag Topper & Tier Pairs usually come with a standard pocket that usually varies between 1/4″ & 3/4″, this type of pocket usually works with curtain rods less then 3/4″ in diameter.
Most customers use a standard curtain rod for the swag pair & valance & a sash or cafe rod for the tier pairs.
When determining what length tier you need, consider the total length of your window. For example, say your window length is 60″L, the insert valance will be mounted about inch over the window, so if you deduct 1/2″ for your pocket & 1/2″ for your header (These are approximations). There will be a 9″ drop, so if you choose a 36″ long tier pair, you will have approximately 15″ of open space on your window.
There is no right or wrong way, the question is, how do I get an inexpensive prepacked kitchen curtains to look great on my window, without spending hundreds of dollar on custom treatments.
How They Compare
Of the curtain rods we looked at, four are of the tension variety, which are ideal for renters who aren’t allowed to drill into their walls or for those who aren’t very handy.
The exception is the Kenney Heavy Duty Double Curtain Rod. It require some drilling to install and is ideal for windows from 84-120 inches. Buyers say it’s relatively easy to install, however some buyers suggest that they’re not sturdy enough for very heavier curtains.
Of the tension rods we looked at the Room Dividers Now Premium Tension Curtain Rod rated high due to the length to which it extends. Buyers said installation was quick, easy and the company offered good after the sale support. The major negative is a constant with tension rods and that is that they’re typically unable to hold very heavy curtains. Better than average customer support.
The Kenney Twist and Fit with Petal, 28-4inch is perfect for smaller windows but users day it’s not ideal for corner windows. The satin nickel finish is very modern and elegant. No drilling required.
If you’re looking for something more elegant, the Maytex Twist & Shout Smart Window Hardware Rod features an oil rubbed bronze look that’s a bit more classic and upscale. It’s a tension rod so no drilling is required, but some buyers found installation to be difficult due to the end piece not staying tight. Also, not recommended for double windows.
Lastly, we looked at the InterDesign Forma Constant Tension Rod, which is a functional, no frills design that’s perfect for those on a budget.
It comes in brushed stainless steel and is ideal for closets or small windows or in the shower. Some buyers report difficulty in installing this rod due to the end pieces being made of cheaper materials, while others mentioned the overall lack of durability with this product.
The Kenney Twist and Fit Satin Nickel Curtain Rod Review
How To Choose
We defer to one of our favorite websites Maria Killam. When selecting a curtain rod, many buyers are concerned with the size and the style as well as the material. She advises that you choose them so they perform an attractive contrast with the room they’re installed in.
In fact, she even compares rods to eyeliner- they’re designed to provide visual depth without distracting attention to themselves. When it comes to selecting the best size, slim or narrow rods generally look more modern than flat and bulky ones.
Though if they are thinner than inch they can look somewhat cheap. Looking at Pinterest images, it’s sometimes quite attractive if you have light-colored furniture in the room to choose a dark-colored rod that adds striking accents. On the other hand, a white rod would cause it to blend seamlessly into the background, a different visual effect that can be just as appealing.
It can also make sense to get a full-length drapery rod that runs across multiple windows if you don’t have a lot of space above the windows themselves.
Sometimes if your interior decor already has a lot of contrast between the sofa, the rugs, the chairs, it doesn’t make sense to add even more conflict by installing a contrasting color curtain rod. Another consideration is installing a decorative finial on the rods.
This will depend on how much you like this ornamental enhancement. If you’re like the editors here, they prefer selecting a timeless style so they are always up-to-date rather than selecting a trendy design that will look out of date in a couple years.
Choose Your Curtains
Generally, you have three types of curtains to choose from:
Valances only cover the uppermost part of the window, and they can be hung alone or paired with window blinds or full-length curtains. They also help to conceal drapery hardware and don’t require any hemming.
Grommet or tab top curtains have openings in the top section of the curtain fabric that you’ll use to hang the curtains. Café curtains are hung on a rod across the middle of the glass instead of the top, which is great if you want privacy but also a little sunlight.
Both grommet and café curtains require hemming the bottom four to six inches so that the hem sits below the bottom of the sill when seen from outside. For curtains hanging to the floor, allow a half inch of clearance for more movement and easier cleaning. If you prefer a more luxurious look, an extra foot of fabric will allow your curtain to hang to the floor, but does require more maintenance. For a little extra weight, fold the fabric twice when creating the hem.
Shower Curtain Liners
The first part of a shower curtain is the curtain liner. Since the bottom of the liner is placed within the tub, it gets the most water exposure, and therefore, has the largest problem with mold and mildew buildup. Because it needs to be made from a water-resistant material, it is common to find PVC vinyl liners. Vinyl helps to repel water and keep mildew at bay, and it can even be washed on low settings once it gets dirty. However, many environmentally-conscious homeowners dislike using PVC products because of all the chemicals involved. PVC does not disintegrate in landfills, and since the liner will be thrown away at some point, many people feel this is an irresponsible product. Another possible option is a Eva Peva or a polypropylene liner. While it is still made from plastic, it is more environmentally-friendly than vinyl. Fabric liners are another option, though they are less water resistant and more susceptible to mildew than either vinyl or polypropylene.
Colors and Treatments
Curtain liners are often sold in clear colors. Since they are placed behind the shower curtain itself, there is no reason for them to be colored for privacy. However, we do carry basic colored liners for those who like a colorful bathroom. Liners can also be treated to resist mold and mildew. Treated liners are usually marketed as either heavy duty hotel/hospital liners, or mildew resistant liners.
Weights and Magnets
Some shower curtain liners tend to billow when hot steam from the shower builds up in the bathroom. This can cause the liner to shift position or even crowd the bather. To prevent this, some shower liners come with weights or magnets sewn into the bottom. This keeps the shower curtain liner hanging straight, and it allows the liner to be spread the full length of the shower.
The second part of the shower curtain system is the curtain itself. It sits outside of the tub and should not be directly exposed to water. This allows the shower curtain to be made from a greater variety of fabrics than a liner. While plastic vinyl shower curtains are the least expensive, buyers can also select from high end designers like Kassatex or Heritage Lace who offer cotton or lace shower curtains. When choosing fabric to use for a shower curtain, keep in mind how easy it is to clean. Plastic, polyester, and cotton can all be machine washed, though plastic needs to be washed in cold water and dried on delicate settings. Be sure to check the manufacturer instructions before selecting a shower curtain.
Shower Curtain Details
The best way to determine if a shower curtain is a superior product that will last for years is to examine the details. The weaving around the grommets, the line of holes at the top of the curtain for the shower rings, should be incredibly tight. The edges of a fabric curtain should be hemmed well with no visible fraying. Also, keep the size of the shower area in mind. Most shower and bath combination fixtures are between to feet wide, and the shower curtain is typically hung feet above the floor. This means that most homeowners should be fine buying a shower curtain that is 70 inches long by 7inches wide, the most common size. However, if the homeowner has a particularly long bathtub or uses a curved shower rod, or even a stall shower, then specialty size is needed.
Colors and Patterns
Shower curtains come in all kinds of colors and patterns. Plastic curtains are vibrantly colored, or they have pictures or designs imprinted onto the plastic. The easy maintenance and bright colors make plastic curtains a great choice for a child’s bathroom. Those who want a more formal bathroom often choose fabric curtains. While these curtains can come in many different colors, they also include woven patterns. Some of the fanciest shower curtains even have lace edging around the trim. Choose a color or pattern that matches the décor of the bathroom.
Shower Rings & Hooks
The shower curtain rings have an important job to do since they hold both the liner and thecurtain in place. Each of the rings attaches to the grommets on the curtain and liner and is then looped around the shower rod. This allows the rings to slide back and forth on the shower rod so that users can easily open and close the curtain. Shower rings are made from either metal or plastic, and a good rule of thumb is to select rings that match the shower rod. A metal rod should have metal shower rings, while a plastic rod should use plastic shower rings. Many rings also include designs on their edges that are meant to add to the bathroom’s décor. For example, a tropically themed bathroom can have a shower curtain with patterns of palm trees on its front highlighted by shower rings that look like palm trees. A seashell bathroom can have seashell shower rings. The combinations are endless, allowing for homeowners to decorate their bathroom exactly how they want.
This is probably the most frequently asked question from our clients who order custom curtains with pinch pleats for the first time. While there are multiple hardware options based on price and quality, we are ardent fans of the functional efficiency of a simple clip and pin mechanism.
See images below for a handy reference but in a nutshell, drapery pins are inserted into the back (lining side) of the panels through the heading tape. The sharp, pointed end goes into the tape, directly into the center of each pinch pleat. Then the curved end of the pin goes through the eyelet of your drapery ring/clip or rod carrier.
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Not Measuring Correctly
The first thing you should do is measure your windows and make adjustments depending on how you want to hang the window treatments. It will save you another trip to the store if your curtains and rods are the right size.
Hanging Curtains Too Low
Hang curtain rods and draperies at the ceiling to make the room feel taller — this is especially important in small spaces.
Buying Curtains That Are Too Short “For classic side panels, you really have to go all the way to the floor,” designer Scot Meacham Wood says. “If you’re looking at ready-made drapes, make sure that they touch the floor, even if you have to buy the next size up and have them hemmed.”
Not Thinking About Fullness “Traditionally, you should be looking at to 2½ times the width of the window for the fullness of the drapes,” Wood says. “So if your window is feet wide, the ungathered panels should be at least feet wide, or even better, feet.”
Why you should trust me
I’m a United States Coast Guard–certified master captain, and I have been fishing since I could walk. I grew up working on charter boats in and around Long Island Sound, and reliable fishing gear has been paramount not only to my profession but also to my life. Having fished on a budget in settings as varied and diverse as the spring brooks of the Adirondack Mountains, the brown sludge that is the Hudson River, and the emerald coastal waters of New Zealand, I can say that a careful selection of the most durable all-around tackle has been essential to me.
Your guide, Owen James Burke, testing our picks on a beach in New Zealand.
To supplement my own expertise, I enlisted the help of veteran spinning-reel reviewer Alan Hawk and also consulted Salt Water Sportsman editor-at-large and NBC Sports television host George Poveromo on what would be the ideal spinning-rod-and-reel setup for a casual fisher.
Who this is for
Like most fishers, I’m not able to carry, store, or afford a different rod and reel for every species of fish or method of fishing. So I picked an affordable, high-quality spinning-rod-and-reel combo that can work in as many fishing conditions and settings as possible—including saltwater and freshwater. This spinning-rod-and-reel setup is approachable enough for a novice to learn on, yet it performs well enough for a seasoned veteran to depend on.
In researching and testing, I prioritized attributes such as durability and build quality—features that anyone, regardless of skill level and intended use, can appreciate—over more specialized features such as multiple-geared reels for using live bait or especially stiff rods that can handle big fish but not smaller ones. In other words, the Ugly Stik GXand Daiwa BG SW combo is what I’d recommend if someone were to ask me, “What fishing pole should I get if I don’t know what I want?”
This spinning-rod-and-reel setup is approachable enough for a novice to learn on, yet it performs well enough for a seasoned veteran to depend on.
If you’re more experienced and looking for a specific rod and reel, apart from the size of the fish you’re targeting, you’ll also have to take into account what kind of fishing you’ll be doing: Will you be casting artificial lures (objects designed to look like fish or other prey with a hook attached), or using bait (smaller fish, worms, or other natural prey, either alive or dead)? Most lure fishers will want a stiffer rod composed of graphite (or mostly graphite) so that they can “work” a jig or plug to imitate the movements of prey, while bait fishers might seek out a rod that’s a little looser or more sensitive, so as to detect the slightest strike. Our rod recommendation can do both things decently, but if you know you’ll be doing only one or the other, you should look into a more specialized setup.
How we picked
First off, I had to decide what kind of rod and reel we would focus on, which was an easy choice—if you’re going to own only one fishing rod and reel, a spinning-rod-and-reel setup is the most versatile and the easiest to use.
Compared with a baitcasting or fly-fishing setup, a spinning setup is more comfortable to use and is usually easier to repair; it also requires less finesse to cast. Think of it as the “automatic transmission” version of a fishing rod and reel. If you’re starting from nothing, a spinning outfit offers the highest chance of success. If you’re a beginner, it’s much easier to pick up than either of the other options, and it’s far less likely to become tangled than a baitcasting setup.
Key features of a fishing rod
In my 20-plus years of fishing, I’ve come to learn that when you’re shopping for fishing rods—as for any tool—paying a little attention to a few key features can be telling before you even pick up one. The rod’s material, flexibility, sensitivity, and line-guide construction all make a difference in how well the rod will perform and last.
As mentioned previously, bait-hucking fishers will want something that’s more sensitive and flexible, while lure fishers will want something stiffer (known as “fast action” in fishing jargon). Most rods are made out of fiberglass, graphite, or a mixture of both. The more graphite in a rod, the lighter and stiffer it is, but such rods are also more brittle, so you wouldn’t want to hand one to a 3-year-old. Fiberglass is heavier but more flexible (“slow action”)—like a whipping stick—and nearly impossible to break. For a beginner or an all-around angler, a combination of both materials offers the most versatile package: It gives you enough stiffness to adequately manipulate a lure, while maintaining enough sensitivity for detecting small bites.
The next most important specification you’ll want to consider is the material that makes up the guides—the loops that lead, or guide, the line from the reel to the tip (the skinny end) of the fishing rod. Lower-end fishing rods (and many higher-end ones, too) usually feature guides made of either thin stainless steel or aluminum oxide (ceramic) frames holding cheap ceramic O-ring inserts (rings designed to protect the insides of the guides and prevent line wear) that chip or corrode, and eventually fail.
The rest, including the grip material and the number of pieces the rod itself breaks down into, is up to you. I will suggest that, if you can accommodate it, a one-piece rod will almost always outperform a two- or three-piece rod. A one-piece rod offers better stiffness and more control—fewer pieces make for fewer problems with durability and performance, although portability suffers.
How we tested
We got into the weeds to find the best rod-and-reel combination for most anglers.
I tested all of the rods and reels from beaches, rocks, boats, and riverbanks. I fished with lures in rivers for trout and salmon, and I set 1- to 1½-pound live baits from my skiffs, catching ocean fish up to 20 pounds with each rod and reel. I also tested the gear on smaller bottom fish, including summer flounder, sea bass, and porgies (or scup), as well as red drum and spotted seatrout in Charleston, South Carolina. While I didn’t test much in lakes or ponds, I did spend several days fishing freshwater rivers for trout and smaller salmon, and a couple of days fishing private ponds and lakes for largemouth bass. I beat up these rods and reels, from the mouth of the Hudson River in New York to the Cook Strait of New Zealand.
I used each reel with 6- to 15-pound test monofilament line (depending on the reel size), and also tried either 40- or 50-pound test braided line on each of the saltwater-oriented rods. (Braid can come in handy for lighter-weight rods and reels, but for the inexperienced angler, it can also bring on the nuisances of knots and snags.)
Initially, I washed everything down well after each use as I usually do. Then, a week in, I decided to see what leaving salt and grit on and in them would do, which was extremely telling—especially after I took the gear apart.
Testing drags with a force meter.
After logging plenty of catches (and abuse) on each reel, I took them to Henderson’s Ltd. Tackle and Repair Shop in Blenheim, New Zealand, to get them disassembled so that I could examine the insides for signs of quality construction, design, and materials (or lack thereof). The teardown test made it easy to see why some brands earn reputations for lasting longer than others, and it allowed us to discover how some seemingly similar models are actually quite different inside.
To make certain that I put each reel and respective drag through the same amount of strain, I took the top four reels I tested into a local fishing shop and attached them to scales using a 50-pound test leader. (None of the drags would stand up to 50 pounds of tension, and this way the line would break before the drag, just in case.)
The Ugly Stik GXwas introduced last year as the first major redesign of the Ugly Stik series since its debut in 197Compared with the original, it includes more graphite and less fiberglass, giving the rod more of a backbone for working lures and handling heavier fish, while still keeping the soft fiberglass tip that makes it sensitive enough for detecting subtler strikes and smaller catches.
What makes the Ugly Stik GXso much more durable and versatile than other rods is that it uses both graphite and fiberglass to provide sensitivity and strength without sacrificing too much of either. It features a primarily graphite shaft for stiffness, along with a soft, clear, and flexible fiberglass tip.
That flexible tip means it won’t be ideal for manipulating lures, but we think the added versatility is more valuable to most fishers—especially beginners. While the GXisn’t better than a specialist rod in either application, it is a capable performer in both—which can’t be said of the Ugly Stik Tiger or the Penn Squadron.
In addition to having a durable shaft, the GXis the only rod in its price category that comes fitted with one-piece stainless steel line guides, which can literally be smashed with a rock and still maintain serviceability. During testing, I accidentally planted my foot directly on the guide of a rod that I’d left in the bottom of my boat—as one does—but it was unscathed. Cheap, flimsy aluminum-oxide guides are the industry standard at this price, so it’s nice to see Shakespeare, the maker of the Ugly Stik, take durability seriously. Apart from higher-end models that cost four or five times the price, I’ve never seen this feature in a spinning rod. This design also represents an upgrade from the old Ugly Stik, which had two-piece pop-out guides that were the only weak spot in an otherwise bulletproof rod.
One quick shopping note: Make sure you’re buying the spinning rod, not the casting version of the same rod from the same manufacturer. They’re easy to confuse, and our chosen reel won’t fit the casting version.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The downsides of the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GXare few but worth noting. First, it’s heavier than more high-performance graphite rods (which usually run about ounces for a medium-heavy 6-foot-or 7-foot rod), and some people find that tiring. But if you’ve never held a high-end spinning rod before, you won’t notice the difference.
Another problem with the Ugly Stik GXis that the guides are not always perfectly placed. This is something you’re likely to find in any mass-produced base-level spinning-rod model; it’s not something children will notice. Guide placement becomes more essential when you’re fighting trophy-sized fish, which is not something the average angler will put their gear through. If you do happen to be fishing big game, you’ll likely have to step up in price range, or find a good deal at a garage sale.
Shimano’s Saguaro series is every bit as versatile as the Ugly Stik GX2, but the guides are nowhere near as durable as Ugly Stik’s Ugly Tuff guides. While I found the rod itself to be more clunky and cumbersome overall—especially when casting lightweight artificial lures—that’s also what made me recognize and appreciate it as a dependable workhorse.
Compared with the similarly priced Ugly Stik models, the Shimano Saguaro is a stiffer graphite composite. While this design can be advantageous for casting plugs, it offers less “play” or give, which can hinder other applications like setting the hook while bottom fishing with bait and a heavy sinker, where some flex is advantageous.
Apart from the Saguaro’s less durable guides, the primarily graphite rod is more brittle, and less likely to survive a spill or a misplaced foot.
If you plan to fish with care (and not with children), the Saguaro can make an excellent rod for medium-weight jigging and topwater fishing, but it is less than ideal for lightweight artificial lures or bait fishing, and nowhere near as sturdy as an Ugly Stik.
Stiffer and lighter
If the Ugly Stik GXis unavailable, or if you know you want something stiffer for doing more lure fishing, the Ugly Stik Elite series is a good bet. These rods are available in the same wide range of sizes as the GX(for the most all-around versatility, we’d still recommend a medium to medium-heavy rod in the 6-foot-or 7-foot range), but they have a cork grip instead of an EVA foam grip and contain 3percent more graphite, which makes them a bit stiffer and lighter overall. The added stiffness makes the Elite ideal for manipulating lures and giving them “action” (a fishing term for making lures dance or hobble like wounded prey).
Who else likes our reel pick
Salt Water Sportsman, expert reel reviewer Alan Hawk, and Sport Fishing Magazine are all raving about Daiwa’s BG SW, and I’ve yet to find a reason to disagree with them. “To me the BG SW is the new best value spinning reel available anywhere today,” writes Alan Hawk, “and it will be a lot of fun to sit and watch how it will steer the entire industry in a new direction, to our benefit this time.”
Care and maintenance
When rinsing a reel, first tighten the drag, sealing it so that water doesn’t work into the washers. Lay the reel out horizontally so that any water that gets in has an easy path out, and don’t blast a reel with water to avoid blasting out the grease; just make sure it receives a thorough flow. If you want to be particularly diligent when cleaning your fishing gear (it will pay off in the long run), you can soak a cloth in freshwater (even with a little soap—boat soap works) and wipe everything down. Once finished, loosen the drag; if you leave reel drags tight, they tend to get stuck that way and lose their precision.
Additionally, keeping your reel packed with grease will reduce corrosion and improve longevity. You can find reel grease in almost any outdoor-sporting store, but if you’re not confident in taking your reel apart to apply grease, having it done in-store would be worthwhile.
For more tips, see expert reel reviewer Alan Hawk’s reel-care guide.
We also tested Shakespeare’s original Ugly Stik (now discontinued) alongside the GXjust to get an idea of the differences. While Ugly Stik loyalists familiar with the original series complain that the GXis not as flexible overall, I find that it is more applicable to a wider variety of fishing methods, which is good for people who want to buy one rod to do it all. Besides, the original is no longer being made.
We looked at Lew’s Mach II Speed Stick due to its popularity with bass anglers. The IMgraphite and “Carbon Nanotube Coating” make this rod ultra-stiff and, as the name states, speedy, but it’s so stiff that it would never serve as a bait-fishing rod. It’s a great rod for freshwater bass fishing and inshore saltwater fishing, though in all honesty, it’s so obscenely hideous that I would never want any of my fishing buddies to catch me with one in my hands—at least not in the light of day. The soylent-green decor on the handle and decal is a color that belongs only on a NASCAR vehicle. But if you can bear the coloring and graphics, it is a highly serviceable rod for casting lightweight artificials to spotted seatrout, redfish, and largemouth bass. Maybe I’ll sneak out with it for some low-lit night-fishing excursions.
The Fin-Nor Lethal is another excellent reel that came highly recommended by expert spinning-reel reviewer Alan Hawk. I had never fished this reel before seeing his recommendation, and I was thoroughly impressed. With its all-metal body, it’s definitely a workhorse. The only real issues I had were that the line lay wasn’t even (line seems to bunch up in one place on the reel) and that the bail (the metal part that holds the line when the reel is engaged) was finicky. You have only one way to open it, and if you’re not careful to handle it right, it closes back over. This presents a hazard when you’re casting, as it can close midcast and stop your bait or lure short, flinging your hooks back at you or a nearby friend. One other problem was that the clicker on the drag (the noise that you hear when line is running off the spool of a reel) sometimes didn’t engage. Twice I looked over, and the line was spinning off the spool (a fish was on the other end), but I hadn’t noticed. Fish I had hoped to release had already swallowed the hook and had to be brought home. All in all, it’s a very strong reel, and I think it could live a long life, but after seeing both novice and avid fishers nearly knock me out while attempting to cast with it, I hesitate to recommend this reel for an inexperienced fisher or a child. According to Alan Hawk, Fin-Nor’s next model up is its best, but it’s much heavier and geared toward fishing larger game.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Cafe Rods wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Cafe Rods
- №1 — Graber 5/16-Inch Swivel End Sash Curtain Rods – 2 Rods – 21 – 38 Inch Adjustable Width, White with Nickel Ends
- №2 — Bali Blinds 1/2″ Trumpet Petite Cafe, 22- 40″, Nickel
- №3 — GOLD/BRASS CAFE ROD. Adjustable from 28″ to 48″. ALL HARDWARE INCLUDED.