Gear test: Cabela's Atoll saltwater rod

Sometimes the little things can make all the difference, and the Cabela’s Atoll 8-weight saltwater rod is all the proof I need.

Its main purpose is to cast a big fly far and accurately, and it handles these tasks extremely well. In a side-by-side comparison with a considerably more expensive rod, the G III technology of the Atoll was equal in every way. With minimal false casts, I was able to shoot out 50 feet of line with ease and put the fly down precisely where I wanted it to land.

In addition, the fast action and stout backbone of the rod made casting through a 15 mile-per-hour wind almost effortless. These attributes alone make it an excellent value.

Beyond casting ability, all of the attention to the finer details shows that great care went into designing the Atoll. Alignment dots at the end of each section make assembly quick and easy, the titanium-carbide guides add strength and durability without bulk and weight, and the shape of the rod tube keeps it from rolling off the dock or around the deck of your boat.

The overall aesthetics of the rod are fantastic and comparable to or better than, the competition, and the finishing work of the cork handle and anodized reel seat are flawless. Even though this is labeled as a saltwater rod, I highly recommend deploying it for all other pursuits of larger species such as: spooky carp on the grass flats of Lake Michigan, big-river smallmouth, and the ferocious northern pike. I could call this a great value at $299 but that would not tell the whole story … it is a steal at that price.

— Scott Criqui

By Chris Hunt.