Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2

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Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2

Post by earthworm77 » Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:54 am

Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2
Craig DeFronzo

I am 100% guilty of being a tackle snob. I like what I like and usually that centers around high end Japanese equipment. I normally have no time for anything outside of that realm. I also almost never buy into the hype associated with new tackle releases unless it has to do with something directly related to my “wheel house”. The problem with that notion is that I am pretty much shielded from all other tackle that isn't included in my own personal “realm” of interest. Somehow, on occasion, I do manage to get my tentacles wrapped up in something I normally would not have given a remote sniff too. That is the case with Kuying rods.

Kuying is a Chinese company that builds rods using mainly Japanese components such as Toray graphite, Fuji reel seats and guides on their higher end models. Not all of their rods use 100% Japanese components as is evidenced by the lower costing models they offer. I have become quite fond of Major Craft Japanese rods and currently own about 12 or so. I found myself in need of a couple of ML to M rods that I could leave at my cabin in North Carolina. Something I wouldn't miss too much when I was in Florida. I weighed buying another 150.00+ Major Craft against maybe a pair of lower prices rods. I decided to check out what Kuying had to offer. I already own 3 Kuying Teton UL rods and a Tournament series casting rod and I really like them.

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The Top Caster TCS702ML spin

Perusing the Aliexpress site led me to the Kuying outlet. I scoped out the Top Caster series. This is a very inexpensively priced series consisting of a 7ft 2pc ML spinning rod and its exact bait casting match, also a 7ft 2pc ML. Both rods are available for about 55.00 ea including free shipping. Yeah, I'm sure your eyebrows raised a little at that. It is really inexpensive. Let me be the first to state that these are not bargain quality rods. They are not the garbage you might expect to find for that price in the big box stores.

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/produc ... 6343tAKixK

Breaking them down:
Both blanks are Japanese Toray 46T woven carbon cloth graphite. This is actually a fairly high grade of carbon for a rod that costs so little. Plenty of higher quality JDM rods use 46T. Lots of inexpensive rods are made of 24T or less. The blanks on these rods are sensitive and strong as I've used them in the salt for Reds and have no issues there.

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The guides on my rods are both Fuji K series copies and I suspect that Kuying makes their own in house K series type guides. The spinning guides are referred to as K series and look like Fuji KLAG guides. The casting guides are known as KT series. The design of the K series guides is supposed to minimize any loops that may form around the guides or tip during casting. I assume the frames are SS as they have shown both strength and have not oxidized and I am not sure of the material used for the rings but I can attest in the year plus that I've had both rods, neither the frames nor the guides have shown any wear or failed in any way. Again, I've used both in the salt and I have used braid on them as well.

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The K series guides were designed to eliminate tip and guide wrap issues associated with braided line

The handle is comprised of a comfortable EVA foam split grip wrapped around a Fuji reel seat. What has impressed me with this extremely affordable series is that its fit and finish is on par with rods that cost double and even triple as much. The ferrule joint is compact and sturdy. I've never had a modern 2pc rod loosen up. The graphics and epoxy coat on the rod are clear and crisp. Again, for a rod that costs about 50 bucks, it is as pretty as any mid end rod out there. The spline was correct on both of the rods I got and the guides were straight and wrapped cleanly with zero blems and no air bubbles.

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Comfortable and durable EVA foam handles make fishing long hours a breeze

Did I mention that these are 2pc rods? They have tiny ferrules that I simply forget about. I don't notice them and I'm not sure being a 2pc rod detracts from the sensitivity of the rod

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This 1 5/8” bait puts the diminutive size ferrule in perspective

On the Water:
The proof is obviously in the pudding when it comes to fishing rods and even the prettiest rod would not stack up if it didn't fish worth a damn.

In the case of the Top Caster TCS702ML spin, I use this rod mainly in a 30acre Florida strip pit loaded with bass.....so much so it has become a regular when I fish there anywhere from 2 to 4 times a month. I've used it as a drop shot rod matching it up with a Shimano Saros 2500 FA and 6lb Sunline Super Natural. Generally fishing in 12ft of water or so, I opt for a 1/8oz tungsten cylinder weight and a 1/0 Gamakatsu Split Shot hook. The rod has proven itself as an adequate drop shot rod although I do have some drop shot specific outfits that cost way more. It is sensitive enough and has the backbone to fight decent sized bass with little effort. I attribute that to its fast action.

I really never thought to use this as a drop shot only rod though. I was putting it through its paces as a general application rod, maybe one that would be a great option for someone backpacking or camping. The Top Caster got quite a workout pitching an 1/8oz Diner Shiner jig head with a 4” Yamamoto Grub as well. The bass really liked this set up and the the rod once again was sensitive enough to detect light bites and powerful enough to set the hook. This was a bonus as my true intention for this rod was to fish light crankbaits and topwaters with it. Using the same reel and line, I experimented for a couple of weeks with Lucky Craft SKT Tiny cranks and a host of other UL offerings. The rod performed great as a crankbait stick. It telegraphed every wobble the baits made and loaded up nicely when a bass latched onto one of them. I also has solid results using small 2” Pop X type topwaters. The stick was responsive and light and easily manipulated the poppers. I was able to make swift hooksets and didn't have any issue with fish coming unbuttoned. I was pretty impressed at the lower weight range of baits that this rod handled.

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The TCS702ML can “do” Wacky rigs

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It can “do” all typical soft plastic finesse presentations well

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Fiesty gills? No problem


On the other side of the coin, I also use this rod for light inshore duty and have taken some decent slot Reds and Trout with it on moving baits such as spoons and Rapala minnow type baits up to 3/8oz but usually lighter. Again, not a worry here as this rod performed more than capable. I simply swap out the spool on the Saros for one with braid when I go inshore salt fishing with the same set up.

The verdict:
My opinion of the Top Caster TCS702ML is that it is a truly shocking surprise combination of value and quality at about 55.00 shipped, I'm not sure there is a better option at that price point. I'm not sure it would be fair to expect anything more out of a rod that is so inexpensive. Considering its low price tag, I honestly can't even recommend anything that needs to be improved upon. I think it really delivers. It looks, feels and fish's better than some rods that cost double, maybe even triple which should speak volumes. The Top Caster spin has me wishing Kuying made a few other models because I would surely buy them if they did.

I'm not sure if Kuying is trying to determine a price point based on how popular it has become since its release or it is what it is at a 55.00 stick. Either way, I'm pretty certain even the most discerning anglers would see the value and quality in this rod and not be ashamed to put down their higher priced rods to find a spot for it in their rotation.

Round Two: The Kuying TCC 702ML casting rod.
Hmmmmm, a ML casting rod might seem quite suspect to some. Why something THAT light? It isn't BFS and it certainly isn't a Flipping stick. Does it fill a necessary niche? For me, a predominantly light tackle angler, I have had several ML casting rods that I use to sling lighter spinnerbaits, JDM Chatters like the Break Blade and Dera Break and square bills, so this type of thing is right up my alley. The rod has the same components and nomenclature as its spinning counterpart, I am also pretty sure it is the exact same blank. I teamed this rod up with a Shimano Curado E 51 that had been hot rodded and improved and spooled with 20lb Daiwa Samurai.

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The Kuying TCC 702ML casting rod

The baits I employed were a little heavier than light spinning fare. I went with 3/16oz Jackall Super Eruption Spinnerbaits, a host of 3/16oz and 1/4oz cranks, 1/8 and 3/16oz Chatters and even some 1/4oz jig n pigs. As with the spinning rod, I felt every vibration of the baits and the rod easily detected strikes and allowed for solid hooksets. The rod handled all of the moving baits adequately as I expected.
I experienced success with the jig n pig but I felt the tip was not as fast as I would normally prefer for fishing jigs......that is pretty much the only negative I have here. I think this is a relatively sound all purpose rod for the money otherwise. I will point out that I do fish jigs on light gear as well with my Major Craft Volkey 6-8L with relative ease. The blank is much thinner than the Kuying, but is also more sensitive.

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KT guides

As with its spinning counterpart, I used it in the brine too. I put down my favorite Major Craft 6-8 Benyro M casting set up, which I truly enjoy fishing......to give the Top Caster a run in the suds. It didn't disappoint.

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This funny looking snook came in the fast moving water below the Rousseau dam, the TCC 702ML handled it easily

The verdict:
If you are looking for a low cost light tackle bait casting option that has the ability to be a jack of all trades, this is a great overall option. I think it has obvious limitations based on the weight of lures the rod can comfortably handle but if you know what a ML is, you likely understand its role in your quiver.

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Spinnerbaits and moving baits are what this rod was made for

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Again, impressed by the unobtrusive ferrule

Overall:
I would surmise that the spinning rod is a bit more versatile than the casting rod but if you are looking for a low cost option as I was, to take camping or leave at a second location and not really miss it, I don't think there is anything else of similar quality that compares. These rods are spectacular for the price. They were specifically designed for light tackle snakehead and peacock bass fishing, so it is no surprise that they can handle bass, snook, trout and redfish.

Handling fish is not an issue. One could opt for one of each style for what many rods cost by themselves. I could have purchased 3 of these rods for what I normally expect to pay for my JDM rods. So this was pleasant experience for me. These rods come in their own soft case and would be perfect for leaving in one's truck for in prompt exploration expeditions.

They redesigned the Kuying site recently and I really had to look for the Top Caster series.....they are still there and they are still 54.00 and change shipped. If you are a first time buyer I think they give you a 4.00 discount. I abhor cheap Chinese goods......these rods are simply the antithesis of everything associated with that.

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Re: Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2

Post by hoohoorjoo » Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:21 am

Good write-up, Craig. After this, I might be online this afternoon buying a couple of them myself.
Try not to let your mind wander. It is much too small to be outside unsupervised.

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Re: Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2

Post by earthworm77 » Sun Nov 11, 2018 9:01 am

hoohoorjoo wrote:Good write-up, Craig. After this, I might be online this afternoon buying a couple of them myself.
I don't think it would take much for these rods to become anyone's favorite low cost options. In the event you accidentally had a catastrophic incident and broke one.....well, it is a lot different than breaking a Megabass rod. Let me know if you buy one.
Last edited by earthworm77 on Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2

Post by uljersey » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:22 pm

Uncanny timing for this thread as I just got back from fishing my new Kuying Teton 6'6" L casting rod for the first time. Here's a link to my earlier thread about it over in the rods section - http://www.tackletour.net/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=79755

Unfortunately the fish were non existent for me today so It was a lot of casting with different baits. I'll keep it short and pretty much agree with Craig's observations as to the value and quality to price ratio. As impressed as I was initially with the build quality, today I was equally impressed with it's abilities and sensitivity. Of course I'll need to catch some fish on it to have a thorough evaluation, but it's been all positive so far.

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Re: Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2

Post by Jaqa » Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:21 pm

Great review! I have recently bought the Kuying Top Caster Baitcasting model and, so far, used it for mid-west finesse on red drum, flounder and speckled trout in South Carolina. I can concur with the review, its a great rod, especially for its price.

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Re: Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2

Post by ultralight » Sun Nov 11, 2018 9:31 pm

Thanks for an excellent review.

About 10 years ago, I spent a day at one of China's rod/blank factory. They were a rather large operation. However, at that time, their capability was not up to some of the better western manufacturers as I gave them some specs and they could not match it. However, I believe that they have improved a lot and now do OEM for some of the nicer Japanese companies.

I chat with one of the Kuying managers a few weeks back and had the sense that they have a clear vision of what they are about as a company.

Edit added:
Probably the only thing I did not like during my visit 10 years ago were that that specific factory knocked off Fuji guides...the post below this reminded me of that. Intellectual property is not much respected at that point of my visit.
Last edited by ultralight on Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2

Post by Dalleinf » Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:13 pm

Thank you for a very nice review and photos.
I am no huge fan of the Kuying Topcaster or Kuying in general. The Topcaster blank is thick-ish and the EVA looks cheap, which are only minor things. Most of all, I dislike that they use Fuji-style labelling for guides and the reel holder, which are not Fuji. The guides actually look fine but I just wish they called them something else. They fooled me when I bought the rod and I know others have thought that the guides and ord holder were Fuji... I do not consider myself a tackle snob but the company just does not seem very honest to me.
With that said I am certain that the rod works fine - it has for me also in salt and with braid - and that the price to quality ratio is good.

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Re: Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2

Post by earthworm77 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:32 am

Dalleinf wrote:Thank you for a very nice review and photos.
I am no huge fan of the Kuying Topcaster or Kuying in general. The Topcaster blank is thick-ish and the EVA looks cheap, which are only minor things. Most of all, I dislike that they use Fuji-style labelling for guides and the reel holder, which are not Fuji. The guides actually look fine but I just wish they called them something else. They fooled me when I bought the rod and I know others have thought that the guides and ord holder were Fuji... I do not consider myself a tackle snob but the company just does not seem very honest to me.
With that said I am certain that the rod works fine - it has for me also in salt and with braid - and that the price to quality ratio is good.

As pointed out in the review, the Top Caster does indeed use the "house brand" K guides but keep in mind it is a 50.00 rod, it isn't a 125.00+ rod. Upon ordering the rods, I read the description of what the rod offered and was clear on what I was getting. Maybe their penchant for using K series to label their own guides could be confusing to anyone who assumed that they were Fuji but reading the description cleared that up for me, and considering they did not use the word Fuji, I never felt deceived.

They do make other rod series that use the real Fuji guides and reel seats and they clearly point that out in the description of those rods. I have 3 Tetons that have KLSG and KLAG guides with SiC tops and LNOG guides for the casting model. I'm sure the cost of a Fuji guide set for you or I is a rather large chunk of what the rod actually retails for. That being said, I couldn't build it better or cheaper and in order for them to make a little profit on a 50.00 rod, I'd surmise that using a cheaper guide is paramount to keep the price down. I haven't had one fail so I am ok with them.

Regarding the EVA grip, this is a 50.00 rod. I don't think there is another 50.00 rod out there that comes close to the Top Caster in price/quality/value ratio.....and that is what the purpose of my review was about. I have noticed a bunch of higher end rod companies going towards EVA grips over cork in the last couple of years. The Megabass Levante series is all EVA, the 399.00 Destroyers have an EVA rear grip....G-Rods Game changer(200.00+), 13 Fishing Archangel is a 649.00 rod with an EVA rear grip.....I could go on to further illustrate this......but again, we are talking about a 50.00 rod, so something has to give to keep the price this low. Overall, I don't think the quality is effected.

I love this site and forum, I don't think there has ever been an "official" test on a sub 100.00 rod and definitely not a 50.00 rod. I emailed Cal about this a few months back and he provided me a list of "blue collar" rods they evaluated but every one of them was 99.00 more. Some guys can't just drop that down on a rod. I felt satisfied there was a need for the type of review I wanted to do with these rods. And because I had been fishing them for over a year, I felt compelled to do so.


**Quick note, the Teton has increased in price by about 10.00 since my original review of it in 2017. Kuying rods are starting to show up on ebay, they are more expensive though. I think buying factory direct is cheaper and they offer free shipping.

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Re: Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2

Post by Dalleinf » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:00 am

earthworm77 wrote:
Dalleinf wrote:Thank you for a very nice review and photos.
I am no huge fan of the Kuying Topcaster or Kuying in general. The Topcaster blank is thick-ish and the EVA looks cheap, which are only minor things. Most of all, I dislike that they use Fuji-style labelling for guides and the reel holder, which are not Fuji. The guides actually look fine but I just wish they called them something else. They fooled me when I bought the rod and I know others have thought that the guides and ord holder were Fuji... I do not consider myself a tackle snob but the company just does not seem very honest to me.
With that said I am certain that the rod works fine - it has for me also in salt and with braid - and that the price to quality ratio is good.

As pointed out in the review, the Top Caster does indeed use the "house brand" K guides but keep in mind it is a 50.00 rod, it isn't a 125.00+ rod. Upon ordering the rods, I read the description of what the rod offered and was clear on what I was getting. Maybe their penchant for using K series to label their own guides could be confusing to anyone who assumed that they were Fuji but reading the description cleared that up for me, and considering they did not use the word Fuji, I never felt deceived.

They do make other rod series that use the real Fuji guides and reel seats and they clearly point that out in the description of those rods. I have 3 Tetons that have KLSG and KLAG guides with SiC tops and LNOG guides for the casting model. I'm sure the cost of a Fuji guide set for you or I is a rather large chunk of what the rod actually retails for. That being said, I couldn't build it better or cheaper and in order for them to make a little profit on a 50.00 rod, I'd surmise that using a cheaper guide is paramount to keep the price down. I haven't had one fail so I am ok with them.

Regarding the EVA grip, this is a 50.00 rod. I don't think there is another 50.00 rod out there that comes close to the Top Caster in price/quality/value ratio.....and that is what the purpose of my review was about. I have noticed a bunch of higher end rod companies going towards EVA grips over cork in the last couple of years. The Megabass Levante series is all EVA, the 399.00 Destroyers have an EVA rear grip....G-Rods Game changer(200.00+), 13 Fishing Archangel is a 649.00 rod with an EVA rear grip.....I could go on to further illustrate this......but again, we are talking about a 50.00 rod, so something has to give to keep the price this low. Overall, I don't think the quality is effected.

I love this site and forum, I don't think there has ever been an "official" test on a sub 100.00 rod and definitely not a 50.00 rod. I emailed Cal about this a few months back and he provided me a list of "blue collar" rods they evaluated but every one of them was 99.00 more. Some guys can't just drop that down on a rod. I felt satisfied there was a need for the type of review I wanted to do with these rods. And because I had been fishing them for over a year, I felt compelled to do so.


**Quick note, the Teton has increased in price by about 10.00 since my original review of it in 2017. Kuying rods are starting to show up on ebay, they are more expensive though. I think buying factory direct is cheaper and they offer free shipping.
I feel much the same about this forum (though love is a big word where I live :shock: ). Tackle enthusiasts and many different opinions on little things is a big part of that to me. That is why I voice mine. I do agree with you on many aspects concerning that rod. Most importantly that you get a lot of fishing rod for 50$ (Plus a bit of tax/customs in some countries). Some rods have very nice looking EVA and others do not IMO. Same goes for cork etc. On a 50$ rod maybe I should have set my expectations lower than I did - and that may in part affect my feelings for the rod today.

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Re: Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2

Post by earthworm77 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:21 am

Dalleinf wrote:I feel much the same about this forum (though love is a big word where I live :shock: ). Tackle enthusiasts and many different opinions on little things is a big part of that to me. That is why I voice mine. I do agree with you on many aspects concerning that rod. Most importantly that you get a lot of fishing rod for 50$ (Plus a bit of tax/customs in some countries). Some rods have very nice looking EVA and others do not IMO. Same goes for cork etc. On a 50$ rod maybe I should have set my expectations lower than I did - and that may in part affect my feelings for the rod today.

The word "Expectation" is the absolute key here. I thought about it a lot when I was writing the evaluation for these rods.
If you go into it having a realistic expectation of what a 50.00 rod should be.......you obviously would get blown away with what the Top Caster provides.

If you have the same expectation for the Top Caster that you would with a much higher dollar rod, you might find some criticisms of the rod. I had to determine what I felt was a fair expectation. I do feel that these rods delivered on par with rods costing at least 2 or 3 times as much in most areas thus making them an exceptional value.

It just comes down to being a very good value for the money under the criteria I originally set for it......a travel, camping, hiking, truck rod. I feel it exceeded my expectations for these uses and would be a very good every day rod for many.

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Re: Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2

Post by LowRange » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:16 pm

I like Kuying rods. They have great build quality for the price and come in below Majorcraft offerings. If a guy wants to test the waters with a ML or even an UL casting rod then Kuying has two rods with the Topcaster and Teton that are around $50. The Leadership is pretty good too at $100. I have the 762L and it is like a 7'6" long BFS stick along the lines of a Volkey. It has some nice anodized aluminum and carbon winding checks as well as a laser engraved aluminum tube in Fuji split grip reel seat. It is good looking $100 stick. Once you cross over into Kuying offerings that cost as much as a Majorcraft I would stick to Majorcraft. Kuying has a BFS series of rods from the Conquer line that are aimed at the Corzza BFS. You can get a Corzza BFS through Majorcraft America now with warrenty for what Kuying wants for their stick without warrenty.

A couple of things: Kuying is a Malaysian company that makes their rods in china. Not that this changes anything. The Topcaster does not have Fuji marking on the ACS and TPS reels seats leading me to believe that they are not Fuji. They are very nice reel seats so I don't care personally.

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Re: Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2

Post by earthworm77 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:32 pm

I bought a bunch of Corzzas from Plat when they had them for 50% off.........ah the good ole days. Still have a few of them.
Lowrange, I believe your review of the Leadership was what prompted me towards looking into the Kuying rods. I think, if I am not mistaken you also got one of their casting reels?

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Re: Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2

Post by LowRange » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:15 pm

earthworm77 wrote:I bought a bunch of Corzzas from Plat when they had them for 50% off.........ah the good ole days. Still have a few of them.
Lowrange, I believe your review of the Leadership was what prompted me towards looking into the Kuying rods. I think, if I am not mistaken you also got one of their casting reels?
I don't have any of their reels. I have a few Chinese finesse casting reels but none are Kuying brand. Their reels are just OEM reels with Kuying branding on them. They're not even the well liked platforms. Junk.

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Re: Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2

Post by earthworm77 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:36 pm

Agreed, I wouldn't touch any of those cheap Chinese reels, I don't have the same confidence they would be as good as the rods. Zero confidence in fact.

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Re: Kuying TopCaster Rod review X2

Post by uljersey » Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:28 pm

earthworm77 wrote:Agreed, I wouldn't touch any of those cheap Chinese reels, I don't have the same confidence they would be as good as the rods. Zero confidence in fact.
I got $45 invested in a Tsurinoya XF 50 reel. It's toyish without a doubt, but the tinkerer in me likes a challenge ... it casts just a tad beyond "OK" out of the box, I'm gonna give it the thorough once over at my workbench and see what I can squeeze out of it. I have a fair degree of confidence I'll make something decent out of it. Will it be on par with Daiwa or Shimano ? ... hell no, but I'm not ready to condemn it yet.

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