Salty Spinner

The new Abu Garcia Cardinal 700XL Series.

Abu Garcia has simplified the decision of which spinning reel to hang on your rod: Its new 700XL Cardinal series reels are built tough, with corrosion-resistant stainless-steel bearings and a waterproof carbon matrix drag system that keeps maintenance to a minimum. I had the pleasure of using the 707XL this past fishing season. Whether tangling with blues, stripers, or flounder, this reel handled it all. The drag system performed flawlessly, and combined with the reels' smoothness and balance, it was a pleasure to fish. Abu Garcia offers five versions of the 700 series to meet various angler's needs; for the light tackle enthusiast, the 701LX with a 5.1:1 gear ratio holds 110 yards of 6-pound mono. The reels graduate in size up to the 707LX, which has a line capacity of 250 yards of 17-pound mono.

Price: $99 to $199. Contact: Abu Garcia, 800/228-4272,