To really appreciate how many fishing rods hit the shelves this year, you’d just need to look at my garage after I called in 53—yup, 53!—new sticks for our 2016 fishing-rod face-off. With so many new and different models, fishing editor Joe Cermele and I first organized them into five categories, based on which species each is best suited to catch: bass, catfish, muskie, panfish or trout, and walleye. Then we spent a few long days on and off the water, testing their casting ability, sensitivity, and overall feel and quality. By the time we wrapped up our test, we’d winnowed the field down by half, to include only the top five rods in each category. In the process, the very best rods and some killer deals emerged. Here’s the lowdown.