L.L. Bean’s GQS rod is built with a forgiving progressive flex that eliminates the need for atomic clocklike timing during the casting stroke. It loads easily for short tip casts but has a lower-blank reserve that can punch distance casts on demand. Two- and four-piece models range from 4- to 10-weight in a variety of lengths. ($250 to $299; combo outfits including rod, GQS reel, line and backing are also available; 800-347-4552)