Store Hours – Winter

Summer store hours
May 1 through May 31st open Monday- Saturday 9 am – 5pm

June 1st through August 31st open Everyday 8 am to 7 pm

September 1st through September 31st open Everyday 9am to 5 pm.

Appointments are possible.

Our online catalog is open around the clock:  redrock100.com

Please call 218-365-4512 with questions.

Thanks!

food barrels, food storage, food storage containers, dry food, protection

Effective, Affordable, Food Storage/Protection for Home Sale

It’s simple.  Reduce the air exposure, keep water out and your dry goods will last longer.  You also keep the rodents at bay unless they can smell through tough polyethylene, sealed plastic.   While some rodents are pretty determined, I figure if a bear can’t smell through this stuff, then neither can rodents.  We’ve been using these barrels for Boundary Waters canoe camping since the early 90’s.  they are nice because around the camp, they can be used to sit on or as a work surface.  At night or when you leave camp during the day, you simply stash them by laying them 50 feet away from your campfire , in a slump in the ground.  They you throw some sticks and brush over the top of them to break up their appearance and off you go.  Bears and rodents walk right by.  Pouring down rain is meaningless and short of a flood carrying them away, they are impenetrable.   Bears can get into them, but they have to wail on them for a long time because they are slippery even on rocks.

OK, that is the camping use.  But, what about the overlooked uses for these barrels that REALLY make them worth owning?  They are a ridiculously simple design.  They stack. They do not retain any odors.  So, why can’t you have a half a dozen of these in your basement or one in each closet of your home as a “go bag” with food, clean-dry-warm clothes, a medical kit, water, and everything you’d need for a catastrophe.  Heck, at 60 liters in size, you could pack food for a family of 4 for 7 days with no effort.  You could also have another with clothing and one more with a medical kit.  Lock up a pistol and ammo.  Bugspray.  Rope, a small ax, duct tape, a screwdriver, hunting knife, batteries, small radio, small saw, footwear, and stuff that you need to grab quickly and all in one, durable, waterproof, airtight spot.  Need to go fast?  Grab the barrels and throw them in the box of the truck in the blinding rain.  Need to stash them?  Bury them in the garden or in a ditch.  Come back later for them.

I know this sounds a little extreme, but depending on where you live, a wildfire could wipe you out in a half an hour.  You see it on the news all the time.  People all over the country being mandated to evacuate NOW.  Just think if you had four barrels with everything you need to survive for 7 days all ready to go.  Run down in the basement, grab ’em, throw them in the back of the car and get going, now.  Given just the wildfires in California of the last few years, is this that crazy sounding or is having a little bit of preparedness, the responsible thing to do?  And, I’m not talking about really knocking yourself out doing it.  Put the stuff that you would need to get by in a barrel, lock it up, set it somewhere you can find it fast.  How hard is that to do, really?

It’s just a thought.

The other thing you could do is have your travel gear all locked up in one spot.  If you come to Minnesota every year for a vacation, what if everything you needed to do your trip was replenished and airtight at the end of your trip.  Next year, when the time comes, your tackle, reels, travel rod, plus specific clothing and gear  are all in an  airtight container.  Time to go?  Grab your barrel and head north or south if you are from Canada.

The point is, these barrels are really, really useful and they don’t cost a lot.  And, unless they are filled with gold bullion, they float like a duck.

Who would have thought that something so simple could be so handy, eh?

Order Your 60 Liter Barrels Here 

Memorial Weekend Event at Northwind Lodge / Red Rock

canoejoeYou still have time to book a Memorial Weekend Getaway and Attend the Big Reveal!

Come stay at Northwind Lodge this coming Memorial Weekend at special prices for great cabins plus the Memorial Weekend Sale is going as well! Click Here for lodging rates!  Call for current availability – still have some openings 1-800-280-1078

If you are in Ely, be sure to come out to see The Painted Canoe of Ely at Red Rock and take advantage of the low prices!  The BIG SALE runs from Friday thru Monday and the Canoe will be present as well.

On Saturday May 28, on a first-come basis, get a FREE fishing rod (limit one per vehicle while supplies last) and a FREE Lure.  Have a FREE hotdog on a bun (because without buns they are unwieldy) from 11:00 AM to 1 PM.

Early views of the Painted Canoe of Ely have been quite positive!  If you like wildlife art and the great outdoors, The Painted Canoe has something for you to see!  Bring Back the Basswood Water Buffalo!

Please Share this post with someone who might be interested!  Thanks!

HUGE & HUGE-R Clearance Sale on NOW

We’re cleaning house at Red Rock!  

gotta1 copy

It won’t last forever! Limited Quantities on hand and there are some REAL GEMS in this pile of savings at Red Rock Online!

Click Here to SAVE

Bruell Spearing Decoys

Made in Minnesota.  If you spear northern pike and lake trout, you are nobody without a Bruell in your bag of decoying tricks.   We have a few left in stock and after looking them up on the net, we are at about half price with ours!    Time to add a few or a bunch to your collection!  Click Here (Sold Out as of 1-21-2016)

Bruell Spearing Decoys

Bruell Spearing Decoys

100_1827a 100_1828a 100_1829a 100_1830a 100_1831a 100_1832a 100_1833a 100_1834a 100_1835a

Polar Fire Vortex 40 – New Thermal Pop-up Ice Shelter

HT produced a new tent in their Polar Fire line called the Vortex 20 & 40.   It’s a really nice, affordable, roomy thermal tent.

I like HT products.  I would say most of their many lines are affordable and very reliable gear.  I use it myself all the time.  Sure they have some cheaper rods and reels as well as other products but they also have more premium products for less-than-premium prices.  And, they work great!

This is the Polar Fire Vortex 40, thermal, pop-up, ice shelter.  It is probably made in the same factory that a whole bunch of different brand pop-up shelters come from and those factories have really become good at making pop-ups.  We’ve sold literally thousands of pop-ups in many different brands.   When you start comparing them, a pop-up is a pop-up is a pop-up.  So, being stuck on a brand name is kind of worthless – but that doesn’t stop our customers from being hung up on a name.  In our long history, we’ve had the most trouble with the biggest name in the ice fishing industry and also with the most-unknown name as well.   They were equal as far as problems were concerned.   So, when I hear someone say, “I don’t know that brand of pop-up”, I’m quick to point out that I actually do.  As a retailer and fishing enthusiast, I actually spend a lot of time with gear and am usually quite pleased, but not always.  Brand name recognition in pop-ups and ice fishing suits usually means you are going to pay more and get a little less tent.  That is not always the case, but I could name names.  It’s the same way in mountain bikes and fishing tackle.  Just because you don’t recognize the name Giant or Tica doesn’t mean they don’t produce a great product.  In other words, do not succumb to only your scope of knowledge in brand recognition when shopping.  If you know the item because a “fishing great” on TV told you all about it, it may or may not be the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Always keep that in mind for everything you buy.

And that is my shopping two cents for this post.

Here’s a video on this new Polar Fire Tent.

Order Your Polar Fire Vortex  2 & 4 man pop up here – limited supply

50/50 Local Rewards Program for Instore Shoppers

50-50 Local Rewards

For our in-store customers, we are offering Red Rock 50/50 Local Rewards!

It’s simple and it’s FREE:

  1. Next time you come in to the store, sign up and receive a Red Rock 50/50   Card.
  2. Then, run around the store like a drunken sailor on payday and shop with abandon.
  3. At check out, if you spent over $50 you get one of seven markers on your card.
  4. Repeat 6 more times for a total of 7 markers.
  5. We give you $50 in Red Rock Store Bucks for your next visit to Red Rock where you can apply it for essentially “FREE” shopping!

It’s not hard to do.   Just have to take a trip out to Red Rock on the Fernberg road during our business hours.

December:  Daily 9 AM to 5 PM  Closed Sundays

Jan-April:  Open Tuesday – Saturday 9-5 , Closed Sundays and Mondays

When in doubt, give us a call at 218-365-4512.  Or, send us an email:  redrockgear@gmail.com

The Fine Print
Red Rock Wilderness Store reserves the right to modify or discontinue this rewards program as deemed necessary and at it’s sole discretion.   Only in-store credit applies as a reward.  No cash in any form is granted.  Earned Red Rock Store Bucks credit must be used in one shopping event.  Red Rock Store Bucks not used by November 30 of each year will be null and void.  Earned rewards must be used within the calendar year beginning December 1 of each year.  In other words,  there is a time limit of one year to earn the rewards and use up the store credit.  Credits do not carry over from year to year.

Ht Polar Fire Auger – Unrecognizable Brand – who cares!

New! HT Polar Fire Ice Auger!  Smooth runner, affordable price, compact design!

polar_fire_auger

Have you checked out the prices on ice augers lately?  They are insane to say the least when you consider that you are simply making a hole in the ice and you look at all the other brand-name augers out there.  There are 2-stroke gas mix, 4-stroke straight gas,  propane and electric augers.  They all do the same thing.  They make a hole in the ice.  If they turn super fast with a single chipper style blade, you are wet from the knees down no matter what you do.  If they turn more slowly, they get accused of being “slow” whatever the heck that means in ice fishing.  I mean, does 5 seconds more really mean anything for the average ice fisherman seeking to have a good time?  Sure, if you are a Swiss Cheeser running around on the ice drilling grids and chasing perch and crappies it makes sense that you would want fast and light in a power auger.  I’ve watched the youtube videos of people racing to drill holes to prove auger superiority and shake my head.

That’s right up there with the most ball bearings in a fishing reel which happens to be the #1 standard for determining if a reel is valuable or not.  You can hear them in the aisles of a big box retailer telling their buddy – “Look! This reel costs $29.95 and has 14 ball bearings in it.  It HAS to be a good reel!”

Really?  Are you going to take the reel apart and count the bearings?  Do you actually know how to take it apart and reassemble it, and do you know what a bearing really looks like?  This isn’t a hub on a utility trailer in the back yard.  The whole “reel bearing obsession” is absolutely ridiculous and today’s fishermen are falling deeper into this silly line of reasoning.

The same thing applies to ice augers.  How fast do you need to drill when you are in under 24 inches of ice?   Many of our ice fisherman across the country are on 12 inches of ice and less.  Is 20 seconds to drill a hole, too long?  Does shaving off 3 seconds warrant a $500+ auger when you just want to go fishing on the weekends?

So, if you don’t need the smokeless nature of propane and electricity, you can trim a bunch cost off of your auger.  You can also find abundant fuel and gas 2 strokes, when you use premium 91 octane or higher gas in them start reliably and have plenty of power.  I ten to run my gas augers a little rich.  Another trick to eliminate smoke is to run Amsoil Saber Two Stroke synthetic oil after your motor is broken in.  That runs at 75 to 1 and replaces the gas with your regular two stroke fuel mix.

This is a really nice, cleanly made auger with the one exception of the “Extra Fuel Lever” on top of the powerhead.  If you pay attention and don’t let the handle fly like 80% of the desk pilots of the world do when starting a small engine, you’ll be fine.  If you let the recoil fly, you might tear this little lever off.  It’s a minor detail that won’t amount to a hill of beans if you can refrain from being a bull in a china shop.  And, I’ve seen plenty of well know auger brands with all sorts of parts sticking out  that were broken off.   Like I said, this is a very minor detail to this auger.  The way it runs and the low cost is very much worth not letting the recoil fly.  The blades are simple straight blades and interchange with Eskimo 8″ blades.

The other detail is starting the motor.  It’s a very geared-down, 33 CC power head and it is really easy to turn over.    I’ll be using this one all winter long this season.  I’m expecting that it will do quite nicely.   Watch the video here.

Order Your HT Power Ice Auger Right Here

Note that I am running slightly richer fuel mix than 40:1 since it’s a brand new motor, hence the blue smoke on throttle up.  Also, the clutch will reach maximum grip after about 2 hours of drilling time.  Expect a little bit of slippage until that time and back off of pushing hard into the ice.  Every auger I have ever used has done this.  After a couple tanks of gas, the motor will be broken in and usually the idle will then slow down a bit while speed and power will increase.  Every motor needs to break in.

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Don’t forget that all of your purchases give you Reward Points for future savings after you’ve completed Step 1 and  with Step 2, we email you cool stuff on occasion (we don’t hammer you with spam and you can unsubscribe any time with a click – or do like I do – hit Delete)

 

Customer Loyalty vs. Saving $5 bucks – which is better?

Back in the day of only about 6 years ago and longer, we were on fire in sales.  Redrockstore.com was the goto place for gear and everybody far and wide was buying from us.  From Maine to Montana, Canada and Nebraska, Redrockstore.com was the ice fishing and outdoor gear supplier.   There were days when the phone would ring so hard with people trying to order we couldn’t handle it all.  Those same customers would tell us three days later that they kept trying for three days to reach us.  We wondered why they simply didn’t order online, but back then about half of them refused to use the internet other than as an information source.

Today, everybody and his brother is an online seller and our market has dried up considerably and a relative almost nothing.  In our ordering files, many of our customers would order 10-14 times in one winter to our amazement.  What did they do with all of that stuff?  We don’t know.  Our sales of ice fishing suits made us heroes with sale reps and distributors.  We were considered giants in the industry.   The great cash flow made paying bills pretty easy.  One would think that we would never run out of business because our following appeared very loyal and enthusiastic.

But, then the real economy hit.  The one where things are going great in large metro areas because all during our powerful sales, people who couldn’t find work were running out of money and moving to the cities for crappy/good jobs.  We began to feel it rather quickly and knew that something was up, but the busy parts of the winter fogged our view.   Forecasting sales was rather tough plus we learned that if we didn’t order heavy during buying shows, when product ran out, we’d be sitting with nothing to sell later in the winter.   How does a little company with four  people running around like rats on fire predict the future of the business?  I still don’t know.

Also, based on past experiences of abysmal sales such as 1991 and 1996 and 2001, they usually bounced back in about two years or less.  Recessions meant that people would have time to fish and put food on the table in doing so.  But the “staycations” of 2008 and 2009 really changed everything as we watched sales plummet.   Everything began to drop rapidly from our unbelievable kevlar canoe sales to fishing tackle.  Sure, there were still people out there with money, but there were far fewer.  And, wouldn’t you know it?  Our competitors decided that to bolster lackluster sales, they would go online a compete with us.  That is exactly what they did.  Big box retailers with a minor presence online, decided that they would use their comparatively vast resources to become a major presence online.  That, and companies who knew absolutely nothing about ice fishing decided to join the fray and soon, we were competing against a really large monster with less and less shoppers who had disposable income.  Add to that the new obsession with iPhones, apps, and the wave of completely unnecessary distractions that burned up limited disposable income and we have 1996 all over again.  That was the time when everybody fell the need to spend $1800+ on a new computer and join America On Line to do that “email” thing.  Only, this time is much worse.

Instead of paying attention to the lagging economy outside of the all-important metro areas of the US, our president played with Solyndra, global warming, saving everybody, and adding restrictions to restrictions.  Congress sat on their hands and worried about lining their own pockets.   That just made the economies outside of the metro areas dwindle some more and in a much bigger way this time.  It also shored up many big box retailers positioned in those metro economies to catch every disposable income dollar that came their way.   Iphones added a new way to shop and check prices right in the store.  If you are small business, the need for all the social media talk and attention is more than you can handle – at least it is for me.  The big dudes have teams of online marketers.  We have me and Jackie.

So, what was our response to this looming economic disaster?   On the internet, the expert youngin’s who have the spiky hair, sleeve tatts and skinny jeans all say “More information!!!!!!”  We could win back our old familiar customer loyalty by giving of ourselves in a deep, highly-detailed way.”   All we had to do is produce hundreds of videos, write tons of online articles, and link, link, link!  We’d be seen as the true experts and everybody would then re-love us and shop with us once again.  So that is what I did.  [Insert snort of derision here.]

Fortunately, I like writing and I like making videos.  For the past 17 years online, writing product reviews and product analysis was my forte.  I liked blunt, easy to read write-ups of products that I like to use myself.  Unlike the politically correct and nauseating corporate big box retailers, I like to say it like I see it.  Everything is not all good.  Some products or aspects of said products, suck.  For my product attitude, I’m pretty sure I would not be admitted in the corporate “suits” world.   Plus those skinny jeans guys are offended by butterflies that pass too closely overhead, so I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t/couldn’t last there.  I’d offend some wussie in my first five minutes there.   Plus, I have no blotchy, or at least, blotchy-to-be tatts and one of those flat-brimmed caps that I can stick my ears under.   Oh, aside from rudimentary usage as a radio and a phone, I hate my iPhone, too.  Nope – I can’t be in either the suits or the skinny jeans.

So write up a new storm of articles I did in the new web-responsive format which required changing everything around from old familiar webpages into what I would call “chaos on a stick”. And here I am reviewing and sharing freely.  At this writing, redrockstore.com has been viewed by people who can’t find this info anywhere else on the web about 120,000 times.  That’s in in less than 18 months.   Therein lies the rub.

My video reviews of all that stuff along with my free articles are now seeing about 400 people per day and this whopper is going to go substantially higher in December.  Then it will peak at even higher numbers of readers in January and drop down slightly in February to a sudden drop off for March.   That means 10’s of thousands will be looking at my stuff to learn, to understand, to make decisions!  Hooray!  (We all know that spending $49.95  these days requires about 3 days of study, reviewing customer reviews, and maybe some meditation.)   In relative terms, the numbers of people who will actually shop with the company who gives the plethora of knowledge will be zip, zilch, doo diddly, diddly squat, etc.   The thought of being used makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

How can that be, you ask?  Well, it all comes down to dollar attitude.  Essentially, I’m beginning to view them all as “users”.  My work has become the mainstay for those big box retailers who laugh all the way to the bank because Red Rock just sold the product for them.   I know this to be true because we’ve had many people in the store who said that they used our website for information and then bought the ice auger from Amazon or Fleet Farm because it was “on sale” and they could get it the next day for free.  (Does anyone need an ice auger in October the very next day?  Are you going to test it in your living room? What’s the frickin’ hurry? )   99.998% of these people don’t even realize how offensive and insulting this  is to me.   In effect, I do all of their work, eliminate all of their risk, and I am rewarded with nothing but a smile and hearing what an awesome website I have.     How cool is that?

Every purchase today is down to the dollar and clicking on the best deal for literally $10 or less sometimes.  There is no customer loyalty anymore.  Just take the info you need and find it somewhere where it is the cheapest.  Well, remember – if you didn’t buy it from us, I’m not helping you with your warranty issues.  Lets see what Amazon does when you have problems 4 months out and the manufacturer won’t return your phone calls or reply to your emails.  It’s not my first rodeo, so I just can’t wait to hear the stories of how you sat all winter with no functioning Marcum-Vexilar-Strikemaster that you paid $650 for.    Oh yeah – roll your eyes and think it won’t happen….it happens ALL the time.  We’ve gone to bat for more customers than I can count over the years.  Lets see how that big robot handles your problem.  I can’t wait…

If I sound a little irritated, it’s because I am.   My website and efforts to be the best are resulting in no sales for my company.   There is no customer loyalty and saving a buck online is all that matters.

Perhaps it is time we go the other way and shut everything down as far as our web articles and videos are concerned.  Then you can watch some dude on youtube talking about his 7 year old Jiffy power auger with the bungee cord holding on the gas tank.   Maybe we need to sell skinny jeans, lattes, and iphones since that appears to be all that matter these days.    We need cash flow and can’t keep spending our  time and effort making everybody feel warm and cuddly about a lousy $300 fish locator or an ice auger.   People spend far less time making car buying decisions.

Customer loyalty ends with the almighty $5 dollar savings.  Sadly, it has come to that.

Thanks for listening to me whine.

Straightline Reels – WHY?

Frabill 261 Straight Line Reel

Frabill 261 Straight Line Reel

What is a fishing reel, really?  It’s just a device that spools your line up so it doesn’t lie on the floor of the fishhouse getting tangled in your boot laces.  When I was a kid, I developed boot-lace-eyelet/fishing line tangling into an artform.  It was special.  Clear mono line in white snow on a grey, cloudy day.  “Hey, why is that minnow crawling around on the ice searching for water?”

When little spinning reels came out in the early 80’s we were still using the flat wooden lathe sticks with line wrapped around the notched ends.  The reels  with little fishing rods were a huge improvement and probably didn’t really catch on until the very late 90’s.  At least, that was the case for me because 2001 was the ice fishing renaissance as far as I’m concerned.  That’s when all the Fish Traps appeared and nobody even knew what a pop-up shelter was yet.  Then Clam bought out Fish Trap, Eskimo charged forth with cheaper stuff, and the competition went crazy bring all sorts of gidgets and gazmos to the forefront of ice fishing.  I really got into it then as well.

I used spinning reels -still do- for years on end.  But, no matter what they say about “anti-twist” design, the rotor on the reel still twists the line far faster than the swivel on the far end can handle, not to mention the friction from the water itself which inhibits a lines ability to spin straight quickly in water.  If you add a lure that spins or swims, you add twist  to the rotor twist.  Before you know it, after 50 retrieves of your lure down deep,  you have added enough twist to your line to power a balsa rubber-band plane around the county without stopping.  As long as you know this, you are OK.  If you don’t understand what I just wrote, which appears to be the case for about 50% of all fisherman (I have explained line twist ad nauseum),  you will be cussing at the particular brand of line on your reel.  That is not to say that some line just twists up more easily than others, but in my own observations, most mono’s do as well as all the other mono’s out there.  With only a few exceptions, I can’t tell the difference and I try a lot of different line.  Now, I have customers whom, after a volatile experience with twisting, will argue much differently, but the reality is that the line isn’t crappy and neither is the reel most of the time.  The circumstance is the crappy part.  Spinning reels spin things a lot.

That being said, straight line reels came out and have changed many aspects of ice fishing for me. First, if you are fishing in clear water, you jig might spin for a minute, but it doesn’t sit there and spin forever.  Spinning jig syndrome, is never good and very frustrating with rainbow trout and ‘gills.  I assume this applies to crappie as well, but crappie water is too dark to see anything and they are usually deeper.   You can see the flasher flicker as your jig spins though.  If it is changing colors a lot and you aren’t moving, something is spinning and it’s not you.

Straightline reels came out with one company who was a real innovator.  They hang off of spinning rods and work with drag, plus the ability to drop down a #14 tungsten pelkie (jig) on it’s own weight.  If you’ve never seen a #14 tungsten pelkie, they are small enough to inhale through your nostril and get stuck in your lung with out you feeling it.  Now, don’t get liquored up one day in the fish house, start a video camera and attempt this.  You will most likely die or come really close to croaking after racking up a $100 K hospital bill.   I’m just illustrating a point regarding tiny size and weight.  Everybody jumped on the straight line wagon and Frabill did as well.  From what I can see, they’ve pretty much perfected copying the original straight line reel down to the really easy spin and decent drag.

The Frabill 261 is the cheaper one and for the money, it’s going to be a great reel.  Now, when you pick it up, it has that cheapo plastic feel because it’s made out of plastic -go figure.  It doesn’t feel weak or flimsy, but it is light weight and your first impression is that it is going to be a piece of crap.  But, remember the mono line wrapped around a stick?   This is light years better than that and it stores your line neatly.  It also has a decent drag. The stick had a “hand” or “arm” drag.    Will this 261 reel survive fishing 8-10 lb. lakers every day.  No.    That’s not what it is made for.  How about 2 lb. walleyes?   Sure.  Repeatedly, every weekend?  That remains to be seen.  It just might.  Someone is going to have to take the challenge and test it out.   It spins forever when you push the release button on the side and the star drag feels pretty good.   How well will it spin after it has had several large fishing pulling on the drag – we’d don’t know just yet.  The intent of this reel is panfish.

Eagle Claw, also an expert in knocking off designs of others has a similar reel  and I have one.  It works pretty well but it has the drag of a cheap reel.  You have to carefully adjust it and if you turn it 1/8 inch too much, it is locked up tight or goes super loose.  The Frabill 261 drag is much easier to adjust and does not appear to be as touchy.  I may have to make a switch.

Frabill 371  Straight Line Reel

Frabill 371 Straight Line Reel

 

The Frabil 371 is the spendier version.  It is built a little differently than the 261 and feels a bit beefier with more metal parts.  Good drag.   This reel would be capable of dragging in several big fish on a regular basis.  It is built nicely with a metal, enclosed spool and you can literally hold the 371 by its housing while cranking.  Don’t know why you would want to do this, but you could.  You can’t do that with the 261.  The spool is exposed and spinning.

There is an advantage to an exposed spool when it comes to line loops and tangles, but being straight line reels, such maladies are not too commonplace.  That’s the whole point: to reduce the twists that cause the loops and the cussing out in the blackout HT insulated pop-up where you can’t see your hand in front of your face.

I highly recommend getting one of these reels for your collection.  How to decide?   If you fish on the weekends and sometimes skip a weekend to do something foolish like watch a football game or hockey, get the 261.  If you fish ever weekend and after work sometimes during the week, get the 371.  It’s that simple.  Can you break all the rules and interchange parameters for buying?  Sure, just know that they vary in heavy duty-ness.  The heavier duty will be fine in all situations compared to the lighter 261.  The 261 may (or may not)  develop issues with heavier usage.  You could probably find a break-even analysis app to determine which will give you the ultimate satisfaction like so many of our millennials are doing today, or you could just pick one depending on how much money you have in your pocket, like us old farts would do in making this “major” decision.

The main thing is to get a straigthline reel and fish with it. I feel that even the cheaper ones are worth it for some species of fish and improving your  catch.   I use straightlines for almost everything now.  They work well and my jigs don’t spin.

And, that right there is the point.