If you’re a veteran angler, you probably remember the Jerry McGinnis Fishing Hole TV show televised back in the 70s before there was an Outdoor Channel. During those shows Shakespeare ran ads showing the durability of their new Ugly Stik. The two I most vividly remember was an angler getting the tip of his Ugly Stik caught between the slats of a wooden dock as the angler shoved off. The rod didn’t break.
The other ad showed a heavy weight being lifted by the rod with the tip bent at more than a 90-degree angle. No breakage.
That was back in 1976 when Shakespeare demonstrated the toughness of their rods with a clear tip and triple built Howard Process construction that reportedly made it light and virtually indestructible.
From that time forward the Ugly Stik has been one of the best selling rods on the market. It was particularly suited for kids who have a tendency to be rough on rods.
For 2013, Shakespeare has introduced their new generation of GX2 Ugly Stiks. According to Kevin Jarnagin, Shakespeare media relations spokesman, the new Ugly Stik GX2 is infused with enhancements that include a new blank through reel seat design in conjunction with Shakespeare’s proven graphite and fiberglass construction that makes it a strong yet sensitive rod with better balance.
In addition, all GX2 rods now use newly designed one-piece, stamped stainless steel guides for maximum durability and no insert pop-outs.
As for cosmetics, the rods feature a sleek matte black finish highlighted by red and silver accents and the Ugly Stik logo etched into the EVA grip. Retained from the original rods is the classic diamond wind above the grip.
The new GX2 rods are available in 15 casting models, 20 spinning rods and three pack rods, each with an MSRP of only $39.95.
For the ladies, there are six rod models (2 casting, 4 spinning) that use subtle pink accents throughout.
And for the kids, the GX2 combos were designed for ages eight and up and in spincast and spinning combos with bright green accents and split handle Ugly Grips. They too have an MSRP of $39.95.
For anglers who prefer buying a matched set of rod and reel, the Ugly Stick GX2 Combos offer reels of spinning, underspin and spincast models matched to seven different rod lengths and actions. The spinning reels feature glass filled nylon bodies and double anodized aluminum spools with oversized bail wires, two pinion bearings to reduce overall wear on the reels, and soft touch handle knobs. They’re available in reel sizes 20-25 with three ball bearings plus a one-way clutch instant anti-reverse bearing.
The 40 and 50 combos are built around two ball bearings and a one-way clutch instant anti-reverse bearing.
Spincast combos feature Shakespeare’s Steel 6 and 10 models plus a Synergy TI Micro option for anglers looking to find smaller fish in the pond. The Micro combos are pre-spooled with 4lb Stren line while the 6 and 10 size combos are spooled with 6 and 10lb Stren line.
Inline with their rods, Shakespeare has some interesting history. It was started in 1897 as the William Shakespeare Jr. Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Then in 1915 the name was changed to the Shakespeare Company.
In 1939 Shakespeare invented the “Backlash” brake and its Wondereel was one of the most popular reels to hit the market for its backlash control.
Then in 1976, the Ugly Stik debuted and was the first rod to feature a clear indestructible tip.
In 1996, Shakespeare got a new corporate identity as K2 Inc. and in 2007 Pure Fishing (the tackle conglomerate) merged to form the largest fishing tackle company.
An accolade was bestowed upon Shakespeare in 2011 when it won “Best Kids Tackle” award from ICAST (the fishing tackle trade organization and show) for newly launched casting game and sound kits featuring Cars, Star Wars and Disney Fairies.
As for the new Ugly Stik, it continues the tradition of durable rods for the entire family, only the new rods are even better.
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