I'll be on the Talachulitna for a week this summer, fishing. I expect to hook some kings. I don't do a lot of fishing, so am planning to buy a new rod & reel. And, I'm amazed and overwhelmed by the range of choices. One shop said the minimum would be $500. A local store has heavy rod/reel combinations for $39, including the line. I know a king can be 50#, but if I only have 25# test line, I don't need a pole that can lift 50# -- the line would break first. I expect to use spinning gear.
So -- how much difference does the gear quality really make. How often do people break inexpensive poles fishing for kings? How often does a strike get missed, or the hook get thrown, because the pole wasn't right?
When does the reel really make a difference?
Etc. I.e -- what gear makes a big difference, and what doesn't?