This has been covered before, but since Andy's (AKCAPT) thread seemed to meander a bit through no fault of his own, I thought I'd throw my 2 cents into a new thread, to avoid hijacking.
I look forward to trying the new Okuma rod he mentioned in his thread, but that will have to wait til I need to replace some rods. So here's my lineup:
I love my 7' Daiwa Interline (20-50) with an Avet LX 6.0 reel. My ABSOLUTE favorite for bottom fishing. Makes the chickens fun, and the big fish funner (is that a word?)! Smokin' fast reel for bait checks.
I have a couple Shimano Trevala with older Avet LX 4.6 reels. Awesome for large rockfish/lings, and can still handle the big 'buts if we get into them.
I have a couple new Tica with the triangular, grooved forends, old Penn GTI 320 reels. Great for guests - gives them a good grip without having to worry about keeping line level. Man, have I got great mileage from those Penns!
I have a couple 5-6 Daiwa Interline with Avet EXW 3.0 reels. First Avets I bought. Awesome sticks, great for sharks if I ever get the stones to go after them myself. Kinda heavy, so I leave them to the rookies who need to brute-force the fish with the rod on the gunwhale.
Yeah, I'm blessed to have the opportunity to set up my boat for some fun fishing for my family and my friends. I don't want to start a flame war, I don't know what's best. But I do love my Daiwas and my Shimanos.
Ultimately, though, with the exception of one charter in Mexico, I can't ever remember catching a fish and thinking "what a piece of junk" about the rig - it "creek"ed. If it gets the fish to the side of the boat, it's done its job. And even on that Mexican charter, I caught a pig of a roosterfish on that piece of junk, so all was well.