Just saw today at Walmart a new Eagle claw series of rods that are inexpensive (under $30) and fit the Pink, Sockeye and Coho fishery perfectly. Eagle Claw's newest series is called Crafted Glass. These rods are a lighter in weight compared to their current Starfire series, have a graphite reel seat and use cork for the handle material. I was not able to find much data on their website about this new series, but there are internet sites with a few models other that what I saw in the store, available for sale. However, the rod I'm most excited about is the 8.5' casting/downrigger rod with an 8 - 20lb rating. It feels comparable in action to the 9' Uglystik I like using for the smaller salmon species and comes in at 1/2 the price. So naturally, being the gear junkie that I am, it came home with me just in time for the summer salmon fishery.
Talk about the gear that makes your fishing day.
No kings hooked on the kokanee version, but it handled a 7 - 9 lb sockeye without too much trouble. The only problem I see with using them for larger fish is if you are in a crowd. Having a fish tear off a bunch of line on a light setup is fun, until the fish collects a few other sets of gear and you end up with a total snarl. These rods will take a large amount of abuse, so just keep the drag set to a reasonable level and you will be ok.
I got a couple good sized steelhead on my yellow Kokanee rod. It's a fun rod for mid sized (probly up to about 12-15lbs in slower water) fish but I wouldn't use it for kings. I got the 8ft and it just doesn't have the backbone to get a king to the beach without exhausting it to near death.
Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except i still get to kill something.