At a time when I was trying to add more rods to my trolling arsenal (and the wife was beginning to scowl at how much I was spending on tackle!), I decided to try a Shakespeare Tidewater rod to add along side of my Penn Senators (i.e. a $45 rod versus a $90 rod). Well, I've been pleasantly surprised with how well the Tidewater rod has performed--and at half the price. It has the exact same guides as the Penn rods, including Aftco roller guides for the first guide and tip roller, with the same exact metal guides inbetween. However, the Penn Senator does have one additional guide along the blank. The finish and guide windings are of high-quality, and it uses a Fuji real seat, which is adequate, but not nearly as heavy duty as the all-metal seat on the Senator. I've used this rod with a Penn reel to troll heavy umbrella rigs for stripers in the Chesapeake, and the largest fish so far has been a 43 pounder with no problem. The 4/0 version of this rod does bend a little more near the butt handle than does a 4/0 Penn, but so far, no failures. The only other difference between this and a high-quality Penn is that the Tidewater has a cushioned handle all the way to the end, whereas the Penn has a cushion above the reel seat and a hard finish below for easier removal of the rod from a rod holder.