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Hey Neil,
I have the new catalog from the shop here and it is listed as a new rod for 2001. As far as it's use as an all around rod for saltwater, from what I have seen from this series of rods and customer feedback, when St. Croix says heavy action they mean it. This may make it a less desireable choice for some types of inshore fishing i.e. fluke and blues. Also the 8 foot length can be unnecessary and may even be disadvantageous. This line of rods however are definitly high quality, I would just choose another model such as the SWC66MF or MHF or SWC70MF or MHF. These are a little shorter and have not as heavy an action. Hope this helps, you chose a great line of rods.
 

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I am unsure whether or not you can get it in a left handed retrive, but I love the 310GTI from Penn. I like my reels a little smaller in diamter than most because I don't really see the need for the extra weight when I rarely get a fish that is going to run me out of line. I am pretty sure that there is a 321GTI that is a left handed retrive, but as I said I am not sure if there is a version in the smaller reel. If there isn't and you don't mind the extra size then go for the 321. Hope this helps, look on ebay many times you can find brand new reels at unheard of prices. Saving some money on the reel helps when the rod is $170+ bucks. While your at it you might want to look for the rod. Tight lines.
 
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