Rod Selection For Bass
Inside the Outdoors, July 03, 2009

I was talking to a gent on the phone recently and the subject of fishing came up. He seemed to disagree at first when I told him that the sport was a little more complicated than it may appear. He contended that “All one has to do is put a line on a reel, string it through the rings on a rod, tie on a hook, put some bait on it and throw it out there. Now how hard can that be?”

The answer to that is simple. Those who do that type of fishing may or may not get the larger of the species fish. There is skill in everything, and fishing is no exception. And particularly bass fishing requires more than what a trout angler may desire. Those spinning for trout would probably go for a low test line and an ultra light test rod. But for bass, it gets trickier. The rod has to match to the bait used. It really becomes less expensive if the fisherman only chooses one bait to use. But if he switches to several forms of bait, he may have to switch to other rods to give a more natural presentation.

For instance, if one is fishing a Texas rig or Carolina rig with night crawler it wouldn’t be logical to use a rod designed for trout fishing. Instead, a stiff-tipped one would be preferred. It would not bend, and the weight of the lure would hop over obstacle.

Just because a rod is expensive doesn’t mean it will be suitable for fishing with certain baits. Here again, one can invest in a good rod that need not be costly that will work very well for rig fishing and jigs.

Professional fishing guide Jim Reaneau has found out through experience that using the proper rod has landed him some pretty nice fish. This is what he suggests:

“For worms and jigs in light to medium weights such as the ½ ounce jig or 3/8’s worm weights, I always recommend a medium heavy action rod. If you plan on punching lures heavier than those mentioned I recommend a heavy action rod. For the Carolina rig I like to use a seven foot heavy action rod. Most of the time when using the Carolina rig you are in deep water and you need all the help you can get on hook set. The long rod will give you more hook setting power.”

The pro seems to favor Falcon graphite rods. He said he has used them all his life. I googled this rod, in as much as I was not familiar with it, and found out why – I guess. It’s a little pricy, at least for me, as the costs start in the proximity of $100 and goes from there.

An angler once told me, “It depends what I am doing.” Sound familiar? This person elaborated, “If I had to choose one, it would be a 6.5 foot medium heavy graphic rod.” Now get this. “The brand never seems to matter that much as long as the rods are reputable.”

In the most part, this gent agreed with our pro. When using Carolina-rigged worms, he, too, suggested a heavy action rod preferably on the long side anywhere between 6 ½ to 7 ½ feet in length. “Sometimes, I will switch back to a 7 foot medium action depending on my bait,” I was advised.

“For crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits, I use Daiwa rods specifically built for crankbaits and spinnerbaits,” he said. Somehow, that makes sense.

In reference to top water fishing, he recommended a medium action rod, six and one-half feet in length or shorter. “If by chance you happen to go to the buzzbait, go back to the six and one-half, medium-heavy rod or an all purpose rod that size”.

I talked to two area retailers on the subject what rods they would recommend for bass fishing. Rich Kacsuta from the Loyalhanna Fishing Post told me, “I having been fishing since I was a boy. I found through the years you can’t beat an Ugly Stik and a Mitchell 300 reel. Both have worked well for me and I continue to use this combination.” By the way, the Mitchell reel is impossible to find these days, but he told me he has some. Good information to know, I’d say.

The other retailer was a Latrobe resident who fixed me up with an Okuma and Sheffield rod and reel combo. He told me that this rod was his pick for overall good fishing. Now I look forward to going out and see if I can master bass fishing.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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