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How to Choose a Fishing Rod

Editor’s note: My first rod was a steel rod that had the backbone of a pool cue. My second rod was a fiberglass rod that was as limp as a wet noodle. But today’s rods for bass fishing have been built  for  efficiency, and serious bass fishermen often will have a boat full of different rods with various strengths, actions and reels on them. 

Bass Fish Efficiently with the Right Rod

with Ott DeFoe

Ott Defoe Rods

Heavy-Action Rods:

I use a heavy-action rod when I’m flipping, pitching and/or throwing an Alabama rig. I prefer a heavy action with a fast tip when I’m casting a buzzbait because then when I set the hook, I can set it hard and fast. A fast tip or a soft tip heavy rod actually will flex more when you’re casting the baits I’ve just described. You can make a more accurate cast and cast the lure further than you can cast it if you don’t have a fast tip or a soft tip rod. The speed of the tip describes how much of the rod will bend when you’re casting. With a heavy action rod with a fast tip, the rod will bend more in that first 1-1/2 foot of the rod than the rest of the rod will. 

Medium-Heavy Action Rods:

This rod is more or less an all-around rod that can be used for many bass-fishing situations and with a wide variety of baits. You can fish a plastic worm, a crankbait, a spinner bait or a buzzbait with this rod. This rod has an even softer tip than the heavy-action rod does and actually will flex 2-1/2 to 3 feet down the rod, allowing you to cast even further, depending on the rod’s length, than a heavy-action fast-tip rod will. Anglers also are using longer rods than they once have, and usually the majority of bass-fishing rods in an angler’s boat today will be 7-feet long or more.  

Light-Action Rods:

These rods are most often used to fish smaller finesse baits and light line. You want that rod to be more forgiving. These rods will have about 3/4 of the rod that will flex, enabling you to fight the fish with lighter tackle. These rods are very effective and efficient when fishing the drop-shot rig, the shaky-head worm or when finesse fishing for crappie. 

Crankbait Rods:

This rod is somewhat different from the other rods I’ve mentioned. Often this rod is a fiberglass rod and has much more flex in it than the composite or graphite rods do. I’ll use a medium-action, often shorter rod, for crankbait fishing. The advantage to using the crankbait rod is due to the fact that it gives the lure to the fish, meaning that when the bass comes up to the bait and attacks that bait, this type of rod will flex and allow the bass to get more of the lure in its mouth than a composite or a graphite rod will. Too, this allows the angler to use a softer hook set than when fishing a more stiff rod. 

Today’s rods aid bass fishing efficiency as manufacturers have made specific rods for particular line classes and lures and various types of casting distances that the angler may need. All these newer rods are designed to fish certain baits under specific conditions on or in certain types of structure and to be most efficient whether you’re fishing close like around grass or in bushes, or whether you want to make a long cast and fish down a rock bluff or a weedline. 

To choose a rod today, think about the different kinds of lures that will be most efficient on that rod, the distances you want to cast, and the cover and structure you want to fish. This explains why professional anglers and serious bass fishermen have so many different types of rods and reels when they fish for bass.

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