Choosing the Best Bass Fishing Rod
Bass fishing is becoming a more complex sport every year, evolving through new technology and research which results in new tackle released each season. Twenty five years ago, the selection of tackle for bass fishing was limited to a handful of hard baits, plastic worms and a few standard spinning reels. Today, the bass fishing market is flooded with tens of thousands of different baits, hundreds of different rods, baitcast reels, spinning reels, high dollar electronics and bass boats that cost as much as a small house.
Sifting through the massive selection of rods and reels can be confusing for the bass fisherman. Each style of rod and reel has been designed for a specific application, and when paired together properly, can result in a major increase in the anglers productivity on the water.
So how do you know which bass fishing rod is best for you? There is no standard answer for this question, as each fishermen has his own style and each rod has been designed for a specific use. So to choose the best bass fishing rod, you must first understand what each type of bass fishing rod is designed to do.
Choosing the Best Bass Fishing Rod
The bass fishing rod is an anglers tool, and a good angler will always do better work with a good tool. A good bass fishing rod will allow you to feel much more of what's going on with your lure. Part of being a good angler is the ability to place your lure exactly where you want it, often as quietly as possible. A good bass fishing rod will definitely help your casting ability with more responsive graphite composition and perfectly engineered actions and speeds. The ability to create actions for specific techniques only comes with rod building expertise and the use of the best materials. As a general rule then, a high quality bass fishing rod will help you catch more fish, and a poor quality bass fishing rod will hurt your fishing ability.
When searching for the best bass fishing rods, you will find that certain terms are used to describe the materials used in building the bass fishing rod, the style reel it is designed for and its flexibility. Understanding what these terms mean can make the rod selection process much easier.
Casting rods are designed specifically for baitcasting reels. Casting rods are able to handle heavy line and big lures. This style of rod is used for most bass fishing techniques such as flipping, pitching, deep cranking, spinnerbaiting and buzzbaiting. There are split-grip and full-cork grip designs available, each offering a different level of comfort. The only difference in these designs is the style of handle. This is simply for added comfort for the fishermen. I personally prefer the split-cork grip because my hand fits more comfortably around the reel.
Casting rods are available in several different actions, speeds and power ratings are sometimes placed in specific categories such as Cranking, Finesse or Reaction, all of which we will discuss further in a moment.
Most situations in bass fishing call for the use of heavier line and stout equipment to work lures efficiently and get fish to the boat, therefore making the casting rod a popular choice for the serious bass angler.
Spinning rods are designed specifically for spinning or "open-faced" bass fishing reels. Spinning rods are used for "non-power" bass fishing situations. Skipping tubes under docks, working a shaky head worm, small crankbaits and topwaters, as well as certain finesse-type techniques, all warrant the use of a spinning rod. Spinning rods allow the use of light line and is better suited for smaller baits (usually 3/8 oz. or less). Their length and backbone can handle most any sized bass, but are best used away from heavy cover.
Spinning rods are classified and categorized the same way as the Casting rods, but with a significantly smaller selection.
The Spinning rod is a popular choice for panfish and crappie anglers, but also has its place in the bass anglers arsenal.
Bass Fishing Rod Descriptive Terms
Whether it be a Casting rod or Spinning rod, you will find that each rod is designed for a specific application. The rods application can be determined by its Action, Power and Length. These descriptive terms can be found in small print just above the handle on most bass fishing rods.
The action of a bass fishing rod is a term used to describe the flexibility or stiffness that it has.
Extra Fast -- This style of rod will bend very little, only in the upper tip. A rod of this type is ideal for fishing heavy cover with jigs or Texas rigged worms.
Fast -- A fast action rod will bend in the upper 25 to 30%. They provide both power and flex, which is essential when throwing spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, soft swimbaits, Carolina rigged plastics.
Medium Fast - These rods will bend in the upper 35% to 45%. Ideal for Topwater lures and Jerkbaits.
Medium -- These rods will bend near the middle. A moderate action will also cast lures easier than a fast or extra-fast action. Ideal for cranking.
As a general rule, single hook baits (worms, jigs, spinnerbaits, etc.) call for a faster action rod, whereas treble hook baits (topwater, crankbaits, jerkbaits, etc.) call for a slower action rod.
The power rating describes the rods overall strength. Most bass fishing applications will call for one of the following power ratings.
Medium Heavy - Slightly more backbone than the Medium rods, suggested for Spinnerbaits, Buzzbaits and Texas Rigs when Casting, and Shakey Head worms when Spinning.
Heavy - Strong rods for casting heavier baits such as football jigs, Carolina rigs and 1oz spinnerbaits.
Extra Heavy - Designed for heavy cover bass fishing such as pitching and flipping.
Bass fishing rods are available in lengths ranging from 6'0" up to 7'11". The length of the rod is most often directly related to the Power rating. Certain lengths are recommended for each style of bass fishing.
Flipping and Pitching - 7'6" to 7'11" rod lengths
Buzzbaits and Spinnerbaits - 1/2oz baits call for 6'6" rods. 5/8oz to 3/4oz baits call for 6'9" rods. 1oz baits call for 7'3" to 7'6" rods.
Topwaters and Jerkbaits - 6'6" to 6'9" rod lengths depending on the size of the lure.
Jigs and Texas/Carolina Rigged Worms - 7'0" up to 7'6" rod lengths depending on the weight.
Crankbaits - 6'6" to 7'11" rod lengths. The deeper the crankbait runs, the longer the rod.
Every bass fisherman (or woman) has their own personal preference when it comes to rod and reel manufacturers, each offering features on their products that are more or less appealing to each angler. In my opinion, these brands of bass fishing rods are of the highest quality, performance and value.
Bass fishing is an evolving sport, and one that can be mastered when using the best equipment for the job at hand. Too many times the angler ignores the importance of the rod, assuming "...any old rod will do," but this couldn't be further from the truth. Pairing the proper bass fishing rod with the proper bass fishing reel will without a doubt help to make you a better bass angler.