Choosing The Right Rod

By Kurt Dove

When selecting a fishing rod the "action" of the rod is important but length is nearly as important.

A few months ago I wrote a tip about choosing the right gear ratio reels. I had some very good response about that little piece of knowledge I was able to pass along.

As I answered questions about reels and the correct gear ratio for specific fishing techniques, I noticed I needed to address the same with fishing rods ... so here it is!

There are lots of great rod companies out there today with all kinds of varying actions. When shopping for rods realize that one labeled action for a specific rod or rod length may not be the same true action for another company's rod. The action of the rod is a general rule for its stiffness or limberness, but there is no industry standard. Realizing it can be different from company to company is critical in selecting the right rod. Understand a particular company's interpretation when looking at rods.

I try to keep it pretty simple. I use only graphite rods. At one time I got into using fiberglass rods for specific techniques, but with today's technology I stick with just the graphite. I really feel like there are five basic rods you can get by with. The "action" of the rod is important but length is nearly as important.

Rod 1: Flipping/Pitching/Swimbaits

I like a long 7 foot 6 inch casting rod for these techniques that is pretty stout in action like a med-heavy to heavy action. The long rod provides stability for throwing big swimbaits and the power to muscle big fish out of heavy cover with flippin' and pitchin'.

Rod 2: Texas/Carolina Rigging

I use a 7 foot 3 inch length casting rod. The long length enables me to take up the slack when setting the hook with these two techniques. I use a med-heavy action rod so that I can feel the subtle differences in structure and cover when presenting my lure in the water. I also need a strong enough back bone in the rod so when the fish strikes I can bury the hook properly into the fish.

Rod 3: Topwater/Jerkbaits

I like a 7 foot casting rod for these applications. I use a shorter rod here because the way we hold the rod tip down toward the water when presenting the lure. As I have my rod pointed to the water I need a shorter rod to keep from hitting the waters surface when applying action to the lures. I also use a medium action rod for these techniques so that I can work the lures quickly with less forward movement and the softer tip helps keep the fish hooked up when fishing lures with treble hooks.

Rod 4: Crankbait/Spinnerbait

A 7 foot 3 inch casting rod will help me to make longer casts with my crankbaits and spinnerbaits and a heavy medium action rod will allow me to give the fish an opportunity to swallow the lure before applying pressure. Anglers don't often think a spinnerbait and crankbait rod could be one in the same but I have utilized it this way for many years with excellent success.

Rod 5: Drop-Shot/Finesse

I use a 7 foot spinning rod for my finesse techniques like drop-shotting or shaky head fishing. The spinning rod will allow me to throw lighter lure further and use lighter lines more effectively. I like a medium action rod for these techniques as well. It helps to keep me from breaking off when I have a big fish hooked up to the lighter lines and I also can present the lures in a more natural look with the softer action rod.

Now equipped with the right rod and reel we are truly educated to get the best out of the available options without breaking the bank!