bud fields

If you hang around anglers very long, you are bound to hear them discuss fishing rods and what they prefer when they are shopping for a new rod. Rod selection is like most everything else in life. It depends on what you want and how you are going to use it. When I started fishing over 70 years ago, there was not much of a selection. Usually, you had one rod for all applications. But today, there are many choices, and it can be confusing. You walk down the aisle of any sporting goods store or fishing expo, and you will notice rods of different composition and lengths.

One thing you will notice when you pick up a rod is what many anglers call action and power. Action refers to how much the rod bends when there is pressure on the tip as you are setting the hook, fighting a fish, or casting a lure. A rod with a fast action should bend at the top third of the rod or slightly less. This action allows for faster hook sets, which is crucial for throwing larger baits longer distances. Rods with slow action are ideal for smaller baits, finesse fishing, and much shorter casts.

Power relates essentially to “lifting” power, and rod manufacturers use such ratings as heavy, medium-heavy, medium, medium-light, light, and ultra-light. Heavier rods are better for heavier baits and larger diameter lines. The manufacturer of the rod should list suggested bait sizes and line sizes on the rod. Heavy rods can snap a light line on a hook set. It is important to match the line to the rod.

For example, if you are fishing for smaller species of fish, such as bluegill, crappie, perch, etc., it is advised to use a light-weight rod, such as a medium or medium-light rod. Many anglers prefer to use a light, ultra-light for the excitement of the battle catching the fish, but if you are a bass angler, you have to decide for a heavier action and power in a rod. My personal all-time favorite is a six-foot, six-inch or seven- foot length rod with a medium-heavy power with 12 to 14 pound line.

For bass fishing applications for fishing top-water lures, I like a medium to medium-heavy power rod with a moderate to moderate-fast rod action. For spinnerbaits, I use a medium-heavy or heavy-power rod with a fast action. For crankbaits, I like a medium or medium-heavy power with a moderate-fast action. For drop-shooting, I prefer a medium to medium-light power slow-action rod. For flipping, I use a heavy-power rod with extra-fast action. For Texas-rigged soft plastics, I use a medium-heavy power with a fast-action rod, and for Carolina rigs I like a medium or medium-heavy power with a fast-action rod. I also might add that I prefer high-content graphite rods for their sensitivity.

The above recommendations are mine and might not necessarily be that of other anglers, but it has served me well through many decades. I am not hesitant to recommend it to you in hopes of helping you catch more fish. You have to keep your hooks sharp, use quality fishing lines, and use the best equipment you can afford. But most of all, you have to spend time fishing if you want to catch fish.