Ever wonder why professional anglers have so many rods stacked up on the front deck of their boat?  Just like in golf where different shots require different clubs, different fishing situations and different lures require different rods.

Having the right fishing rod for the right application will increase your catching success. Fishing rods come in many different composites, lengths and actions. In this article, we are mainly going to focus on actions and lengths with some basic guidelines I hope will help you pick the right rod to meet your needs. 

LENGTH

Rods 7’ and longer are ideal for long distance casting and better suited for larger baits. A longer rod will give you more power for a better hook set.   Shorter rods like 6’ to 6 ½’ tend to cast more accurate when aiming to hit specific targets. 

ACTION

Action (or taper) in a rod is the amount the rod flexes.  The more flex a rod has the longer it takes to return to its original straightness.  For example, for treble hook baits a soft to moderate rod action would be a good choice, whereas a heavy to extra heavy action would be better suited for jig or worm fishing.

Any lure with a single hook like worms, jigs, spinner baits and Carolina rigs typically all need a stiffer/heavier rod.  Generally speaking, treble hook baits like crank baits, top waters and jerk baits all need a softer tip rod to absorb shock and fish fast movements, whereas the softer rod would forgive the slack the slack a fish may put on your line.

I recommend any bass fisherman competing in tournaments like myself, have a minimum of five rods to be properly outfitted to compete.

Here are some basic guidelines for choosing your next rod:

CRANK BAITS

smaller baits and shallow runners: 6 ½’ to 7’ soft action

larger crank baits: 7’ to 7 ½’ medium action

SPINNER BAITS

6 ½’ to 7’ medium-heavy action for control and good hook set

FLIPPING & PITCHING

7’ to 7 ½’ extra heavy for good hook set and getting fish out of heavy cover

 

STICK BAITS & SWIM BAITS

6 ½’ to 7 ½’ heavy to extra heavy action – longer rods will allow good hook set

WORM FISHING

6 ½’ to 7 ½’ heavy to extra heavy action

MY PICK

With 30 years of competitive bass fishing under my belt, I have used literally 1000’s of different rods. Currently the Veritas and Villain rods by Abu Garcia are my top pick for the best rods on the market today.  Veritas and Villain rods are available in all the lengths and actions mentioned here.