Before professional anglers were considered the definitive sources for angling advice, back when money was tight and things like new fishing tackle were considered a luxury, I was privy to some sage advice that has stuck with me to this day. It came to me when I stopped by a small tackle store on the way to visit my parents one weekend. My objective was to buy a rod for my father to replace the one I had stepped on – and broke – a few weeks prior.
As I fumbled through the wall display, manhandling and inspecting every rod as best I could back then, the salesman gave me a nugget of wisdom that nearly caused me to laugh out loud.
“Buy the most expensive rod that you can,” the salesman said. “Once you goes out and sees the difference in weight and sensitivity between a good rod and a cheap one, you going to buy some more.”
At the time, I thought the advice was just the salesman’s lame attempt at relieving me of my money. But in the years since, I have come to realize that he was telling the truth. Some of you have discovered that, too. That’s why many of today’s higher-priced rods are the most popular sellers. But, very few of us can afford a boatload of $500-plus rod and reel combos. We have to choose the rods we invest in wisely and match our rod purchases to our fishing needs. You don’t have to have rod lockers bulging at the hinges to be able to catch fish. With just three rods rigged for three specific techniques, you can have a successful day on the water during post-spawn and early summer.
Going into post-spawn and early summer, you definitely need a Carolina Rig/big worm rod, a deep crankbait rod and something for topwaters. As the water starts to warm, bass will start to move back to the ledges and rocks, away from the really shallow water. These are ideal conditions for a Carolina Rig because it allows you to quickly cover so much water.
For Carolina Rigs and a 10” power worm I like a GLoomis 7’5” BCFR 893, the longer rod allows you to cast the cumbersome Carolina rig, and it also allows you to get the line stretch out of the way to get the hook driven when one bites.
Crankbaits are also highly effective for targeting bass near the same ledges and rock piles. And while everyone has their own opinion on the best crankbait rod, I like to use a rod similar to the Carolina Rig rod, except with a more moderate action to allow the fish a better chance to take the bait. I prefer at least a 7’ to cast the crankbait as far as possible, so it can reach its maximum depth. The rod I believe in is the GLoomis CBR847, which is enough rod to cast the biggest crankbait made for bass, and it will also work for medium range plugs other times of year.
Depending on the size of the topwater bait, the rod I use for most applications is a GLoomis TWR 774 which is a 6’ 5” rod. A shorter rod leaves you with far less arm fatigue when popping or walking a topwater.
Balance, sensitivity and a light weight are all must-haves for a fishing rod. To get those things, serious anglers shouldn’t let something like a few extra dollars keep them from trading up to higher-quality rods.
“After all,” the salesman once told me, “you get what you pay for.”