Topic of the Day
I want to tell you, before we get started, that I have been testing and representing fishing equipment manufacturers for around 30 years.
In that time, I have touched a lot of equipment, amassed a lot of information and even put in a few hours fishing. I want to share some of that experience with you today so you can make better choices when you purchase fishing equipment.
Striking a balance
Today’s discussion involves the three components found in every angler’s war chest. We will be discussing rods, reels and line. The combinations will give every angler a better understanding of what, when and where all these tools converge.
First I want to say that fishing is a personalized sport. There is not one combination of rod, reel and line that is suited for everyone and everything.
Secondly, we want to make sure we can satisfy the majority of needs that address your style of fishing and why you made good choices along the way.
Identifying good choices in rod selection
How much time do you spend fishing? What do you like to do when you are fishing? These are key factors we all relate to when purchasing fishing equipment.
First I would like to cover the subject of rod selection. In many cases consumers go to a display filled with rod and reel combinations. This seems like a simple way to go fishing but you can also go through all the rod displays and find a price point rod that will work as good or better for your style of fishing. There is nothing wrong with going to the combination display and making a selection but fishing is personalized and sometimes the factory combos are just not good enough.
Casting- If you do a lot of casting, there are some details you should not overlook.
Your rod needs to be designed to take the stress of sending a heavy lure a great distance. What you don’t want or need is an expensive, carbon graphite rod with a super sensitive tip.
Every rod loads up differently and in a casting mode, must spread the load evenly through the length of the rod to maximize distance and transfer the load of the object you are about to send flying.
You want to look at inexpensive fiberglas or fiberglas graphite composite constructed rods. They can be very basic and or upgraded without breaking the bank. If you had an inkling of purchasing that expensive rod because someone told you too, I would ask you to take a breath.
High carbon graphite rods have less weight and greater sensitivity. The materials used make the rod blanks thin walled and far more brittle as well.
One mistake with the cast, one stumble, one slap against a tree branch and you can snap the rod.
The Fishin Hole, Cabelas and Bass Pro have hundreds of rods in store and you can make an informed choice after this discussion.
A good length for a casting rod will range from 6’-6” to 7’ in a Med to MH weight classification depending on your lures.
You know the size and weight of the lures you want to cast so the decision will be yours. Here is a simple demonstration you might use to compare rod action.
Take two rods of similar weight and place the tip on the floor. Using both hands, flex each rod downward until you feel where the rod begins to load under pressure. If the rod loads near the tip, you will not have the parabolic bend to throw lures very far. If the rod loads in a steady arc, you have probably found the rod for casting. Just keep in mind the size and weight of the lures you will use most and make your rod choice from that point. Too light a tip and you will not maximize your casting distance or the lure will overpower the rod at this point. Moving between a medium weight to a medium heavy rod of similar length will allow you to judge which rod suits your needs best.
For the Jig fisherman
Here are some reasons why your casting rod isn’t the best choice as a jigging rod. Jig fishing is hands on as well but you are holding the rod all day long.
You find yourself holding the tip of the rod pointed to the water, unless your casting from shore and reeling the jig back.
A good jig rod balance will always be tip heavy so you don’t have to continually force the tip towards the water. Here again I can discuss combo rods and reels. Seldom if ever will you find the right rod and reel combination for jigging in a combo rack.
In most cases the reels are far too large and heavy on combo units.
This combination puts too much weight near the handle and forces the tip up. You will give yourself a sore wrist in an hour if your jig fishing with this combination. You will soon tire as you try to hold the rod tip near the water to watch for a bite. This is why we look at fit for purpose equipment to make fishing more fun and you the consumer, better educated in your choices.
Last, you want a rod that will set the hook quickly when jig fishing and that means the top third of the rod loads up quickly. You don’t see the parabolic bend like a casting. You want to drive the hook into the fish‘s mouth before he spits your bait.
The shorter the distance you have to lift the rod to set the hook the better. You are looking for a rod with a fast tip that loads quickly and the balance of the rod providing the strength or back bone to add power to your hook set.
Believe it or not, you can get super jigging rods in the 40-dollar range with the Berkley Amp or in the 60-dollar range like the Berkley Lightning series as examples.
Let’s start discussing trolling rods.
Many think the casting rod works for trolling is technically correct but for different reasons. Catching a fish trolling is a little different that catching a fish casting.
The hook set for fish caught by casting is controlled by the angler and not by the speed of a boat.
In the case of a fish caught by trolling, we need to build in some forgiveness. This comes in the form of drag settings as well; the added flexibility of a fiberglass rod to take up the shock.
We need to see the entire rod bend in a parabolic arc and not just the tip.
Fiberglass blanks are heavier than carbon graphite but are far more forgiving should you hook up to a catch of a lifetime.
But remember the time your line got caught in the propeller or the number of times you had to lift the rod to get the line out of the way of the prop? Trolling rods are not expensive but they are longer that the normal casting rod.
I generally troll with 8’-6 Ugly Stik or Shakespeare Wild Series rods for the bulk of my trolling. The parabolic bend takes the shock out of the line when a fish is hooked and keeps my fish hooked while I prepare myself and or my passenger.
The added rod length also keeps the fish away from the boat and easier to fight. This allows me to maneuver the boat without getting into trouble with the propeller or asking a passenger to lift the rod while I execute tight turns.
If you decide to use a higher quality carbon graphite rod, you will certainly need the length I suggested in a Berkley Air or Buzz Ramsay Salmon / Steelhead models.
Moving on, let’s talk about Bobber fishing
There is nothing more exciting than watching a fish disturbs your bobber and take bait. Bobber fishing is a special way to fish and you need to remember a few details about your choice of fishing rods.
This rod should be longer than a normal casting rod and usually lighter action than a trolling rod. Bobber fishing usually requires a sweep set to hook the fish.
Because we are never sure where the fish is under a bobber, a longer rod allows you to pick up a lot more line without reeling. Bobber fish can be lightly hooked as well and you need the flexibility of a long rod to allow the hook to work itself into the fishes jaw.
The Shakespeare Wild series, The Fenwick Elite Tech and many other brands are well suited for bobber fishing. Each brand has a number of longer rod lengths with the forgiveness (softness) you need to set the hook while bobber fishing. Rod length I would suggest start at over 7’ and top out around 9’-0 for bobber fishing.
This ends our discussion of rod choices. Please feel free to ask questions.
Courtesy of Sask Landing Fishing Adventures