It doesn’t matter if you have been fishing for years, or just starting out in the sport, picking a new rod, especially for a specific fish, can be a daunting task to say the least. When buying a rod, most people think that one “all around” rod will great, and while you can do this in most situations, it is probably not the best idea. Fishing rods have come a long way since the beginning of fishing, and there is a lot of science involved in making sure you can feel a fish bite depending on the type of rod you get.
If you are used to fishing for trout and other small fish, and decide that you want to move up to larger fish like bass, you may get in trouble the first time you try and land a 8 – 10 pounder. Having too small and light of a rod can snap if the fish decides to take off on you, so we have put all the tips you will need for selecting the right bass rod below. Take a look and if you still have questions, leave us a comment and we will try and help you out!
Length is the most important factor in selecting a fishing rod. Rods come in lengths ranging from four feet, to nine or ten feet long, so as you can see there is a lot of room for error here. When fishing for bass, I like to go with a longer rod so you can really get that bait out there and maximize your bait time in the water. Bass usually like warmer water, so getting it out 50 to 60 yards will be beneficial to you.
Budget is always an important topic when choosing the right rod for you. The first thing you want to make sure of is that you set a budget, and try to stick to it if you can, or have to. There are a TON of fishing rods out there, and they can range in price from twenty dollars, to thousands of dollars if you find the really high end manufacturers. Does that mean that the highest priced one is the best? No, not always, but if you like your G Loomis rods, then be prepared to pay a pretty penny for them.
For a decent bass rod, for beginners, or advanced anglers, expect to spend around a hundred bucks for a nice rod. This can be for a spinning or a baitcasting rod, and will get you a nicer mid to high end rod from a great brand. I have selected a few different rods for bass and trout HERE, so if you need some help check them out. If you cannot afford around one hundred dollars, do not worry at all, there are plenty of great fishing rods in the forty to sixty dollar range, that will still work fine for bass fishing.
This is one of the top three items to look for in picking a fishing rod, and the action can mean a lot when choosing a rod. Action means how much the tip of the rod is going to bend when the pressure of a fish is on it. Depending on what your rod action is will tell you where on the rod it will bend when the pressure is applied. A faster action rod will bend closer to the top, and a slower action will bend further down.
When you think of action, there are usually four groups you can put rods into, in order of their action which are, Extra Fast, Fast, Moderate, and Slow. When picking a bass rod, I like to be at the fast to extra fast action because you have more sensitivity when the bass bites. Normally a bass wont pickup and run with your bait, and will sometimes nibble on it, so you need to be able to feel that right away so you can set the hook. Here is a quick breakdown on the Actions:
- Extra Fast: The tip bends only at the very end of these rods, so you are going to feel the vibration of the bite all the way down the rod, and is going to be extra sensitive. be careful in lots of weeds because this will make the tip bend all the time.
- Fast: The tip of this rod will bend around a third to a quarter of the way down the rod, so it will be better for weed lines and you will still get the feeling of a fish biting.
- Moderate / Medium: This rod will bend around half way down and is great for heavy crankbaits so you can lug bigger lures through the water and not have your rod bent in half. This will really help if a fish bites while reeling it in.
- Slow: The rod will bend throughout the whole rod on this type, so it is going to be better for smaller fish that are not going to surge super fast ripping the hook out. You will want to fish lures with treble hooks, and likely not use this for bass fishing because you are not going to get the great bite vibration.
Action is a very important factor when picking a bass rod, its going to be the difference between you feeling that little nibble and setting that hook right away, or not feeling it at all and coming up with half your bait. I really do like fast and extra fast action rods, but even if you stick with a medium, you are going to catch fish, even the big ones.
There are typically two different types of rods that are best for bass. Those two are spinning rods and baitcasting rods, and are two entirely different types of rods, that require two different types of reels. Please don’t go out and buy a baitcasting rod thinking that your spinning reel will work with it. While you might be able to get the reel on, the rod is not designed for it and you are not going to maximize your chances of catching anything. Here is a short breakdown on the two different types of rods:
- Spinning Rod: This rod has a spinning reel attached and the guides on the underneath of the rod, so when you flip the bail, the line will come out the top of the reel and through the guides. This type of rod is the most common, and very easy for all anglers to use. You can fish almost all types of fish with this reel, and if you go with a standard 2500 series, will be great for bass.
- Baitcasting Rod: These rods have the guides on the outside of the rod and have a reel that sits facing the angler. You will always have a baitcasting reel on that you have to use your thumb to control the line feed, and not flipping a bail, or using your pointer finger. These rods can be much harder to learn, but are a lot of fun when you get the hang of it. A lot of bass fishermen (and women) use these rods because they are great with all kinds of lures, as well as plastics, and are fun when trying to “flick” your line out into a specific spot like a log, or boat dock.
- FlyFishing (not for everyone): Fly rods in general are normally used in rivers and are designed for bigger fish, but take a lot of practice to master, and are not usually for beginners. If you are new, and don’t have anyone that can show you how to cast so you don’t snap your bait off, you may want to leave this type of rod be for now. Learning to cast over the internet can be tough, and may frustrate new anglers.
As you can see, these two rods are completely different, and my suggestion is that if you are brand new to fishing in general, you stick with a spinning rod for now until you have some fishing time under your belt. Baitcasting rods tend to take a bit more experience to cast, and if you are new, it could lead to a lot of frustration while out at a lake or pond.
The power of a rod is how much weight the rod can actually lift, almost like a dead weight. It would be like taking a fish when it is on shore, and just dead lifting it straight in the air (NOTE: Please do not ever just pick a fish up straight in the air, use your hand and help the fish out of the water). Heavier rods can handle a heavier line weight.
If you are after monster bass and are going to be using a heavier braided line, you may want to get a higher powered rod. It is a good idea to stick to
medium power for a bass rod because you can put a decent braid on, and it is also going to be good for jigs and crankbaits. I would not go much lighter than medium unless you are going to use your bass rod for trout fishing as well, and I would not go for the heavy powered rods unless fishing for bigger catfish where you might use a 25 pound test fishing line.
Choosing a brand that is within your budget, but also somewhat established in the fishing rod market can be challenging, but is definitely not impossible. There are some good named brands out there like Shimano, Abu Garcia, and my favorite St. Croix rods. Be a little weary of any name that you have never heard of and do some research on them if the deal looks to good to be true. The last thing you need is the reel seats, or the guides to come off when you are out there fishing because those are hard to fix.
There will be two different types of reels for bass fishing, and those will be either baitcasting or spinning reels. As I described above, spinning reel is the most common, and has a bail to flip when you want to release line out. The baitcasting rod has an open bail where you would keep your thumb pressure on, until you are ready to release the line, and is usually harder to learn because of “birds nesting” which is when the line gets tangled up in the reel.
For a good reel guide, I would suggest sticking with a 2000 series or a 3000 series reel. I prefer to use a 2500 reel with a 5:1 gear ratio and at least four or five ball bearings. The 2500 is strong enough for over ten pound bass, and handles braided line nicely. I can also use my bass rod combo for a trout rod substitution if I really wanted to, and this combo is great for bass.
When it comes to handle selection, there are several different types you can select, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages depending on how you like the look and feel. When it comes to handles, even though there are some advantages, it is usually a personal preference thing to buy. here is a short break down on the different types:
- Cork: A natural material that is lighter in color and is a lighter material making the end of the rod lighter for better balance. These are the most common and the most popular with anglers.
- Foam: Foam handles are more dense, but are still on the light side. These are good for comfort and are more comfortable when landing a fish because you can squeeze tighter on the handle and still have comfort. This is also a popular material for most fishing rods.
- Split: These handles have a foam or cork handle, but have a split in the middle where it goes back to actual rod material. These handles are really good for lures and swim baits.
I personally love the classic cork handle, and like to keep my rod light, even on the handle end, so I can have a little bit heavier of a rod, and still keep the overall balance great. If you are after comfort, check out the foam grips, although they can make my hands hurt at times.
Knowing what your primary bait is going to be will really help you choose what type of rod you want to buy because it can have an impact on what power and action rod you want. Here is a short list of what types of rods go well with the best baits:
- Worms and Soft Plastics: For a lighter bait like worms and brush hogs, you might want to consider a faster action rod, on the medium power, so you can really feel the bite of the bass when it hits, and will give you time to set the hook.
- Lures: If you are using lures like Kast Master, Thomas Buoyant and other smaller to mid size lures you can go with a fast action medium power rod, so the tip is not always bent over while you are reeling your line in.
- Crank Baits and Jigs: If like throwing heavier lures like Jigs and Crank baits, you are going to want to go with a medium action heavier powered rod so your tip will stay straight and wont be bent in half when you are reeling in line.
I primarily use soft plastics and a lot of worms when fishing for bass, so I use a lighter action and power rod because I am not pulling crankbaits and lures through the water all the time. Plan on what you like to use a lot and build from there and you will be happy with your choice. If you know you love lures, don’t just run out and buy a heavy rod, or you might miss out on bites.
The rod guides are what the line goes through as its being released and reeled back in from the reel, and there are different types of them. They range from aluminum to stainless steel, to titanium, and affect how easy the line moves from the reel. Depending on what type of line you want to use will depend on what you you want, but aluminum, or stainless steel are just fine for any rod.
One Piece or Two
When you look at rods, you will notice that most rods are either one solid rod, or break apart into two sections. There is a rare occasion where you can get a three piece or a telescoping rods, but that is going to a one off deal, and there are not a ton of choices when looking. Again, there are advantages and disadvantages to having either one, and it really comes down to a few things when selecting them.
- One Piece: These rods are one solid blank, and can be put away with your line ready to go and you do not have to fuss with making sure the guides are straight, and also give a little bit better action to the rod since there is no break point. These rods are a bit harder to store and transport, so if you have to take extra care in the tip.
- Two Piece: Two piece rods break in have and are much easier to store and transport because they fit in a back seat or a trunk. These rods can be a bit trickier because you have to make sure the guides line up, and that they are seated tightly in the base or you could have a very line tangle, or the tip of your rod can come off when you cast (yes, I have had this happen to me!).
I personally prefer a one piece rod because I can have my hooks set, and just pull it out, bait it up and cast without having to put it together, and make sure the guides are straight, but they also take up room, so if you have a small car, this might not be the best option for you. I also think that the action is better on a one piece.
Reel seats are what tightens the reel to the rod, and come in a few different combinations. Depending on the size of your reel, and how the rod is balanced will depend on what type of seat you want to get. Here are a couple of different seats you can choose from:
- Plastic: This will be two plastic notches where the reel will fit into, and a plastic screw on nut that tightens them to the rod. These can be flimsy and will loosen on you if you don’t buy a good brand of rod.
- Metal – Single Ring: This reel seat is heavier duty with two metal notches for the reel to sit into, and has a metal screw on nut to tighten them. These are very good, but can weight the rod down depending on the material.
- Metal – Double Ring: This will be a reel seat that has the same metal notches, but will have two screw nuts for extra locking. These are great for rods with heavier reels that will see a lot of action. The second screw tightens so that it will not unscrew on you in the middle of landing a big one.
I use a heavier reel, so I normally buy my rods with a metal reel seat that has a double ring so I am not having to tighten my reel to my rod every five casts, but this is another non critical personal choice.
I hope after reading all these simple tips, you have a much better understanding about selecting a rod for bass fishing. Like I said, there is a lot of science behind it, but the tips above should cover everything you really need to understand when looking at different rods.
Make sure you look at all the information about a rod before you buy it. All rods will have markings on them, so you know what the length, power and action are, which are the most important things to look for when buying a new fishing rod. I hope you find the rod that will make sure you can handle any size bass that decides to bite your bait, and you catch a lot more fish with it.