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Reaction Fishing - Rethinking Rod Sensitivity

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So I've always thought that sensitivity while fishing reaction type lures (spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, swimming jigs..etc) didn't need a sensitive rod.  I'm beginning to think this isn't true.  For 2 months now, I've been fishing a spinnerbait on this cheapo BPS rod (BPS Pro Qualifier Tournament rod).  It is a 7' M/F rod and I use it for shallow cranks and spinnerbaits.  I bought this is as a "combo" deal when it was 79.99 (it had the BPS Pro Q Tournament Reel, similar to the PQ but with some cheaper parts).  Thought it was an awesome deal and I liked the power and action of the rod for what I was using it for.  Anyway, what I noticed is that I don't "feel" the bites at all on it.  It is so dead in my hands that I can't feel the fish or any cover properly.  For example last night I was fan casting in moderate submerged weed cover or weed lines and was a slow retrieve (spinnerbait) just over the weeds.  Then it felt like what I thought was a dense patch of weeds and I just did a quick pull to get it out, until I realized it was fighting back.  Of course I didn't get to set the hook properly and I basically lost the fish when it did a jump about 5 ft out (did try while I was pulling it in another quick jerk to set the hook).  Good thing it wasn't a monster or I would've been peeved and probably broke the rod in half!  Probably a 2-3 lber though.  So I decided to tie on a crankbait just to see if I can feel the rhythmic vibration of a crankbait.  Low and behold I couldn't feel it half the time, so when I didn't feel it I had a hard time figuring out if it was a fish or weed or something.  Come to think of it now, I don't remember even feeling my spinnerbait vibrate, it was a double willow blade Terminator wht/cht 3/8 oz.  I love spinnerbait and swim jigs..they are both of my favorite types of search baits, so it's not like I'm new to fishing spinnerbaits.

 

My previous dedicated reaction rods were an Avid M/F and a 7'2" Compre M/F, both of those as far as I remember I didn't have a problem detecting a fish strike this badly.  So now I'm changing my tune...I am now thinking what else am I "missing".  Even with braid and floro leader I still wasn't detecting the bites that easily or discern whether it was weeds, stump, rocks..etc..  Even the fish that I lost on Saturday that was pulling my little boat around I didn't detect the bite, I was lucky I thought I hit weeds..I tried to rip it out of the weeds and probably set the hook on the fish.  Or maybe now that I'm fishing with higher end rods (GLX, Cumaras) for the first time this year, my hands are now spoiled and are now conditioned for the heightened sensitivity?  What do you guys all think?  Or maybe it's just me and I plain suck!  HA!

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IMO it has to be related to your recent upgrade, I just bought my first decent combo ( quantum ultrex) and it feels very different from any of the cheaper ones I've had in the past.

It's a completely different feeling, I can feel any kind of cover if I hit it, whereas when I borrowed a combo that was way out of my price range I thought I was getting a bite ever other cast.

I think a bit if a refresher work is all you need to get used to this BPS setup again. Then you just need to keep in mind the differences when your out on the water.

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I think whenever I hear that a reaction rod doesn't need to be sensitive, it may be taken over the top by some. I still think you need sensitivity in a reaction rod, just not to the extent that is required in a worm/jig rod. I feel like, because the bait is moving at a higher speed than a jig/worm, if it runs into something, gets snagged, etc., you should be able to detect it more easily than when dragging and/or hopping a bottom contact lure. Still though, you need a rod that can distinguish between a fish and a bunch of weeds.

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I've also noticed that I get used to more sensitive rigs and then have a harder time switching back to less sensitive setups.  What I would do first and foremost is change line to a more sensitive line on your reaction bait setup.  If you've got mono, go to a copolymer; if copolymer, switch to fluorocarbon.  If you're already using fluorocarbon, braid might make a small difference.

 

I recently switched from mono to Yo-Zuri Hybrid on my cranking rod, which is glass.  The difference is night and day.

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seems like you took a step back in rods?

I know alot of guys here love Avid's. why the 'downgrade' to a BPS?

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seems like you took a step back in rods?

I know alot of guys here love Avid's. why the 'downgrade' to a BPS?

I still have the Avid, I just use it for topwater and jerkbaits (I love it for those applications).  I have been holding off buying a dedicated spinnerbait rod to see if the BPS one would do the job...it looks like it will not.  I just like my Avid 6'6" M/F where it is, as for the Compre it was too soft M/F to use as a spinnerbait rod.  I'm probably just going to have to nip in the bud and get a dedicated more sensitive SB rod.

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I've also noticed that I get used to more sensitive rigs and then have a harder time switching back to less sensitive setups.  What I would do first and foremost is change line to a more sensitive line on your reaction bait setup.  If you've got mono, go to a copolymer; if copolymer, switch to fluorocarbon.  If you're already using fluorocarbon, braid might make a small difference.

 

I recently switched from mono to Yo-Zuri Hybrid on my cranking rod, which is glass.  The difference is night and day.

Yeah on the weekend I had Yo-Zuri 12lb on a Daiwa Lexa 100...to check if the sensitivity changed I used my other Daiwa Lexa 100 spooled with 30lb braid and had a floro leader last night.  Still no increase in sensitivity and couldn't tell a difference. 

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If I had your rods I would use the Avid for your jerkbaits, and small/light plastics. Sounds like the Compre will make a good 0' to 10' type cranks rod. I would then use the BPS rod for topwaters, where you can see the hit. Now quit buying M/F rods and get yourself a MH/F for your spinnerbaits and jig fishing. I have never used that rod you are talking about, but have used the Tourney Special, Extreme, and Crankin sticks with no problem of feeling a fish bite. If that is your price range they will work. Personally, I would save up for another Avid, I love my St. Croix rods!

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If I had your rods I would use the Avid for your jerkbaits, and small/light plastics. Sounds like the Compre will make a good 0' to 10' type cranks rod. I would then use the BPS rod for topwaters, where you can see the hit. Now quit buying M/F rods and get yourself a MH/F for your spinnerbaits and jig fishing. I have never used that rod you are talking about, but have used the Tourney Special, Extreme, and Crankin sticks with no problem of feeling a fish bite. If that is your price range they will work. Personally, I would save up for another Avid, I love my St. Croix rods!

I have more rods, but I didn't pour money into getting a dedicated spinnerbait rod since I had this guy.  I will buy another one, but probably won't be an Avid.  (I owned 2 MH/F and sold them, too stiff for my preference).  Plus I don't see how a MH/F rod would help with sensitivity?  I'm probably going to look for a Cumara reaction series rod or buy a Loomis CBR, depend on which I can get a good deal on.  Thanks all for your inputs. 

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The MH/F does not have anything to do with sensitivity. It is just better suited for some of the things you talk about wanting to do. Sensitivity is going to be determined by design, craftmanship, and material.

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I don't know how much you are willing to spend on a new rod, but if you want a dedicated spinnerbait rod, then consider talking to Mike at DVT for a custom built one.  Especially if you are looking in the Avid range.  My daughter pretty much fishes Senkos only.  She wanted a pink rod (reel too if I could find one,  :grin: )  Had to be short.  Mike made her a 6' MH at a very good price.  Was pink, too.  :teeth:

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I don't know how much you are willing to spend on a new rod, but if you want a dedicated spinnerbait rod, then consider talking to Mike at DVT for a custom built one.  Especially if you are looking in the Avid range.  My daughter pretty much fishes Senkos only.  She wanted a pink rod (reel too if I could find one,  :grin: )  Had to be short.  Mike made her a 6' MH at a very good price.  Was pink, too.  :teeth:

Problem is, I live in Canada and it would probably be not worth it shipping cost and duty.  Do have a reputable guy near me, but I haven't taken the plunge.  I don't think I will go that route this time around. 

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