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LakeDaze

worm and jig rod advice

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Hello all. I'm fairly new to bass fishing and currently have an Abu Garcia vengeance 6'9" MHF.  I've mostly been fishing jigs and senkos and I'm not sure if it's the rod or my lack of experience, but I'm not feeling the bottom like I read you should be able to. Does anybody have any experience with this rod?  How's the sensitivity compared to a mojo bass for example?   It's only a $50 rod and I bought it with the black max reel for $40 after rebate so I don't expect too much.  Would it be worth it to drop $100-130 on a nicer rod?  I've kinda narrowed it down to the following:

St croix mojo bass-$120

Duckett ghost-$100 

Fenwick Aetos-$126 on sale

Cashion CRT-$120

all would be a MHF in the 7 ft area  

Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I'm kinda at a stand still never have used a nicer rod i have nothing to compare the vengeance to. Thanks. 

Shaun

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The only one of those rods that I have is the mojo,  I have a couple in different sizes and actions.   They are great rods but I would also check out the daiwa tatula rods. I like them better.  As far as reading the bottom what kind of line and what # are you using? I am asking because I can read the bottom with an ugly stick if I am using braid,  mono however depending on the # depends on which rod I can really feel it with. I am really liking the yo-zuri hybrid line that roadwarrior recommended.  There are plenty of people on here that know way more than I do that I am sure will give you great advice but the cheapest way to change how the bottom feels is with line. 

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Welcome to the forum!  Jig and Texas rig fishing are almost essential skills.  There are a few things that can heavily influence the feel.  A sensitive fast or extra fast action rod is helpful, as are low stretch lines like braid and the appropriate size/shaped weight for the depth and he cover you're fishing.  There is also a big difference between say, an inexpensive Wal-Mart rod and a gen 2 Mojo Bass or Tatula, Aetos, etc. and that better stick will most definitely have a lighter feel with a more responsive blank, but....

the technique to fishing bottom contact baits is much, much more important and once you get the technique down, you'll appreciate the better tools much, much more.  I (like many other forum members, I'm sure) learned to fish jigs and T-rigs with old fiberglass and cheap slower actioned graphite.   The rod you're working while not a Cadillac, is still much better than the Ugly Sticks lots of us used and can make a decent rod to learn on (it being shorter than 7'-7'3 rods might sacrifice some casting distance, but it'll make accurate, close presentations and skipping much, much easier).

When fishing a jig, C-rig, T-rig, drop shot, or any other bottom contact bait, you need to remember that it's a bottom contact bait.  I've spent a lot of time over the past few years teaching friends and family members to fish and the biggest mistake I see them (and tons of people with lots of experience get lazy/distracted and do this, too) making is relying on the reel to move the bait.  When fishing these techniques, the general rule is that you should be moving your bait with the rod, and not the reel.  There are exceptions, but this is the general rule.  The reel is essentially just there to collect line and reel down quickly once a fish strikes to remove slack before the hook set.  With the bait on the bottom (and I suggest learning with something like 3/8 oz), lift the rod tip slowly, allowing the jig to bump into the gravel, sticks, roots, tires, or whatever is down there.  You'll feel every time that jig hits something.  Over time, you'll learn to differentiate a soft bottom from gravel, wood, weeds, etc., it just takes patience and a little practice.  

Another mistake I've seen and have been guilty of is losing a good connection to the bait (which will mess up your sensitivity badly) and it can happen a few ways.  First, a relaxed palmed grip on the reel will allow you to feel a lot better than a death grip.  This isn't typically a fast moving bait with resistance like a spinnerbait or crankbait where you really have hang on.  Relax, you'll feel more subtle bites and bottom features.  Second, don't allow too much slack to build up.  Even the best rods fished with braid will have zero feel if the line is totally slack.  This is where terms like "semi-slack" and "tight line" come into play.  Third, keeping the rod angled up or to the side will transmit more "feel" than if you're pointed straight at your jig (remember, use the rod to move your bait).  The fourth way that I was guilty of losing connection was that for years I failed to consistently watch my line.  When fishing a semi-slack presentation, line watching is the difference between detecting subtle bites versus feeling the bottom.  For this, braid has made life way easier.  

 

I know this is a lot, but it should troubleshoot most feel issues.  Also, as @adrenalizd mentioned, spooling with braid and fishing a FC or Copolymer leader is by far the most cost effective upgrade that will make a noticeable difference. 

 

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Sensitivity in my opinion has more to do with your hands & brain.

The rod & line can only do so much, the rest is up to you to interpret!

The fastest teacher is night fishing ;)

Edited by Catt
Operator error
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The only rod on that list that I've used is the 6'8" Mojo Bass Worm n Jig Rod, I've had no problems feeling the bottom with it. It's a great rod for the money and I wouldn't hesitate to make that purchase again! It's got a really nice tip on it too that makes pinpoint cast a breeze. 

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There is not a limit to how much money you can spend in a quest for "sensitivity" in a rod.  Good luck in your quest.   Me - I currently use a 7'2" Fenwick AETOS - MH with an extra fast tip for most of my bottom contact fishing.    Decide how much you are willing to spend - add another $50 or $60 bucks and the go looking.

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8 hours ago, adrenalizd said:

The only one of those rods that I have is the mojo,  I have a couple in different sizes and actions.   They are great rods but I would also check out the daiwa tatula rods. I like them better.  As far as reading the bottom what kind of line and what # are you using? I am asking because I can read the bottom with an ugly stick if I am using braid,  mono however depending on the # depends on which rod I can really feel it with. I am really liking the yo-zuri hybrid line that roadwarrior recommended.  There are plenty of people on here that know way more than I do that I am sure will give you great advice but the cheapest way to change how the bottom feels is with line. 

Thanks for replying.  I am currently using 12lb mono and a pretty cheap brand at that.  I figured I was going to be replacing it often while learning the reel.  I did just purchase some yozuri hybrid soft in 15lb and was planning on despoiling before my next outing.  I never even considered the line affecting feel.  Thanks for pointing that out!

7 hours ago, Turkey sandwich said:

Welcome to the forum!  Jig and Texas rig fishing are almost essential skills.  There are a few things that can heavily influence the feel.  A sensitive fast or extra fast action rod is helpful, as are low stretch lines like braid and the appropriate size/shaped weight for the depth and he cover you're fishing.  There is also a big difference between say, an inexpensive Wal-Mart rod and a gen 2 Mojo Bass or Tatula, Aetos, etc. and that better stick will most definitely have a lighter feel with a more responsive blank, but....

the technique to fishing bottom contact baits is much, much more important and once you get the technique down, you'll appreciate the better tools much, much more.  I (like many other forum members, I'm sure) learned to fish jigs and T-rigs with old fiberglass and cheap slower actioned graphite.   The rod you're working while not a Cadillac, is still much better than the Ugly Sticks lots of us used and can make a decent rod to learn on (it being shorter than 7'-7'3 rods might sacrifice some casting distance, but it'll make accurate, close presentations and skipping much, much easier).

When fishing a jig, C-rig, T-rig, drop shot, or any other bottom contact bait, you need to remember that it's a bottom contact bait.  I've spent a lot of time over the past few years teaching friends and family members to fish and the biggest mistake I see them (and tons of people with lots of experience get lazy/distracted and do this, too) making is relying on the reel to move the bait.  When fishing these techniques, the general rule is that you should be moving your bait with the rod, and not the reel.  There are exceptions, but this is the general rule.  The reel is essentially just there to collect line and reel down quickly once a fish strikes to remove slack before the hook set.  With the bait on the bottom (and I suggest learning with something like 3/8 oz), lift the rod tip slowly, allowing the jig to bump into the gravel, sticks, roots, tires, or whatever is down there.  You'll feel every time that jig hits something.  Over time, you'll learn to differentiate a soft bottom from gravel, wood, weeds, etc., it just takes patience and a little practice.  

Another mistake I've seen and have been guilty of is losing a good connection to the bait (which will mess up your sensitivity badly) and it can happen a few ways.  First, a relaxed palmed grip on the reel will allow you to feel a lot better than a death grip.  This isn't typically a fast moving bait with resistance like a spinnerbait or crankbait where you really have hang on.  Relax, you'll feel more subtle bites and bottom features.  Second, don't allow too much slack to build up.  Even the best rods fished with braid will have zero feel if the line is totally slack.  This is where terms like "semi-slack" and "tight line" come into play.  Third, keeping the rod angled up or to the side will transmit more "feel" than if you're pointed straight at your jig (remember, use the rod to move your bait).  The fourth way that I was guilty of losing connection was that for years I failed to consistently watch my line.  When fishing a semi-slack presentation, line watching is the difference between detecting subtle bites versus feeling the bottom.  For this, braid has made life way easier.  

 

I know this is a lot, but it should troubleshoot most feel issues.  Also, as @adrenalizd mentioned, spooling with braid and fishing a FC or Copolymer leader is by far the most cost effective upgrade that will make a noticeable difference. 

 

These are all great points!  Thank you for taking the time to share all the info.  I will start with line changes and see how it goes  

2 hours ago, Catt said:

Sensitivity in my opinion has more to do with your handles & brain.

The rod & line can only do so much, the rest is up to you to interpret!

The fastest teacher is night fishing ;)

Great point!  I can't help but think of the blindfold scene from karate kid?  But it is true. Take away one sense and the others tend to increase. Thanks for the reply!

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14 hours ago, LakeDaze said:

Would it be worth it to drop $100-130 on a nicer rod?

ive never fished your combo but - stick with what you have for a while until you feel comfortable and know exactly what you want in your replacement rod. but yeah, it would be worth it to upgrade if you decide youre going to be fishing for years to come. 

i'd recommend eventually spending over $100 on the baitcaster too. id recommend shimano or daiwa. i think you will appreciate the upgrade there maybe more so than the on the rod.  maybe you can sell your combo later or give it to a friend and get them into fishing.

 

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1 hour ago, bigfruits said:

ive never fished your combo but - stick with what you have for a while until you feel comfortable and know exactly what you want in your replacement rod. but yeah, it would be worth it to upgrade if you decide youre going to be fishing for years to come. 

i'd recommend eventually spending over $100 on the baitcaster too. id recommend shimano or daiwa. i think you will appreciate the upgrade there maybe more so than the on the rod.  maybe you can sell your combo later or give it to a friend and get them into fishing.

 

Definitely gonna upgrade that too?. The good thing for me is I haven't fished any better equipment yet so I don't know any better.  Thanks for the suggestion!

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You are very welcome! By the way a couple of guys on the lake today had vengeance rods so I got to handle one.  It's a pretty nice rod.  It was actually more sensitive then I thought it would be.  If you decide to upgrade later I would still keep that rod,  I could see quite a few uses for it. 

Out of my rods,  I feel that my tatlua rods are the most sensitive,  but I honestly think my veritas edges out my mojo for sensitivity.  I think the biggest difference between the vengeance and my other rods was the accuracy.  I can pin point my other rods but with the vengeance I was within a couple of feet.  Not bad at all,  especially at the price. Of course if I had put my reel on the rod the accuracy may have went up some as the brakes weren't set up quite like mine are and I didn't want to adjust someone else's reel.

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On September 23, 2016 at 9:01 AM, Catt said:

Sensitivity in my opinion has more to do with your hands & brain.

The rod & line can only do so much, the rest is up to you to interpret!

The fastest teacher is night fishing ;)

I agree with this. I went midnight fishing the other night for the first time, couldn't see my hand in front of my face. Threw a Texas rigged 12 inch worm with a bullet weight and yeah your other senses wake up! Couldn't believe what I could feel through my rod! And did it for a couple hours, really was incredible. Since that one time it has made a difference. Truly awesome!!

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Line has something to do with feel also. I use either 12# Seagur Invizix or 30# power Pro braid with a 12# Seagur Invizix leader for T-Rigs and Jigs. I pond fish so not a lot of laydowns 

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So a little update. I swapped line to yozuri hybrid soft and could definitely tell the difference over the cheap mono I had before. I also tightened up the slack a bit while throwing t-rigged senkos and felt more bites.  Thank you all for the input.  It's helped a lot and is much appreciated!

shaun

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If and when you are ready to make an upgrade the Mojo is good, but here is my suggestion.

First determine your budget, If your budget allows you to spend up to $120, then seriously look at the Dobyns Fury series rods for $100. If you can spend up to $175 look at the Dobyns Sierra rods and rods made by Irod called the Genesis II series.

Now perhaps you decide  "upgrade" is the wrong word and you decide to add to your arsenal. I would suggest looking at the same rods but at a rod that covered another technique. The rod you have is a bit on the stiffer side, all Abu Garcia's run a bit heavy in action including my Veritas rods. Your rod specs 3/8 to 1 ounce,  which means it is a great texas rig, carolina rig, jig rod, but only if you are fishing lures or rigs that have a 3/8 ounce or larger weight. If you threw a 1/4 ounce texas rigged worm or jig you will have a hard time feeling it. That is fine if we build you an arsenal to complement it.

I would pick up a 6'6 to 7 foot medium power, fast action spinning rod to throw lighter baits on, like Sencos, Ned Rigs, drop shots, and lightweight texas rigs, along with grubs, tubes and a host of other light weight ( anything between no weight to 3/8 ounces) lures.

Along with that, I would look at the Dobyns and Irods for a 7 foot medium power moderate action baitcaster to throw baits that have treble hooks on them. The moderate taper keeps you from tearing the hooks out of the fish's mouth while fighting it.  Look at the Irod Genesis Gabe Rip Rap Special it is a IRG 703cc, a Dobyns Fury FR705CB,and of course an Abu Garcia Veritas 2 Winch 7 foot medium moderate rod. These rods will cover your crankbaits,rattle traps and a lot more.

This approach will allow you to successfully fish a bunch of the standard bass techniques with only 3 rods. Now under my deck is about 14 more, but I am afflicted with bassitis...

Others here have correctly steered you to baitcasting reels that hover around $100. This is a price point that you get some real workhorse reels. If you can find a deal on a Daiwa Exceler reel for $60 it is worth it. Do not pay over $75. I love the reel and fish two of them.  Daiwa Tatulas are the next step up, They retail between $120 and $175 depending on the model. You can easily purchase a standard Tatula off the internet for $100.  A Tatula CT  ( the newer slightly smaller version) can be purchased for $129.  These are top notch reels that compare well to other brand's $250 reels.. I own 7 of these. I sold off a bunch of Shimano's and Bass Pro Shops reels and replaced them with Daiwas. I like they drag adjustment outside the reel, they cast really well and have a very smooth drag while fighting a large fish. My equipment gets tested each year as I fish for large smallmouth bass in clear lakes, largemouth bass here in MD.'s tidal rivers as well as big stripers here as well.  I hope this helps 

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My worm rod use to be a 5'6" med hvy fiberglass Lews Speed Stick . I had no problem feeling light taps  .Hook setting ,that was a different story . Reel down and cross their eyes , but hey , it worked .  Caught thousands of bass on it .

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On 9/30/2016 at 11:43 PM, fishnkamp said:

If and when you are ready to make an upgrade the Mojo is good, but here is my suggestion.

First determine your budget, If your budget allows you to spend up to $120, then seriously look at the Dobyns Fury series rods for $100. If you can spend up to $175 look at the Dobyns Sierra rods and rods made by Irod called the Genesis II series.

Now perhaps you decide  "upgrade" is the wrong word and you decide to add to your arsenal. I would suggest looking at the same rods but at a rod that covered another technique. The rod you have is a bit on the stiffer side, all Abu Garcia's run a bit heavy in action including my Veritas rods. Your rod specs 3/8 to 1 ounce,  which means it is a great texas rig, carolina rig, jig rod, but only if you are fishing lures or rigs that have a 3/8 ounce or larger weight. If you threw a 1/4 ounce texas rigged worm or jig you will have a hard time feeling it. That is fine if we build you an arsenal to complement it.

I would pick up a 6'6 to 7 foot medium power, fast action spinning rod to throw lighter baits on, like Sencos, Ned Rigs, drop shots, and lightweight texas rigs, along with grubs, tubes and a host of other light weight ( anything between no weight to 3/8 ounces) lures.

Along with that, I would look at the Dobyns and Irods for a 7 foot medium power moderate action baitcaster to throw baits that have treble hooks on them. The moderate taper keeps you from tearing the hooks out of the fish's mouth while fighting it.  Look at the Irod Genesis Gabe Rip Rap Special it is a IRG 703cc, a Dobyns Fury FR705CB,and of course an Abu Garcia Veritas 2 Winch 7 foot medium moderate rod. These rods will cover your crankbaits,rattle traps and a lot more.

This approach will allow you to successfully fish a bunch of the standard bass techniques with only 3 rods. Now under my deck is about 14 more, but I am afflicted with bassitis...

Others here have correctly steered you to baitcasting reels that hover around $100. This is a price point that you get some real workhorse reels. If you can find a deal on a Daiwa Exceler reel for $60 it is worth it. Do not pay over $75. I love the reel and fish two of them.  Daiwa Tatulas are the next step up, They retail between $120 and $175 depending on the model. You can easily purchase a standard Tatula off the internet for $100.  A Tatula CT  ( the newer slightly smaller version) can be purchased for $129.  These are top notch reels that compare well to other brand's $250 reels.. I own 7 of these. I sold off a bunch of Shimano's and Bass Pro Shops reels and replaced them with Daiwas. I like they drag adjustment outside the reel, they cast really well and have a very smooth drag while fighting a large fish. My equipment gets tested each year as I fish for large smallmouth bass in clear lakes, largemouth bass here in MD.'s tidal rivers as well as big stripers here as well.  I hope this helps 

Thanks for the advice!  I had already decided on the 3 rod system:) It works with my situation best as I'm mostly shore fishing at the moment. When I bought my black max combo I also bought an Abu cardinal reel vengeance rod spinning combo.  I actually went with the intent of getting just a spinning combo but after the rebates I got both combos under 100 bucks. The bait caster feels much more comfortable in almost all aspects so all I use the spinner for so far is drop shot and panfish lures.  Since I changed to better quality line as well as cleaning up my technique a bit I'm feeling a bit better about my current set up so I'm gonna piece together a new one:). I am definitely leaning towards the tatula line of reels as they get praised multiple times in just about every reel post on here.  if only the rod was as easy to decide:). I'm glad I'm not in a rush so I can research all my options.  I appreciate the input as well as suggestions. 

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Here is a way to improve your spinning rod setup. Spool about 1/2 up with some decent 14 pound mono. I like Stren original clear blue but BPS Excel is cheap to purchase as well. Now lget a spool of Berkley Original or Fused FireLine in 14 pound test. I usually use their neon lime or green color. I use a double uni knot to tie the two lines together. By the way the FireLine 14 pound test is the same diameter as 6 or 8 pound mono.  Now if you want to get a little less visible in clear water tie on a leader of say 8 or 10 pound test mono, P Line Cxx in moss green or Fluoro line. You will be amazed how well the FireLine will play on your reel.

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Like I've seen the Dobyns fury is an awesome rod right around the $100 price range. I use one for my c rig rod and it is sensitive enough for me when compared to my custom rods. Bought it to quickly replace a broken rod with plans of selling it fast but ended up keeping a spot in my arsenal. On feeling the bottom palming the reel where you can touch the blank above the reel as well as touch the line if you like makes a huge difference. Once you fish more and more you can tell the difference between rock, wood, sandy bottom and what not. I use 17lb flouro and have no issues with sensitivity from my fury.

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So a little update, mostly to help future readers. I again changed line to 12lb. Seaguar invisix, and that again increased sensitivity for me. After that I purchased a Daiwa Tatula XT 7'1" MH, and paired it with a Tatula CT TypeR, again spooled with invisix. I can say the sensitivity in the tatula is noticeably better.  I took both the vengeance and the Tatula out on a crystal clear day with no wind and when the bite slowed down I rigged a 3/8 oz jig on both of them and dragged them over rocks and what little wood I could find. The vengeance had a "dull" feel when the jig hit structure, while the Tatula felt much more crisp. That being said, I could still feel the bottom with the vengeance. I also picked up a Dobyns fury crankbait rod, and I love that rod. I wish I spent the extra money and got a fury for my "single hook" rod.  In the end, I spent 40 bucks on my blackmax/vengeance combo, and I still feel it was worth every penny. I still use it. I put braid on it and use it for pitching frogs.  But for my workhorse rod/reel, I'm glad I upgraded.  My arsenal now consists of the following:

1.  7'1" MHF Tatula XT/Tatula CT Type R for jigs, T rigs, C rigs, soft swimbaits and spinner baits. 

2.  7' MHM Dobyns fury crank rod/Tatula CT Type R for crank baits, lipless cranks, jerk baits and top waters. I spooled this with big game mono so I can use it for top water, and most of my lakes are pretty shallow so I don't need to get the cranks and jerks too deep. 

3.  6'6" MM Abu Garcia vengeance/cardinal combo for light weight and finesse. I spooled this with fire line and use a leader depending on application.

4. 6'10" MHF Abu Garcia vengeance/Blackmax combo used for top water frogs. 

 

I find that these 4 (mainly the first 3) currently fit my needs quite well. As I gain more experience, I can find flaws within each one for certain techniques, but not to the extent I feel I need another setup...yet:). I hope the info in this thread helps others looking for a little advice, and again, I'd like to thank everyone that shared their experience and opinions. And please, if anyone has any additional advice on my setups feel free to post it up. I still have a lot of learning to do!

 

shaun

 

 

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Great Shaun those will serve you well/

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