Rod Actions, Braided Line, and Eliminating Backlashes

Top Bass Fishing Questions
Viewer submitted questions about bass fishing are answered right here! The ninth in a series. Send us your bass fishing questions and we'll answer them.

Keri: There you go. Woohoo. Fish on a chatterbait. Sorry.

Glenn: Buzz bait.

Keri: Buzz bait. Buzz bait fish.

Glenn: Come here.

Keri: Buzz bait. Oh, that's a nice one too.

Glenn: Here we go.

Keri: Really nice one.

Glenn: You notice the sun's out?

Keri: Yeah.

Glenn: No clouds.

Keri: Bright sky.

Glenn: Yeah.

Keri: No wind.

Glenn: Don't stop fishing these just because the sun came out. Boy, you got them right in the roof of the mouth.

Keri: Right where you're supposed to catch them.

Glenn: There we go. All right.

Keri: Nice little guy.

Glenn: Let you go.

Hey, folks. Glenn May here with and today, we're gonna answer some questions that were sent in by viewers like you about bass fishing. And hopefully, it's a question you either sent in or maybe a question that you've had and you've been wanting an answer to it. Starting with this one.

Question: "Hey, Glenn. What is rod action and what are the benefits to a fast action rod?"

Answer: Yeah. There's a lot of confusion around this and I'm glad you asked that because there's two things when you're talking about a rod. You're talking about a rod power and you're also talking about the rod action. And both of them refer to the amount of bend that the rod has. So, it can get confusing. Rod power, that is talking about the length of the rod overall and the strength of the rod. The heavier the power it is, the less it bends, so the stiffer and the stronger that it is.

The action refers to the tip of the rod, the taper at the tip of the rod. A light or moderate action rod has a lot more flex and give and bend at the tip than say a fast or extra fast action rod. That has a lot less bend, especially extra fast action rod has very little band at the tip. Now, the action, the lighter the action is, the more sensitivity it has, but of course, it has less strength. So, it's a little more difficult to control a fish or control a lure. So, a good balance between a light or moderate action rod and say an extra fast action rod is a fast action rod. That's a good blend between sensitivity and strength that's gonna enable you to make more accurate casts while still having the sensitivity and the strength you need for detecting those subtle bites and fighting the fish back to the boat.

Here's a great question from a young angler.

Question: "Are there any benefits to using braided line for topwater fishing?"

Answer: Yeah. Actually, there is, in some circumstances. Braid is not a universal line. I wanna make that clear. So, I don't use it for all topwater fishing, but braid is a really good line to use when you're fishing in and around vegetation and woody cover. So, for that reason you'll see me using braid when I'm fishing topwater baits like frogs and spoons and even buzz baits when I'm going around in and around this kind of cover. When a fish comes up out of that cover, say a matted vegetation and I'm fishing a frog over the top of it, they'll grab it and go right back down. And you've got to use that braided line to be able to cut through that weeds and get that fish back out of that cover. So, braid is a really good choice for those situations when I'm fishing topwater baits.

There we go. Strong fish. That's a real strong fish. Here we go. Give me your face. You've been eating. Man, hooked him right at the roof of the mouth, too. You think he wanted that? He's been eating. Took that worm. Here I go. Just saw it swimming off. Never felt the bite. All right, kid. Let's not fall over. All right. Let ya go.

Here's a question from a gentleman down in Louisiana.

Question: He asked, "Glenn, why do you fish? What's your motivation?"

Answer: Well, that's a real personal question and I can sit here and talk about fishing all day long. I'm like that, but let's see if I can't summarize it quickly in maybe four main points. First of all, fishing for me is a release, it's an escape. It's a form of relaxation. I like to get away from the hustle and bustle the din and clatter of the city, the noise of just the traffic, TV, phone, all that, all those distractions. I like to just get out and just listen to the silence of nature. I just love that. Sometimes I'll just be quiet and sit there and just listen to how quiet it is. I really enjoy that. I also like to watch the wildlife, be it under the water or the different types of aquatic and creatures and the turtles, whatever they are. So, what's flying around. In my neck of the woods, I see a lot of eagles and hawks and albatrosses. I've even seen an albino owl, anything of the deer, elk, beaver, foxes. I've seen coyotes, all kinds of just wildlife in their natural habitat. I really do enjoy that.

Another reason is the time I get to spend with my family and friends on the water. There's nothing that compares to that. I really enjoy just having that quality time with my friends and with my family. I started fishing when I was three years old. My dad didn't take just me out, he took the whole family out. We went as a family and that really bonded us, bonded us together a lot. And I still like going out fishing with my dad and with my sister and with my mom. And my mom loves fishing too. It's in our DNA and I love to take everybody out. My wife loves fishing probably more than me. And so the time that we get to spend together on the water's priceless for me. We really don't get time to sit down and talk otherwise because we're so busy in our lives. So, that I really enjoy.

Another aspect of it is just tournament fishing. I enjoy that. I'm not into it as much as I used to, but I still enjoy going on fish tournaments because yeah, I'd like to see how I do against my friends on any given day and who can catch the most fish during that time. I learn a lot because sometimes I don't do as well and my friends will tell me exactly what they were doing and how they did it and that helps me become a better angler. Plus I get to see a lot of people that maybe I don't get to see very often. So, there's that part of it as well. So, I enjoy that piece of it as well. So, those are just some of the reasons why I like fishing. There's plenty more, but those are the main ones.

Question: Here's a question about braided line. "I love to fish with braided line but hate it when I backlash and try to pull it out. The line seems to just embed itself deeper and deeper with each pull until it's impossible to get out. Do you got any tips?"

Answer: Yeah. There's a couple of things you can do here. First of all, when you spool the braid onto the reel, crank your drag all the way down and grab a hold of that line real tight and crank it on as tight as you can. I've got a video that actually shows how to do this. You can go in greater detail there, but what you're trying to do here is once you get it on, you can't even get your fingernail in between the line. What that does is it prevents the line from embedding itself, like you just mentioned, when you get a backlash. So, it makes it a lot easier. Now, granted when you're fishing and you get 30, 40 lines of loose line on top, 30, 40 yards of loose line on top when you're fishing and yeah, you'll get backlashes, but beyond that, you've got that packed line and it's gonna prevent that line from embedding itself down in there. So, that's the number one trick I can give you.

Another thing that some people like to do is you spool off 50, 60 yards of line or so and put a piece of tape across the braid. What that does is at the very least is it helps prevent the line from tangling up and backlashing beyond that point. That line will hit that tape and usually, it will stop at that point. So, it will limit the amount of backlash that you have to untangle.

Look at that. I was swimming the worm. Swimming it. There we go. Swimming the worm. That's how we do it. Swimming it. Leave it right there. Boy, that hook just fell right out.

Question: All right. Here's a question that I got on the forums because I actually did this on the forums. "You recently discussed a survey about rod links and actions and also about soft plastic hooks. Can you show that again?" Yeah. Actually, I can. Here, take a look.

Question: Question one. "If you could only use one rod length for all your bass fishing, what would it be?"

Answer: The overwhelming majority picked seven foot. Now, notice I only had four choices on there and there's other links available, but given the option of a six-foot, six and a half foot, seven or seven and a half foot, the majority of them picked seven foot.

Question: The next question. "If you could only use one rod power for all your bass fishing, what would it be? A medium, medium heavy or heavy?"

Answer: And again, just an overwhelming majority, medium heavy. So, you get an idea here of a seven-foot, medium heavy power rod is probably a really good choice for bass fishing.


Question: And then the final question. "If you could only use one hook type for all your bass fishing, what would it be?"

Answer: And this was a little more mixed results mainly because a lot of people fish a lot of different techniques and they have their favorite ways, but the one that came out and the winner was extra wide gap amongst a choice of offset shank, straight shank, wide gap, and extra wide gap hook.

So, a lot of people use an extra wide gap hook, myself included. But I also use a variety of other hooks. Just depends on the situation. So, I think that really explains why there's kind of mixed results in that one. So, I hope that answers your question and I hope that answers all your questions there. I'm running out of time right here. So, we'll get to the rest of your questions on another video. And please, if you have any other questions for me, email me right here at the bottom and I'll get to them as soon as I can. For more tips and tricks like this, visit