You know the right rod will make you a better angler? Yeah. You know, some guys don't quite make the connection. For example, how many fish have you caught or actually hooked, but they've come unbuttoned before you can get 'em to you? Or how many bites did you...Nah, you weren't sure whether or not it was a bite, kind of felt mushy. You weren't sure if it was a bite or a weed, or how many bites did you actually miss? Think about it another way, fishing rods are designed for different purposes. There's a whole wide variety of fishing rods for bass fishing, and you got different techniques, different lures, and it's kind of like golf clubs really. When you go golfing, you don't bring just one club, you bring a bunch because you're going to encounter different situations, and there's different clubs suited for each of those situations. And it's much the same with bass fishing.
You know, a rod that's really good for casting long distances isn't as good for say, short accurate pass. Or a rod that's really good for throwing small baits, with small treble hooks is not really a good rod for flipping and pitching heavier lures with strong thick hooks into thick cover. So, how do you decide? You know, you've got different power ratings, medium, medium-heavy, heavy-heavy, like, what is that? And to make things even more confusing, there aren't any set standards. One manufacturer's medium-heavy is another one's heavy, for example. So, add to that, there's also some personal preferences. You know, guys with taller statues tend to have longer rods. It works better for them. The guys that are shorter, those longer rods are a little bit unwieldy, a little bit more difficult to use. So, a shorter rod will work, even though both rods might be a medium-heavy fast-action rod. But one guy will say, "Use a longer rod," while the other guy will tell you to use a shorter rod. So, how do you decide what rods to get?
Well, let me help you out with some of that. First of all, I'm gonna talk about rod components, because that's really going to determine which rod is right for you, both from a budget standpoint and also what are some of the characteristics that you wanna look for the purpose you think you're trying to get the rod for. And lastly, I'm gonna talk about four different techniques that I use in bass fishing, and the recommended rods are, like, the best rods for those type of purposes, just to give you the general direction, give you an idea of what you should get. So, first of all, rods, let's talk about the components starting with the rod blank. The blanks, really, when it comes to bass fishing, there's two different materials they make the blanks out of. It's either graphite or fiberglass. Fiberglass used to be the only game in town. Used to be all rods were made out of fiberglass. And for good reason, they're flexible, they're forgiving, they're really good at keeping fish pinned, but they are a little bit heavy, and they're not very sensitive. Just fiberglass isn't a good conductor. So, it has its drawbacks, but it still has its purpose in bass fishing, and we'll get to that in a minute. Graphite, on the other hand, the rods are lightweight, they're stiffer, they're more sensitive, but they're not the all being of all things.
You know, marketers like to talk about graphite rods in terms of modulus. You know, modulus is basically, it's a marketing type term that kind of tells you, like, how much graphite, or the way the graphite is woven into the material to make the rods. I'm being general here guys. If you're, you know, an astute rod builder, you'll know I'm kind of skimming on the top here. I'm not gonna dive into all of the mechanics of this just to, you know, give you a general idea of what I'm talking about. But the marketers, they want you to believe the higher the modulus, the better the rod. Well, yes, with a caveat. So, in general, yes, the higher the modulus, the lighter the rod, the more sensitive it is. However, the higher the modulus also the more brittle it is. So, you know, more fragile if you wanna look at it that way. But if you're a shore angler, if you whack the rod against a branch or along a dock or something, or if you're in a boat, and you hit it against the console, or on your trolling motor, you've created a weak spot in that rod, and it may snap on you on a hook set, or fighting a fish back to you. If you have a really high modulus rod. So, you gotta be careful about that. So, what manufacturers have done is a couple different things to combat that.
One of 'em is to blend graphite and fiberglass, and they make what's called a composite rod. Composite rods have been around a long time. This is nothing new. A matter of fact, my first full set of rods that I was able to afford when I got outta college was all composite. They're inexpensive. So, it's a great rod to use, and it's got a lot of the characteristics of both. It's got the flexibility and the durability of fiberglass, and it's got a lot of the sensitivity and the lightweight from graphite. So, those work pretty well. But you also are blending in some of the negative characteristics of those two. Primarily, you lose sensitivity. That's kind of the key thing. And some of the strength that you see in graphite, you're losing some of that, which is desirable a lot in bass fishing, but they make good rods. But there's a place in it in bass fishing, and I'll explain to that in just a second. One other thing that they're doing, I shouldn't say one, but one of the things they're also doing, the manufacturers, to improve this brittleness of graphite rods, is they're incorporating carbon fiber into the rods.
A lot of it is marketing. You gotta be careful about that. Some rod manufacturers will say, "Hey, it's got carbon fiber in it." But really what it is, is just basically a thin layer of paper that wraps around the outside of the rod that is made outta carbon fiber. But it really structurally doesn't do much. It's more of, you know, eye candy. But they'll claim, hey, it's got carbon fiber. Some of the mount rod manufacturers are actually incorporating carbon fiber into the material, weave it into the material, and they're using that as part of the, you know, it's sort of a graphite carbon fiber blend in the rods. And that makes 'em lighter and more durable. And that is, you know, actually, that's some of the better rods out there built that way. You can tell when they're doing that by the price. Carbon fiber is expensive. And so, typically, the higher price rods that say they have carbon fiber in them, they actually have them as part of the integrated material that they're using to build the rod blanks. Also between manufacturers, they have different ways of building the rods. Some of them are really high-tech, and using manufacturing processes that are pretty advanced. Some of them have different curing and drying processes, and it can go on and on.
I'm not gonna get into all the specifics, but just understand the point that I'm trying to make here, long-winded way of saying it's real difficult to compare one rod from a manufacturer to another rod from manufacturer, even though the specs may be the same, the prices may be different. Part of the reason is because of, you know, what I've just told you. Another reason is the line guides, the line guides to me are just as critical as the rod blank, if not more. So, you can take a rod blank that's really well made, and kind of ruin it by putting average line guides on it, and vice versa. You can take an average rod blank and improve it by putting better line guides on it. And prices vary greatly with line guides, and that's going to affect the cost of the rods. Let me give you an example. Oh, before I get into that if you are investigating, you're probably watching this video because you're wanna learn a lot about rods, and you may have come across some information that tells you that braid doesn't work well with line guides. Braid can damage the rod guides, can, you know, put a V in them, or the rod guides can get damaged to the point where now they're damaging the line from braid. That sort of stuff. That used to be an issue, back when braid started gaining popularity of bass fishing in the early 2000s, you bet.
The rods weren't quite designed...The line guides weren't designed really to handle braid in that matter. And a lot of the braid back then was just four strands, and that enabled them to get a lot of dirt and mucking, you know, in between the weaves, just from the lakes, and it made it coarser. And they, yeah, kind of like acted like sandpaper on the line guides, and actually would cut a groove into the line guides. Well, much of that is, if not all of it, is gone now, for two reasons. Number one, lines now are eight strand, for the most part, you know, braid is. And the manufacturers have gotten better making them smoother, so they glide through the guides better, and they don't cause any damage. That's one, but the other is the line guides, the inserts themselves, the rings are way better than they used to be. Now they're making it on material that are very strong. Things like stainless steel, zirconium, [inaudible 00:09:31], you know, SIC, and a bunch of other, you know, types of materials. The bottom line is that they're very strong now and durable, and that problem with line guides and braid is gone now.
So, if you see any of that, just understand that's old history, but that doesn't apply to the new rods of today. And this problem kind of went away about 10 years ago. It really hasn't been around anymore. So, just wanted to dispel that myth. But these materials I told you about, that can also increase the price. You know, a line guide made out of titanium that adds price. There's also a couple of guides you need to pay attention to. The old standard line guides that you see on most rods and reels have been around for years and decades, and they still work great. There's not a problem with them. But of recent years, you see a lot more mini micro-guides that started coming about 15 years ago, and you see 'em a lot now in rods. The difference between mini and micro, micro-guides are the smallest, they're very tiny, and the mini are like a step between the micro and the standard size. Why you wanna go to those is a couple of reasons. They are lighter, so it makes the rod lighter, it's more sensitive, they're closer to the blank. So, they can transmit sensitivity a lot better. And because they're smaller, you can add more guides on the rod, and that aids in castability and control, better accuracy, plus it keeps the line off the blank when you're fighting the fish.
So, it's not touching the blank, which could damage the line. So, there's lots of benefits to using them. The problem is, is with micro-guides, a lot of guys like to use braid the leader, and they have a knot in there. I personally don't use leader, but that's a choice some people like to do. And the knots have a problem going through those micro-guides because they're so small. So, the mini-guides are a little bit bigger. They work just fine. If you're a person that likes to use knots and leaders, the mini-guides are the way to go for you. Again, nothing wrong with the regular-size guides, but there's a lot of benefits to the smaller ones. Another component to look at are the reel seats. There's really three main materials of the reel seats. You'll still find some made out of plastic or plastic materials, they're cheaper. They're not as sensitive, they're not as lightweight, but if you're on a budget, that's the way to go. Just understand they're not very durable either. At some point, the reel seat is going to crack, not right away, but in a few years or so, depending on how much you use 'em, they're gonna end up cracking. I know because I've had reels like that, and that's exactly what happens.
Most reel seats are made outta graphite these days, and that's, you know, it's the standard. They're strong, durable, lightweight, sensitive, they do everything you need. Understand that these seats also...You'll notice there's kind of a hole underneath them and that's by design. You can see there's the blank right there, and that's where your fingers rest. So, you have direct contact with the blank, and that gives you more sensitivity and feel. But it does make a difference with the material that the reel seat is made of, because it can dampen that, for example, if it's plastic. The best of the best, of course, is carbon fiber reel seats. These are the ultimate, they're super lightweight, they're very strong and super sensitive, but they're also very expensive. So, you only see those in the higher-priced rods. But man, they're a dream. If you've been using the graphite reel seats for, you know, a long time, and you're looking to upgrade, there is definitely a difference, and I would recommend it. I have a few, I can't afford a bunch of 'em, but a few rods I have, I have the graphite, I have the carbon fiber reel seats, and man, do I like them. It's just if you can afford 'em, they're nice, but the graphite, there's nothing wrong with them. Lastly, I wanna talk about the handles themselves.
This is where your hand grips a whole of the rod. They're made out of three main materials for bass fishing, EVA foam, cork, and there's a rubber-like material that you'd see on golf clubs. Going back to the golf club analogy, these are more of a personal preference. There's not really a right answer here, but I'll tell you about the three different ones to help you decide which ones you like. The cork has been around the longest as far as what's been used on rods for decades. Cork is durable, it's sensitive, and it does performs well. It's very comfortable. A lot of guys don't like cork because over time it gets dirty and looks grimy, and just aesthetically doesn't look very pleasing, and they're kind of a pain to clean. You can clean 'em, and make them look new again, but it takes a little bit of work. The EVA foam solves all that, because for the most part, they're black, and it hides all the dirt and grime. The problem with EVA foam is that it's not as durable as cork, and it tends to...You know, you get pitted, and little chunks come out of it over time. Again, more aesthetics than it is functionality.
So, it's not really an issue, but some guys don't like 'em for that reason. And then also you've got the rubber grips. The rubber grips are great. Some guys really like 'em because if they fish in the rain a lot, or their hands are always wet, those grips, you know, it's not gonna slip. Or if you have a hard time gripping the rod, those rubber grips do a really good job of just keeping the rod from slipping outta your hands. I've used all three. I have rods with all three. My preference is between EVA foam and cork. I like them both. I don't really have a significant preference to either of them. The rubber grips I don't like because I feel that deadens the feel of the rod, just me, I just don't feel that they're sensitive. However, the key thing that I look at, whether it's foam or any of these, is I want as little of that material on the rod as possible for a couple reasons. One, I only need it where my hand is grabbing the rod. I don't need it to extend the entire length of the rod with the exception of crankbait rods because that requires two-hand casting.
So, you need, you know, a long handle, so you can grip 'em both hands. Otherwise, split grip is what I really like, because I just have the area where my hand's holding onto it. I don't need the rest of it because, if there's a bunch of extra material there where my hand is never gonna touch, it just adds weight to the rod, and it kind of diminishes its sensitivity as well, just my opinion. But that's, I find that split grip rods are much better, they're lighter, they're easier to use, and I'm not paying for material that I'm not going to use. To me, a rod is a tool, not something you put up on the wall and admire. So, functionality is important to me. So, that's some of the components there. The cost between those three different handle types is marginal, so that isn't really going to affect the cost of a rod, but the other components definitely for sure. So, those are the key things to look at when you're shopping for rods. Now let's talk about the purposes, different techniques and lures, and my recommendations for rods to use for those.
Let's start off with spinner baits, chatterbaits, and buzzbaits. Because you're gonna be casting all day long with these rods and lots of casting, casting, casting with these baits, you'll want something that's lightweight, otherwise, you're gonna be fatigued at the end of the day by wielding this heavy rod. Depending on how you fish it, kind of, now we shift into, like, the rod length. The longer rods you can cast farther with, the shorter rods are better for short accurate target casting. So, the shorter rods meaning 6'8 to 7-foot are great when you're going along the shoreline, and you're just doing underhand casts, and the quick little pitch and flips to, you know, specific targets. The shorter rod is easier typically because the rod is getting down towards the surface of the water, and with a longer rod, you're gonna keep hitting it, and that interferes with your cast. The longer rods, of course, are better for long distance. So, you gotta think about that plus your stature as well. From a strength standpoint, a medium-heavy power rod is best because these lures have a single hook. Typically they're four rod or larger hook, stout hooks. So, you need that backbone to be able to set the hook and control the fish, and keeping it pinned while you get 'em back to you.
So, a medium-heavy rod, you still want a flexible tip for that casting. So, a moderate to fast action tip is what you want. So, my recommendation for a best all-around rod for these type of lures would be a 7-foot to 7'3 medium-heavy power, fast action rod. Okay, let's talk about topwater lures and crankbaits. Lightweight top, you know, like, chuggers, poppers, things like that. Not like the heavier lures like a Zara Spook. But most topwater lures and crankbaits, with these, again, you're gonna be casting repeatedly all day long, so a lighter weight rod is better, so you won't be so fatigued. A lot of these also you're casting long distances, so a longer rod makes sense with these. So, like, a seven-and-a-half foot rod somewhere in that, you know, seven to seven-and-a-half foot rod is better in this instance. Because you're throwing light lures with small treble hooks, you need first of all a rod that's got a lot of flax to be able to make that cast, but also that flexibility will have a lot of gift to it, while you're fighting the fish back to the boat, and won't rip those hooks out. With a stiffer rod, you have the chance of that fish coming unpinned because he's using the rod literally as leverage to rip the hooks free.
So, for this purpose, this is where the fiberglass rods or the composite rods are a better choice for fishing these lures. The sensitivity is still there, because a lot of times when the fish bite these baits, you feel 'em. Man they hit really hard. But a composite rod, I feel I'd lean a little more in on the composite rods, mainly because when you're fishing crankbaits, sometimes the difference between pebble and gravel bottoms, or clay, or mud bottoms is the difference between catching fish and not. Because sometimes the fish are holding on one type and not the other. And when you're reeling in with that crankbait, and you're digging on the bottom, as more sensitive rod, you'd be able to tell the difference between those. And so, if you're fishing on a pebble bottom, and you know that they're more on gravel, and you're hitting pebbles, you know to stop, move until you find that gravel area. So, I would go more of a composite rod. So, on the best overall rod to use, would be a 7'4 to 7'8, medium to medium-heavy power rod with a fast action tip. Two types of lures that are your bread and butter in bass fishing are your jigs and your Texas rig plastics such as worms. You gotta have a rod for those. And that can get really confusing because jigs and plastics come in a whole wide variety. You've got from your small worms to your 10-inch worms, from your finesse jigs to your big heavy flipping jigs.
No one rod is gonna be able to do it all for you. So, let's remove the bookmarks here, the small lures and light lures, and the big heavy ones, and let's look at what's in the middle. It's gonna cover a wide range there for most of your purposes. For this you're gonna be casting a lot, a lot of flipping and pitching, and casting. So, again, a lightweight rod is important here. All of these lures you're using a single hook. So, you need backbone, you need some power to set that hook. There's a stronger hook, especially if you're throwing into heavier cover, you're using a flipping hook or something strong. So, you need a rod that's got some good backbone to it. You still want a flexible tip for that casting and that sensitivity. Bites are difficult to detect sometimes with these lures, so a more sensitive rod, maybe this is why I might spend a little more to get more of a carbon fiber graphite rod if I were you because that sensitivity is what really makes the difference in detecting some of these really subtle bites. So, that's important in those micro-guides too and mini-guides. Is if you wanna spend some money, this is probably where you need to do it. And also length of the rod.
So, length of the rod is you want a little bit longer rod here because a lot of times you need that leverage to pull the fish outta cover, or, if you're fishing really deep, 15-feet or deeper, a longer rod allows you to pull up a lot of that slack line to set the hook. So, the best overall rod for this here would be a graphite rod that's 7'4 to 7'10, medium-heavy power, maybe even a heavy power, with a fast action tip. Now I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about flipping and pitching because this is a mainstay of bass fishing. So, you've gotta have the right rod for this because it is a specific type of technique in certain kind of cover. And even though you're using worms and jigs like I mentioned before, but this is a specific technique when you're fishing heavier cover, and you're wrenching fish outta thicker cover. So, is it requires a different rod. You're not so concerned about making longer casts here, because these lures are typically a little bit heavier, again, have stout hooks, and you're using stronger line, you usually braid here, you know, 40 to 50-pound, or stronger test pound that requires stout equipment.
So, a rod that's got a stiff backbone, like a heavy power backbone, something really strong to be able to set that hook, and fight that fish, and pull 'em outta that cover is what you need. You still need that sensitivity because the bite is often very subtle. So, a real sensitive rod is important here. And you need that flexible tip for accurate pitches and casting into the covers, very target-specific type of casting. And you're gonna be holding the rod a lot of times at the 9:00 position, or a little bit higher, and you're gonna be doing this all day long. So, a lightweight rod is much easier on the wrist and the hands, and the forearms. You're not gonna be so fatigued at the end of the day by using a lighter-weight rod. So, that's really important to look at when you're shopping for rods. As for length, this is where a little bit of personal preference comes in because for years they used to say, "You know, seven-and-a-half foot or longer rod is what you need for flipping and pitching." Well, I took that advice, and I'm 5'8, 5'9, I'm a shorter kind of guy.
Rod's like that, you're hitting the water when you're trying to flip and pitch, and it just, you know, next thing you know you're like this, you're just, you can't work them very well. So, if you're shorter in stature, a little bit shorter rod is a lot easier to use for flipping and pitching, while if you're a taller guy, you can use some of those longer rods. So, you have to take that into consideration, it makes a big impact on which length of rod you can use. That said, I think the best overall rod you use is somewhere in that 7'4 to 7'8 range, heavy to heavy power rod with a fast action tip or extra fast action tip, is what you need for flipping and pitching. Oh, made outta graphite. And again, if you can afford it, you can get the graphite carbon fiber composite, and if you can't afford that, at least go with the mini-guides to give you that extra sensitivity, and make a big difference in detecting those bites.
So, there you go guys. That's like some general things for you to look for when you're shopping. I hope that helps. Wait, hold on. If you've watched this video this long, then you for sure wanna watch one of these two videos here. This one here, this is the one I recommend that you watch next. This one over here, this is what YouTube thinks you should watch next. Either way, I'm in both videos, so I'll see you in a couple seconds.