If you have been looking for a new fishing rod lately, you may have noticed the trend that is currently happening: technique-specific equipment. Rods, and even reels to some extent, are becoming increasingly specialized and built for specific lures and techniques.
While this has allowed for gear tailor-made for one purpose, it is not always needed. The five rod and reel setups listed below will cover most anything you are faced with on the water.
Note: The exact reel sizes, gear ratios, and rod lengths are general guidelines. Many manufacturers have different sizing methods and gear ratios available, so getting as close to these listed will do. Regarding rods, there are countless variations and sizes among different brands. Anglers should also consider their height and comfort with varying lengths of rods.
7’ Medium Spinning Rod – 2500 Size Spinning Reel
If you are looking for just one spinning setup, this is it. The rod length allows for excellent casting distance, and the medium power is light enough to fish all finesse techniques but stout enough to land big fish easily.
Regarding reel size, 2500 is an excellent all-around size that is light enough to balance the rod correctly and not too small or too big. Some brands list their sizing as a 20 or 30 size, and either of these will serve the same purpose. A smaller reel can lead to more line twists as the line is wrapped tighter on the spool, and a larger spool can be cumbersome when fishing lightweight baits.
Here is a quick list of things this rod and reel can use: drop-shot, Ned Rig, Neko Rig, tubes, light Texas-Rigs, wacky rigs, and more. It can also be used for small jerkbaits and crankbaits.
A good line of choice for this setup is a six to ten-pound fluorocarbon or monofilament line or a light-pound test braid to a fluorocarbon leader.
7’ Medium-Heavy Baitcast Rod – 7.0:1 Ratio Baitcast Reel
If you were to only buy one rod for bass fishing, the seven-foot medium-heavy would be a good candidate. It is a versatile length, and the medium-heavy power is a good choice for various techniques.
Spinnerbaits, ChatterBaits, jigs, Texas-Rigged soft plastics, and more can all be fished effectively on this combo.
The 7.0:1 reel speed is a reliable all-around speed that is not too fast or too slow for the wide range of different fishing techniques this setup can handle.
For line, a 12 to 15-pound fluorocarbon line will cover just about anything you fish on this rod and reel.
7’ Heavy Baitcast Rod - 7.0:1 Ratio Baitcast Reel
Similar to the medium-heavy, a heavy power rod in a great all-around size like a seven-foot model can do quite a bit for you. This rod can be used for fishing jigs, frogs, buzzbaits, Texas Rigs, and more. It also has the power to get good hooksets, and you can also use it for light flipping and pitching around heavy cover.
The 7.0:1 is a good retrieve speed that will cover your bases, and a 15 to 17-pound fluorocarbon line will suffice for most techniques. If you are fishing a frog or buzzbait, a 40 to 50-pound braid is a better option as it has plenty of strength but is still thin enough to get a long cast.
7’ Medium Cranking Rod - 6.0:1 Ratio Baitcast Reel
When it comes to the crankbait, it is one technique where a specialized rod is still needed. This style of lures dramatically benefits from a rod designed to fish them.
The baits often pull hard when diving down, so some flex in the rod helps, and as a bass strikes, it helps to have some give so you don’t rip treble hooks out.
Specially designed crankbait rods help with both situations, and a seven-foot medium crankbait rod will fish various popular crankbaits from square bills to medium-divers.
One choice that has to be made is whether to purchase a graphite, fiberglass, or composite rod. Each has plusses and minuses, but a composite or blended rod offers the best of both worlds for sensitivity, rod power, and action.
For crankbait reels, a slower retrieve is generally better as it helps slow the bait down and compensates for the angler fishing too quickly. It also aids in giving you more leverage when fighting fish due to the lower gear ratio. Another benefit of fishing a crankbait all day is that it does not wear you out as much.
This combo can also handle fishing moving baits like ChatterBaits, spinnerbaits, and even some topwater lures.
With this rod and reel combo, a good all-around line size would be a 12-pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon line.
7’6” Heavy Baitcast Rod - 7.0:1 Ratio Baitcast Reel
If you target bass in thick cover, having the right tool for the job makes it easier to get them in the boat. Whether fishing trees, bushes, docks, grass, or anything else that holds big bass, this rod and reel will be a solid choice.
With a rod of this length, you use it for flipping, pitching, and punching thick cover with jigs and soft plastics. It is also versatile enough to fish football jigs and Carolina-Rigs in open water situations. This rod can also handle smaller to medium-sized swimbaits. Check the lure weight rating to see how big of a swimbait you can use with it.
Regarding the line for this rod and reel, a braided line with at least a 50-pound test is a good choice, or a 15 to 20-pound fluorocarbon line. Spool up the 15-pound for offshore techniques and the 20-pound for fishing thicker cover.
If you are just getting started with bass fishing or looking to expand your lineup of rods and reels, buying a rod and reel for every technique is not necessary. These five rod and reel setups will serve you well. You can always add more as you advance and grow your gear collection.