With more than 45 million Americans taking at least one fishing trip in 2015, fishing is one of the most popular recreational activities in the US. While it’s certainly true that a bad workman blames his tools, you shouldn’t underestimate the role of the rod if you want to fish successfully.
Why Does The Rod Matter In Fishing?
While the lure and the way it’s presented affects a fish’s decision to bite, once you’ve got it on the line, the rod is central to your success. With the fish hooked, you’ll want a rod that’s got enough strength to maintain pressure but not so much that fish will tear out the hooks. A lightweight rod obviously helps to prevent fatigue setting in too early if you’re out on a lengthy fishing trip.
Before we give you some basic guidance on choosing the best fishing rod for bass, we’ll highlight the way in which fishing rods are constructed to clear up any unfamiliar terminology.
Anatomy of a Fishing Rod
Fishing rods are sectional with various components in addition to the rod itself.
Butt Cap: This is the bottom of the rod and fashioned from rubber or cork.
Handle: Made from various materials, this is where you grip your rod.
Reel Seat: This clamp attaches the reel to the rod.
Rings: Rings guide your line along its way down the rod.
Section: Most rods break down into several sections. Most 8-foot rods are formed from a pair of 4-foot sections.
Spigot: This is the area the sections join, sometimes referred to as a ferrule.
With those simple terms cleared up, we’ll look now at how to choose the best rod for bass fishing the easy way. We’ll also look at the importance of the power and action in determining overall effectiveness.
How to Choose the Best Fishing Rod for You
Before exploring some of the finest rods on the market, we’ll give you some simple pointers if you want to choose the best rod for your needs.
Baitcasting vs Spinning Rods
The majority of bass fishing rods are 6 to 8 feet long.
Longer Rods: Ideal for casting long distances
Shorter Rods: Ramp up your precision and control but lose out on casting distance
When you’re fishing from a kayak, a short rod obviously makes more sense.
As a rule, baitcasting rods are longer than spinning rods. If you’re bass fishing with heavier lures, this type of rod is tailor-made. With handles on both sides, you should find yourself getting tangled line less frequently.
Guides start off larger near the reel and gradually get smaller. Since both the reel and guides are situated at the top of the rod, the weighting gives you more power, ideal if you’re tracking down bigger and more challenging fish.
Spinning rods have the reel and guides underneath. As the line comes off the reel differently, guides are built bigger on spinning rods. Line spools off in different directions when you’re spinning. If you fish mainly with lighter lures, a spinning rood is your ideal weapon.
Spinning rods are also an easy and effective way to get going if you’re just starting out fishing, so keep it simple if you’re a beginner with one of these slightly shorter and more controllable rods.
How Many Pieces?
If you plan to transport your rod around a lot, look for one that breaks down into two or even three pieces. Less is more whether you’re carrying it in your hand or popping it in the trunk of your car.
Rods made from a single piece offer more stability as well as allowing you to exercise more control with a lighter touch. If you’re looking for a sensitive and rock-solid rod but have no concerns about portability, this should be your first choice of rod.
Material of Rod
What the rod’s made of is obviously crucial.
Carbon Fiber: A carbon fiber or graphite rod gives you a great deal of sensitivity at the expense of the potential of fish wriggling away. Lightweight and lacking in strength, carbon fiber rods are best suited to beginners and any anglers without too much experience.
Fiberglass: Although they’re heavier than carbon fiber rods, technology is bringing the bulk of this material down all the time. Although you won’t get as much by way of sensitivity, if you’re a more experienced fisherman, this won’t be an issue.
Think about your level of skill, as there’s no right or wrong answer to rod material. It’s simply a case of finding what works best for you.
Different Types of Rod Handle
You can find fishing rod handles in a wide range of materials but by far the most common are cork, foam, and wood.
Cork: Grippy and lightweight, use a sensitive cork handle and it’s a cinch to feel if you’ve got a bass biting.
Foam: Foam handles are comfy and long-lasting, and so great value for money.
Wood: While they undeniably look great, wooden handles are awkward to grip, all the more when it’s wet. Also, if the temperature drops, this type of handle becomes cold to the touch. Since it is likely to get damaged, you’ll need to look after this type of rod if you want it to stay the distance.
Rods are divided into three broad power categories:
You’ll also find combinations of these such as light-medium or medium-heavy. More power comes with less flexibility, so you need to analyze your needs so you can get the right rod for the job.
The rod action refers to the point at which the rod starts bending under pressure. These are the actions you’ll normally come across:
As with the expression of power, you can also find actions between these categories. Fast action rods are ideal if you’re using heavier bait while you can shoot for a slower action if you do most of your fishing with lighter baits.
Now that you’ve got a sound overview of what makes the best fishing rod for bass, we’ll dive into some capsule reviews, so you can simplify your buying decision further.
Fishing Rod Reviews
An extremely lightweight spinning rod, the UglyStik GX2 is a classic, combining the best of fiberglass and carbon fiber construction and enabling you to handle up to 20 pounds of line fuss-free. The foam handle offers you plenty of comfort while the 6 foot 6 inch rod is strong enough for most needs without negatively impacting sensitivity.
It’s made from two pieces so easy to transport. The gears are smooth and the reel is built to last. Since it comes in at a price you’ll love, treat yourself to a GX2 this year and get even more out of your bass fishing trips.
This nifty two-piece spinning rod from a brand you can trust is priced very keenly so you can get a bargain without dipping out in terms of performance. Fashioned from rugged aeroglass, this 8-foot rod has a fast action and medium-heavy power. The Shimano is a solid choice whatever your ability level and experience.
As you’d expect from Shimano, engineering is precise and build quality impeccable. The only thing that will have you scratching your head is how a rod this good can be so cheap. Whether you’re heading to the river, the lake or even out for some light saltwater action, this multipurpose spinning rod is well worth popping on your shortlist. It will serve as a makeshift beach fishing rod if you want to get even more bang for your buck.
If you’re hunting for a super-light rod perfect for transporting, the Okuma Citrix snaps down into four pieces, and you’ll get a robust carry case thrown in. This carbon fiber baitcasting rod measures up at the standard size of 6 foot 6 inches.
Stainless steel guides and zirconium inserts are dependable and durable. EVA split grips deliver comfort with durability in a neat package. For a portable and capable baitcaster from a brand you can rely on, road test the Okuma Citrix at your earliest convenience.
You can opt for this nifty rod with a spinning reel or spincast reel. Many combination rods and reels are a woeful disappointment, but Abu Garcia breaks the mold with both the pole and reel delivering fully.
The blank is a lightweight composite while the cone and line guide are stainless steel. This superb little rod should enhance your fishing trips without breaking the bank.
If you’ve got a fairly fluid budget and you’re looking for arguably the best spinning rod for bass, we’ve saved the best for last. This US-made graphite rod comes in a choice of lengths from the regulation 6 foot 6 inches right through to a whopping 8 feet long.
An ergonomic natural cork handle and Fuji guides complete a highly effective bass rod from a hard-hitting brand.
With any luck, you can now see clearly which rod would be the best fit for your fishing needs. Let this guide save you some time and effort in your new purchase.