Greers Ferry Lake is known as one of the best fisheries in the state of Arkansas. It’s located in the central portion of the state and is situated in the Ozark foothills between Heber Springs and Clinton, Arkansas. Greers Ferry is one of the largest lakes in the state and is known for producing record-size fish in a variety of species.
Many anglers flock to Greers Ferry Lake for the outstanding largemouth bass fishing, but the lake is perhaps best known as the top spot for walleye fishing in Arkansas. In fact, the lake is home to the state-record walleye that tipped the scales at more than 22 pounds.
Just below the dam at Greers Ferry Lake is the Little Red River, which has a reputation as one of the best trout fisheries in the world. This area of the United States is teeming with different types of fly hatches, as well as other types of prey that trout can feed on throughout the year.
The clear waters of Greers Ferry Lake are also home to the world record brown trout, a 40-lbs, 4-oz. behemoth that was caught in 2009.
At 31,500 acres, Greers Ferry Lake is large enough to hold abundant numbers of various kinds of freshwater fish. Anglers from around the state of Arkansas know the lake for its wide variety of species that include catfish, sunfish, largemouth bass, black bass, smallmouth bass, hybrid bass, walleye and crappie.
The lake’s 340 miles of shoreline feature everything from rolling hills to submerged trees and even steep cliffs that overlook the waters edge.
Greers Ferry Lake is located about 80 miles north of Little Rock, Arkansas and is a top destination for serious anglers who are looking to catch sizable freshwater game fish. The lake’s cool, clear waters are home to a variety of trout that include rainbow, brown, cutthroat and brook trout species.
The lake is able to sustain so many different game fish species thanks to the efforts of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, as well as other agencies who work together to ensure that the waters of Greers Ferry Lake remain pristine and free of pollution and other troublesome elements.
Greers Ferry Lake is made up of two lakes joined by the Narrows, the combined size of the two lakes and the Narrows is about 40,500 acres (164 km2), with a combined coastline of somewhat more than 340 miles.
Greers Ferry Lake has a maximum depth of 198 ft (60 m), although this will vary depending on the season.
With so many different game fish species swimming in its waters, there truly isn’t a particular time of year when fishing is considered poor on Greers Ferry Lake. The warm summer months are excellent for catching anything from walleye to catfish or especially large and smallmouth bass.
Anglers flock to Greers Ferry Lake in droves during the spring months as this is an excellent time for catching crappie, as well as largemouth and smallmouth bass.
The crappie in the lake will typically be going through their annual spawning ritual where they can be caught in large numbers relatively easily. It’s not uncommon for anglers to catch their full limit on crappie in just a few hours fishing on Greers Ferry during the months of March or April.
The summer months are widely considered to be the best time for fishing at Greers Ferry Lake because all of the different species of fish will now be actively feeding on anything they can find.
This means anglers will have no trouble catching fish on a summer outing at the lake and fishing enthusiasts from miles around come to enjoy the bountiful opportunities for catching a range of different kinds of fish.
The fall of each year is a time when the water temperature is usually dropping and fish are still highly active throughout Greers Ferry Lake.
This is also a prime time for catching crappie, largemouth and smallmouth bass, but the lake’s sizable population of various trout are also known to begin spawning during the months of October or early November.
This section of Arkansas is well-known for having massive brown and rainbow trout, so an autumn fishing trip on Greers Ferry Lake is an excellent time for catching these big trout.
While most anglers think of winter as a time when fish will slow down and stop biting for the most part. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth as winter is an excellent time for catching monster walleye that are known to prowl the depths of Greers Ferry Lake in search of shad and other potential meals.
This is also a good time to catch some of the huge brown and rainbow trout that the lake is famous for.
Ask any local angler what Greers Ferry Lake is best known for and they will likely agree that the waterway is a true gem when it comes to walleye fishing.
These species of fish are generally found in clear, cooler waters, which is why lakes and rivers in the northern portion of the United States are packed with walleye.
The southern states generally have warmer, muddy waters that are not quite as suitable for walleye. Greers Ferry Lake is home to the largest walleye ever caught in the Natural State—a 22-lb, 11-oz behemoth.
It’s no secret that Arkansas is widely considered to be one of the best locations in the country. Thanks to the state’s pristine waters that remain cool and clear for much of the year, trout are able to grow to much larger sizes than other nearby states.
Also Read: Fly Fishing Arkansas
The most prominent type of trout in Greers Ferry Lake are brown trout, which typically go through their annual spawn during the late fall. This makes the winter season an excellent time for anglers to catch trout that are weary from a long spawning season.
In recent years, crappie have made quite a comeback in Greers Ferry Lake. Their populations were once dwindling as anglers increasingly targeted the fish since they can be caught with relative ease and are considered excellent table fare.
With so many other types of fish vying for any potential meal in Greers Ferry, crappie in this lake have to be quick and cunning in order to gain an edge over other hungry game fish species. Luckily, this area of Arkansas is rich in a variety of flies and other kinds of insects or potential meals that these fish can feed on throughout the year.
The cool waters of Greers Ferry Lake are known as one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries in the state of Arkansas. With its steep cliffs and deep channels, smallmouth and largemouth bass find plenty of cover and a variety of habitat that they can use to their advantage in ambushing prey.
The lake’s largemouth bass population was once considered poor nearly 20 years ago, but with proper management by the state’s wildlife administration division, the number of largemouth has increased to a healthy, sustainable level that allows anglers to enjoy catching and even keeping some of them.
The largemouth do have to compete against a litany of other species for food, but they are known to grow up to 10 pounds in some cases.
One of the Natural State’s best fly fishing destinations is without a doubt the Little Red River. This waterway is located in the middle of the state in the foothills of the Ozark mountains and is well-known as one of the best trout fishing rivers in the United States.
The gently-rolling water is teeming with abundant numbers of brown trout, as well as rainbows, brook trout and cutthroat trout that can be caught using a fly rod at any time of the year.
The water of the Little Red River is quite clear compared to other waterways in the southern United States that are typically muddied by regular heavy rainfall during the fall and winter months of each year.
The Little Red River runs through what is known as the ‘Gateway to the Ozarks’ near Heber Springs, Arkansas and the cold, crystal-clear waters of this portion of the river are ideal habitat for any type of trout species.
The river is home to Greers Ferry Dam, which is responsible for creating Greers Ferry Lake, a large reservoir that is known for its abundant number of bass, crappie, catfish and other species that anglers love to go after.
The Little Red River stretches for more than 80 miles as it winds around the hills and valleys of central Arkansas before joining up with the famous White River in an area that is widely considered to be among the best fly fishing destinations in the world.
In this article, we’ll discuss the Little Red River and why so many angler consider it to be among the best trout fishing locations in the country, as well as the different methods and strategies anglers use to take advantage of the river’s pristine waters.
While much of the Natural State’s rivers are home to bountiful numbers of brown trout, the Little Red River has a higher number of rainbow trout than any other species.
Many of these rainbow trout are wild and thrive in the cool, clear waters near the dam and other sections of the Little Red River, but the state’s wildlife biologists and other entities work to continually stock the river with farm-raised rainbow trout throughout the spring and summer months in an effort to bolster the numbers of fish and attract more angles from outside the state.
Unlike other waterways in Arkansas, the Little Red River is overflowing with huge numbers of various wildlife that include fish, insects, and countless other critters that roam the banks and forest lands along the edges of the river’s 82 miles.
Trout in the Little Red River, as well as other species of game fish, have the opportunity to forage on the abundant numbers of insects and smaller prey that call the river home. It is this reason that rainbows and brown trout are able to grow to massive sizes in the Little Red River.
The state of Arkansas is known to have a moderately warm climate for much of the year, which is one of the reasons why fly fishing is a productive form of angling on the Little Red River throughout any time of the year.
Like other rivers in the Natural State, trout fishing is typically more productive as the summer heat fades into the cooler months of autumn.
Once the winter season takes hold of the river, trout are usually in the middle of their annual spawn and fly fishing anglers are known to take advantage of this incredibly-productive season each year.
Despite the fact that frigid temperatures often grip the state for days or weeks at time during the winter months, the waters of the Little Red River are capable of staying at or very near a more consistent temperature thanks to the tail-waters below the dam.
This is part of why so many anglers brave the chilly conditions and wade into the waters of the Little Red River each winter to go fly fishing.
Anglers who live near the river and regularly fish in the waters of the Little Red River are well-aware that the winter months are more productive for brown trout while the spring gives new life to the rainbow trout bite.
Like other trout fishing rivers in Arkansas and the surrounding states, the sudden changes in water levels due to the dam’s release can make fly fishing in waist-deep water quite dangerous at any time of the year—especially for fly anglers who are not aware of the usual signs that the water level is about to rise rapidly in a certain area of the river.
This is why so many anglers, fly fishing enthusiasts, as well as those who opt for spinning rods and reels, generally prefer to fish from a small boat or canoe.
The Little Red River might not have the many different types of fly hatches during a single year that other prominent fly fishing rivers experience, but anglers will do well to pay close attention to the hatches that occur and understand how to utilize them to their advantage.
Midges hatch in large numbers on the Little Red River, but there are very few other types of insects who emerge in such great numbers as the blue-winged olives, mayflies, and other types of critters.
Blue-winged olives generally hatch in the fall, which makes this a prime time to take advantage of this hatch, as well as brown trout who are preparing to spawn in the Little Red River. It is during this time that many fly anglers sight fish with nymphs and manage to catch hungry and aggressive browns and rainbow trout.
Caddis flies usually hatch around the middle of March and will continue to do so well into the summer, typically ending around mid-June. Midges are known to hatch throughout the entire year, but January and February are perhaps the most prominent times of the year for these variations of insects that trout like to eat.
Like the nearby White River that joins the Little Red River at one point, anglers have always been known to catch massive trout using larger-sized flies than they might normally employ at any other river.
This is mainly due to the fact that the river is home to an abundant number of large insects, but is more likely tied to the general consensus that trout in the Little Red River have so many different types of food to choose from, they often overlook smaller flies as not being worth their effort.
Many experienced anglers who regularly fish along the Little Red River recommend using larger flies when the water level is up. Sow bugs, midges and other types of similar flies are best used when the water level is down due to less rainfall and other factors.
Sight fishing is very productive on the Little Red River when water levels are low, so nymphing is another very popular tactic used by fly fishing enthusiasts.
The White River is known as one of the most popular destinations in the world for serious fly fishing enthusiasts. The river flows through the northeastern portion of Arkansas and is home to huge brown and rainbow trout, as well as a variety of other species.
It’s a river system that feeds into Bull Shoals Lake and winds its way through the beautiful Ozark mountains of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri.
The tailwaters below Bull Shoals Dam are teeming with abundant numbers of all kinds of trout. This stretch of water is arguably some of the best areas for fly fishing in the entire United States due to its ease of access, generous populations of trout, and the massive size that some species can grow to.
The white River offers some of the best fly fishing in Arkansas and is one of the best rivers in America.
There’s a good reason why so many skilled trout anglers have the White River at or very near the top of their bucket list of the best destinations in the world for fly fishing.
If you’re planning a trip to the White River, or simply considering making the journey one day, here are some helpful tips and information that will prove useful for any fly angler with their sights set on this pristine Arkansas waterway.
The White River snakes through Arkansas, also known as The Natural State, for more than 700 miles and travels deep into the neighboring state of Missouri as well.
There are countless locations along the banks of the White River that are great spots for fly fishing, but most anglers who have any amount of experience on this river will agree that the best approach is to fish from a boat or canoe.
The banks of the White River are generally very steep and overgrown with thick brush, making it very difficult for anyone to do some fly fishing—regardless of the river’s water level.
This waterway is home to a plentiful number of different trout species, including brown, rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout. There are tons of professional fishing guides that are reputable and highly recommended, but anglers are also encouraged to go it alone in their search for the best spots along the White River when it comes to fly fishing.
As you might expect, locals have a thorough understanding of the absolute best spots to fly fish along this river, but you would be hard pressed to get them to divulge such information.
The water of the White River is quite clear and maintains a relatively cold temperature throughout the year that’s ideal for trout to live and thrive in. The fly hatch generally occurs around late March or April and will usually last well into the month of May.
Anglers who regularly fish the White River mostly agree that trout can be easily caught at almost any time of the year in every little pocket and tributary along its entire length.
One of the most well-known tips about fishing the White River is there is virtually no time of the year that’s less productive than others when it comes to trout fishing or other game fish species that swim in its waters.
The best months of the year to catch trout are usually once the weather cools off in early autumn around October or early November. The White River is perhaps best known for the massive brown trout that can be caught, but anglers also flock to the river for giant rainbow trout, as well as smallmouth and other species as well.
Also Read: Little Red River Fly Fishing
The winter months are widely considered to be the best times of the year for catching larger-sized brown trout. During the late fall and early winter months, brown trout are known to begin their annual spawning rituals throughout the White River. During this time, anglers focus on bead fishing for the most part, but fly fishing is also highly productive.
For skilled fly anglers who regularly fish the White River at different times of the year, it’s perhaps most important to pay attention to the annual fly hatches that occur in order to maximize one’s chances of successfully catching the massive brown and rainbow trout that roam the waters of the White River.
What makes the White River such a prolific trout fishing destination is the abundant amount of insects that call the area home. The river is filled with countless types of flies and other bugs which serve as easy prey for hungry trout throughout each year.
Species of insects that are popular targets for trout, such as scud and sowbugs, are active throughout the entire year along the White River, as well as different types of mayflies and other bugs.
Knowing just when and how these different flies and other critters are expected to hatch is one of the main keys to preparing for a successful fly fishing season on the White River.
There are many different online resources that note just when to expect each different type of fly or insect to hatch, but most anglers have a general grasp on the best times to expect certain species to become prevalent along the river banks.
There are a large number of different types of flies that can be used to catch trout on the White River. Many anglers find it difficult to understand just which fly to use at certain times of the year or in specific areas of the White River’s 700 miles of coastline, but there are a few main species of flies and styles of lures that most anglers stick to in order to ensure success.
Dry flies such as midges, caddis, cranefly, olives and others are often the go-to choice for fly fishing enthusiasts who flock to the river during the last few weeks of summer and into the early autumn season.
Most of the area’s professional fly fishing guides all agree that you can’t go wrong by using flies that closely resemble the many different naturally-occurring insects along the White River’s banks and areas nearby the dam and other tributaries.
One of the main points that anglers make about the White River and the particular type of flies that can be used successfully pertain to the overall size of each one. There are giant-sized brown trout, as well as rainbows and brook trout prowling the waters of the white river each year.
These fish are able to reach such gigantic size because they take advantage of the copious amounts of shad that are usually killed off by the dam’s turbines that shoot warmer water into the cool, clear river at certain times—killing off many thousands of shad in a short amount of time.
The trout in the White River then take advantage of these shad and devour them as they are easy meals that provide more than enough sustenance.
One main tip that you can use to help catch these massive trout is to not be afraid to use larger-sized flies to catch them.
Arkansas is widely recognized as one of the top states for fly fishing as many of the rivers and streams that cross the region are teeming with abundant numbers of trout and other natural game fish species.
Skilled fly fishing enthusiasts often have many of Arkansas’ most prominent rivers atop their bucket list when it comes to the best trout fishing opportunities in the continental United States.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at five of the best rivers across the state of Arkansas and discuss what anglers can expect to find in each of them when it comes to fly fishing.
There’s little argument among anyone who has a decent amount of trout fishing experience in Arkansas that the White River is the best of the best as it relates to catching a variety of sizable trout. For many trout fishing guides, the best part of the White River is the tail-waters located below Bull Shoals Dam.
The areas of the White River that anglers consider to be the best locations to fly fish are typically very wide and require that anglers use a boat or kayak to place themselves in the best possible position to land one of the many trout that can be found swimming in its waters.
There are numerous fly fishing guides located along the White River and anglers who might consider themselves a beginner or novice fly fisherman might be best served by booking one of these guides. The White River is known for having huge brown and rainbow trout and many anglers that regularly fish its waters recommend using large flies with hook sizes of 6/0.
North-central Arkansas is home to the Little Red River, which is another well-known hotspot for fly fishing throughout the year. These waters were thought to be the state’s best kept secret for trout fishing up until roughly ten years ago when anglers from the states surrounding Arkansas discovered the pristine waters and plentiful numbers of trout in the Little Red River.
The area below Greers Ferry Dam is known to be among the best fly fishing locations in the entire state of Arkansas. Anglers from all over the world flock to this area each year to try their luck at fly fishing for massive brown trout.
There are vast stretches of water along the edges of the Little Red River that are waist-deep, making them perfect for fly fishing. These waters are actually home to a 40-pound rainbow trout that stood as the world record for many years before it was broken.
The Little Missouri River might be the best location for fly fishing in the Natural State, but it doesn’t have trout that are quite as large as those that can be caught in the White River or other waterways. Located in the woodlands of southwestern Arkansas, the Little Missouri River is quite different from the deeper, fast-moving waters of the upper portion of the state.
Many fly fishing enthusiasts prefer the more shallow, gentle rivers of southern Arkansas like the Little Missouri because it is more suitable for fly fishing at any time of the year. As the river slowly winds and twists around the hills and cliffs of the southern portion of the Ozark mountain range, the waters of the lower portion of the ‘Little Mo’ are also home to catfish, smallmouth, and other popular species.
When it comes to prime fly fishing areas, the upper segments of the Little Missouri River are a scenic haven for anglers who love to use their nimble fly rods and hand-tied lures to land brown and rainbow trout throughout the year. The area of the Lake Greeson tail-waters are notably some of the best for trout fishing, but space on this river is very limited, so anglers should plan on getting there early if they want to secure a spot on the water.
While the Spring River doesn’t have quite as much of a reputation as the White River or other famous waterways in the state of Arkansas, it is known to be among the top waterways in the state for fly fishing. Anglers who sometimes find the Norfolk or White rivers to be muddied by heavy rainfall often prefer to fish the Spring River instead since this river is fed by the icy waters of the Mammoth Spring just north of Hardy, Arkansas.
The Spring River is nestled deep in the Ozarks just below the state border with Missouri. Anglers will find it easy to wade across the entire width of this river, making it an ideal waterway for those who prefer to use techniques like nymphing, or dead drifting with a variety of flies.
This river is quite unlike any other in the entire state of Arkansas as it is the only waterway that naturally supports trout populations without the need for human intervention to improve or stock the trout population. This is mainly due to the fact that the pristine waters are colder and clearer than anywhere else in the state.
Our list of the best fly fishing rivers in Arkansas wouldn’t be complete without listing the Norfork River, which is located in the north-central portion of the state. The Norfork River is one of the most picturesque waterways in the Natural State as it gracefully winds around the wooded mountains of the southern Ozarks.
There are a number of smaller streams that feed into the Norfork River, making it an extremely popular location for fly anglers to visit. Most fly fishing experts who regularly fish this river consider the few miles just below the Norfork Dam to be some of the best trout fishing waters in the state, as well as the entire country.
Trout in these waters commonly subsist on diets that are heavily-influenced by vast populations of insects. These waters are home to large numbers of rainbow, brown, and brook trout, as well as other popular game fish species.
This river, like others on our list of the best fly fishing spots in Arkansas, are fed by tail-waters of a powerful dam. It’s crucial for anglers to understand the timing of the dam’s release, as well as other factors that play a major role in the overall health and habitat of trout.
Most guides and skilled trout anglers prefer to load up into a canoe or other boat and paddle down-river to some of the best spots. The Norfork River is a popular destination for serious fly fishing anglers as they will typically seek to traverse its waters in a canoe and camp along the waters’ edge for exciting multi-day trout fishing expeditions.
Selecting the best bass fishing rod means matching your rod to the what, where and how you will be fishing.
For most techniques the right bass rod will be a casting rod.
There are times when a spinning rod will be the superior choice.
Regardless of whether you are using a casting or spinning setup understanding rod power, action and length is crucial to choosing the right bass fishing rod.
Baitcasting setups are undoubtedly the most popular for bass fishing. They make life a whole lot easier when casting lures all day or when pin point accuracy is required.
For many beginners however using a baitcaster reel seems quite daunting and as a result they never take the time to learn how to use one.
Casting rods for bass make all of the power style techniques possible such as big crankbaits, topwater frogs in deep cover and big spinnerbaits.
These styles of fishing require heavy line and that is where a baitcaster excels. Throwing frogs over heavy weed beds needs at least 50 lb braid and that would mean a very heavy spinning setup that would be very tiring to cast all day.
Spinning rods thoroughly start to shine when you are using lighter style presentations.
Any kind of finesse fishing is best done on light line in and around 8 lbs breaking strain. On a baitcaster that’s not going to be easy!
Baitcasters need a bit of weight to get the spool spinning whereas a spinning reel doesn’t need much to get the line to fall off of the spool.
As a general rule if you are using small light lures then use a spinning rod.
Rod power refers to how strong a rod or to put simple what weight lure and line that it is rated for.
Between different manufacturers these ratings will vary slightly but generally they mean the same thing.
On the low end is ultralight which is best suited to finesse style fishing such as very small jigs.
The top end is a heavy power rating which is suitable for big lures and heavy line like tossing a frog into thick weed cover.
Most bass fishing will require a rod with a medium power rating or higher unless you are specifically trying out finesse fishing on really light gear.
Action and power are often confused and you will routinely hear anglers use the two interchangeably.
But they are completely different things.
Rod action describes where on the rod blank that the natural bend in the rod starts to form.
A fast action will start to bend much higher up the rod towards the rod tip.
Whereas a moderate action will bend towards the middle of the rod blank.
Fast actions are probably the most useful to have as they strike a balance between a more moderate action and an extra fast action.
Faster actions are usually a lot more sensitive and are best used when you need to set the hook quickly or pull a bass out quickly from cover.
Moderate action are best suited to lures like crankbaits or other such lures that have large treble hooks as you do not want to set the hook too aggressively when using a treble hook.
Shorter rods are usually considered to be more accurate than longer rods which are better at casting longer distances.
As a rough guide any kind of close quarters work is best with a shorter rod of roughly 6’6″.
Longer rods will also be better suited to the deck of a bass boat.
The height of the angler will also play an important role in rod length, something that is often over looked.
The best bass fishing poles are those that match the techniques and lures that are being used, saying that there are other elements than those that we outlined at the beginning of this article.
Rod material and the quality of the hardware that is on the rod can have a huge impact on the casting performance and sensitivity.
Most modern bass poles are made from graphite or some form of graphite blend.
In the olden days almost ever rod you could buy were made from glass fiber or S-Glass.
Glass rod blanks are normally heavier in weight have a slower or more moderate action and a lot less sensitivity than graphite ones.
The only real advantage that glass rods have is that they are a lot more durable so they could take a lot more punishment than graphite which can snap quite easily especially if stood on when left on the deck of a boat.
Glass rods are still used by some anglers when fishing crankbaits especially if they are casting large ones long distances as the more moderate action allows the rod blank to load up when casting and transfer a lot of power through the full length of the rod.
Plain graphite bass fishing rods have now evolved into all sorts of different exotic blends that usually involve carbon fiber.
These types of bass rods will be lighter and a little bit more sensitive so they are a firm favorite of those that are into fishing small jigs.
Although line guides might look simple they are a critical part of any high performing rod.
The less friction the line makes when running through the line guides the better the casting distance.
That friction will not only impact your casts but it will also slowly cause small abrasion marks on your line which will eventually lead to it snapping.
Only look to use a bass fishing pole that has high quality line guides and inserts.
Braid in particular can play havoc with inserts and can cut grooves in them over time.
It is generally accepted that ceramic line guides are the hardest wearing.
The strongest line guide material is Sic then Zirconia then Alconite and the finally Aluminum Oxide.
There are weaker materials than Aluminum Oxide that are used as guide inserts but I would use Aluminum Oxide as the minimum that is worth having.
Handles are one of those components that really do come down to personal preference.
The usual choices are cork or EVA foam.
Cork is the classic choice but does make your rod look like a classic too.
More modern rods will use EVA foam that is looks a lot sleeker especially if the rod builder is going rod a dark modern finish to the rod.
Rod finish is also some thing that is rarely taken into consideration and what a lot of angler fail to realize is that the type and thickness of a finish on a fishing pole will have a direct impact on how heavy the rod is.
In many cases it adds considerable weight to the rod.
The standard is a two part epoxy resin that is mixed and then applied to the rod in an even manner over the thread wraps of the line guides.
A spinning rod and reel is normally how most anglers start out fishing.
However, a lot of bass anglers in particular will eventually move on to a casting outfit.
Spinning rods do have an advantage over a baitcasting rod in that they are much better suited to casting smaller lures or bait rigs.
Choosing the best spinning rod for your needs requires that you understand certain attributes of a rod before you but so that you can be sure it will be the right match for your needs.
The following specifications will normally be printed on the rod blank just above the handle:
Understanding how these specifications will affect the performance of your spinning rod is paramount to matching it to the type of fish you are targeting and the kinds of fishing techniques you might be using.
A shorter rod with a fast action and an ultralight power rating will be better for smaller species when fishing on small rivers and streams for trout or any other panfish.
A longer rod with a more moderate action and a medium/heavy power rating would make a great crankbait rod.
A medium power rod of around 7′ in length with a fast action would make a pretty good all round bass rod for lighter techniques.
The best spinning rod to buy is one that the exact techniques you will be using when fishing.
If you are looking to cast really light lures then a fast action rod with an ultralight or light power rating in the 6′ to 7′ range is the best option.
But if you are looking to haul big catfish or inshore species then you’ll need a rod with a much stronger backbone.
Pairing a decent spinning rod with the best spinning reel is crucial to getting the most accurate casts possible.
If they are mismatched then you rod will become unbalanced and your casting performance will suffer not to mention your arm will tire from repeated casting.
Longer rods give you a bigger lever to wing when you cast which results in the ability to throw a certain weight further than with a shorter rod.
Long rods will also take up line quicker when you strike allowing for a quicker hook set.
Shorter rods are more accurate but won’t get the same kind of distance. A short rod is best suited to smaller rivers.
Most freshwater spinning rods will be in the 6′ to 7′ range. In saltwater they can go as large as 8′ in length.
Rod power describes ho heavily built the rod blank is or in other words what kind of weight it is designed to handle.
An ultralight rod will be rated for line in the 2 to 6 lbs range whereas a heavy power rod might be rated for 20 lbs plus line depending on the type of rod and it’s intended usage.
Most spinning rods for freshwater use will fall between and ultralight or a medium/heavy rating.
Trout fishing for example will use ultralight rods whereas bass fishing using lighter techniques like a ned rig will use a medium or medium/light power rod.
Rod action defines roughly where on the blank that the bend in the rod will start to form once some weight or pressure is applied to the rod.
It is usually described as one of extra fast, fast, fast/moderate or moderate.
A fast action will bend high up towards the rod tip and it offers the best sensitivity. You can also set the hook quicker with a faster action.
A moderate action is usually preferred when casting big weights or lures as it allows you to get more power into the middle of the rod which results in a much longer cast.
It is also better when using lures with big treble hooks like a crankbait as it will delay the strike for a brief second allowing the fish to fully engulf the crankbait before you set the hook.
There was a time when fishing poles were made from split cane.
More modern materials such as fiberglass then replaced split cane. For the past twenty years or so fiberglass has been all but replaced by graphite.
Graphite is lighter and can transmit a lot more feedback through the rod blank for better sensitivity.
It’s one major drawback though is that it is much less durable than a fiberglass spinning rod.
Fiberglass can take a lot of abuse but it is heavier and doesn’t have the same light crisp feel that a graphite rod does.
Very high end best bass fishing rods will have a carbon/graphite blend that gives you a lot of strength and sensitivity but with an even lighter rod.
The best spinning rods are made from graphite or a carbon/graphite blend.
The carolina rig has existed in some form or another for decades, after all it is just a sliding weight and a swivel combined with a jig head and a soft plastic or other such lure.
Choosing the best carolina rig rod requires that you understand what kind of rod is required for weights you will be throwing and the type of cover or structure you will be fishing around.
A good all rounder rod for carolina rigs would be 7’3″ medium/heavy power rated rod with a fast action
The above is just a guide and if you are using heavy weights among thick weed then that power rating might need to be bumped up to a heavy rated rod and even up to 7’6″ in length.
The fast action will always be a requirement though.
You’ll rarely see someone using a spinning setup for heavier type rigs although if you are taking a more finesse style approach then they can work out just fine.
You’ll want a rod that is rated for between 15 and 20 lbs, this applies to fluorocarbon if you are using braid then you can use double the strength as a rough guide.
The majority of carolina rig rods will be rated for weights in the 3/8 to one ounce range and there is good reason to use these medium/heavy to heavy power rated rods as the types of locations you will generally fish a c-rig will normally require considerable backbone from the rod.
Most carolina rig rods can double as pretty good spinnerbait rods or even a frogging rod if you have a heavy power rating.
The best length rod for carolina rigs is going to be in and around 7’4″ which is a little longer than a lot of bass anglers would be used to unless of course they do a lot of work with a flipping rod around deep cover.
That extra length gives you two main advantages:
A longer rods all else being equal will usually cast further than a shorter one. You have a mush bigger lever to work with so you can really load up the rod blank and get as much energy into it as possible.
When using a carolina rig you will be making some fairly decent casts especially if you are working you lure along deep drop offs.
With a lot of line out when you feel the bite you’ll need to take up any slack in the system as quickly as possible.
This is why you should also use a high gear ratio baitcaster, the quicker you can get your line tight once you feel a bite the better and more precise your hook set will be.
Both rod power and action are often confused and some anglers really do not know the difference between the two.
Power rating describes how heavy a lure or line that the rod is best suited to casting with.
Whereas rod action describes how far up the rod blank that the natural bend in the rod starts to form.
For the most part a carolina rig fishing pole should have a minimum power rating of medium/heavy if you are working across very thick cover then a heavy power rating might just be the order of the day.
You’ll have a lot of backbone in most heavy power rated rods and that backbone is required when casting heavy weighs long distances.
A mentioned above action describes where in a rod the bend will form when pressure is applied to it.
A moderate action will start to bend at the middle of the rod and is generally what is considered as a ‘slow’ action.
A faster action starts to bend much higher up in the top one third of the rod.
So, what’s the best action for a carolina rig ?
A fast action is always preferred when using any single hook lures or rigs as they give you a quicker hook set and a lot more sensitivity and feedback through the line and into the rod.
Most carolina rig rods will be baitcasting rods as they will need a medium/heavy power rating as a minimum and spinning setups are normally better when used on lighter line techniques.
You also get the added benefit of using a baitcaster reel which have a much bigger choice of high gear ratio’s.
Shaky heads are one of the best producing finesse techniques year round.
Although that being said they are at their most productive when bass are less active and choose not to chase a faster moving lure.
Given that you will be using lighter jug heads it stands to reason that the best shaky head rod will need a fast action and be light enough to handle line in the 6 to 10 pound range.
However, some anglers have found great success with heavier jig heads and really large soft plastics for which a finesse style setup would no longer be appropriate.
In that scenario a beefier rod and heavier line is required and if you are close to heavy cover then braid would be a better option over fluorocarbon.
Any type of single hook lure rig will need a fast action and a good rod for shaky heads is no exception.
A fast action rod will bend much higher up the rod blank in the top one third of the rod towards the tip.
A more moderate action will bend lower in the rod blank nearer the middle.
Moderate actions are not as sensitive and have a slower hook-set that a faster action.
All jigging applications call for a lot of feedback from the lure and down through the rod to you handle.
This feedback is crucial for knowing what is going on at the hook both in terms of how the jig is moving and in terms of a bite and potential strike.
Slower action rods will just not cut it and you will be left with little or no feel as to what is going on with you shaky head jig.
Most shaky head rods will fall into the lighter type of setup once you are using jig heads that are less than a half ounce in weight.
Clearly 1/8 ounce jig heads need a pretty light overall setup so our line would be in the 6 to 10 pound range if using fluorocarbon and roughly 20 lb braid with an 8 lb fluorocarbon leader.
When using lighter jigs I’m a big fan of using a good spinning reel and spinning rod as the lighter line will fall off the spool of a spinning reel much easier than when using a baitcaster.
A casting setup only really starts to make sense once you hit 1/2 ounce or heavier with your jig heads.
When using a big jig and a large worm in and around heavy weeds it is nice to have a baitaster with a high gearing so you can pull bass quickly away from any snags.
Generally speaking shorter rods will have a bit more feel to them than longer rods of the same power and action but a longer rod for shaky heads has an advantage in that when you strike the longer rod can take up line much quicker than a shorter one.
You may also be flippin you shaky head when fishing in close quarters so a bit more length in the rod will really help with casting.
Most standard flippin rods will be too heavy to use as a shaky head rod but you can still flip and pitch with them.
Unlike a regular jig rod a shaky head fishing pole will need to handle much smaller jigs so a medium or medium/heavy power rating is normally the best choice.
A lot of shaky head casting will be down into open water or around drop offs in colder months so you won’t necessarily be casting into very thick cover.
Thick cover requires a rod with a much heavier backbone than a finesse style rig.
Any type of jig work requires a lot of sensitivity and feedback to come through the rod and into your hand.
This means either a fast or an extra fast action rod.
Rod action and power are unfortunately used incorrectly all the time by angers.
Power means how heavy the rod is or in other words how heavy a lure and line it is rated for.
Action means where on the rod blank does the rod start to form it’s natural bend when pressure is applied to the line.
Fast action rods will bend much higher up near the rod tip.
This gives you a lot more sensitivity a the rod tip so you can feel a little bit more connected to the hook.
They will also allow you to strike considerably quicker than when using a rod with a moderate action.
Always make sure any pole you use as a shaky head rod has a fast action at a minimum.
For most anglers a casting setup is the preferred choice when throwing larger lures or heavier bait rigs but sometimes a spinning reel for bass is the better setup.
Spinning reels excel when you need to use lighter gear. For a lot of fishermen their first reel will be a spinning reel and they may well never use a baitcaster regardless of what setup they are using.
As a good all rounder the best bass spinning reel will be a size 3000 paired with a medium power spinning rod with a fast action.
This type of rig should be usable for a lot of different techniques.
More specialist lures may need something lighter than can be used on a medium/light power spinning rod for bass.
So throwing small lures when up close to cover would need a 2000 or a 2500 sized reel.
If you need a medium/heavy power option then a 3000 or 3500 size spinning reel for bass is best, the only argument to use a 4000 or larger is the greater line capacity which is rarely an issue when bass fishing.
When choosing the best spinning reel for bass matching the size to your setup is normally the first decision you need to make.
After that the quality of the components is when differentiates a good reel from a poor one.
Big brands like Shimano, Abu Garcia, Penn and Pflueger have been refining the design and materials in their spinning reels for decades.
A cheap bass spinning reel might be a good purchase for a child who is just starting out but of you are in any way serious about your fishing then a high quality reel for bass is a must.
Rods break all of the time particularly the tip section and line guides. There is not a whole lot you can do about that.
But a high quality reel if properly cared for and serviced regularly should last at least a decade.
The following list of components are the most important things to get right on a reel.
Modern day reels of a higher quality will use little or no graphite in them. There was a time when most reels had the reel casing made entirely from graphite.
The problem with graphite is that it can flex under load, if your reel housing is warping or flexing when a large bass is putting it under pressure then there is a high probability of the internal gears being damaged.
Gears need to mesh together and be perfectly aligned to work correctly. This is why most modern spinning reels will be made from metal.
The drag rating on a spinning reel will describe how much pressure it can apply to the spool to restrict how quickly a bass is capable of taking line off of the spool.
Once hooked a large bass can run for cover and bury it’s head in a thick weed bed. You need a very strong drag system to stop a fish from striping line off of your reel.
The best spinning reels for bass will have a high quality drag washers that will not overheat when put under pressure.
Spinning reels unlike baitcasters have a pool that is mounted in such a way that the line falls off the top of the spool and through the line guides. It is stationary unlike the spool on a baitcaster that spins when the line is paid out from it.
Because the line runs over the lip of the spool, spools need to have a super smooth curved lip that not only helps to reduce friction on the line but also reduces the chances of damaging the line as it runs over it.
The internal gears of a spinning reel are the heart and soul of the reel. Every turn of the handle results in engaging the internal gears that eventually turn the bail arm around the spool which is how the line is retrieved.
Using a spinning rod for bass may not be every anglers first choice. For many a casting setup will be their main go to.
But if you are trying some lighter techniques or finesse style rigs then a spinning rod can be the superior choice.
The best bass spinning rods give you the ability to throw much lighter lures than when using a casting outfit.
Baitcasters also have a higher learning curve so if you are just starting out it might be easier to choose a spinning rod and reel.
You need to get the rod length, action and power correct otherwise you will end up with a rod that will not match the type of technique you are trying to fish with.
If you are using a spinning rod that is over 7 feet in length then chances are you are looking to throw larger lures a long distance and in that instance it would be better to use a casting setup.
Rod action and power are commonly confused even by very experienced anglers as they never took the time to learn the difference in the first place.
Rod action describes where on the rod blank the natural bend will start to form when the rod is put under pressure.
A fast action means it beds higher up towards the rod tip. A slow action means it bends lower down towards the reel seat. A moderate action is somewhere in the middle.
When using a spinning setup on smaller gear you should be using a fast action, particularly if you are using a bait style rig with single hooks.
Single hooks should e set quickly when you strike and a fast action allows you to do this plus it gives you more tip sensitivity so you get more sensitivity for lighter lures.
Rod Power describes how heavy a lure the rod is rated for and usually the line rating. These ratings normally come in a range from 8 lb to 15 lb line rather than one exact number.
You need to match the correct size spinning reel for bass to the size of line and lure you are using along with the rod.
The best rod power for a bass spinning rod will either be medium/light or medium. Although you can use an ultralight rating for really small lures the chances of dragging a bass out of heavy cover on a rod that light is slim.
A medium/light action is suitable for use as ned rig rods, drop shot rods and other finesse style applications
If you are using heavier rigs like a Texas rig, or smaller jerkbaits and lighter topwater lures then your can use a medium power spinning rod for bass.
You will rarely see anyone use a heavy power bass spinning rod, if you require such a setup then switch to a baitasting rod as they are better suited to it.
Choosing the best spinning rod for bass really boils down to buying a high quality rod with the right specifications from one of the leading rod manufacturers.
The majority of bass spinning rods will be made from graphite of some kind of graphite blend.
There was a time when all rods were made from glass fiber but those days are long gone and more modern materials are used for better performance.
Glass fiber is nowhere near as sensitive as graphite, the blanks are just to big and heavy and it is really difficult to get a sensitive rod with a fast action when using glass blanks.
Graphite due to how it is wrapped during construction an have a much better taper and is easier to control how the sensitivity is distributed along the rod blank.
Line guides on a spinning rod meed to be large at the bottom closest the reel seat and then taper in size towards the rod tip.
This is one of the major differences between a casting rod and a spinning rod, that and the reel seat being on the bottom.
When line leaves the spool of a spinning reel it does so in a big circular motion and a small first line guide would cause a lot of friction, which reduces casting performance.
Good quality guide inserts are also a must as the friction between the line and the guide will not only cause casting issues but over time it will also cause unnecessary wear and tear which an result in a snapped line.