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 for Bass
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.
Rod Action for Bass
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.
- Medium or Moderate
- Extra fast
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.
Rod Length for Bass
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.
Best Bass Fishing Rods
1. St Croix Bass X Casting Rods
2. Okuma Scott Martin Tournament Concept
3. St Croix Triumph Spinning Rods
4. Abu Garcia Villain
5. Dobyns Rods Fury Series FR 795SB
6. Lews Fishing AH76HC American Hero Speed Stick
7. Abu Garcia Vengeance
Bass Fishing Poles
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.