Rods come in a huge variety of lengths and types, from spinning to casting and pistol grip to straight grip. They vary in power, which is the stiffness of the rod, and action, which is how much of the rod bends and how fast, and you can get confused. Here is some information on how to choose a fishing rod.

Everyone knows this story. Your friend has caught his first largemouth bass and it is, of course, a whopper. He insists on accompanying you on your next fishing expedition and shows up with a rod and reel that is the cheap discount store combo. It is remarkably flimsy and you quickly conclude that this rod and reel would struggle to land a gold fish. Knowing about the differences in rods will enhance your fishing outing and will certainly assist you in landing the “big one”.

Beginning anglers often don’t know how to select a rod appropriate for the type of fishing they plan to do. A rod designed for panfish won’t work for hauling in big bass. Before deciding which rod is best, anglers should know the power and action of a rod. These two components often get intertwined and confused, even by experienced anglers.

Identify rod action. The action refers to how much a rod bends when you’re casting or have a fish at the end of the line. An extra fast action rod bends just at the tip. A fast action bends in the last quarter of the rod. A moderate-fast action rod bends over the last third. A moderate action rod bends over the last half. A slow action rod bends all the way into the handle. Fast action rods put more force into your throw and give you longer casts. Softer action rods are more forgiving and have fewer tendencies to throw live bait from your hook.

It is important, also, to understand rod power. The lure weights and line sizes that a rod can handle determine its power. Ultra-light rods are designed for 2-6 pound line and lures weighing from 1/32-ounce to 1/4-ounce. Rods can handle progressively heavier lures and line as their power increases from light to heavy.

A great choice for all-around fishing is a medium-light power, fast action rod for use with a spinning reel. These reels have an open spool in the front and mount on the bottom of the rod. They are the best choice for fishing situations where the line being used is 10 pounds or less in strength. This kind of rod is supple enough to enjoy catching small farm pond bass and panfish, while beefy enough to land a large channel catfish or a four-pound bass. Spinning gear is easy to use and allows you to cast light lures a long way. Spinning rods help protect light lines, allowing beginners to make mistakes while landing a decent sized fish without breaking off. The fast action gives the rod enough heft to set the hook when fishing a plastic worm or jig for bass, or setting the hook on a catfish.

For bluegill, crappie and small trout, a light power, fast action spinning rod is a good choice. A quality ultra-light rod also works for these fish, but many ultra-lights are too short and too wimpy. A 4½-foot ultra-light rod with the backbone of a

For larger black bass, walleye and channel catfish, a medium power, moderate fast or fast action bait casting rod works well. Bait casting reels have an enclosed spool and mount on top of the rod. They are the best choice for lines of 10 pound test or higher. They require much greater practice than spinning gear to use effectively.

Choose the moderate fast action if you plan to fish leeches or minnows for walleye or chicken livers for channel cats. The slightly softer action usually helps prevent you from throwing off the bait while casting. If you plan to jig and worm fish for largemouth bass and occasionally fish for the other species, choose a fast action, medium power rod.

If your fishing action is striped bass, flathead catfish, or blue catfish, get a medium, heavy or heavy power bait casting rod with fast action. This set-up is also good for flipping or pitching jigs for largemouth bass. Choose a moderate or slow action rod with a medium-heavy or heavy power rating if you plan to use live bait. Again, the softer action protects against throwing the bait off the hook on the cast. These rods possess enough strength to land these fish, but they can also handle the heavy lures and strong line needed.

Skilled fishermen know the differences in the rods and plan their fishing expeditions accordingly. What kind of fish are you hoping to catch? Having the proper rod and reel will greatly enhance your fish story next time you have the chance to go fishing.

“Choosing the Right Fishing Rod.” Freshwater Fishing. Web. 15 July 2012.

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