Bob Jensen |
The open water fishing season is quickly approaching. It’s at this time of year that many anglers start thinking about new equipment that they need or would like for open water fishing. Those thoughts might remind them that they need or want a new rod for their open water fishing. Some anglers want/need a technique specific rod, others want/need a rod that will enable them to employ a wide range of techniques. And then there are those anglers who just like to try new rods. Regardless of whether you want or need a new rod, following are some things to keep in mind.
When you’re looking for a new rod, you need to think of how you’ll be using it. Will it be mostly for walleyes, or are you going to be after muskies mostly. Some rods can perform several tasks, but you can’t expect to throw jerkbaits for muskies with a rod that was designed to be used for jigging for walleyes. It’s like golf: You can use any club that you have, but some clubs do the job better for different applications and will impact your success.
However, if you are going to be mostly walleye fishing but you live near a pretty good crappie lake also, you can get by very nicely with the same rod. A medium light spinning rod in the six to seven foot range will do a great job jigging and rigging for walleyes and also for slip-bobbering for crappies.
Figure out how you’re going to use the rod the most and you’re on your way. The next step is what to look for in a rod.
Graphite rods are the way to go for many anglers. When graphite rods first came out they had a reputation of being fragile and expensive. Now you can get a very good graphite rod that will last a long time and will be much easier on the fishing budget. When sensitivity is important, graphite is tops. If you’ll be jigging or rigging for walleyes or casting a jig-worm for bass, graphite provides the ultimate in sensitivity. There are other reasons why graphite is desirable: It’s very lightweight but strong, it casts well and provides outstanding hooksets. However, sensitivity is why most anglers choose graphite.
If you’re going to be trolling crankbaits and spinners for walleyes, consider fiberglass or a composite. Sensitivity isn’t a major requirement when trolling. You can get by very nicely with a less expensive rod that will absorb the impact that can be provided by a fish slamming a fast moving crankbait that’s being trolled at a high speed. In fact, a softer action rod that has some give to it will usually be a better trolling rod.
What about rod action when casting? A faster action rod can provide firmer hooksets than a lighter action rod, but that lighter action rod is more forgiving when you’re fighting a fish. Go with lighter action rods with lighter line and a heavier action rod with heavier lines.
You don’t need a bunch of rods, and you don’t need to spend a bunch of money on a rod to enjoy your fishing. There are lots of outstanding rods to choose from. Visit a sporting goods store and spend some time in the rod aisles feeling the different options. The folks at Lew’s produce a variety of rods in all price ranges and for most freshwater species of fish. The rod that best fits your needs will truly enable you to catch more fish. Figure out how you’ll be using that rod, then handle the ones that will do what you want them to do. Spending time at a sportshow or in a fishing tackle retail shop talking fishing and considering the various fishing rods available is a good way to spend time, and now is a good time to do so.
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For more articles by Bob, visit From the Field here on The American Outdoorsman.