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Matching Rods and Reels

Match Your Rod and Reel and Match the Outfit To Your Fishing

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All Star Rod Handles

All Star Rods Handles

2011 All Star Rods, licensed to About.com
If you have fished much you have had a bad experience with a rod and reel that did not match each other, or you have tried to use a rod and reel that just was not suitable for the kind of fishing you were doing.

I saw a perfect example of this way back in 1983 at the Georgia Bass Chapter Federation Top Six at West Point Lake. It was the fourth one I had fished and I was catching fish with an unusual method at West Point Lake. I was fishing riprap, something that everyone does, but my techinque required a rod and reel that matched the way I was fishing.

Bass were stacked on the riprap but not real active. Two weeks before the Top Six we had a club tournament there. I had a tough morning and, in desperation at noon, I pulled out my "fairy wand" to try to catch a bass, any size of bass. Finesse fishing will often catch fish when other methods don't work. I ended up with a limit that won the tournament.

My fellow club members gave me fits about this outfit and how I fished it. Most were using heavy baitcasting rods and reels with heavy line and big lures. My outfit consisted of a six food light action rod and a small spinning reel loaded with six pound test line. I was throwing a one-sixteenths ounce Slider Head jig with a four inch Zoom curly tail worm on it.

The first day of the Top Six I pulled up to the corner of the riprap and started catching keeper bass. My partner threw everything he had, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, worms and jigs. He caught three keepers while I landed 15. I offered him a jig and worm and he tried it, but with his heavy outfits he could not cast it.

a I came in fourth in that tournament out of 540 people, so my pattern and "fairy wand" worked.

If you are using real light lures you need a smaller spinning reel and a light action rod. Put a small spinning reel on a heavy rod and it will work, but you will break your line and lose fish because they don't match. And you will not be able to cast very well. Same thing goes for a heavy reel and light rod. It will work but not as well as a matched outfit.

If you are flippi ng two ounce jigs into hydrilla mats, you are going to need a very stout flipping stick, 65 pound test braid line or heavier, and a strong, heavy reel. Any other outfit will keep you from catching as many fish, or from fishing as efficiently.

For small crankbaits, a fast action medium rod is good. You need a light tip to cast the lure better, but some backbone for fighting and controlling the fish. The reel should match and be able to handle eight to 12 pound test line, a good range for fishing crankbaits. If you are throwing big deep diving crankbaits you need a long rod and a slow crank reel, one with a low gear ratio, so you can work the bait deep.

Worm fishing can vary a lot so match your rod, reel and line to cover and weight sinker you are using. If you are throwing a one- quarter ounce sinker with a six inch worm fishing rocks, you need a lighter outfit than if you are throwing a one ounce sinker on a Carolina rig. Same goes for jigs. I throw a three-sixteenths ounce jig with a twin tail trailer a lot and a seven foot medium rod with a light tip and reel spooled with ten to 12 pound test fluorocarbon line. With this light line you need a good drag system.

Spinnerbaits can be fished on a fairly heavy rod but a ligh tip helps casting it, but you need a strong reel loaded with 14 pound plus test line. Bass often slam a spinnerbait hard so you need an outfit that will take the shock and allow you to control the fish.

Match your rod and reel and match the outfit to the kind of fishing you do to make it easier, more efficient and more fun!

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