I have been saying it for a long, long time. Of all the fishing equipment, the most important selection you will make is the rod. You can make other bad decisions but if you want to use lures and you want to have success, the place where you need to make the investment is in the rods.
It is a control issue. If you can cast light lures and move them how you need to move them to get strikes, obviously that is success. If you do not, I can tell you that you just aren’t going to do as well. It is a fact.
I asked this at a seminar I did in Panama City Beach years ago. We had a seminar on using lures. Those in attendance admittedly weren’t having the success with lures. Now, these people serious about their fishing I finally asked “How many of you own Ugly Sticks?” Every hand went up. I said “There is why you are not catching fish on lures. The place we held this seminar sold fishing supplies so I asked them to bring their rods into the room. They did. I separated rods and said “All of these are the ones you want to be using to be successful with lures.” Every one of those rods sold. The feedback: They all started catching fish on lures. The rod. It was all about the rod.
I think that setting the hook has a lot to do with the right pace of bumping it on the bottom and the rod you are using. My rods have a little more stiffness than yours do which I think is something for you to consider when you’re buying new rods. For the live bait thing it doesn’t matter as much but for command of a lure, the slightly stiffer graphite rods make a difference. When you pop that Silly Willy off the bottom that stiffer rod will drive the hook home if a pompano is on top of it. We can meet up sometime if you want to try my rods and see what I mean.
With certain species the hookset isn’t as important. For Florida if you are fishing for redfish or snook the hookset is important. For everything else basically, not so much. If you use rods with the right stiffness for what you are doing you should have better success. My choice of medium power, fast action is because I do a lot of redfishing. The same rod works fine for everything else I do.
When selecting a rod, you want a high modulus graphite. You want the right “weight.” The options are really a personal choice. It depends on what you do. A guy fishing docks is going to want something different than the person who is fishing wide open water. For what I do there is one choice I’ll take over all others: Medium Power, Fast Action. Here is what Power and Action means.
The price of rods is in all realms. The bottom line, with a more expensive rod you are buying into durability. . Tips will need replacing occasionally but that is an easy fix. Compare this to a $50 rod you can get. The $50 rod may perform decent but it’s not going to last 20 years like a quality rod will.
What do I do with my old rods? So, you’ve got these rods that are not high modulus graphite but are just the old school fiberglass. You don’t have to throw them away. Tie your heaviest lures on those rods. “Topwater” rods is what I call them. You can still use them and catch fish with them but you want your bulky lures on these rods. For your light jigs you want to use the very light feel graphite rods. You just do. Trust me. Graphite rods are lighter. . I like lighter reels for that matter. You can hold a graphite rod longer and not get tired versus the weighty figerglass rods.
Your fishing rod is one of your tools. Like anything in life, if you have better tools, you are probably going to have better results. With “responsiveness” your rod should perform right for what you are doing: The higher the modulus, the better the performance.
The variables: Lower grip length. It is a trend, something I was a part of. Shorter butt grips are my choice. I’m in a seated position in a kayak. The shorter lower grip is a much better option. It turns out, a majority of people like the shorter lower grip. You still have your choice but I would say that generally rods are being built with shorter lower grips than they were 20 years ago.
It all come down to how serious you are. If fishing is really your thing you should be buying quality rods.
Neil Taylor, Strike Three Kayak Fishing
Full time kayak fishing guide, Neil was an advocate for conservation since before the time he started guiding. Outdoor writer, speaker and radio show host, Neil connected closely with Captain Mel Berman and did many positives with Mel to promote ethical angling. After Mel passed away, Neil managed www.capmel.com and eventually became that web site’s owner.