Brad Harvey: Are you using the right fishing rod?

June 16, 2013 

Back when I was coming up, fishing was the one thing I could do all year no matter the season, and living with water right out our back door afforded me the opportunity to do just that.

The first rod and reel I was able to call “all mine” was an old Zebco closed-face spin-casting reel on about a 6-foot fiberglass rod my father purchased for me when we moved into our newly built home on a decent-sized pond just outside Clover.

All those years ago, there were only three things we took into consideration when it came time to choose a rod and reel. Did we want to use a spin-caster, an open-faced spinning rod or the old bait caster?

As graphite was ushered into the world of fishing rods in the 1980s and quickly replaced fiberglass as the material of choice for rod builders, fishermen quickly realized a few special things about these newfangled sticks. The rods themselves were lighter and stiffer, which allowed anglers to actually feel whatever was happening with their lure way out there underwater.

Rod action is nothing more than a way to describe the stiffness or amount of flexibility in a rod. Let’s consider all of the options and why someone would actually need to pick one type over another to up their odds of success:

Extra Fast

Those marked with this moniker are very stiff and only bend way out toward the tip, a perfect choice when fishing heavy cover such as dense vegetation or around docks and pilings.

This stiffer rod will allow you to quickly put more pressure on a hooked fish and horse it away from these things.

Fast Action

These models flex mainly in the last quarter of the rod. They still provide good power when needed but really excel when it comes to tossing specific types of lures such as spinnerbaits, topwater plugs, jerkbaits and plastics.

Medium Action

These models bend deeper into the belly of the rod, down toward the middle, and work best for those choosing to use lighter lines, since they have more give in them and lessen the chance of popping your line due to angler error.

Medium actions also cast easily, but don’t expect to get the distance out of them that the others offer.

Looking to throw topwaters? A 6-and-a-half-footer is a perfect choice in either a casting or spinning style.

Seven-foot models are the way to go for everything from crankbaits to spinnerbaits and buzzbaits.

In the last 25 years or so, “flipping” and “pitching,” as opposed to a traditional cast, have become quite popular, and if you plan on doing either you’ll best be served by a rod that reaches all the way out to 7-and-a-half feet.

Next week, we’ll take a gander at reels and see just what they’re all about.

Tight lines!

Brad Harvey is a freelance writer in Clover. Visit his website at bradharveyoutdoors.com.

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