Nov 10, 2017

The Ins and Outs of Selecting a Fishing Rod 
Choosing the Proper Rod is Critical for a Successful Day on the Water! 

By: Glenn Walker

As you walk down the aisle at your local tackle shop or are browsing the inventory of your favorite online tackle site, the number of fishing rods available for you to choose from is endless.  Not only are there the different brands, but each brand usually has two to three series of rods to choose from, then within each series are different lengths and actions! 

Many rod companies take the guess work out of selecting a fishing rod as they label their rods for a specific technique/application, such as rods for jerkbaits, flipping or Carolina-rigging, which are just some examples.  For some bass fisherman, they want to, and do, have a fishing rod for each technique they will employ when fishing.  Yes, this is nice and I do feel having the right rod aids in an angler’s ability to present their lure properly, but by no means is it a necessity. 

The rods I use are built by Witch Doctor Tackle and their series of rods allow me to use the proper rod for the given situation and lure I’m fishing with to target bass.  The series of rods they offer include the Shaman, Voodoo II and Surman50G, along with their technique specific specialty rods, the Hydrilla Gorilla, Oracle and Kahuna Series.  

Each series of rods has specific models designed for a specific application that a bass fisherman will face on the water. Every detail is taken into account, such as the cover being fished, lure weight and line type.  All of these variables will dictate what rod I use, because having the right rod in my hand will aid my ability to hook up and land a bass that hits, especially in heavy cover. 

Items to take into account when selecting a rod include some personal preferences, such as rod length and grip type, but keep in mind even these choices play a role in rod performance.  If you are fishing a topwater plug, like a Rapala Skitter V or Shadow Rap Jerkbait, you want a shorter rod (6’6” to 7’), as it will be easier for you to make sharp downward movements with the rod compared to using a longer rod. 

The other scenario is that if you are making a long cast with a Carolina-rig, or need extra leverage to set the hook on a bass buried in heavy cover, a longer (7’2 to 7’6”) will rod will allow you to pick up a lot of slack prior to setting the hook. 

When it comes to flipping and pitching, you want a rod that is feather light in weight, and overly powerful, especially if you’ll be spending a good chunk of a fishing/tournament day doing this.  For me, the Oracle Pitchin’ Stick from Witch Doctor fits this need perfectly, as the fast action blank is ideally suited for pitching a jig or Texas-rig all day in the heaviest cover for the biggest fish without wearing out the angler.  However, if I step it up to punching a big Tungsten weight through matted vegetation, I’ll up the ante and go with the Hydrilla Gorilla. It delivers exceptional lure control for targeted punching, while its medium fast action loads up perfectly under the hook set.  

If you are fishing a moving/reaction style bait, like a crankbait, swim jig, vibrating jig or spinnerbait, you want a rod that will load up when a bass inhales the lure as it is going by their face.  Some anglers rely on a fiberglass rod for these applications, I like the Surman 50G as it is a half fiberglass, half graphite build for this very reason.  By having a glass tip section, you have a medium fast action that will result in increased hook up ratios. 

Some bass fisherman fish a lot of finesse presentations, such as drop shots, wacky rigs and shaky heads, others, like me, only pull out a spinning rod when we have to!  But, it is imperative that any bass fisherman have at least one spinning rod, because not having one puts you behind the eight ball due to the fact that you need to be able to fish finesse lures.  I feel a good overall spinning rod that can be used for any of the above mentioned presentations is 7’ and is a medium heavy power, fast action. 

As you take account of your fishing rods this off-season and look ahead to next year’s open water fishing season, think about those lost fish from this year and how all of that could’ve been prevented by using the right fishing rod.  Next fishing season could be the year you make more casts, work your baits with ease, feel more bites and land more fish, all because you are using the proper rod for the fishing technique you are imparting that day on the water!  

Glenn has been fishing tournaments for over ten years, spreading his passion and knowledge of the sport via articles and videos.  He keeps busy fishing events across Minnesota and on the Mississippi River.  Glenn's sponsors include:  Bass Boat Technologies, Ducky Products, Humminbird, Mercury Marine, Minn Kota, Plano, Rayjus, Seaguar, Simms, Snag Proof, T-H Marine, The Rod Glove, TroKar, War Eagle Custom Lures, Witch Doctor Tackle, Wright & McGill and Zoom Baits.  For more information, check out or on Facebook at