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March 2002

All over the United States you will find evidence that bass fishing is getting tougher each year.  With the Largemouth Bass Virus and ever increasing pressure on our lakes it is important to be versatile in all your fishing techniques.  But where do you start? 

Last year I decided that I was going to start catching bass on lipped crankbaits.  I was fishing a tournament trail with a friend and at the first tournament he caught three fish back to back on a crawfish Wiggle Wart.  I dug through my tackle box and found one.  I tied it on and had a strike almost immediately.  I lost the fish and the next four or five that I hooked.  I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.  My partner told me that it might be the rod and reel combo that I was using.  I was throwing the bait on a Castaway Crankbait Heavy rod with a Shimano Curado high-speed reel.  The fish just would not stay hooked.  I went to Lake Fork a bit later and hooked the biggest bass of my life on a Strike King deep diving crankbait.  This fish was an easy thirteen pounds.  I fought it to the boat two times and she made another run and then my line went slack.  I reeled my bait up and to my surprise she had straightened the hooks.  The guy that I was fishing with grabbed my line and pulled to check my drag.  It was cranked down real tight.  I spend 95% of my time flipping and pitching and my drags are cranked down so that I will be able to get a good hookset and be able to turn the fish and get it out of the cover.  I didn’t know that I was doing anything wrong.

I came home and got out some old articles written by B.A.S.S. Pros on Crankbaiting.  I saw that each of them recommended that you use a limber rod and a slow retrieve reel to throw crankbaits on.  I ordered a 7’ Castaway Soft Touch medium action rod and bought a new Curado with a slower gear ratio so that I would have all the right tools.  It took me a while to get used to that whippy rod.  It only took one fishing trip to sell me on it though.  All these years I couldn’t get fish to stay hooked on a crankbait and now I loose very few.  Who knew that it could be so easy?

You should try to follow these procedures with all the baits that you generally throw.  If you are pitching baits, get a mag heavy with a smooth and free high gear ration reel such as the new Quantum Energy 600.  When throwing spinnerbaits I like to use a rod with a soft tip, but I want it to have a fast action with lots of backbone.  I recommend that you use a 7’ to 7 ˝’ medium heavy rod that is real sensitive.  Top waters and jerkbaits can be thrown on a much shorter rod with a lighter action.  Any bait that has treble hooks on it needs to be matched with medium action rod that will flex further down the rod so that it will be able to keep your line tight when fish jump and also be more forgiving when the fish pulls hard.  You need to have a few all purpose rods that you can work several baits on so that when you find what fish are biting on you can rig several rods with the same style bait on it.  I recommend that you use a 6 ˝’ medium heavy rod teamed with a high-speed reel.  You can work almost any bait on this type of set up. 

I realize that we are all limited on our purchasing by our cash flow.  I am not saying that you need to have twenty rods.  But it is important that you match your rods with what you are doing.  It is equally important that you match the rod with a reel that is capable doing the job and making it as effortless as possible on you.

I recently toured the Zebco offices in Tulsa and I was amazed at what I learned.  Never again will I complain about the price of reels.  The amount of work that goes into developing new products is unbelievable.  I will be doing a series of product reports on a few of their new products.  I am very impressed with their new line of reels.  Watch for the columns in the near future.

Each of us have different styles of fishing and we like different rods and reels as our favorites.  But when it comes to having rods and reels that are best for specific applications you need to think long and hard about it.  Read some articles and then make your choice.  There are so many good products out today in a wide range of prices.  You don’t have to have the most expensive combo going to catch fish.  As long as what you buy matches the application and is durable, you will be fine.

Leave a few for seed,

Chris Roberts