Bass Fishing Rod Selection Guide – How To Make The Right Decision

Rods have a wide variety to help anglers best choose the one that suits them the most. No wonder rod selection for bass fishing is overwhelming, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. Knowing the elements and features upon which you choose your rod is essential, and so is this guide.

So, what is the best rod selection for bass?  The best rod selection for bass fishing is a lightweight 7 ½ foot fiberglass rod with a stiff backbone and a medium-fast tip because it’s easier to pitch the baits. The recommended sizes fall in the range of 7-to-8 feet long.

Keep reading to know more about how to judge the most important element in your bass fishing rod selection to make the right choice every time. If you want to check good choices right away, you can now check my picks for the best bass fishing rods here.

How to choose the right bass fishing rod?

fishing rods to show rules of bass fishing rods selection

Picking the right rod can also be confusing due to its various types: fiberglass or graphite, fast or slow, heavy or light. The elements you need to consider are power, lure weight, line choice, and rod action. 

Material 

The rod material determines its stiffness and sensitivity. The material is either graphite, fiberglass, or a mix between the two. When it comes to bass, many anglers recommend graphite. Let’s see why.

Graphite 

Graphite rods offer a lighter alternative to their fiberglass counterparts. Their lightweight allows you to cast continuously without draining your energy. Sensitivity is also essential to get a glimpse of what’s happening underwater. When using a spinnerbait, many times bass will bump the blades prior to striking so you have to feel it to be ready.

Fiberglass 

While fiberglass is also an alternative. They’re stronger but also heavier. They’re also easy to make, which makes them relatively affordable, too. They’re ideal for novice anglers because the rods are less expensive and more durable than graphite models. 

Composite 

There’s also a mix of graphite and fiberglass models to get the best of two worlds. Composite fishing rods give you all the flexibility you need without adding much weight or sacrificing sensitivity.

One of their advantages is that they’re so versatile, they make a great choice if you’re not bound to one water body and one target fish. Anglers who travel a lot and enjoy trying different waters can’t go without one of these. 

Here’s a quick comparison between the three types to sum up what I said:

GraphiteFiberglassComposite
Lightweight, more stiffness Heavyweight, less stiffnessLightweight, less stiffness
Most sensitive to bitesLess sensitive to bitesRelatively sensitive
Expensive Affordable Most expensive 

Lines

Line choice is very important, your rod is your topwater arsenal part while the line is the one working underwater. You have to wisely choose it to make the best out of fish strikes. There are three types of lines you can count on when you’re fishing, mono, fluoro, and braided lines.

Monofilament 

Monofilament is an individual nylon fiber that is usually inexpensive and is easy to work with. Newbie anglers are advised to work with this one as it’s easy to cast and can be tied easily. It’s excellent if you’re using topwater lures as it floats on its own without a bobber.

The diameter of the monofilament is proportional to the line’s poundage. For instance, 20lb monofilament is significantly thicker than the 8lb line. The stronger the line, the more powerful the hookset. However, you can use lighter poundage in longer casts, so you need to adapt your line to your fishing needs.

Monofilament also features some sort of stretch to it. A fishing line that has more stretch can allow the fish to get a better bite and hold. So if you’re using reaction baits, this one will work very well with you.

You can check the best monofilament lines here, these are the ones you need if you’re really serious about catching bass but don’t want to spend more money than you need to.

Braid

This one doesn’t stretch like mono which makes it extremely sensitive to bites with a very strong profile as well. It’s better used in water bodies with heavy cover and vegetation because it’s visible in the water.

Since the braided fishing line is made up of strands rather than a single fiber, the strength-to-diameter ratio may be much higher. For example, a 20lb. mono is going to be way thicker than 20lb. braid which means that anglers who use braid will have a thinner line to work with that is stronger.

You can check my picks for the best braided fishing lines here as well.

Fluorocarbon 

Fluorocarbon lines discard the braided lines’ disadvantage of being visible in the water. They have the same light refraction as water, so when thrown underwater, they become nearly invisible.

It doesn’t float like mono lines so you can’t use it with topwater lures. However, it’s best used with soft plastics, crankbait, jerkbait, swimbait, spinnerbait, and other lures.

The three choices can be used in bass fishing. They’re also compatible with any rod you choose, just make sure it’s not too heavy or too light compared to the rod. It’s up to you to decide which one to go for according to the fishing environment you’re heading to.

You can find my picks for the best fluorocarbon lines here.

Choosing a line can be unexpectedly difficult because there are literally thousands of options to choose from, which is why I have a full guide just on the best fishing lines for bass here, I think you should definitely check it out as it can make things a lot simpler for you.

Length 

Rods range anywhere from 4-to-14 feet, so how to choose the right one?

Shorter rods are ideal for fishing in close combat where a long cast is not needed. It gives a lot more control with accurate casting. The shorter body often makes less bend and stretch when you are fighting a fish, so anglers who hunt big fish are huge fans of them. 

As an example, You’re fishing from a kayak off an underwater structure. You don’t need to cast too much in this case. What you do want is a lightweight short rod. This is where a 5-to-7-foot rod comes into being.

Pro Tip
fishing for bass better be done with a 7ft rod in most cases.

A longer 8+ foot rod, on the other hand, can be a lifesaver whether you’re wading or tossing topwater walking lures. Longer rods are used to cover more water and cast further. They’re excellent for power fishing reaction baits such as walking baits and deep diving crankbaits.

Saltwater anglers who cast from piers or the surf normally use longer rods. Bass anglers would need a longer rod to cast walking baits or something else that would cover a lot of water easily. Beginners are not advised to use long rods as they’re a little harder to maneuver. 

Actions

The action describes how easily and how far from the tip a rod will bend. The terms to rate these actions can be broken down into three categories: light, medium, or heavy (extra fast). 

The action of the rod balances its power for casting and fighting bass. The movement of the rod affects how it casts, how responsive the tip is, and how quickly it moves the hook set to the bait at the end of the line.

Source: Tailoredtackle

Heavy action (fast)

Fast action rods bend at the uppermost part up to 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10 cm) right below the tip. They’re sensitive to the lightest baits such as worms and jigs. Fast rods have the ability to snap back easily, which is perfect for a strong hook setting. They work very well with single hooks.

If you’re fishing in a heavy cover, fast action rods are excellent due to their fast-moving tips and strong backbones.

Medium action

This type bends nearly a ⅓ of the way down the rod blank. They provide strong hook-setting capabilities and reviews, as well as the ability to cast relatively deep. You can catch both large and small fish and explore a variety of diverse waters.

Pro Tip
medium-heavy rods are best for bass, it gives you a fast action with the versatility of hook setting.

Medium action rods perform better with multiple hooks since they move much slower than fast action rods. That doesn’t mean you can’t use a single hook, it’s just an added value to this type.

Light action (slow)

The most bendable of them all. Light action bend all the way to the end of the rod, giving you fantastic joy in catching trout and panfish. It works best with the smallest lures and open waters. The disadvantage of slow action rods is that they are more difficult to set the hook with. 

In comparison to short sport rods, the bend in the rod forces you to draw even further as the fish bites. However, once the hook is in, keeping the proper amount of pressure on the fish becomes much easier.

Pro Tip
Treble hooks are best with slow action rods. Since their small tips need less pressure to reach the fish.

Power 

The concept of rod power is closely related to rod action. Rod power is a description of a rod’s resistance to bending when subjected to a given amount of weight. 

It typically refers to the stiffness or resistance to bending of a rod and is commonly described in terms such as ultra-light, light, medium, and so on. Heavier rod power is for larger fish and lighter rod power is for smaller ones.

They’re important to balance with your line choice. A light rod with a light line and vice versa. If you choose a heavy rod with a light line, the line may snap. The same goes for choosing a heavy line with a light rod, the rod may break in half.

Pro Tip
Medium power rods are for bass because they can endure the common 80lb line used.

Lure Weight

Bait choice should be considered when you’re choosing your rod as well. As a general simple rule: a smaller, slower action rod is best suited to casting lighter baits, while a heavy, quicker action is better suited to casting heavier baits.

When fishing with crankbaits with treble hooks, an angler needs a variation of medium power and action rod. This lighter action will flex more, which allows for better hookups when a fish strikes and prevents a fish from pulling loose after it’s hooked. 

While a medium/heavy rod with a fast action provides a great balance for most spinnerbaits up to ½ an ounce. When fishing baits greater than ½ an ounce, an extra fast action will provide better casting. 

7 Best Bass Rods Recommendations

Here’s a list of the best bass rods in terms of length, action, power, and sensitivity. You’ll have the most fun with these as well as successful strikes from bass. Take a look:

  1. St. Croix Mojo Bass Glass Casting Rod
  2. Abu Garcia IKE Signature Casting Rod
  3. Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod: a 7ft, medium-weight version
  4. Abu Garcia Veracity Casting Rod
  5. Duckett Micro Magic Pro Spinning Rod
  6. Berkley Cherrywood HD Casting Rod
  7. Shimano Stimula Spinning Rod

What Gear ratio is best for bass fishing 

So, what is the best gear ratio for bass fishing? The best gear ratio for bass fishing is 6.4:1 ratio. This will allow you to work on both fast-moving presentations as well as slow. They do the majority of the work in most bass fishing applications. 

However, for certain techniques and applications, a very high or low gear ratio will often work best. For instance, burning a spinnerbait or buzz bait is best done with a 7.1:1 reel. Sometimes you have to slow down just to keep your bait in the water.

Related Questions 

Which one is better: cork or foam for rod handle?

Cork is a better material in rod handles. On a chilly day, It’s more comfortable and provides more cushion and comfort. More specifically, cork is much more sensitive than foam, transferring up to three times as much vibration.

When Is Medium Action Rods Best?

Medium and medium-fast rods are best when you’re casting distance and still want adequate hook setting power. These acts are often used for treble hook applications such as crankbaits and topwater lures, as well as other reaction baits such as spinnerbaits.

Helpful Resources 

Big Book of Bass: Strategies for Catching Largemouth and Smallmouth – ( you can check it on Amazon here)