Picking the Correct Rod for Pressured Water
More anglers, educated fish and the same amount of water…it’s a common theme in every tackle shop and on every boat ramp. There are more anglers with less room and the fish are more educated. What can we do about that to ensure we have a successful and enjoyable time on the water?
I grew up fishing East Texas in the 80s. Fork was king and honestly it wasn’t too difficult to figure out. As a kiddo I went fishing with a 5’6” pistol grip rod and a 5500. My dad (a great angler, I just fish) would loan me a couple baits, some hooks, and a bag of worms. We all caught good fish.
Now when we head East finding a ramp with space to launch can be a challenge and fishing is even more difficult. Fish have learned faster anglers have. Twenty-pound Big Game, stiff-heavy rods and oversized hooks lead to disappointment.
Over the years braid, lighter hooks, fluorocarbon, and improved marine electronics helped anglers move further offshore and deliver finesse presentations to fish.
Rods and reels have improved too. Casting reels can be tuned to make crappie fishermen jealous. Rods have become more sensitive AND more powerful. It seems easy. Use modern technology to catch more fish. Buy a new rod, get some 8 carrier 8# braid, rig up the 12” graph with forward facing sonar and some 4” soft plastics from the Japanese market. It will happen.
That is not exactly how it works. Each advancement can make you a better angler. But when they pair together, that’s when you can cash checks.
Guides make livings teaching electronics. We drop $$$ on import braids and soft plastics but we fish the same 7’3” MH-Extra Fast rod. We are limiting ourselves.
Fishing offshore with braid requires a new rod. We categorize offshore rods two ways. First is a contact rod. Think football jig or Carolina-rig. Second is a vertical presentation rod…drop shot.
Regardless of how your bait is presented as we fish our mainline braid it is critical the rod is softened. Softening the rod does two things. First, it allows for braid to be your main line with the shock from mono gone, the softer rod acts like a shock absorber and keeps fish connected when they bite. Second, the soft tip feels EVERYTHING! The smallest tick will translate up the line to the rod’s tip and to the angler.
A softer rod like the Sawgrass 7’7” heavy and medium-heavy are ideal for deep water contact fishing. They allow you to cast further and maximize your sensitivity. 6’10” drop shot rods have a longer and softer tip. The tip protects 4, 6, and 8# test main line but also feels softer Winter bites and suspended bites.
The point is, as you improve your rig’s capabilities and downsize your tackle and appropriately pair your rod to your tackle.