Selecting the right rod and reel for bass fishing can seem like a daunting task, especially for a newbie. There is a plethora of rods and reels to choose from, and all of them tout that they are the 'best' for bass. So, which one is really the 'best'? Well...all of them, and none of them. There are many factors involved, not the least of which is personal preference. Luckily, there are a few rod and reel tips for bass fishing that may take some of the mystery out of your selection process.
When we speak of “bass-fishing” we are referring to mostly Large-mouth Black Bass, and to a lesser extent, Small-mouth Black Bass, which are not really bass at all. They are members of the panfish family, which also includes bluegills, and crappie. True bass are White and Striped Bass. Anyway, it helps to know a little about your quarry before buying the tools to tackle them. Both species of Black Bass will almost always be in some kind of cover, and will attempt to go deeper into that cover when they are hooked, tangling your line, and causing all kinds of mayhem with your gear. These, like other members of the family, are strong fighters, but have a short endurance, so the first few minutes of the fight are critical.
The most important part of your tackle is the rod. Bass rods are from fiberglass, or graphite. Modern technology has made them pretty equal in performance, so the main different between them is cost, and weight. Graphite costs more, and is lighter. For bass, you will want to concentrate either on a medium or heavy action, depending on the type of fishing you plan to do. Fishing rods are like golf clubs; there are different ones for different purposes. There is no one rod that will do it all, and do it well. You will need to be able to drag a bass out of cover immediately, before she can hang you up (all large bass are females), or risk having your line wrapped around structure, and lose your fish. The rule is, the deeper the cover you fish, the heavier the action. So, if you plan to cast plastic worms directly into heavy cover (the best method), you need a heavy action rod. For casting spinners and spinner-baits, or other lures, a medium action will do.
Reels come in three styles, bait-casting, spinning, and spin casting. Bait-casting reels have stronger gears for yanking bass out of cover, and hold a lot of line, but there is a slight learning curve in learning the casting-timing to prevent over-runs of the spool. They also cost a lot. Spinning reels do not over-run, but the gears are not as strong. Spinning reels offer the most casting distance of all the reels, but again, there is a slight learning curve to casting them properly. They run from inexpensive to moderately-priced. Spin-casting reels are the best of both worlds (in theory). They are so easy to use that a child can figure out how to cast one in a few minutes. They do not over-run, and there is virtually no learning curve. The gears are medium-strength, and they are very inexpensive. These are as close to an all-around rig as you can get.
By using these rod and reel tips for bass fishing, you can make a more informed choice on your gear. It's always a good idea to ask the salespeople in the store if you get confused. many of them are quite knowledgeable, and are happy to assist you.