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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Do you REALLY need all those rods?

This is a much debated topic I thought I would comment on. It seems like every tackle shop in the country sells specialty rods these days. By specialty rod I mean a rod made specifically for a particular presentation, such as Carolina rigging, cranking, topwater, flipping, etc. As anglers, we buy things that shop owners and associates tell us work the best. More... So, if they push these specialty rods, we will probably buy them. I know I have spent my fair share of money on them.
The question is, do we really need to do this? To answer, lets look at 2 of the most successful professional fishermen to hit the water, Kevin VanDam and Rick Clunn.

Kevin VanDam uses specialty rods in every tournament he fishes. He even designs specialty rods now. For picking a new rod, he recommends that you start with 3 different ones:
1. A 6'10" Medium Heavy baitcasting for spinnerbaits, crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits, and topwaters.
2. A 7' Medium spinning for drop shots, shakey heads, and weightless worms.
3. A 7'2" Heavy baitcasting for flipping, pitching, and frogs.
Of course VanDam has more than 3 specialty rods, but even he admits that most people can't afford to buy too many rods.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Rick Clunn prefers to use the same rod model and same reel model in as many situations as possible. Mostly, he uses a 6.3:1 reel and a 7' heavy action rod. This was evident in his 5th place finish at Old Hickory on July 2, 2008. He used the same rod, reel, and line to throw crankbaits and jigs. He believes that by using the same gear he doesn't have to get used to the feel of a new setup each time he switches lures.

I prefer to use as many specialty rods as I can afford because they have proven to help me catch more fish. However, I would never count that guy out of a tournament that only has 2 identical setups. Bottom line, do what you feel comfortable with and don't worry about the guy that has 20 rods in his boat with 20 different lures tied on. All that matters is YOUR ability to catch fish with what YOU have.