In Part 1 of Beginners Guide to Tournament Bass Fishing, we discussed some of the very basics on beginning tournament fishing. In this segment, we are going to cap it off as we discuss some of the basic equipment you will need, keeping it inexpensive and practical.
There are so many different brands of rods and reels on the market, as well as tons of tackle products.
My opinion: Keep it simple and basic at first; you can always upgrade later if you decide that you want to continue in the sport.
So, what do you start out with, and how do you weed through all of the choices that are out there? You can start out like I did. Chose one good medium action rod and one good medium-heavy action rod. This should cover most of your applications at first.
If you are not proficient at casting a bait cast reel, stick to spinning equipment. It will save you a lot of time and frustration, trust me on this!
So, some of you may be asking, “Why one medium action and one medium-heavy action?”
Medium action rods are good for all your applications that involve casting and retrieving steadily. For example: throwing a spinnerbait or crankbait. A medium action rod is great for absorbing the strike. You are less likely to pull the hook away from the fish as it inhales your lure.
A medium-heavy action rod, on the other hand, is good for really setting a hook deep. This would be a good rod for jigs and soft plastics, lures that you would really want some backbone in setting the hook.
So what brand do I choose? This is personal preference. There are a lot of different rod manufacturers out there today. My opinion is that Bass Pro Shops (BPS) Graphite Series rods are inexpensive and of good quality.
Now, reel selection. Remember to keep it simple, and keep gear ratio in mind. Gear ratio is simply the amount of line that is retrieved per single crank of the handle. So for instance, if you were throwing a spinnerbait or crankbait, you would want a reel with a higher gear ratio such as 6.4 or 7.1. This way, you would not have to wear yourself out reeling as you try to keep your lure moving. A reel with a lower gear ratio such as 4.1 or 5.1 would be good for jig fishing and lures that do not require a constant retrieve to make the action work. My reels of choice right now for my spinning applications are the BPS Pro Qualifier series and the Browning Midas series. Both are fairly inexpensive and go on sale from time to time.
Ok, so we talked a little bit about spinning equipment, but I can’t let you get away with just that. I have to let the cat out of the bag. Trust me, I was teased about this all last summer, but I’m the one who laughs last!
Last summer, my father asked me to put some new line on his reel. I took his rod and reel home, spooled the reel and took it out to my front yard to make sure it cast smoothly. Well, I noticed that when I was pitching my lure, I had so much control and accuracy. Guess what I was using?
Yup, a Zebco 202! Yes, it’s a basic push-button reel you may have used when you were a kid.
I would have not imagined the effectiveness of this reel for the techniques that I use today, especially pitchin’ and flippin’ a soft plastic. This reel is definitely in my inventory, and I don’t leave the dock without it! I teamed up my Zebco 202 with a 7-foot Carbonlite rod and love it. I use this rod for drop shotting as well as grubs and, yes, I get a lot of comments when I pull out a 202 during a seminar!
Now you have chosen your rod and reel, what about line? I am going to do another article online later, but for now, I’ll tell you what works for me. Lines are getting more and more expensive, but one line I have found that is on all my reels is BPS Excel. For about $9, you get 1,000 yards of line. That is enough line to do about three or four reels. I normally spool my spinning reels with 4-, 6- and 8-pound test line.
So now you have your rod, reel and line. All you need is some tackle. Hey, it’s still winter! Let’s talk about tackle in the next article.
Well, it looks to me like I got a little long winded! I will save basic boat maintenance for a later time; that is an article all in itself.
I would sincerely like to thank each and every one for taking the time out of your busy day to read what I have to say. It is greatly appreciated.