By Kevin VanDam
Michiana anglers might want to consider lengthening their rods when fishing clear lakes.
As a Bassmaster pro, a new rule allows us to use rods up to 10 feet this year. Look for it to be a growing trend in the coming years.
Not that it’s going to replace the 7 footers you already use, but it will become a niche rod for special situations.
I’m working with Quantum to develop new spinning and cranking rods that extend beyond the former 8-foot limit B.A.S.S. imposed. Other companies are expanding their lineups as well.
Longer rods provide benefits, especially in those fishing scenarios where longer casts give the angler an edge.
The farther you can stay off a school of fish the more success you can have. Anyone who spends much time fishing for Great Lakes smallmouth will tell you that. Longer rods will deliver additional casting distance, but you’re going to have to increase the line capacity and perhaps enlarge the reels you use. The more line you can get on a spool the easier and faster it will come off on a cast. You probably won’t see much of a benefit with smaller spooled-reels.
My spinning reels are bigger sizes with wider, large capacity spools. My crankbait reels are the 200 size that offers more spool depth and width to facilitate the benefits of longer casts.
I learned long ago that I can get a crankbait farther out and cover more water as a result of these longer rods. Longer casts keep the bait in the strike zone longer during the retrieve and get deep divers to run their maximum depth.
It works with other baits like jigs, worms or tube baits. Not only can you make longer casts, but it helps you keep a proper line angle and maintain bottom contact longer.
You may have to make other adjustments with longer rods. Remember, when setting the hook, an 8-foot rod moves a lot more line than a 7 footer and it will give you a lot more power.
Anglers using light lines may be breaking off more frequently on hooksets with longer rods. So, if you’re accustomed to using 6-pound line on 7-foot rods, you may need to step up in line size or make sure your longer rod has a softer tip to absorb the shock.
There are disadvantages with longer rods, such as you won’t be able to cast as accurately, but that’s generally not a big issue when fishing open water.
There are transportation problems as well. Smaller boat rod lockers won’t be able to accommodate longer one-piece rods and manufacturers are faced with shipping issues.
For that reason, you’re going to see more telescopic or two-piece rods being offered. That’s not a huge detail in this era because today’s rod companies are using better technology that allows them to retain the sensitivity and durability anglers desire.
This new trend is still in its infancy, so you can bet manufacturers will be testing these new entries to find a happy medium in rod length, balance and handling.
Your basic rods will still get more play, but these longer versions are worth considering on waters where longer casts can get you more bites.