Bass Fishing Rod Selection Guide
Rod selection is critical; you need to be able to pick the right rod for each specific technique.
If you were to tell a professional golfer to play a round of golf with just a putter, he would look at you like you were crazy!
He needs a variety of different golf clubs his bag to help him successfully achieve his highest potential out on the green.
Fishing rods are the same way; I need a wide selection to help me achieve my highest potential when I’m out on the water.
It is not uncommon to find 20 to 30 Team Rainshadow Revelation Nik Autrey Signature Series rods in my boat at one time. And I need every single one of them to be successful.
Each rod I use has a specific length, power and action that come into play when I’m choosing them. Not only is rod selection critical, but so is the quality of the rods you use. Each fully customized rod in my Team Rainshadow lineup comes with a limited lifetime warranty, and is hand made by a fisherman for a fisherman, right here in the United States.
These rods have been customized with Alps and ForeCast components by RainShadow and Batson Enterprises exclusively for their Pro-Staffers. I have been working with both to create this fully customized signature series of rods and my intention is to make them available through my website for the general public’s use as well.
No two rods are the same. For instance, spinning and baitcasting rods are each unique and each has its own respective technique.
Knowing when and where each rod is to be used is the key to maximizing your success. What I’m going to share with you in the article is one of the most fundamental elements in fishing. Rod selection can be a daunting and confusing process. Hopefully I can help clear up the confusion. I’ve learned over the years through trial and error, as well as through research.
I hope that after reading this article, you too can better understand the different functions of each of the rods I use. One very important thing to take note of is that each rod manufacturer rates their rods differently. This is very important to note since RainShadow currently sells customized parts for you to make your own rod. A 7′ MH action rod from manufacture (A) is different than a 7′ MH action rod from manufacture (B).
Each company’s product varies. Choosing a rod manufacture and learning the ins and outs of each of their separate products will help you to become familiar with all of their series.
My personal preference is the RainShadow rod blanks that can be purchased through a dealer of Batson Enterprises. I’ve been working very closely with them over the years and recently we have come up with my own technique-specific signature series of rods. The series includes spinning rods and baitcasting rods to cover all techniques.
First, let’s look at the different spinning rods and the different situations that I use each for. My all-time favorite spinning rod is my signature series, fully customized TeamRainshadow Revelation 7’2” M action rod.
This rod is so versatile; I use it for a number of techniques including V&M tubes, drop-shots, grubs, wacky rigged soft plastics. It is a little longer than the average spinning rod, which comes in handy when your targeting smallmouth on huge shallow flats and need to make extra-long casts with a finesse technique.
My second favorite spinning rod would have to be my signature series fully customized TeamRainshadow Revelation 6’10” M action rod. This rod excels when you’re targeting fish around shallow cover, were pin point casting accuracy is crucial. I use it for these following techniques: skipping V&M soft plastics around cover, Spro McStick jerkbaits, bed fishing and weightless V&M chopsticks. Both spinning rods feature fast and extra fast actions.
Now we are going to look at my favorite baitcasting rods. First let’s assess the deferences between graphite casting rods and the E-Glass fiberglass crankbait rods. The RainShadow Revelation graphite casting rod blanks feature fast and extra fast actions were as the Nik Autrey Signature Series crankbait rods feature moderate fast actions. The Revelation graphite rods have the power to drive the hook home hard when fishing with V&M jigs, plastics and Texas rigs, were as the crankbait rods have the forgiving action that keeps those trebles pinned when a fish is hooked with a reaction bait such as the Spro line of crankbaits.
First I want to talk about RainShadow Series graphite Revelation baitcasting rods. My 7’10” H action Signature Series rod is the biggest “meat stick” that I use. It is the ultimate big swimbait rod for baits 5-8 ounces, like the Spro BBZ-1. The rod also doubles as a flipping stick for 1-2 ounce V&M jigs and Texas rigs.
My 7’6” H action Signature Series rod is prefect for smaller swimbaits in the 2-4 ounce range, like the Spro BBZ-1 Junior. It is also my favorite rod for flipping and pitching V&M jigs and soft plastics from 3/8 ounce to 3/4 ounce.
My 7’2” M action Signature Series rod probably gets the most use in my Ranger boat. It is a great all around rod. I primarily use it for Cyclone spinnerbaits, small Spro BBZ-1 Shad swimbaits, Texas rigs, V&M football jigs, Spro Bronzeye frogs and XPS topwater walking baits. The blank is just right, it’s not too light of an action but it’s not too heavy and over powering of a rod at the same time. I can skip 3/8 V&M jigs under docks and I can also pull a big bass out of thick vegetation. That’s one of the reasons why I like it so much, it is so versatile and I can use it for a number of different techniques.
My 6’8” MH Signature Series rod is a great all around rod when it comes to fishing V&M swim jigs or the V&M Lighting Blade, a vibrating jig. It is the best rod for fishing a spinnerbait around tight heavy cover, were making a precise pinpoint cast is critical. It has the power to horse a big fish out of heavy cover, which more often than not is what I’m fishing a swim jig or a Cyclone spinnerbait around.
The 6’8” M action TeamRainshadow Revelation Nik Autrey Signature Series rod is great for fishing XPS topwater poppers and Spro jerkbaits. It has a great action for fishing twitch baits because the tip of the rod isn’t too stiff which enables me to work the baits accordingly. It handles ten to sixteen pound Sunline great, and I will never use any line heavier than that with this rod and these techniques.
Now let’s take a look at my Signature Series composite crankbait rods. These rods feature E-Glass and a moderate action. The first in the lineup is the 7’10” MH Nik Autrey Signature series rod; it is the rod I use for throwing big deep diving Spro crankbaits a long ways to get them down to twenty feet or more. With this rod, and this rod only, making a seventy yard cast and getting the Spro Little John DD 70 down to twenty feet is possible. You would not be able to achieve this with a 7′ rod.
The 7’4”MH Nik Autrey Signature Series rod is specifically designed for lipless crankbaits like the Spro Aruku shad. I use this rod when I am fishing the Aruku shad around grass for largemouth or fishing over big rocky flats for smallmouth. It has a MH action which is very important when I’m fishing in grass. I can get the bait in the grass and rip it out fast and hard triggering reaction strikes.
My 7′ MH Signature Series is a great rod for fishing big square bills around shallow cover. Big, wide wobbling, square bill, shallow diving crankbaits like the Spro fat John 60 and Baby Fat John 50 are ideal for this rod. It has a MH action which is great for heavy line and big baits. Both the Fat John and Baby Fat John weigh 5/8 of an ounce, so having the MH action is key. I can throw these baits in and around tight cover with this rod and it really helps me make an accurate cast.
Now let’s look at the last rod in this crankbait series. The final rod I want to take a look at is my 7′ M action Signature Series Crankbait rod. This rod can’t be beat when I’m fishing the small, lightweight Spro Little John or Little John MD crankbaits. This rod is prefect for small crankbaits that don’t weigh a lot. The Little Johns only weigh ½ of an ounce. I can easily use ten to twenty pound test Sunline, depending on how heavy the cover is, with is rod and it will handle the small baits great. Having a 7′ rod when you are fishing around cover is very important. I always want to be able to make a good cast that won’t spook fish and be able to correctly present my bait to the fish. These rods help me do that.
Now that you know all about my rod choices, when and how I like to use them, it’s time to get the right rods that will fit your style. My Signature Series of rods from TeamRainshadow are the best rods I have ever used. I have spent years developing them and getting them just right.
I wouldn’t put my name on these rods if they weren’t the best. These are the only rods you will find in my boat because I believe in the product quality that the guys from Rainshadow and Batson Enterprises work so hard to achieve. This company is on a mission to be above and beyond the best, and that matches my personality perfectly.
TeamRainshadow “Do Whatever It Takes”