Why we carry so many rods


James Overstreet

I’m often asked why I carry so many rods to a tournament.

That’s a fair question since I usually have as many as 40 rods rigged and ready when I arrive for tournament practice.

There are several reasons for the multiple rods. Bass fishing has become so specialized, and the varieties of lures and techniques we use have grown in recent years. Couple that with line sizes and choices – monofilament, fluorocarbon and braid – each of which can have a positive or even negative effect on the lure you are using.

Matching your rod, reels and line properly can be a determining factor in an angler’s success. By having multiple rods set up for specific situations, I can save valuable time when I’m on the water.

Most people don’t realize how much time we spend getting ready for a tournament.

Before I left for New York last month, I spent six hours at home getting tackleboxes organized and stored in my boat so that I could find everything easily. I spent another 16 hours rigging rods with specific line sizes, reel speeds and rod actions to match each lure I tied to those rods.

I was prepared to fish for smallmouth and largemouth. The techniques and equipment used for those two species of fish can vary widely, so I covered all of my bases.

For example, I had three drop-shot rig setups in my boat; one with a 1/4-ounce sinker and one with a 3/8-ounce sinker for different water depths and currents I would encounter. And I always carry a third drop-shot rod in case one of my other rods gets messed up.

I also had spinning outfits for wacky rigs, Ned rigs and hair jigs.

For largemouth, I had topwater and jerkbait rods rigged and a multitude of heavier rods for punching through grass with either a 11/2-ounce Texas-rigged plastics or big jigs.

When we got to Cayuga, it was more an offshore game so I had crankbait setups and football jig rods along with some of the same gear I had at the St. Lawrence.

The bottom line is there are so many different ways to catch bass that you have to be prepared for all of them if you want to be competitive, especially given the fishing pressure our lakes receive these days.

After a day or so of practice, I can fine-tune my approach and have a better idea of what I’m going to need. I may not have as many rods on my boat deck, but I certainly have different setups in my rod locker in case conditions change over the course of a multi-day tournament.

So, my point is multiple rods are necessary when fishing professionally. However, all of those rods won’t do you much good unless they are prepared and matched properly to ensure the lures tied to them do the jobs you intend them to do.