If you enjoy sports and outdoors activities, you know your equipment affects your performance. And if you're an angler, fishing rods and reels are among your most important fishing and marine gear. Baitcaster fishing rods give you the control you need to catch bigger fish. In order to choose the best baitcaster rod, you need to match your angling style with the right rod characteristics.
>> Consider your angling style
Your goal is to choose the best baitcaster rod according to your fishing style. You should therefore take account of your technique, the baits you cast and the conditions you angle in before looking for a quality baitcaster rod. These factors influence the characteristics of the rod you should choose. For example, the amount of action you need depends on the technique and baits you use. Your rod materials will influence how far and accurately you cast and how much sensitivity the rod has to nibbling fish. Rod length also helps determine your casting distance. With a solid handle on your angling preferences, you can easily identify the top baitcaster rods for how you fish.
>> How much action do you want?
Action is one of the most important characteristics of baitcaster rod design and therefore a key consideration in deciding which baitcaster rod to buy. The table below describes your options for action and mentions the benefits of each choice.
Action Description Benefits Slow Slow action rods bend all the way down to the handle. These rods cast long and gently present live bait. Moderate Moderate action rods bend to the midway point between the tip and handle. These rods cast mid-weight crankbaits well and small lures far. Fast Fast action rods bends at the top third. These rods cast spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and topwaters well. Extra Fast Extra fast action rods bend at the tip. These rods help you pull fish away from heavy cover. The faster the action is, the quicker the response you'll get when setting your hook. The weight of your fishing hooks and lures can also influence which baitcaster rod to buy. If you want to cast heavy hooks and lures a far distance, you'll need the extra flex of a slow action rod.
>> Choose your materials
Materials are another important aspect of baitcaster rod design. When you're deciding which baitcaster rod to buy, look at the materials of three different components: the blanks, the grip and the guides.
• Blank -The blank, or the naked rod, can be made of graphite, fiberglass or a composite of the two. Many top baitcaster rods are made of graphite because it's lightweight, strong and sensitive. Their flexibility, which the modulus rating indicates, can vary. The higher the modulus rating is, the stiffer the rod is. Fiberglass baitcaster rods are heavier and more durable, and they're a good choice if you angle for heavy fish or are new to fishing. You can also find quality baitcaster rods comprising a composite of the two materials. They're more sensitive and flexible than fiberglass and heavier than graphite.
• Grip -The grip of a baitcaster rod is made of either cork or a synthetic material like EVA, Duralon or Hyperlon. Many top baitcaster rods use cork because it's lighter and more sensitive than synthetic materials. Synthetic materials, however, are more durable and often less expensive. The enhanced durability of synthetic materials also makes these grips better-suited to customization through sanding. Whichever grip material you choose, pay attention to the grip's design. You'll want a longer rear grip for two-handed casting and a longer, thicker fore grip for fighting bigger fish.
• Guides -The material of the guides on a baitcaster rod is a subtle but important detail. You'll find ceramic or titanium guides on top baitcaster rods because they help you cast the line farther and more accurately by minimizing friction on your fishing line. They also reduce line wear. Plastic guides are inexpensive, making them a good choice if you fish less frequently or are new to the sport.
>> Choose your rod length
You should choose your rod length based on the position you cast from. Most baitcaster rods are between six and seven feet. If you fish from the beach, though, the best baitcaster length is at least nine feet. If you fish from a boat and mostly drop your bait into the water, you can use a shorter rod. The length of a rod corresponds to its casting power, so you should choose a longer rod if you need to cast a long distance.
>> Choose your casting-weight rating
When deciding how to choose a baitcaster rod, you should pay attention to the casting-weight ratings of the rods you're considering. This specification tells you the weight of the lures with which the rod works best. Matching casting-weight rating to the weight of the lures you use will help you buy a rod that improves your casting accuracy.
You'll also see a line-weight rating on baitcasting rods. This specification has become less important with the advent of braided fishing line. This type of line offers superior weight-to-strength ratio to other line types, making a rod's line-weight rating less applicable if you use braided line.
>> Check the reel seat
Check the reel seat when you're deciding which baitcaster rod to buy. It should be compatible with a wide range of reels so that you don't have to buy a new rod when you want to switch reels. Many of the best baitcaster rods leave a small spot of the blank exposed where you can place your finger. This helps you sense when a fish is nibbling your bait.
Now that you know how to match your angling style with rod characteristics, you're ready to find the best baitcaster rod and accompanying fishing gear and accessories for reeling in more fish.
A baitcasting reel Guide
Many new and novice anglers have questions when it comes to different kinds of reels. The following considerations will help you learn how to buy a baitcasting reel to meet your particular needs.
>> Consider the basics
There are several reasons more professional anglers use baitcasting reels such as accuracy, distance and power. Baitcasting reels are intended to work in conjunction with a casting rod, which is a rod with a trigger handle that is designed to cast lures.
• Accuracy: The hallmark of a baitcasting reel is its ability to place a lure exactly where you want it. When learning how to choose a baitcasting reel, as you begin to practice casting you will quickly discover that you are able to land your lure within a few inches of where you are aiming. The best baitcasting reels enable you to drop your lure in between obstacles and avoid costly snags.
• Distance: Using the right fishing gear for the task at hand can mean having to cast greater distances so as not to spook very cautious species of fish by getting too close. Once you learn how to use a baitcasting reel, the extra few yards you will be able to cast can make a big difference in the number of fish you catch. Some reels will allow for farther distance in cast than others.
• Line capacity: In learning how to choose a baitcasting reel you will find that another advantage they have is greater line capacity than other fishing reels. The added line capacity of top baitcasting reels will come in handy when you are fighting game fish that like to run.
>> Which reel profile is best for you?
The best baitcasting reels come in two styles; round and low profile. Each type of reel has its own advantages, and understanding each of them is part of learning how to choose a baitcasting reel.
• Round: When considering fishing baitcasting reels you will soon discover that round reels enjoy the advantage of greater line capacity. The advantage of having more line on your reel becomes apparent when you are fishing for salmon, pike or muskie who have a tendency to run when hooked.
• Low: Making a baitcasting reel comparison will show low profile reels offer superior ergonomics by allowing fishermen to palm the reel while retrieving a cast or fish.
>> Consider materials and construction
As with other types of sports and outdoors supplies the materials used in the construction of different types of baitcasting reels can be different and are an important part of any discussion of how to choose a baitcasting reel.
• Frame: Once you have made the decision to buy a baitcasting reel you will have to choose between two different frame or body materials, each with their own unique advantages. Graphite frames are lightweight and inexpensive and are ideal for smaller game fish like bass. Many of the best baitcasting reels are made of another lightweight material, aluminum, which is more rigid and remains so even under pressure from larger fish like steelhead and salmon which ensures that all the moving parts remain properly aligned at all times.
• Gears: Gears are the most important component of a baitcasting reel, and understanding that is a vital part of learning how to choose a baitcasting reel. Very good gears are made from brass and have a steel pinion gear. The best baitcasting reels have gears made of Duralumin which is an alloy of copper, manganese and magnesium. An important consideration in selecting a reel is gear ratio which refers to the rate at which the internal gears turn. When learning how to use baitcasting reels you will find that higher gear ratio reels 5.5:1 to 6.3:1 retrieve faster than lower ratios of 3.1:1 to 4.1:1 which offer greater power.
• Ball bearings: Ball bearings are another internal component of reels that affect the way the reel performs. When considering ball bearings it is important to look at both the quantity and quality of the bearings. The highest quality ball bearings are shielded, double shielded and sealed.
• Spools: The spool is the part of the reel around which your line is wound. The most popular spool material is aluminum. Die cast spools are lightweight and inexpensive and offer good performance. Some top baitcasting reels use machined spools, which are lightweight and easier to cast and stop with your thumb, rather than forged spools which are heavier. Forged spools are found in the best baitcasting reels. They are harder and denser than other types of spool and therefore are less likely to flex under pressure. In order to reduce weight some forged spools have holes drilled in them.
>> Consider which features are best for you
Reel features can vary from one type of baitcasting reel to another which is why it is essential that you understand the different features that are available so that you will be able to know how to choose a baitcasting reel.
• Drag system: When you prepare to buy a baitcasting reel for saltwater fishing it is important to look for a reel that has an adjustable drag. Drag applies resistance when a fish runs in order to tire it out without breaking your line.
• Handles: Most baitcasting reels are designed with the handle on the right side which is inconvenient for left-handed anglers, which is why an important consideration in a baitcasting reel comparison is the option of buying left handed baitcast reels. Another important feature to consider is anti-reverse handles which prevent the reel from moving backwards when a fish is hooked.
• Casting controls: Avoiding backlash which can cause bird-nesting of your line is the job of the spool tension knob. This feature is one of the most important to look for when discussing how to choose a baitcasting reel.
• Flippin' switch: Some experienced fishermen use a technique called flipping which requires the reel to be disengaged. A flippin' switch allows for the spool to be disengaged with the flip of a switch which saves time.
• Line guide: A line guide can be made of ceramic or titanium and used to ensure that the line is distributed evenly on the spool when the line is reeled in.