Baitcasting for Bass
The top baitcasting rods and reels for just about any situation).
By Gibbs Milliken
Bass rods and reels have evolved rapidly in recent years through research and development of new materials and intensive field testing by pros. These outfits come in a wide range of sizes, actions and prices. The following are some excellent trigger rod and casting reel matches.
For traditional baitcasting, the new 6-foot Berkley Series 1 rod is a high-quality multi-bias IM7 graphite bass rod. With super-smooth hard chromium guides, reinforced butt-section and tapered cork-over foregrip, this medium action rod is light and responsive. A great match is the Swedish Abu Garcia Mörrum reel, which is considered by many anglers to be the best made and most durable of the Ambassadeur series. Supplies of this model are limited, and those fortunate enough to own one have a classic casting and trolling reel with a loud on/off clicker setting for use in both fresh and saltwater. ($109.95, Series 1 Rod, #SIC601M, Berkley, (877) 777-3850, <www.berkley-fishing.com>) ($199.95, Abu Garcia Mörrum Reel, M5600C, # 5IS-113874, Cabela’s, (800) 237-4444, <www.cabelas.com>)
If you need a sensitive combination, consider the new lightweight Team Daiwa-X, a one-piece finesse rod of fine contemporary design and construction. It is a very comfortable match with their multi-bearing, low-profile Team Daiwa-Z Magnesium reel for extremely smooth presentations and sensitivity using drop shot techniques with light lures. This is a professional outfit designed for the most advanced bass anglers. ($169, Daiwa-X Rod, # TDX66MLFB-C. $349.95, Daiwa-Z Reel, # TD-Z103H, Daiwa USA, (562) 802-9589, <www.daiwa.com>)
Another great light casting combination is the BassPro Johnny Morris Signature rod and Shimano Chronarch MG50 reel. This rod has an 85-million-modulus graphite core and a 1K-carbon filament wrap along the entire length enhancing the overall hoop strength plus extra reinforcement in the lower section. The Shimano magnesium reel is lightweight, long casting, and hard-coated to resist wear and corrosion. This combo will let you instantly feel even the lightest bite and cast all day without fatigue. ($149.99, Johnny Morris Rod, JX60MT, # 33-151-612-00. $249.99, Shimano MG50 Reel, # 33-330-824-00, Bass Pro Shops, (800) 227-7776, <www.basspro.com>)
For big bass casting and striper trolling, you’ll find the longer, stiffer rods work well for different type presentations to larger bass like the hybrid stripers stocked in many Texas lakes and rivers. These crossover rods also serve as excellent redfish and trout rods along the Texas coast. For example, the 7-foot Quantum Cabo rod has an excellent action and is beautifully made of top-quality components detailed with hand-laid six-color diamond butt wraps and silver-thread guide accents. The matching Cabo PT Baitcast reel has a medium low profile one-piece aluminum frame with a large line capacity spool (300-plus yards of 30-pound Super Braid). Other features include continuous antireverse, hard brass alloy machined gears, centrifugal cast control, line-out alarm and a magnum ceramic star drag. The finish is protected with six layers of Saltgard for corrosion resistance. ($169.99, Cabo PT Rod, # CBIC70ML. $159.99, Cabo PT Reel, # CBC30PTS, Quantum, (800) 588-9030, <www.quantumfishing.com>)
If you need a traveling rig, consider a compact, multi-section rod like the G. Loomis Escape casting rod series. These rods come in many actions and sizes and the graphite ferule connections are designed not to affect performance. One of the best combinations for bass is the 7-foot, 3-piece, fast-action model fitted with a Shimano Calcutta TE 250DC reel. This is the most advanced casting reel available and the first to have an electronic breaking system and computer sensor to control line over-run by applying just the right amount of resistance on the spool as the line speed varies. Depending on the lure weight, extremely long, flawless casts can be made with this reel. The electric current is self-generated by the force of the cast and internal computer parts are a completely sealed system that can be used in either fresh or saltwater. ($260, Escape Rod, # ETR84-3 MC-14, G. Loomis, (800) 456-6647, <www.gloomis.com>) ($499.99, Calcutta Reel, # CTE250DC, Shimano, (800) 833-5540, <www.shimano.com>)
Most outdoor sporting goods stores and local tackle shops have experienced personnel who are often willing to take you out in the parking lot or to their casting pond to throw practice plugs with these latest outfits until you find the combination that feels just right.