Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

So what's the optimum length of lure rod for bass fishing ?

All sniggering aside, if there is one topic that always gets lure anglers yapping, it's the length of the rods they are using - and most anglers have various opinions on what length is the best for their fishing. But is there a definitive "this is the best overall length you need to use to go lure fishing for bass", or like a lot of things in fishing, is a lot of it down to personal choice and what you feel works best for you ?

A lot must surely depend upon where you lie on the evolutionary scale of modern lure fishing. For ease's sake here, let's assume that we are well along the road to enlightenment and that we subscribe fully to these faster action rods. Say two to three years ago and I would have argued for a lure rod around 10' long - there is no denying that a rod this length can be useful in certain situations, like when you are fishing above the water in rough conditions. Like in the photo above. If it works for you, how can it be wrong ? It isn't. I guess in part that I would have argued for a 10' rod at first because that was roughly the length of the first "modern" lure rod I got. It became my norm. Actions and ratings aside, if your rod gets your lures out there, helps you to work your lures, and then aids you in landing your fish, then it must be working for you. But surely as you start learning more and more, you get to wondering about shorter rods. Why are so many lure anglers using them ? Is there something to shorter rods ?

I am lucky enough to have fished with lots and lots of different "modern" lure rods, from the very affordable right through to the "surely a lure rod can't cost this much" kind of thing. I have used 7' "finesse" rods that I think are awesome for example, and I have used 7' "regular" rods that I think are horrible. There are guys out there who really have fished with all manner of different rods, far more than I ever will, but I have come to my own conclusions - with various caveats though, because it's so hard to choose an overall "best length" when you start considering the different ratings on a rod and what it is meant to be good at.

I was using a 7' rod the other day that I thought would be awesome for example - going on the casting weight rating, I thought it might be something a bit special, but it was very obvious very quickly that the rod was nowhere close to the rating it had been allocated. It just felt like a very tiring and unfeeling rod to fish with at 7' long. The 8' version of it though was awesome - but only if you completely ignored the casting weight rating and used the rod differently. This kind of thing is really tricky, because we often buy gear blind, and we have no choice but to go on ratings, reviews, forums etc. Sometimes the rod manufacturers just plain get it wrong. There is often a lot of completely false information flying around all over the place, with all manner of daft rumours like "I heard this", "my dog broke this rod" and "apparently a mate of a mate saw a little green man who said blah, blah" really not helping out one bit. But on the flip side, there is no better advice than from anglers who use and abuse the particular rods, and there are a lot of really good people out there who give considered opinions and don't get caught up in the rumour-mill. But I digress.......

If you tied me down and said I could only fish with one length of lure rod, then for me it would be around 8' long. I f you had said I would be saying this two or three years ago then I would have laughed, but as I have been saying for ages, this lure fishing "thing" is just the most wonderful opportunity to learn and adapt all the time. I don't believe in standing still, and I have no time at all for people who can not adapt. I don't agree with changes for change's sake, but how boring would it be if we all did the same stuff all the time ?

Now by no means am I saying that an 8' lure rod is "correct". It is not. It is the length of rod that I feel most comfortable using for my bass fishing. I also like messing around with shorter "finesse" rods of say 7' long, but I have naturally formed my own opinions from all the different rods I have used over the last few years. A 10' long modern lure rod now feels kind of too long to me, but then that is due a lot to the fact that I have been using shorter rods far more, and as such, they have become the norm for me. I f I used nothing but a 10' rod then anything else would feel a bit strange to start with. It's the same kind of principal. An 8' rod to me just feels right for most of my bass fishing. 7' feels fine in some situations, and so does 9'. But for the moment I have found that roughly 8' works really well for me in virtually all situations I find myself facing. I would be interested to hear your own thoughts......