When I break out my 8-foot spinning rod and 6-pound mono or 10-pound braid, I know I won’t be winching big ones with abandon. The long rod is a lever, okay, but it’s more of an extension of my efforts–especially to cast small baits, and for speeding up my hook-sets by swinging more line. (Just ask my ducking partners.)

But as was described quite well by Brian Waldman, a lot more scientific guy than me out of Indiana (see it here), longer does not mean more powerful, regardless of the lure use. It’s really not a tool of leverage in that sense.

Over the years, the one guilty pleasure I’ve allowed myself to indulge is going to the ocean for such surface species as yellowtail (a jack) and all species of tuna here on the West Coast. The one thing I learned early on is, the bigger the fish, the shorter the rod you want.

I may have been able to loft a small live bait an impressive distance on the the 8-foot “bait stick,” but the bigger the tuna, the longer the battle on those sticks. That’s because that muscular torpedo on the other end of the line uses that same long rod against me.

In bass fishing, that’s not to say we need to go back to 5-footers with pistol grips. We relieve forces on our own body with a two-handed grip. But think about what you’ve seen on video. A guy with 65-pound braid or 25-pound mono tries to bounce a 4 or 5-pounder (that’s a fish from barely 1/6th to 1/15th the line test) and it takes everything he’s got to get the darn fish over the gunwale.

There’s no leverage there. Where’s the mechanical advantage of that tool? So yes, certain rod lengths do provide certain advantages. Just make sure you know what they are.


7 Responses to “The long rod: it’s sort of a lever”

What kind of bait and rigging do you use the 8′ spinning rod for? Any recomendations for a leader and attachment to 10# braid?

Things I would like to see—
Quality long spinning rods that telescope like flippin’ sticks.
This would increase rod locker storage versatility. I have a 6′ Berkley Lighting Rod that performs nicely for its length. I prefer 6′ 6″ for most of my spinning applications. Most 7′ spinning rods pick up a good part of their extra length at the butt section. I would prefer that it came from the tip section. The shorter handle of the 6’6″ rods make them more comfortable to fish after the cast.

On the long rod I fish a Road Runner, Sassy Shad or other small bait with an exposed hook that doesn’t require a stiff action for the hook-set. And I just use a Seaguar knot, usually with three turns, but occasionally four (with a particularly slick fluoro or braid). Used by tuna guys for mono to fluoro connections, for thin braids and leader the Seaguar seems to work just fine, though not quite as smooth through the guides as a “longer” splice.

The need for a softer rod and hook set has pretty well been covered by commentators from all corners of the bass fishing community. Have you found disadvantages or technique modifications necessary for the cast and retrieve of the braid? How well dose it come off and on a spinning reel? Do you have type or a style preference? How long of a leader? Do you always use a leader? Spray line conditioner?

Braid casts farther, easier and needs no dressing. It just needs to be wound under some tension. I start every retrieve just like with mono–I pull the line tight in front of the spinning reel. I probably use more FireLine (8- or 10-pound) than straight braid, because it handles more like mono and ties easier, though it does not cast as easily as true braid. My leaders are usually the length of the rod–the splice just short of winding on the reel spool. I caught an 8-0 on a darthead tied direct, but all around, I use anywhere from 8- to 12-pound fluoro leaders. It is more scratch resistant than braid, which also “catches/snags” on wood or brush.

Good stuff.

I’m short, only 5’3″ so long rods are a difficult for me to handle. I have problems using a regular flipping stick because the handle it too long. So, I try to stay with casting rods 6’6″ and spinning rods no more than 7′. And I cast better with a pistol grip (Okay, so I’m old school) so I keep all my old rods with pistol grips because you can’t find pistol grip rods anymore. If ever I have to buy a new rod, I’ll probably have to get it custom made.