LOTS OF TARGETS may require shorter rod and more casts to cover...

I guess nobody on the Left Coast would argue the point. When you’re lofting 12-inch swimbaits with your 8-foot specialty rod (or a cluster of baits with an A-Rig for that matter) you don’t make a lot of casts in an hour. Certainly you can’t make as many as you would throwing any typical crankbait or spinnerbait with a typical 7-foot rod.

But I don’t know that we always think of the relationship of rod length and casting pace.  And not just because everyone is drop-shotting and doesn’t care how long it takes to work the bait. In the West, we just don’t correlate success as relative to the number of casts we make in a day.

Yet it could matter.

I had this discussion with Rick Clunn this morning (because I was contemplating the purchase of a 7 1/2-foot Earth Warrior rod) for use out in the desert. But, he advised against it because, when covering long stretches or wide areas of relatively shallow water, he still feels I would still be better served with a 7-footer–because I could make more presentations in a given span of time.

He conceded that if you were dialed in on a pattern and area where fewer but select long casts were more of what was needed, then the longer rod would be the better tool. That has worked for many U.S. Open contenders since Greg Hines got us throwing Zara Spooks in the early 1980’s.

But for the uninterrupted covering of water, the side-arm or sub-sidearm cast is quicker than reaching back on the overhand, thrusting forward and releasing at a chin-level position. From Clunn’s perspective, much of the choice has to do with the structure elements in front of you. “At some point,” he described, “I might be throwing across a point [needing a longer cast] but then, I might next be back in the pocket [where control and repetition might be needed].”

For that likelihood, and for the practical reason for most angler/consumers, he said, “If you’re limited in what you can have, then you want the rod that has more applications.” In that case, he was recommending the 7-footer over the 7 1/2.

That’s not to say, Rick doesn’t have a specific use for the 7 1/2 from Wright & McGill. “I made it for deep cranking and the trend of anglers using fluoro or fluoro leaders for getting more depth out of their crankbaits. Many of the guys are going 12-pound fluoro, and that won’t hold up as well with a heavy action rod, that’s why this has the lighter tip.”

But yes, when throwing the Mann’s Deep 30, Norman Deep 22 or the new Luck-E-Strike Freak (available next month) he will give up total presentations for fewer of the longest ones that let the bait get down.




8 Responses to “Rod logic: Longer/slower, shorter/faster…”

by Terry Battisti

I couldn’t agree with you more George (and Rick). When I was learning to throw spinnerbaits as a kid, the guy that taught me was Jim Adams (Downey Bassmasters). Back then the gear we had was all 5′-6″ pistol grips. What he recommended to me was a 5′-3″ rod for underhand roll casts. I still use this rod today when faced with a lot of cover and short pin-point casts.


I’m still using my Daiwa fiberglass VIP 50’s (5’6″ with pistol grips) for throwing cranks. These rods are just over 20 years old but I don’t care because I love them. 🙂

Rods became longer instantly when we change from short handles (pistol grips) to the longer handle (trigger sticks), adding about 8″, however the length from the reel seat to the rod tip hasn’t made big change until 7′ or longer rods became popular. The newer rods are also made of lighter materials and less handle material to where it’s common for todays rods to weigh less than 2 oz.
I have settled on 6’10” rod lengths, 3 to 5 power for my general fishing use. Swimbaits it’s better to go with a longer 7’8″. You don’t get much casting length increase with a 8′ swimbait rod or a 7’6″ crankbait rod.
Try casting at a controlled distance (football field works good) and you will be surprised; a 40 yard cast is difficult with standard casting rods using a lure and 50 yards with swimbaits, which I consider long casts.
The longer rods tend to get damaged tips when stored or on the deck; a foot longer cast just isn’t worth all the wasted energy, time and cost.

I personally don’t have a rod that’s less than 7′. I use my 7′ rods as my “target” shooters and longer rods (up to 7’11”) as my normal use rods. In the end rod length most comes into play by cover & depth. A short rod (5’6″-6’8″) is great in shallow water with a lot of visable cover where target cast are the norm. Put that rod on a deep water structure lake and then your handy

Damn phone! What I was saying. If you put that short rod in a deep water structure lake it’s a bad choice. Longer rods are not really for longer cast (but it does allow for that) your biggest advantage is hooksets where your able to move more line. It all comes down to lake, structure type & depth. Shallow target lakes= short rods. Deep structure lakes= long rods

BTW, it takes 6,000 casts to fish Elsinore which takes almost 8 hours. Unless a bass or two get in the way, then 8hrs 10min. Wish I had those 10min at CBC! Lol

Casitas, Castaic, Cachuma, Piru, DVL and are all deep structure lakes where I fish 99% of the time.
I cast jigs about 100′ most of the time and fish to depths to 45′ very successflly for (giant) bass with the “short” 6’10” rods. Different strokes for different folks as the song goes.

Well, if you’re short in stature, as I am, casting those longer rods becomes difficult. Also, I always fish with the rod butt pressed to the left of my stomach, kind of on the front of my left hip, not under my arm. This is because my hands are too small to palm the reel, so I have to hold the rod with my left hand, in front of the reel. I’ve had to cut a couple of inches off the longer handled rods they sell nowadays but I can’t do that on a split handle rod. Geeshh…it’s tough being short and old! 🙂