10 FOOT RODS will soon be on the market.

TEN-FOOT RODS will soon be on the market.

STORY UPDATED, 10-15–With the announcement of a new standard in rod length for B.A.S.S. competition–to a full 10 feet–there has been a lot of speculation as to what impact it will have on fishing and on the rod market. But here is a little added perspective.

“Tule dipping” preceded flipping, bass tournaments and long rod pitching. It was unrestrained and practical (even commercial). But it was not a “rod and reel” technique. Dipping rods were fiberglass poles with the line attached at the tip. There were no reels, no casting–just six feet of heavy line and often, a jig.

When Dee Thomas and partner Frank Hauck were thrashing the competition in the early days of team fishing in California, the push back from the competition was to ban the pair because of their tackle advantage. Instead, wiser heads prevailed asking Thomas and his corporate alter-ego, David Myers of Fenwick, to find the “the shortest length rod” that was still effective.

That was determined to be 7 feet, 6 inches–the length of the original Flippin Stik. The methodology was unveiled in 1976 in a timeless brochure penned by Myers called “The Whole Flippin’ Story.”

Ray Scott contributed to the long rod legacy by permitting six more inches for the tournament standard–not wanting any of the stars of the day disqualified by the innocent act of adding a butt cap or replacement tip guide to a 7-6 rod. So, from that day to just last month, eight feet has been the standard.

Flipping, because the rod was shorter, required an under-handed rod motion to create pendulum-like “cast” or presentation, which, when the jig reached the surface, the rod tip was was quickly lowered so the bait could still fall straight down–as the dippers had always done. Drop in, pull out, drop somewhere else, without moving the boat. High efficiency, high productivity.

Of course, it’s a new world of bass fishing out there now. Max casting and max leverage are in demand. There were no 12-inch swimbaits in the 1970’s, though Thomas did crank DB3’s with his fiberglass Flippin’ Stik. And in the modern era of the Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments, there is no fishing partner aboard who might likewise be slinging a 10-foot lance. Such will be debated by other tournament organizations in the near future.

But it’s still probably time for the longer rods (meaning within the accepted 8 foot to 10 foot range). Said Myers, the former President [not VP] of Fenwick, “The [modern] technology gives the advantages of a longer rod (ie, casting distance and coverage) and not the disadvantages (as in weight/imbalance). It lets us do this better.”

Chatting with Daiwa’s Marketing Manager, Curt Arakawa, I got this response: “We’re excited about the possibilities of making longer rods. The opportunities for flipping (or punching) and cranks is beneficial. Now, how do they fit [in a bass boat]? They may have to be telescopic and how will that affect the action? The concept of 10-foot rods poses new challenges for rod manufacturers, but new opportunities. We’re still investigating.”


2 Responses to “A tale that’s 10 feet tall”

Great read George. Not sure how the boat companies are going to adapt. That’s a long locker. Hope you’re feeling better and your grass looks great!

There’s no doubt that the water from Lake Elsinore is going directly to George’s lawn