Bass Fishing Rod Selection Guide

Finding the best fishing rod for bass fishing is tough because it is different depending on your needs. In this post I will go over everything you need to know about rods to find the best one for you.

Fishing Rod Ratings Explained

Taper and Action

The taper or action of a fishing rod refers to the amount of bend the rod has. An extra fast rod will only bend near the tip of the rod. As the rating slows down the rod will allow more of the rod to bend. A slow rod will bend throughout most of the rod.

Bass fishing rods tend to be in the Moderate to Extra Fast range. The action you choose should be based on the types of baits you will be using.

Fast and Extra Fast rods have more sensitivity and allow you to set the hook faster due to less bend. This makes these rods great for single hook baits like jigs or worms.

Moderate and Moderate Fast rods will have more flex. These actions are good for treble hook baits such as crankbaits, jerkbaits, and topwater lures. Treble hooks don’t get hooked as deep as single hooks and are much easier to bend out. The extra flex in these rods provide the shock resistance to prevent these problems.

  • Regular
  • Moderate
  • Moderate Fast
  • Fast
  • Extra Fast


Power refers to the amount of force it takes to bend the fishing rod. Bass fishing rods range from ultra-light to extra-heavy. Lighter rods are easier to bend while heavier rod have more backbone and are harder to bend.

Power is important when setting the hook.With too much power you risk bending out your hooks. Too light of power runs the risk of not being able to drive the hook in for a good hookset.  Heavier powered rods are for thicker hook baits where you need the extra power to drive the hook in. Another use of heavier rods are when fishing heavy cover and you need to get the bass out quickly before they get wrapped up in the cover and break your line. Lighter rods are better for more open water and lighter hooks.

Power vs Action

When choosing a rod I consider action much more than power. Action will effect your casting, retrieval sensitivity, and fish fighting ability. Power is the second thing I look for to make sure the rod will be able to handle the line and lures I want to use.

An important thing to know about Action and Power is there isn’t an industry standard . Each manufacturers ratings will be slightly different.

Lure and Line Limits

Each rod will have a lure and line weight rating. Most manufactures print this rating right above the handle of the rod. These ratings are for the recommend weight the rod can handle for best performance.

The lure weight rating is for the ideal casting performance. Too light of a lure and you wont be able to properly load the rod which will hurt your casting distance. Too heavy and you run the risk of loading the rod too much which can result in whip lashing your lures and breaking them off.

The fishing line rating is based on the lb test of monofilament line. This means you can use heavier lb test line if you spool on smaller diameter line like braid or fluorocarbon. For example if your rod has a 8 lb weight rating then you could use up to 30 lb braid or 10 lb fluoro. You can do this because 8lb mono has a diameter of .28mm while 30lb braid is .29mm and 10lb fluoro is .279mm.

Choosing the Best Rod Length

Bass fishing rods range from 5ft to 8ft in length with most being in the 7ft range. When choosing a rod length there are four things you should consider:

  1. Casting Accuracy – Shorter rods give you more control and are easier to make short accurate casts.
  2. Casting Distance – Longer rods allow you to cast further while sacrificing some accuracy.
  3. Leverage & Control – Longer rods can provide more leverage which helps with hook sets and fighting fish in.
  4. Comfort – Your height should play a role in length you choose. If you are on the shorter side it can be much more comfortable to size down in length. Also consider how you will be fishing. Kayak anglers who sit close to water level will have a much easier time with shorter rods.

How Many Bass Fishing Rods do you Need?

While you only need one rod to fish, having more can be beneficial. The main benefit to having multiple rods is you can switch lures quickly without having to retie each time. Another benefit to multiple rods and why pro bass fisherman have so many is it allows to match your rod action to your lure. Each type of lure has a desired action and having a dedicated rod for each type gives you the best odds at consistently catching bass.

If you are new to fishing pick a versatile bass fishing rod which will work for a wide range of lures. This will allow you to try different fishing methods and figure out what style you enjoy the most. After your first rod you can start building your rod arsenal to meet your needs. Some popular bass fishing setups include: 3 rod systems, and 6 rod systems. Once you get beyond 6 rods you really should be matching your rods to specific lures. In all of our lure guides we give specific recommendations for the best rods.

Return to beginner bass fishing guide.