Fall is a great time to be fishing because most of the bass are moving shallow, but there are still fish to be had in deeper water, say 12 to 14 feet. Plus, all of them are active.
About two years ago, several Elite Series pros — myself included — signed on with Pinnacle. I did it because I get to be involved with the design and development process of their rods. They’ve got the actions nailed down pretty well. I was specific with the crankbait rods, and I got what I wanted. I like the Perfecta series; they’re higher-end rods, but they’re what I would consider just right.
So here they are — my 5 favorite rods for fishing in fall.
No. 1: 7-6 light flipping stick
This rod has a medium-heavy action, and is for flipping 1/2-ounce jigs to points and ledges in shallower water. I’ll also get up and around docks and work them through there.
You need a rod like this to work a jig because it’s got a nice tip on it so you can cast it accurately, and it’s also got a decent backbone so you get a good hookset and can wrestle a bass out from cover.
No. 2: 6-6 medium-heavy
This rod is for throwing buzzbaits and spinnerbaits around the backs of creeks and pockets. This is where a lot of shad are, along with an equal number of bass. You can cover a lot of water with both of these baits. I like a 1/2-ounce Mann’s Classic spinnerbait and a homemade buzzbait.
This 6-6 rod is great for fast-moving baits because it’s got an action that’s slow enough to “feed” the fish the bait before you snatch it from him. Its short length allows me to make accurate casts.
No. 3: 7-11 cranking rod
This is for throwing the deep-divers to scrounge up the bass that are late in moving shallow. I’ll bomb a Mann’s 20+ around the deeper parts of the same points I’m covering with the jig. This is also good for covering the deeper ledges out in the main lake.
Through the years, I’ve had a lot of input on developing cranking rods, and I think this one is just about perfect for throwing deep divers. It’s long for two reasons: First, you can really bomb it out there, and second, when a fish hits your bait it’ll load up really well and keep it buttoned up.
No. 4: 7-8 cranking rod
This has a little more backbone than the 7-11 and is made for throwing square bills like a Mann’s Baby “X”. I’ll throw this along shallow points as well as in the backs of pockets; the same spots I throw the buzzbait. Basically, anywhere there are shad, you need to be throwing a moving bait.
This cranking rod has a little bit stiffer tip on it because a lot of times you’re throwing square bills around shallow cover like wood, and you need to be able to move that fish out of there once he bites.
No. 5: 7-1 medium-heavy
I’ll toss a big spinnerbait along ledges and in deep timber and just slow roll it through there. A rod like this is good for those big, heavy spinnerbaits because even though it’s medium-heavy, it’s leaning toward heavy. Those big spinnerbaits have a big diameter hook on them and you need to be able to sink it into the fish even when it’s deep and there’s lots of line between you.
Originally published October 2011