Christie: Matching rods to techniques

You know, sometimes, it takes a little outside perspective or question to make you stop and think about how you do things and why. For example, I recently posted a picture on Facebook with all my rods pushed into a corner. My fans asked, “How do you use so many rods?”

Well, for one thing, I look at fishing rods as the tools I use to do my job. That job might change a lot from one lake to the next, or even within the course of a day on the water.

That’s the easy answer for why I have so many rods. But I think there’s more to the explanation.

There are some rods that get used every time I go fishing, but there are also some that get used only a little bit. They’re all important, but knowing how to manage these tools is an important part of becoming an efficient angler.

Here’s a good way of looking at it: I can remember when my house was being built, the contractor had a whole truck full of tools. He mostly used the same Skil saw, but when he came to a particular kind of cut, he’d go to his truck and pull out a specialized saw to make the cut.

The main saw he used most of the time might have worked, but maybe not as effectively. It’s like I can go throw a crankbait on a flipping stick, but it’s not going to be as effective.

On the other hand, my years of traveling and fishing all over the country have taught me the value of simplifying my fishing. One of the ways I’ve done that is to base the majority of my fishing on a handful of versatile rods. Each one has its design purpose, but each one also does a good job with other common techniques.

If I’m out on the lake, that helps me switch techniques easier. It simplifies it.

First off, my boat never goes in the water without a flipping stick – a 7-3 Falcon Cara swimbait/flipping rod. It doesn’t matter where we’re fishing, that’s the rod I have confidence in.

I feel like if I develop a pattern with that rod, I have a chance to win. I feel like I understand how those flipping fish set up.

Even If I’m fishing a smallmouth tournament, I still have the flipping stick in case I come in 15 minutes early and I want to flip a boat dock. That rod fits my size and my style. I can fish it all day and not even know it’s there.

To make that rod more productive, I also use it to fish deep with a swimbait.

Another versatile rod is my 6-10 Falcon Cara Head Turner. I use this casting rod to throw a Booyah spinnerbait, a bladed jig, big topwater like a Zara Spook or a small Booyah buzzbait.

One more – my 6-11 Falcon Jason Christie Frog Rod is the best frog rod I’ve put in my hand, but I’ll also use it for a big 3/4- to 1-ounce Booyah Spinnerbait. The only difference is I use one that’s set up with braid for frogs and one with fluoro when I’m throwing a spinnerbait. I might also use this rod to flip a light finesse jig like the 3/8- or 1/2-ounce Booyah Finance Jig.

These examples of condensing the number of rods I regularly depend on have helped my overall efficiency, but I don’t want to take away from the wide array of Falcon rods for various techniques. I still use a lot of them. It’s good to have a lot of options, as long as you learn to make the right decisions.

I’m very detailed in the rod that I want, but keeping it simple also has its merit. If an angler can’t afford to buy a bunch of different rods, he can do what I’ve done and whittle down his selection to a few versatile rods.

To complement that core group of rods, I definitely carry several technique-specific rods that I only use a few times a year. But when I face a particular scenario, it’s important that I’m prepared to fish it effectively.

One example is my 6-10 Falcon Cara Heavy Flipping rod. I only use this when I’m punching thick grass with 1 ounce or more of weight. It’s one of the techniques I enjoy most, but I just don’t get to do this more than a few times a year.

Another one is the 7-10 Falcon XD Cranker. This rod is made for deep diving crankbaits. On the Bassmaster Elite Series, we don’t do that many times a year, but when I do need to do it, I have the right rod for the job.

If I look at my rods as a team, every one of them gets to play in the game, but some get to play more than others. It would be hard for me to give one away, because each one has its purpose and position on the team.

For the casual angler looking to assemble the right team of rods, I can say that Falcon has done a good job of offering specialized rods at different price points, so anglers at all economic levels have realistic options.

When you’re buying rods, I’d suggest you look for something that fits your hand as well as your budget. You’re the one who’ll be using it all day, so make sure you’re happy with your balance of performance and economics.