Simplifying rod selection

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Bassmaster Marshal Jesse Piontek

This column follows on the heels of my simplifying finesse techniques column.

Next, I thought I would address another popular question I get quite often: Which rod do you use for this technique or that technique?

Rod selection for me used to be like finesse tackle – very complex. The rod market is a bedazzling array of options that can be difficult to navigate. There are lots of choices in terms of sizes, actions, tapers, size of guides, etc. Matching a specific technique to the right rod was always a tedious process of trying a lot of different rods until I found just the right one for the task.

Thankfully, I don’t have to do that anymore. Thanks to Daiwa working with some of the top pros in the business, my whole rod selection process has been simplified beyond belief. I no longer carry around a hundred rods in multiple actions and sizes to match what I’m trying to do. I now just carry around multiples of about a dozen different Tatula Elite signature series bass rods to fit most any fishing situation.

In fact, this blog was sort of prompted by watching Ish Monroe win the Mississippi River event on the frog rod he designed for Daiwa.

I’m not a frogging expert, but I do fish one from time to time. It used to be if I wanted to throw a frog, I would spend hours and hours experimenting with different rod actions and sizes trying to dial in the best rod for a frog.

Now if I’m going to fish a frog, I just pick up Ish’s frog rod. I know how much time, effort and experience Ish puts into his rod designs. I don’t have to question whether it’s the right action or size for frogging; I have total confidence that Ish knows what the heck he is doing when it comes to designing a frog rod.

The same goes for his mat-punching rod. I don’t claim to be a mat-punching expert. But at least when I do punch mats, I’m using a rod that has been designed and proven by a guy who has thousands of hours of mat punching experience. I don’t have to wonder whether I’m using the right rod or not.

I guess what I’m getting at here is that as professional anglers we are all super competitive. We feel like we must ferret out the very best products to have the upper hand, and choosing the exact perfect fishing rod for each technique is part of that job. Yet, I have no problem using another pro’s rod in the Tatula Elite signature series line because I know how much we all put into designing technique specific rods and how much Daiwa listens to us when making these rods. Even at the highest level of professional bass fishing, that’s enough for me to have full confidence in picking up another guy’s signature series rod and knowing that all that angler’s experience with that technique is built into the rod.

Earlier this year when we went to Grand Lake I needed to skip a jig under docks with a baitcaster, and I never hesitated when I picked Andy Montgomery’s skipping rod from the lineup. When it comes to skipping docks with a baitcaster, who is better at it than Andy Montgomery? All his years of dock skipping expertise are designed into that rod.

Last year we went to the St. Lawrence River, where casting little superlight marabou hair jigs is a deal. I knew I wanted to throw one, but I didn’t really know which rod to use for that technique. Fortunately, Daiwa has Seth Feider on the their pro staff and Seth is a Marabou freak. Consequently, he has a marabou rod made just for that technique, and it worked great. He doesn’t even know how many hours he saved me from shuffling through rod actions to find the right one. Given the diverse pro staff at Daiwa, there are technique specific rods to cover just about any bass fishing situation I might encounter without wondering if I’ve got the right rod for the job – and that has made my rod selection a whole lot simpler.