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3 Basic Bass Fishing Rod and Reel Setups

Look at any video or photo from a pro bass tournament and you may well be surprised by just how many rod and reel setups that are sitting on the deck of the boat.

If you look closely you can in some circumstances count up to no less than twenty different types of rod and reel combinations!!!


For the average angler lots of rods is definitely total over kill not to mention extremely expensive.

Tournaments are different and require you to switch up your fishing techniques for bass as soon as you realize what is working and what is not.

Back in the real world however you can cover most bases with just 3 different types of rods for bass fishing:

  1. Medium/light spinning rod and reel
  2. Medium/heavy casting rod and reel
  3. Heavy casting rod and reel

We'll detail each setup below and what type of lures or techniques that they are each suitable for.

Bass Fishing Rod and Reel Setups

1.  Medium/Light Spinning Rod Setup 6'6" in Length

A spinning combo for bass is the preferred choice when you are looking to use smaller lures or finesse style lure and when using light baits or plastic worms on a drop shot or similar type of bass rig.

You'll want a rod with a fast action as this gives you the best tip sensitivity and create feedback through the rod blank.

It is the shorter of the 3 rod setups listed here as most of the work you will be doing with these types of lures will be close action style fishing.

Longer rods do give you a slight advantage when it comes casting distance but if you want quick hook-sets and lots of sensitivity/feedback through your rod then a shorter one is the better option.

A good spinning reel for bass will always be better at casting lighter tackle than a baitcaster combo as the lighter line will fall off the spool much easier.

A spinning rod for bass should not be any longer than 7' or shorter than 6'6".

I'd spool it with either 6-8 lb monofilament or 10-12 lb braid. If using braid as the main line for lighter bass lures and rigging then I opt to use a 6 to 8 foot fluorocarbon or monofilament leader. 

2. Medium/Heavy Casting Rod Setup 7' in Length

This type of bass setup may well end up being your most used bass fishing rod and reel. It can cover a lot of different scenario's.

In fact I keep one rod in my truck and this is it!

This rod can handle larger lures and will give a significantly longer casting distance than the smaller spinning rod listed above.

I'd use a low profile baitcaster reel and spool it up with up to 30 lb braid.

This type of bass setup can handle spinnerbaits, larger worm rigs and swimbaits.

It will end up being the workhorse of the 3 bass rod and reel setups listed here.

3. Heavy Casting Rod Setup 7'3" in Length

Topwater frogs, heavy flipping work and large topwater lures need a beefy rod and reel setup.

If you are using frogs over heavy cover then you will most definitely need a casting rod with a lot of backbone.

Skipping frog lures along the surface over thick weed beds and large lily pads needs a frog rod that can handle the occasional snag.

More importantly has enough power to turn a bass away from this vegetation before it gets a chance to bury it's head down into it.  

You'll need a large baitcaster reel of size 300 or 400 that can easily handle 50 lb braid as a minimum.

When fishing near thick cover heavy braid is the only choice. It has virtually no stretch and will slice through weeds much easier than mono due to it being half the diameter of the equivalent test mono.