Get Your Combos

Category: article

 Dec 5th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Dec 5th, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Every year about this time all of us bass fishing nuts are perusing the various websites searching for fishing gear and pouring over the deluge of mail order catalogs that come to our homes in search of that perfect rod and reel combo to have for next season. It’s amazing how the tackle catalog has come to replace the Sears & Roebuck catalog as the “be all and end all” for my holiday wish list.

Since I’m as much of a gear addict as the next angler, I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be cool to have a bunch of top pro bassers give us their “must have” gear run down for their tournament fishing success?’ My feeling is if we know what they are using, we can make better informed decisions when it comes to spending our cash, or Santa’s cash, on some fun new gear for the 2009 season.

Judy Wong

Former WBT Champ Judy Wong (Photo Bass Communications)

“My must-have rod and reel combos would be one of each of my Signature Series American Rodsmiths rods. I have 6 actions: Topwater, Spinnerbait, Worm, Crankbait, Finesse Spinning and a Pitch-N-Flip rod.

“I really do use all of them, because as you know each action is like a different tool. I have them rigged up with different baits so that when I encounter different water, cover and structure conditions, I’ll be ready to make a cast, rather than spend time tying on a new bait.

“My American Rodsmiths series of rods feature H3 Titanium blanks with 87 million modulus graphite which makes for a super strong, but sensitive, light weight rod. Not only are these rods professional grade, they come in a beautiful purple color. All the women love them, as well as the guys. These rods are all paired with a Quantum Tour Edition 7 to 1, or 6 to1 gear ratio reel. The Quantum Tour Edition 7 to 1 or “Burner” reel is great for picking up slack line before setting the hook. These are “must have” reels and the only ones I use.

“After winning the Women’s Bassmaster Tour Championship in 2008, I was invited to the Whitehouse, where I presented President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, each with one of my signature series American Rodsmiths rod and Quantum reel.”

John Crews

“My must-have is a Fenwick Techna AV 7-foot MHF rod with an Abu Garcia REVO High Speed 7:1 reel. I can spinnerbait, Carolina rig, Texas rig, chatterbait, cast a jig, swim a jig, throw a frog, throw a topwater toad, and throw smaller swim baits on that set-up.”

Mike Iaconelli

“My must-have spinning combo is a 6-foot 8-inch Team Daiwa Mike Iaconelli Series Shaky Head rod with a Steeze 2508 reel. It’s the perfect rod to throw shaky head, flick shake, drop shot, or weightless plastics.

My must-have baitcasting combo is a Team Daiwa Mike Iaconelli Series Pitch Skip rod with a Team Daiwa super fast 7:3 Zillion reel. It’s the perfect all around rod for a jig, spinnerbait, or buzzbait.”

Randy Howell

Howell holds two pigs boated with his fave combos (Photo BASS Communications)

“I keep about 25 combos in the Triton rod boxes at all times, some of which are duplicates.

1.Quantum 7-foot medium-light Randy Howell signature series. I designed this rod for all around shallow cranking and jerkbait fishing! This is an extremely versatile rod and one, that I have 6 of in the boat at all times! I pair it with a quantum TE100SPT, 6.3:0 gear ratio baitcast reel for all my shallow cranking applications, and a TE100HPT high speed reel for lipless cranks!

2. Quantum 7-foot 4-inchTour edition PT heavy action. This rod is a very versatile stiff rod! I pitch jigs and plastics with it, and I also fish big topwaters and swimbaits with it! I like a long stiff rod for spooks and big baits that require a long cast for the proper presentation. I think guys lose too many fish with soft rods on big topwaters, and that is why I love this rod so much; it is one that can do many things! I pair this rod with a high-speed Quantum TE100HPT reel! The 7.0:1 gear ratio helps get the baits in and out quickly, to catch more fish!

3. Quantum Superlite series 7-foot 2-inch medium-heavy rod. This rod is a good one for fishing spinnerbaits and baits that require long casting distances for proper presentation. It is also one that can be used for Texas rigging a worm and topwater fishing as well! I use the TE100SPT for spinnerbaits, and the faster retrieve for the other lures!

4.Quantum Tour Edition 6-foot10-inch Kevin VanDam signature series. This rod is good for casting spinnerbaits and topwaters around cover. It’s designed with a slightly shorter handle for tight, accurate casting! I use the same 6.3:0 ratio reel for this application!

5. Quantum Superlite series, 7-foot 6-inch Heavy action flipping rod. This rod is big, bad, and light! I use this for heavy cover flipping, usually with Spiderwire Stealth braid. I prefer a fast retrieve reel for all of my flipping rods!

6. Quantum Tour edition PT spinning, 7-foot medium action. This is my all-around favorite spinning rod, it is great for shakey head fishing, and drop-shotting! The long, soft tip allows you to get the casting distance desired, and the backbone helps to get a good hook-set on the long cast! My favorite reel for this rod is a Quantum TE40PTI-B spinning reel. This reel has 12 bearings, and can hold 230 yards of 10 lb line! It has a 5.2:1 gear ratio and a big spool for long cast with small baits!

“There are a few other specialty rods I keep around for when those opportunities come about, but for the most part, these combos that I have listed above, can get the job done on any body of water in the country! All of these rods come with Quantum’s superior lifetime replacement warranty that gives you the confidence needed when going after those heavy cover lunkers!”

Mike DelVisco

“For most of my reaction baits like small crankbaits, lipless baits and jerkbaits, I use a Tica Tactica series 6-foot 6-inch medium action. I match this up with a Tica Tactica HJ100 casting reel. This combo is very light, comfortable to fish with and allows me to fish all day without getting tired.

“For spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and most of my pitching and casting of worms and jigs, I like the same reel paired up with a Tica Tactica medium heavy 7-foot rod.

“For finesse fishing, I like a Tica Gainer series 2500 spinning reel matched up with a Tactica 6 foot 10 inch medium action rod. The Gainer reel has a really big spool and smooth drag and gears. This is important when using light line for finesse techniques.

“Lastly for flipping, I like the same reel again paired up with a Tica Tactica 7-foot 6-inch flipping stick.

“I like to use all the same reels so it’s an easy transition when changing outfits and I can dial them in the same way. I do not have to adjust when changing from bait to another. The Tactica rods are my favorites because they are super light, split grip EVA handles and have Fuji Alconite guides. The actions of these rods are also great for fishing multiple baits making selection easy. I can have several of the same length and action to accommodate many different baits.”

Marty Stone

Marty Stone heading out for BASS Elite event (Photo BASS Communications)

“I would be lost without my light action Flipping Rod I designed for American Rodsmiths. It is 7-foot 6-inches and handles everything from me flipping all my small stuff, small swimbaits (Tru-tungstens new 4” swimbait), Carolina rig, spinnerbait rod for big smallmouth. This thing is a workhorse for me- one would find this in our “team series” rods. I team it up with a 6:2 to 1 Browning Midas reel exclusively from Bass Pro Shops.

“My second choice would be my whole series of rods I designed for American Rodsmiths. It is in our “Team Series Kicker Stix”. I have four different actions (1 through 4 with 1 being the lightest and 4 being the heaviest). Again, I would team these up with my Bass Pro Shops Browning Midas reels.

“Finally I have the “big dog” 7-foot 6-inch flipping stick, heavy action for the heavy cover and big fish. This is also in our “Team Series”. This is a man’s rod. I would also team the up with a Browning Midas reel from Bass Pro Shop’s.”

Bernie Schultz

“My primary casting and spinning outfits are actually quite similar. Both usually consist of 6-foot 6-inch medium-heavy graphite rods with high-speed reels. Occasionally I use a 7-foot spinning outfit for longer casts or deeper water. I’m pretty standard on flipping and pitching requirements…7 to 8-foot med-heavy to heavy actions, always graphite. I use Shimano rods and reels, primarily the Calais and Stella. I also use Sufix mono, fluorocarbon and Sufix braids. Here’s a more detailed list.”

1. spinnerbaits, buzzbaits: 6-foot 6-inch medium-heavy graphite with Calais or Calcutta XT reels & 15-25 lb. Sufix mono.

2. jigs, large Senko, worms, C-rigs: 6-foot 6-inch to 7-foot 6-inch pitching and flipping rods with Calais or Calcutta XT reels & 12-20 lb. Sufix mono.

3. flukes, small Senko, tubes and drop shots: 6-foot 6-inch to 7-foot spinning rods with Stella reels & 6-10 lb. Sufix fluorocarbon.

4. topwaters and bigger crankbaits: 6-foot 6-inch to 7-foot medium-heavy casting & 12-20 lb. mono or fluorocarbon.

5. jerkbaits, small-medium sized crankbaits: 6-foot 6-inch medium casting rod with Calais reel & 10-12 lb. mono or fluorocarbon.

6. pitching and flipping heavy jigs, worms, etc: 7- to -foot medium-heavy graphite with Calcutta reels & 20-40 lb. mono or braid.

Woo Daves

“When I am worm fishing cover, I use Woo Daves’ Extreme 6-foot 6-inch medium-heavy spinning rod with an Extreme 40 spinning reel on 10-12 lbs Bass Pro Shops’ XPS Fluorocarbon line.

“When I am drop-shotting and finesse fishing, I use Woo Daves’ Extreme 6-foot 8-inch medium-light spinning rod with an Extreme 40 spinning reel on 6-8 lbs Bass Pro Shops’ XPS Fluorocarbon line.

“When I am pitching worms and jigs, I use Woo Daves’ Extreme 7-foot 4-inch Pitchin’ rod with an Extreme Baitcast 7.1 ratio reel on 14-20 lbs Bass Pro Shops’ Excel line.

“When I am Carolina rigging, I use Woo Daves’ Extreme 7-foot medium-action rod, Extreme Baitcast on 14-20 lbs Bass Pro Shops’ Excel Line.

“When I am fishing in heavy cover, I use Woo Daves’ Extreme 7-foot 6-inch Flippin’ rod with an Extreme reel on 20-25 Bass Pro Shops’ Fluorocarbon Line.

“When I am fishing topwater and small crankbaits, I use Woo Daves’ Extreme 6-foot 6-inch medium-action rod with an Extreme reel on 10-17 lbs Bass Pro Shops’ Excel line.”

Luke Clausen

Clausen using one of his must have combos (Photo FLW Outdoors)

G. Loomis MBR 844 GLX with Abu Garcia Revo STX H S 7.1:1 – The most versatile combo out there and the most well balance ever made – I use this for pitching lighter plastics like a Berkley power tube or 7-inch Power worm on 12-to 15-lb Spiderwire fluorocarbon and also Berkley sinking Minnows weightless – the other uses for this rod are a heavy spinnerbait in open water or casting a 10-inch worm on the ledges

G. Loomis SMR822-SP Bronzeback GLX with Abu Garcia Soron STX20 – The spinning rod and reel that does it all! Spooled with 10 lb Berkley Stealth braid and either a Berkley Spiderwire fluorocarbon or Berkley Maxx in 8-to 10-lb. Fluorocarbon for all of the plastics like shakey heads from 1/16 to 1/4oz, weightless Berkley sinking minnows, wacky rigged Berkley shakey worms. Use mono for smaller jerkbaits and crankbaits, such as a Megabass Griffon or a X-80 trick darter, that you want to go deeper or in the clear water.

G. Loomis CBR 845 with a Abu Garcia Revo STX 6.4:1- While there is no one crankbait rod that covers all of your bases – this as close as it gets! It is short enough to accurately cast shallow cranks around cover such as Megabass griffon and also doesn’t wear your arm out while Jerking a larger jerkbait such as the Megabass Vision 110 in the spring. This is my jerkbait rod, but also has so many other uses including the midrange plugs such as a Megabass Deep X 100. The rod has a fairly soft tip, but has as much backbone as you need with a crankbait.

G. Loomis SBR 812 paired with a Abu Garcia Revo STX 7.1:1 – My favorite spinnerbait rod for baits up to 3/4oz and a great open water topwater rod. When spooled with 20 or 30 lb Berkley Stealth braid, it makes an excellent rod to throw topwaters such as a Megabass Giant DogX in the open water or a spinnerbait anywhere having the parabolic bend to keep the rod loaded to keep pressure on the fish when he jumps.

G. Loomis BCR 893 GLX with an Abu Garcia Revo STX 6.4:1 – I have given up the traditional flipping stick for this one piece rod that is more balanced, lightweight, and sensitive than the telescopic rods of old. Not only is this rod well suited for flipping a Berkley Power Hawg in a bush but also is a good deep water rod when you are making casts in 20+ foot and need to get the stretch and the bow out to get the hook drove though a 10″ Powerworm into a bass.

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