Fishing Rod Help

Been out of the fishing game for a long time. Just bought a Kayak that I will use for fishing and paddling. The majority of my fishing will be on lakes, Reservoirs potomac river, goose creek. I have a Wilderness commander 120 Kayak, I like to do mostly smallmouth and largemouth, maybe some crappie. I like spinning rods and comfortable with them might try a bait caster later down the road. Also I like to use lures typically. make and model suggestion are welcome, will most like go to Dicks sporting goods as I am in Leesburg VA.

type of tackle box and or any other helpful accessories.

Size and weight Rod?

Size of Real

type of line to use?

recommendations much appreciated :slight_smile:



Bass fishin’ large and small
Dear Greg,

First things first, I am most definitely old school. I like spinning reels without 15 ball bearings and round baitcasting reels. I fish metal Penn 430 spinning reels and Swedish made Abu baitcasters because they work and you can’t kill 'em.

My recommendations are based from a lifetime of boat and wade fishing in lakes and rivers. What I suggest for a rod and reel may not be the best choice for use in a kayak but they will certainly give you a starting point.

For a rod for either largemouth or smallmouth I like a fast action rod of 6 to 7 feet in length rated for 4 to 10 pound test and 3/16 to 5/8th’s ounce lures.

I use similar rods for both spin fishing and bait casting. For smallmouth in rivers I almost always use 6 pound test mono. For largemouth I’ll step up to 8 or 10 pound test depending on the structure and snag potential.

For lures most of them are interchangeable for smallmouth and largemouth. You need to get a few lures that cover all levels of the water depth.

Topwater - Heddon Torpedo and Zara Spook and the Rapala Skitter Pop will work for both large and smallmouth. Pick up a buzzbait or two for the largemouth in grass, pads, and weeds.

Mid-depth - There are dozens of crankbaits out there. I like floating minnow types like Rapala’s and Rebels and fat plugs like Big O’s or Bomber’s. Most of them can run from the surface to 3 or 4 feet deep. To go deeper look for plugs with larger bills on the front or sinking models.

Deepwater - I like jigs. Plain leadheads are cheap and you can dress them with plain old twister tails and generic tubes and you’ll catch fish. For colder water I like the rubber skirted jigs with a trailer of some sort attached, a twister tail or a rubber crawdad both work. For largemouth get some rubber worms and slip sinkers along with some hooks and rig them Texas style so they are weedless.

Get a couple of spinnerbaits too. They work for both large and smallmouth bass and you can fish from just under the surface to the bottom of the lake with them just by allowing them to sink and varying the speed of your retrieve. Sluggoes and Fin-S-Fish also work for both kinds of bass and can be rigged to fish all levels of water depth.

I hope this helps.


Tim Murphy :slight_smile:

Fishing Rod Help
Thanks Tim, that helps. Been 20 years so nee a good starting point.



I live in Leesburg
Here’s what works for me on those same waters and targeting those same fish.

Fly rod: I use a 6 weight fly rod and floating line. I’ve found that a white popper cast to shorelines and near rocks is effective much of the day and not just early morning and late evening. I also use a hopper/dropper rig, which takes quite a few panfish as well as smallies, but to me a fish is a fish. I have yet to catch any very large fish on the fly rod.

Spinning rod: I like a long medium/light and relatively fast action rod. I’m not particular to brand, but Quantum has repeatedly let me down. They feel good in the store, but to get that stiff and light feeling they have to use fragile materials. I’ve had two Quantum rods explode into five or six pieces on hooksets. I just purchased a Fenwick rod that came with an Abu Garcia Cardinal reel at Sportsmans Liquidation in Winchester for about $50. Great deal. My preferred length is 6’6" or 7’. I do not very long or very short rods when fishing from a kayak. You need a rod long enough to guide the line around the front or the back of the kayak if the fish is running, so the rod + your arm has to be longer than half the length of your kayak.

I fish a lot of soft plastics on 3/0 EWG hooks. I prefer the red hooks, not because I think they do anything for attraction, but because the anodizing on them protects the metal from rust in your tackle box. There is absolutely no way I’ve found to keep your tackle dry in a kayak. My favorite lure, bar none, is the Case Jacks Worm in colors that match the bottom of the water your fishing. Most other times, I’ll be fishing a grub, my favorite are Fat Alberts, on a 1/4 oz or 3/16oz ball head jig.

For spinning reels, I like Diawas. They have some lower cost reels in the $40 to $50 range that have worked for many seasons for me with little maintenance.

For baitcast: I like a low profile reel with both magnetic and mechanical overspooling protection. I don’t get enough time on the water to practice and so will take any advantage I can to keep me fishing rather than picking out over-runs. Diawa makes some affordable models. I also have a Pflueger Presidential and a Bass Pro Shops Excel. The favorite is the BPS Excel reel. For a rod, I like the same lengths, usually preferring the 7’, but a Medium or Medium Heavy rod so that I can get a good hookset on long casts. I usually use FireLine Crystal with the 8lb test diameter (I think that makes it 15 or 20 lb test line). You have to keep a close eye on the integrity of the line and retie fairly often, but I use large tubes on 1/4oz to 3/8oz tube jigs, crankbaits, and spinner baits with baitcasting tackle and so want line that is thin and not too buoyant so that the lures can get down in the water easily.

I’d enjoy fishing with you some time. I won’t be likely to get on the Potomac for a month or so, given my schedule, but perhaps in September we can arrange a time to fish.

While I have nothing against Dicks, and they surely have some good fishing tackle to get you started, if you’ve got the time to drive up to Hanover, MD just outside of Baltimore, I think a visit to Bass Pro Shops will provide you many more options for tackle within the same budget. BPS puts together some budget-conscious combos from their store brand (which I have found to be consistently reliable). Also, the Gander Mountain in Winchester has a better selection than the Dulles Dick’s store.

When it comes to Case soft plastics, the easiest way to get them is to order on-line. For full disclosure, I am a friend of Charlie Case, the founder of the company. However, I did not become a friend of his until AFTER using his products successfully for years. Further, Charlie has retired and no longer runs the company (though it remains a high quality and effective product line).

  • Big D

rod , reel , lines , baits …

– Last Updated: Jul-30-11 12:38 PM EST –

...... my suggestion is to purchase a 6'-6" one piece rod that is IM6 graphite , has ultra-lite eye rings , Med.(medium) , fast action , 6-1/2" butt ...

Examples of rods like these that I can recomend are Berkley Lightning rods and Feild and Stream 1874 Sportsman rods ... there are other comparables . Rods like these perform excellent and are not expensive .

For reels my basic suggestion is to get one in the 2500 series size ... they hold 120/10 , 140/8 , 200/6 . An example would be Shimano Stradic 2500 FI . I personally use Shimano Stradic reels almost exclusively now , but they cost from 150. plus each ... you may not want to spend that on a reel , but I am willing to because everyone I've purchased is still working perfectly , many many years and hrs. use on them . Other less expensive reels have always bit the dust within a year or two but worked nice at first .

I prefer and use Berkley Trilene XL mono. line ... the XL means "extra limp" . I have 1-2 extra spools for each reel , and the extra spools are loaded with either lighter or heavier line so I can change up on the spot if desired . I will use Spider Wire braided line on some spools also in the 15 or 20 lb. test which has the diameters of 4-6 lb. mono. lines .

Lures and baits ... everything depends on "where" you are fishing , "what" you are fishing for , and "when" you are fishing for it (time/season of year , and even time of day) .

How to fish and catch fish ... ah , that is the real goal . That is best accomplished by limiting your efforts to one place at a time , learning all about that place , it's water depths , structures and cover ... mastering one type fish species in one place at a time . Know that place like no one else does ... then move on to learn another place .

My best advice to you is to keep it as simple as possible . What I'm saying here is this ... I may go out to do some Largemouth Bass fishing on a lake , the only thing that gets put on my line is a 7" purple plastic worm set up , that's it , that's all the lure I take (just that I have a bag full of them with me) ... another , I may go out into the river for Smallies , the only thing that gets put on my line is a Yum Crawbug & jig heads , or a Mepps #3 spinner , that's it , that's all I need to take for lures (but I'll have maybe 1/2 dozen Mepps and 25 Yums) . I've had days when the 25 Yums were not enough , all got destroyed and there where still more fish to be caught but nothing to catch them with , and also days when I really only needed a half doz. Yums .

I'll go to bay bridge with a dozen Bucktails and a half bag of white plastic worms for teasers , that's it , that's all I need , I may end up loosing as many as 6 of those to fish in one night .

You can take a ton of tackle , lures , baits , etc. along with you ... you can try this one , try that one , try em all ... but I'm saying to you don't do that , just take one or two things and master them , nothing else is needed .