When it comes to choosing the right rod there is a lot more to consider than simply reading the manufacturer’s label. What it really comes down to is understanding the bait, the size of the fish, the size and type of line you plan to use, and the cover and structure you will be fishing near.

I use Megabass rods which, in my opinion, are the best rods made. Aaron Martens, Shin Fukai, and I have worked with them extensively over the last few years to develop what I think are the best rods available. They aren’t the cheapest, but not everyone is looking for a cheap rod. If you want to fish the best rods made check out the Megabass Orochi XX rods and the Megabass Black Jungle rods.

Here are five quick tips to help you choose the right rod, no matter which brand you choose to use.

1. Targets

Are you making long casts or target casts? For long bomb casts a longer rod is generally the best option. Of course, the action will have some effect on the distance as well, but in general longer rods cast further. If you are fishing in close quarters, such as around docks under overhanging trees, then a shorter rod is a better option. For vertical fishing, the length of the rod won’t matter as much, but a longer rod (something over 7 feet) is my preference. For flipping a long rod, over 7 feet, 10 inches is my preference for improving the distance of the flip and accuracy of a pitch.

2. Bait

What type of bait are you throwing? If you are using a single hook bait like a jig, Carolina rig, or Texas Rig, then you’ll want something with a little more backbone to help get a good hookset. A good medium-heavy or heavy rod is usually the best option for these applications.

For treble-hooked baits like a rip bait or crankbait, you want something that has a little more give. A medium action or even medium-light might be a good choice for these applications.

3. Line

What size of line are you throwing? If you are using really light line, you’ll want to use a spinning rod and for heavier line a bait casting rod makes sense most of the time.

What kind of line are you using? If you are using a braided line, like my choice Tuff-Line XP, you’ll want to have a little more give in the rod. Braided line does not stretch, which makes a softer rod the right option. In comparison, if you are using monofilament or nylon line, a stiffer rod is the right choice because the line will stretch. For fluorocarbon, it depends on the stretch properties. Some of the best fluorocarbon on the market like Gamma Edge have very little stretch. Gamma Edge will fish a lot closer to how braid fishes than some of the other brands of fluorocarbon lines, which fish more like monofilament.

4. Conditions

What kind and how much structure and cover are you fishing around? The more structure and cover in the area you are fishing, the stiffer rod you want to have. When you get a good fish on the line you want to be able to get them out of the stuff. It doesn’t matter if it’s grass, wood, docks, or anything else–a stiffer rod will help you control the fish more than a softer rod. For open areas, rip rap banks, or deep ledges, a softer rod will do the job and allow you to play the fish a little more effectively.

5. Fish

How big are the fish you plan to catch? For lakes such as Clear Lake, Guntersville, Falcon, Okeechobee, and many other well-known big fish lakes a stiffer rod is generally the right option. However, for spotted bass lakes and lakes where the fish quality is smaller than the lakes mentioned, a softer rod can do the job quite well.

Choosing the right rod is far more complex than choosing them just reading the label and tying on a bait. By using one or a variety of these tips you should be able to select the right rod for the job and you’ll land more fish!