Words and photos by Chris Funk
I hope my slightly exaggerated example photo shows the point of this tip. The buggy whip of an ultralight is sporting the large musky spinner while the Manley Gold Series baitcaster is paired with a tiny inline spinner. The problem is, the ultralight would never be able to cast or retrieve the big lure and the Manley was designed to throw lures the size of a small chicken. You would barely be able to cast the tiny spinner and if you could cast it; pity the fish that experiences that hook set!
When you see pros with their kayaks bristling with rods you better believe there is a reason for each. Every rod will have a different weight or action and each will excel with certain lures and presentations. I recently stood in an outdoor store and saw rods marked with large colorful letters with topwater, spinnerbait, jig, crankbait etc. on them. I am not such a stickler that I will go that far with my selections but I do know that pairing the correct length and weight will benefit you in your fishing.
A rod that lacks enough backbone for the lure tied on will make for a sad day on the water. The lure will be difficult to cast, especially with any distance or accuracy and any action that the rod needs to impart to the lure will suffer. A rod with too much backbone will create its own set of issues, destroying soft plastics, stifling sensitivity with delicate presentations and causing the angler to pull the lure away from fish before the hooks are embedded.
On most trips I carry three setups. I start with a light one for weightless worms, small crankbaits and things like that. My second choice is usually a medium rig for smaller topwaters, shakey heads and light jigs and such. My last choice will either be medium heavy or a full on battle axe heavy depending on where I am going. This will be my choice for throwing a swim jig, large hard baits and heavy topwaters.
By having these setups I can work the water column from top to bottom and chase critters from open water to the nastiest stuff they can hide in. I will tweak the setup if I am fishing very familiar water or conditions but this is still my standard way to operate. Fine tuning your arsenal will increase your odds on the water, and who doesn't like the odds in their favor!
Jackson Kayak pro staffer Chris Funk is a proud self-proclaimed redneck outdoorsman. He swings a mean camera, particularly when any of his beloved critters are around. Funk is a Kayak Fish Magazine contributing editor.