Thursday, January 6, 2011

Guitars and Fishing Rods...?

I'll bet you never thought that guitars and fishing rods ever had anything in common.  Well, that would be true when you look at it on paper.

Made of wood

Made of graphite or fiberglass.

Heavy and unbalanced.

Generally are light and I'd be willing to bet that you could probably balance some of them on a pin head.

Though they are not so different when it comes to picking one out.  When a musician goes to their local music shop with the intent to purchase a new axe, it can be an hours long - yet incredibly fun experience.  First, you walk up and down the rows, taking in the scent of wood and polish, and finally pick something based on how it looks.  Then you play it for a while.  It either feels right or it doesn't, and God help you if you buy a guitar that doesn't...

Maybe I'm over complicating things and I'm dragging my music experience, kicking and screaming, into my fishing.  But let's look at the other side of the coin.

I mean, have you ever gone to Cabelas or Bass Pro Shop, grabbed the first casting stick you see and go line up at the check out?  No way!  You stand there and play with it a little bit first.  Maybe push the end against the floor, check the balance, maybe even shake the tip in the air, make the motion of a cast, etc...  Same thing as with the guitar, if the feel isn't there, you'll put it back. 

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that with all the different rod makers out there, how do you choose?  Do you let price dictate you decision?  Sometimes, but you can also get some pretty decent rods for under $100.  I picked up an Abu Garcia Vendetta last season for fishing in heavy cover, but I wouldn't use the rod for cranking because it doesn't feel right, the weight is funny for long casts. 

That said, should you make your decision based only on feel (like one might with a guitar)?  That depends on your wallet and whether you can get permission from your significant other!  Some of the rods that feel perfect to me usually make me turn white with sticker shock when I look at the price tag!  But my favorite rod is still the first baitcasting rod I got when I got into bassin, a stout yet sensitive stick that cost $70 off the rack.

So you see, the Casual Basser has to pull a little from each criteria.  I'd love to put the blinders on and go based on feel alone, but my wallet (and wife) says "I don't think so".

That's my process of picking out a new rod, how about you?

1 comment:

  1. I try to stay in the sub-100 price range, but have not bought a new rod in a very long time. I cringe at the prices of some rods. I do most of my research ahead of time, so when I know what I want, I go get exactly that. No mucking about in the aisle.

    First, I figure out what it is that I need, whether it is a rod for jigs, cranks, or whatever. I like all purpose rods so I can swap reels on them from time to time. I have six reels right now and they are paired up to play to different strengths, but also to cover a variety of techniques. No pigeonholing for me.

    I'm often casting amongst the cypress trees, so although I'd like to have a bunch of 7' rods, 6'6 is much friendlier with the trees.

    Then I do wobble the tip a bit to see how free it is. I don't like real wobbly rod tips. I've lost fish on my medium light rods. Sometimes I do press against the floor, but I try not to be abusive about that habit. While I'm at it, I check the weight and balance from front to back. I don't make practice casts. There never is enough room to do my sidearm cast in the store anyway.

    I inspect all the guides and the tip for scratches. I make sure none of them are loose or off-center. Then I check the trigger and foregrip for comfort, the cork for sharp edges and defects, and I make sure the reel seat isn't screwed up. Sometimes the threading is botched and will either close too tight or not tight enough.

    After a head to toe inspection for any damage, I'm at the register and out the door.

    Of course, I fish differently from many bass anglers. Sensitivity for me is in the line more than the rod. I don't palm my reels. I hold the foregrip and thumb the line. Always have. It's just the way I fish.