Technique Specific Bass Fishing Gear

Does Technique Specific Bass Fishing Gear Really Make a Difference?

The short answer, yes. You’ll never see me punch with a dropshot rod or dropshot with a flipping stick. So obviously there are techniques that require specific gear. But on the flip side of that, you could use a 7’ medium heavy bait-casting rod 75% of the time and get by. 

So let’s dive into it a little bit further. 

Naturally, there are some techniques and tactics that require specific gear period… like the aforementioned punching and dropshotting. There are other examples where specific gear simply makes you a lot more proficient at the tactic, for instance cranking with fluorocarbon instead of monofilament. The reasons become a little more situational and don’t always hold true in those latter scenarios, however.

Technique Specific Bass Fishing Gear | Proficiency is Key

Yes, cranking with fluorocarbon (which sinks) will allow your bait to dig deeper than cranking with monofilament (which floats). But, in some situations where you’re cranking with a shallow diving crankbait in super shallow water, the buoyancy of a larger pound test monofilament is actually beneficial to the technique. So technique specific bass fishing gear for cranking is needed but isn’t always the same. 

Then there are baits like a spinnerbait, chatterbait, buzzbait, Texas rig and several others that I would feel fairly comfortable throwing on a wide range of gear. Though I do have specific rods I like for each, that’s really just a result of having options. If I only had a 7’ medium-heavy, 7’ 3” medium-heavy or a 7’ heavy, I would feel pretty confident and fairly effective with all of those baits. 

The need for technique specific gear comes into play when you try to expand on fishing. Basic fishing requires basic gear. When you try to target fish that others may not be targeting, you’ll realize the importance of technique specific bass fishing gear. If you’re just going down the bank or sitting in the middle of a pocket, you can use a lot of different stuff. But when the technique becomes specific, like throwing a frog in matted vegetation, that’s when the gear becomes specific too.

Technique Specific Bass Fishing Gear | When Basic Gear Doesn’t Cut It

You would be extremely ineffective if you chose to throw a hollow-body frog 50-feet over into a mat with a 7’ medium-heavy and 15-pound monofilament. But, that’s not to say you can’t catch fish on a frog with that same setup just going down the bank or in open water situations. In the mat situation though, you’d need a longer, stiffer rod and 65- or even 80-pound braid. 

Technique Specific Bass Fishing Gear(1)

The more specific the technique becomes, the more specific the gear needs to be. 

When talking about technique specific bass fishing gear, the slower and faster gear ratio baitcaster reels are always a hot topic. Similar to rod selection, you can do almost anything with a 7:1 gear ratio reel. In fact, I’d go as far as to say you can do anything with a basic 7:1 reel that you could do with any other ratio baitcaster. It really comes down to preference for the individual angler. And because of preference, I do believe that technique specific reels are important for certain anglers. 

For instance, I have a buddy who has ADHD. It is far easier for him to fish a crankbait efficiently with a 5:1 gear ratio reel than a 7:1. I personally just slow my retrieve down by turning the handle slower. But if he tries to do that, his mind will inevitably wander and he’ll realize that he burned his crankbait back to the boat through the last 500-yard stretch. With a 5:1 gear ratio reel, he can reel at a normal cadence and he’s still slow-rolling his bait.

Technique Specific Bass Fishing Gear | Cost vs Gain

So yes, technique specific gear is important, particularly in very particular situations. And yes, by and large it’s not important at all. You really just have to look at what you’re doing. Should you throw away every weight you have that isn’t tungsten? No, you can get by with a lead weight on a Texas rig. But there’s also no way I’d try to shove a golfball sized hunk of lead through a particularly thick mat when punching, I’d opt for 2-1/2 ounce tungsten weight instead.  

Technique Specific Bass Fishing Gear(2)

It really all comes down to increasing your odds and weighing the cost versus the gain. 

It would be very expensive to have a specific rod, reel and line combo tailor-made for every single technique. Although having a reel with a 16-pound test for a flipping bait and 14-pound test for a single swimbait might increase your effectiveness with each by 5%, you’re not really giving up much by having one reel with 15- pound test to use for both. And you’re spending half as much.  But you increase your odds by 95% when you build out a technique specific punching setup with 65-pound braid instead of using that same 15-pound test reel. 

All gear selection is a numbers game. Start with basic gear that makes you pretty effective with the majority of the techniques out there, and then add technique specific bass fishing gear as you go for the outlying patterns. Start with those where technique-specific gear is most important: dropshotting, punching, deep cranking, etc. And then fill in the gaps over time between those setups and your basic ones and you’ll find the right mix to suit your needs.


This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert

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Shaye Baker

ABOUT Shaye

Shaye Baker started fishing with his dad in Alabama as soon as they could find a life jacket small enough to fit him. Competing with his father in local tournaments, Shaye quickly found a hunger for competitive bass fishing. He furthered his fishing career at Auburn University helping to establish the Auburn University Bass Fishing Club. While at Auburn, Shaye served as the President of the club and qualified to fish on the traveling team amassing six Top 5 finishes including two 3rd place finishes in consecutive FLW College Fishing National Championships. While beginning to dabble in the world of outdoor journalism, Shaye continued to fish semi-pro events finishing in the Top 5 in the Bassmaster Opens, FLW Costa Series and BFLs. Finding himself at a crossroads, Shaye chose to put down the rod and pick up the pen and camera to focus on his career in outdoor journalism. Shaye has had work featured in Bassmaster Magazine, FLW Outdoors Magazine, B.A.S.S.Times and the Japanese bass fishing magazine Basser. Shaye has also had work featured on ESPN and Wired2Fish.com, FLWfishing.com and Bassmaster.com. While working with B.A.S.S., Shaye initiated and spearheaded their GoPro division which brought more video coverage to the fans than had ever been done before in competitive fishing. After his tenure with some of the best companies in the business, Shaye identified a need for competitive fishing where participation didn’t cost a fortune. By founding UPLOADED, the Online Fishing Series, Shaye established a free tournament series where anglers could film their fish catches and upload their videos to compete against other anglers for prizes.

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