How many fishing rods are too many? it depends on the fisherman
“How many fishing rods does it take to catch a fish?” “
This question came from my smart little brother when he saw the photo of my fully loaded kayak in a text next to my complaint about staying home. While my answer that I needed those six rods was just as smart at the time, his question had at least some merit. But I can’t tell the kid across the way.
Historically, I never had more than two fishing rods available at a time. In fact, I’ve never owned more than two. In Nevada and other western states, you can’t legally fish with more than two rods at a time, so why have more?
Then this converted trout fisherman started hanging out with guys who were bass fishing, and that experience changed my perspective. More than a little.
On my first ride on a real bass boat, my mentor, Tim Myers, pulled out at least half a dozen rods and laid them side by side on the deck in front of the cockpit. Each had been pre-rigged with a different bait. Among them were a spinnerbait, a crankbait and a small selection of soft plastics arranged in various configurations.
I admired the collection, but in my mind I asked the same question my brother asked me. “How many fishing rods does it take to catch a fish?” But it didn’t take long to get the answer.
As we came to a cove on the Overton arm of Lake Mead, Myers picked up one of his rods and threw his bait along a rock face. Almost immediately, a fish touched the bait but failed to take it. Myers instantly changed rods and threw a spinnerbait at the same spot. The fish hammered the spinnerbait and was the first of many Myers caught that day.
On this outing and subsequent outings with Myers and other bass fishing friends, I learned the value of having multiple rods on hand. Keep in mind that bass fishermen tend to fish quickly. They will fish quickly in a specific area and sometimes change baits frequently. Rather than stopping to attach a new bait or change rigs, they simply put down one rod and pick up another.
At first I found myself spending precious time fishing tying new baits while my friends spent their time catching fish. The bottom line is that multiple rods mean less time to tie up and more time to fish. It’s about being a more efficient fisherman.
So when your partner asks you why you are buying another fishing rod, you can explain that you are just taking the necessary steps to become more efficient.
As you can imagine, it didn’t take long for the number of rods I bring for a bass fishing foray to drop from two to six. Anything more than that is hard for me to deal with, especially when I kayak fishing.
Along the way, I also learned that every angler has their own personal bait preferences. These preferences determine how many rods they use and how they are rigged at the start of the day. Usually my rods are mounted with a crankbait, a spinnerbait, a drop shot with a plastic worm or a swimbait, a Ned or Texas rig, a jig and a topwater bait.
Am I using them all? Yes. Do I use them all all the time? No I do not. I probably spend most of my time using the drop shot, spinnerbait, and crankbait in that order. Why? Mainly out of personal preference. I like to use them. But I also have to be flexible and turn things around when the fish get a little picky about their choice of bait.
The key to successful fishing is being ready to learn new things and make a difference. That’s why I learned to use a baitcasting reel. Did it improve my fishing? Yes, I would say yes. I can cast much more accurately with a bait caster than with a spinning reel, but I still use spinning reels. Each has its place in a fisherman’s toolbox.
How many fishing rods do you need to catch a fish? As many as needed.
Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His column “In the Outdoors,” published Thursday, is not affiliated with or endorsed by NDOW. All the opinions he expresses in his column are his. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He can be reached at [email protected]