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I was recently speaking with a customer about the number of different blanks we make in our factory and he asked me how many I use personally. The answer is a lot. Later, I was wondering “if I could only have 5 rods, what would they be?” I gave it some thought and came up with the following list.

I live in upstate New York so the majority of my fishing is freshwater. You will see this reflected in my choices. I could not rank these in order as they would all be important to me. That said, here are top 5 rod choices:

6’6” Medium Power, Fast Action Spinning Rod – I would use this for a wide range of finesse techniques including wacky rigging stickworms to fishing a dropshot, and anything else involving a relatively small soft plastic bait. Some may prefer a 7’ spinning rod for these applications, but I like the extra sensitivity I get from a shorter blank. I would also use this for panfish and trout fishing, including live bait presentations. This rod will also work for shallow water fluke fishing.

7’ Medium Heavy Power, Moderate Fast Action Baitcasting Rod - The blank design here is critical in that I want enough backbone and power in the tip to fish up to ¾ oz jigs, but I also want the action to be slow enough to throw lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits, and big crankbaits. This rod has to do a lot, and it may not be optimized for any one of the things I would use it for, but remember that I can only have 5 rods so compromise is necessary.

Travel Spinning Rod – I will admit to being biased by the fact that we just spent 18 months trying to perfect a 42” go anywhere rod, but having had some version of this in my car for the last year I find it indispensable. I am fishing more often, and really enjoying the convenience of always having a rod tied and ready to fish. I love my fishing boat, but using it is an event that usually occupies 3 – 4 hours. Now I shore fish for 30 minutes at a time, and I fish much more frequently.

10’ – 11’ Surf Rod with Medium Power and Moderate Action – I would use this rod for all surf fishing techniques that are popular in the northeastern part of the U.S. I know that more power and a faster action is more ideal for chunking and fishing bucktails, but I don’t want to give up the ability to effectively fish pencil baits. Tradeoffs.

Fly Rod, 9’, 4 piece, 8 wgt – I am a novice fly fisherman, and I am having a lot of fun learning this artful form of fishing. I’m not willing to give it up to make room for another rod on this list. I chose an 8 wgt rod because I primarily fly fish for bass. I would also use this rod for light inshore applications when I travel to the southern shores.

So, there’s my top 5 rod types. Let us know what you would pick if you were limited to such an unreasonably low number of fishing rods.

Bob Penicka

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