The Rise of the 10-Foot Bass Rod
By Frank Sargeant, Editor
from The Fishing Wire
Bassmaster revealed recently that they will allow 10-foot rods in tournament boats next year, up from the 8-foot maximum that has been the standard forever.
A lot of anglers might ask what the heck any bass fisherman would want with a rod that long, when most of us never use anything bigger than about 7’6″, but there apparently is a demand for the monster sticks among some of the top Elite pros.
The advantages are in two areas–for flippin’, the short game of bass fishing, the longer rod gives a better angle to reach distant teacup-sized potholes, and also the potential power of these bigger rods will give anglers a better chance of derricking a big fish wrapped in 20 pounds of weeds to the boat.
The rods will also add some real potential distance, for those who master them, to crankbait fishing. The longer the rod, the longer the potential cast, and as most who enjoy crankbait fishing know, the farther you throw them, the deeper they go on retrieve. Since success with a crankbait often depends on grinding it along a gravel or shell bottom, being able to get a lure down there and keep it there throughout a long retrieve is going to have a big impact on the catches.
Of course, being able to handle the increase in tip speed of the rod and spool speed of the reel will be key, and it’s going to take a period of adjustment for most to get used to the big difference in the weight and balance of the longer rods. The backlashes likely will be monumental early on.
There will also be issues with storing the rods on nearly all bass boats, unless they’re made to be collapsible, as some flippin-sticks are already. The tubes on most boats max out at 8 feet, even on the largest rigs, and many boats under 20 feet long can’t handle anything over 7’6″.
There’s also the issue of keeping the hooks out of the angler on the other end of the boat, in team tournaments and during fun fishing with family. A 10-foot rod has the potential to reach all the way across the back deck of most boats if the bow angler does not watch his backcast. And when a burly angler up front powers up to cast a 10XD a mile, those big treble hooks are coming at speeds that just about break the sound barrier. It won’t be pretty when somebody gets stuck.
That said, increasing the legal rod length will be a shot in the arm for the tackle business in the coming year. Not only will all the pro’s have to have several of the new sticks, all of us wanna-be’s will also need a couple if we want to be at all similar to KVD or G-Man, and they’re probably not going to be cheap. Look for reel makers to jump on the train and make special reels for these rods, as well.
In short, there’s not much new under the sun when it comes to bass angling these days, but the addition of these new mega-rods will probably spark plenty of interest over the next few months among those who live and breathe tournament bass angling.