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Pre-Season Rigging

It's 14 degrees outside as I type this. All the water within an afternoon's drive is frozen here in Missouri. A fact of life in the midwest is that there are a few months when bass fishing is just tough, or even impractical. A fact of life in the midwest is that there are a few months when bass fishing is just tough, or even impractical. Where I live, most lakes don't see temperatures cold enough to make them safe for ice fishing, yet they remain frozen all winter. This is a frustrating reality, but it does give us a tangible "off-season" in which we can prepare for the season of fishing that lies ahead. Spring is coming, and you better bet that when they water opens up, I'll be spending my time out on the water, not in the shop getting set up. We've all seen the guys on TV with the $100k+ bass boats who have a dozen rod combos on deck and another dozen in the rod locker. That's not me. I'm an angler on a budget and since I've come to appreciate more quality equipment, I'm even more limited as to what I can afford to keep. This forces me to simplify my approach to fishing. I have to combine multiple techniques into a limited number of setups and try decide what rod/reel/line combinations will best set me up for success on the water.


I've come up with a 5 rod minimum set up that I'll be starting with in 2019. Here's how that plays out, including rod, reel, and line specs. 1) 7' Medium Light Spinning Rod: 6 lb flouro 

dropshot

split shot

tubes

worms

poppers 

small hardbaits 

shaky heads


2) 7' Medium Heavy Spinning Rod: 15 lb flouro

larger worms

senkos

light texas rigs

medium topwaters

jerkbaits


3) 7' Medium Baitcaster: 7/8:4:1 gear ratio - 10 pound mono

crankbait

topwater

texas rigs

worms in cover


4) 7' Medium Heavy Baitcaster:  6:4:1 gear ratio - 15 lb braid

heavy jigs

heavier texas rigs

spinnerbaits

chatterbaits

reaction baits


5) 7'6" Medium Heavy to Heavy Baitcaster: 6:4:1 gear ratio - 20 lb braid 

frogs

small swimbaits

flipping and pitching.


These are just the basics. I have more than 5 rods and reels, and will likely allow the undesignated combos to be "floaters" based on the season of fishing. For example, in a pre-spawn pattern, I'll likely have multiple crankbait rigs set up in an attempt to cut down on tying time. In the heat of late July, I may have multiple jig rigs rigged. All this to say, us everyday anglers don't need to buy into the "one rod for every bait" hype. Would it be awesome? Heck yeah! That being said, budget minded anglers can have similar success on the water if they spend the time to think through the relationship between rod, reel, line, and lure ahead of time. This is the best way to ensure that you spend the maximum amount of time with line in the water, rather than constantly second guessing the rig that's in your hand.

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