How To Pick a Texas Rig Bass Fishing Rod

Mike Cork

I get asked all the time what is the best rod for fishing Texas Rigged plastics. That’s not a simple answer, but I will try to give some advice that could help with your next purchase. Texas rigged soft plastics are a classic way to catch bass. It would be hard to find a bass boat that didn’t have this presentation pre-rigged and ready to go 100% of the time. Each angler has a little bit different idea of what’s the perfect rod for Texas Rig fishing. While there have been huge advances in various techniques or presentation for fishing soft plastic worms or creature baits, the original and standard Texas Rig has been a staple to the bass angler and probably why rod manufacturers design rods specifically for this purpose. The problem is that there are many different presentations within the realm of Texas Rigs.

A Texas Rig is fished in every possible situation. You can pitch them to the thickest of cover or drag them along barren ledges; both require a slightly different rod to be perfectly effective. Then there is the gamut of different levels of cover in between these two extremes. The Texas Rig is a very weedless presentation that can be fished anywhere which makes it a favorite among bass anglers. So let’s try and figure out which rod is best for Texas Rigged soft plastic baits.

If you ask 10 anglers what is the best Texas Rig rod, nine will say a medium heavy. And for a general purpose Texas Rigged worm rod, this is true. If you could only have one, I’d also recommend a medium heavy. The medium heavy generally gives you enough tip action to cast and pitch baits easily, yet has enough back bone to pull bass from pretty thick cover. So for 75% of your Texas Rig needs, a medium heavy rod is going to be effective.

A factor many anglers don’t think about when selecting a Texas Rig Rod is what kind and size of bait you will be using. This will play heavily into selecting the correct tip action for your rod. A faster tip action will set a hook faster but will not load up as easily when casting baits which is needed to allow for longer casts. So if you’re pitching baits to short distance objects and cover, a faster tip action is better. This will allow you to set the hook quickly, pulling the hook through the bait and into the jaw of the bass. Then without any hesitation pull that bass from the cover. However, if you’re fishing open water, ledges, or barren banks with long casts, you’ll want a slower tip action; it will load up and aid in casting distance. You’ll also have a lot of line out, and a softer tip will let you feel strikes better. Can a medium-heavy rod with an extra fast tip work well for open water Texas Rigged plastic presentations? Sure, but it’s not the best option. Can a medium-heavy rod with a moderate tip work for pitching soft plastics to cover? Sure, but again, it’s not the best option.

If you can only have one rod designated for fishing Texas Rigs, I’d recommend the best of both worlds. This would be a medium heavy with a fast action tip. It will give you the strength needed to fish in heavy cover, and the fast action tip gives you the ability to cast further when fishing open water.

For the purposes of this discussion, I’m going to use Dobyns Rods Champion Series as our example rod selections. They have four rods in this series that are specifically designed to fit the needs of a Texas Rig.

Dobyns Champion Series 683C – 6 foot 8 inches long, medium with a fast action tip. This rod would be excellent for open water applications. The Medium action is light weight and very sensitive. The fast action tip will give you enough action to drive the hook through a bait and into the jaw of a bass. Being a medium action rod and a fast action tip, you’ll be able to cast long distances with this rod to cover ledges, points, or bank lines. I personally have found that I am a more effective angler with rods that are least 7 feet; however, that is a personal preference. A longer rod allows me to take up more line on a hook set when making long casts.

Dobyns Champion Series 703C – 7 foot, medium heavy with a fast action tip. This rod is a perfect combination to fish Texas Rigs that you’ll be casting to standing timber or brush piles on drop offs and ledges. The medium heavy gives the power needed to move fish from cover, yet the fast action tip still gives you the flex needed to make longer casts so that you can cover more water in a single cast. It is also fantastic for open water fishing. Being 7 feet long, you can move a lot of line on a hook set and really drive a hook into the jaw of a bass. Most anglers find this rod a very good all around option, and I highly recommend it for general Texas Rigging. However, in my opinion, it is a little light for heavy cover such as thick brush piles or log jams. It will be sufficient in vegetation that is sparse or spotty, but if the vegetation is thick or matted, I’d suggest the next rod in the Texas Rig line up, the 704C.

Dobyns Champion Series 704C – 7 foot, heavy with a fast action tip. This rod is more suited for moderate cover. We’re talking shallow brush piles, small log jams and some mild vegetation. The heavy action of the rod will give you all the advantages of power, but is not the best option when you are trying to cast a bait long distances; the 703C would be a better option in a casting situation. The 704C rod is going to be better suited for pitching or flipping baits to close targets. The fast action tip will give you incredible accuracy when pitching. The fast action tip will also aid you in controlling a large bass in close quarter situations. I’ve seen bass pull free with surges and the fast action tip will help absorb some of that surge shock.

Dobyns Champion Series 705C 7 foot mag heavy with a fast tip. This rod is designed to pitch Texas rigs to heavy cover, to include thick grass mats and log jams that you’ll have to pull fish over the top of. In the spring of the year with you have a lot of flooded brush, this rod excels. When power to move a fish is a must, the extra heavy action of this rod will make it happen.

If you didn’t notice already, all of the rods in this line up have fast action tips. For Texas Rigs, the fast action tip is ideal, it balances sensitivity against hook set reaction time. Once you start moving into the extra fast action tips, you’ll lose some sensitivity and with fishing Texas Rigs sensitivity is vital. This is not to say that extra fast tips are not sensitive, however within any brand line-up of rods the extra fast tip action will not be quite as sensitive as the fast tip action. Another factor for the fast action tip is controlling a bass once hooked. Moderate tips would be best to prevent bass from pulling loose and to help keep a tight line on a hooked bass; however, a moderate tip will hinder your accuracy when pitching heavier baits. An extra fast tip is great for getting a quick, solid hook set, but doesn’t give much and bass can pull free or develop slack in the line quickly during a fight. Extra fast action tips also are not the best option for casting situations when light weights are used. The fast tip action is the best of all worlds.

Now here is the twist. For me, I like the Dobyns Champion Series 743C. Dobyns does not list this rod as a Texas Rig rod; it’s listed as a toad or jig rod. The 734C is 7 foot 3 inches and a heavy with a fast action tip. The same as the 704C except it’s 3 inches longer. This takes us into the next factor in determining which Texas Rig rod you need; what length is best for you.

There is an old fisherman’s tale that says that you should buy your rods according to how tall you are. The taller you are the longer the rod you need to be effective. This is absolutely false. The true fact is that the longer the rod you can manage, the better your advantage over a hooked bass. The rod is your tool to control a bass during a fight. The rod applies pressure to the bass to help you wear them down so that the bass can be landed. So the longer the rod, the more flex or load there is available. This spring type effect can quickly wear down a larger bass, and it’s harder for a bass to get slack in the line and shake a hook free since the spring action will take up that slack.

Not everyone is comfortable using a rod that is over 7 foot long. The style of fishing you’ll be doing will have a lot to do with just how long of a rod you can effectively use. If you’re pitching in tight areas with a lot of overhanging limbs or up in the middle of a cattail field, a long rod can be a hindrance. If you’re fishing open water and making long casts a longer rod allows you to take up line faster when setting the hook to help ensure a solid hook penetration. Most anglers find that a 7 foot rod is the best of both worlds. Not too long for close quarter work and not too short for making long casts to open water.

Now that we’ve talked through some ideas on what makes a good Texas Rig rod for different presentations, what would be the best all around Texas Rig worm rod? Meaning if you could only have one, what would be the best combination to suit the majority of possible needs? As I mentioned before, a seven foot medium-heavy rod with a fast action tip will give you some of everything you need for just about any application of a Texas Rigged worm. While it wouldn’t be the absolute best option for some more specific applications, it would incorporate enough features to make it effective for the average angler that can’t afford a different rod for every application, or for the Co-Angler that is limited in items they can bring with them.

Some additional things to think about:

Larger baits will require a faster tip or heavier action to drive a hook through the bait and into the bass. Baits such as a full sized Brush Hog or worms over 10 inches have a lot of plastic, and it takes some strength in your hook set to penetrate. A heavy action rod or an extra fast action tip can help with this situation. You’ll have to weigh that against the type of cover your fishing and the time you’ll have to play the fish to the boat. Stouter rods can give a bass the upper hand.

Extra heavy cover presents a challenge that can confuse many anglers and they end up making the wrong choice. There is another Fisherman’s Tail that says “the heavier the cover the heavier the rod you need”. This is not quite true. While there are situations that you have to use the strongest rod you own and hope for the best, I’ve found in the last few years of experimenting that a medium heavy to heavy rod with a fast tip is just fine. When fishing in thick cover such as log jams or heavily matted vegetation, extra-heavy rods will cause you to lose more fish than it puts in the boat for you. It’s a matter of the rods ability to keep the line tight on a bass. If you are using a very stiff rod, once you get the bass on the surface of whatever thick cover you are fishing, your line can easily go slack as the fish battles towards you. With an extra heavy rod, there isn’t much give, and the rod doesn’t load up. When you pull the fish comes at you. When the fish comes at you faster than you can pull, or beyond your pulling capability, the line goes slack and the fish has the upper hand. Now, if you’re using a medium-heavy or heavy action rod with a fast tip action, the rod will load up against the fish as you pull. When that fish fights towards you, the rod has been flexed, and it can keep up with the bass as it straightens out, thus preventing the slack line. This is not to say that there aren’t times, like fishing flooded brush, that a mag or extra heavy action rod is not your best option. If you are catching quality bass in very thick cover, when a rod loads against a bass, instead of moving that bass from the cover, you may never get a chance to battle that fish. So my rule here is, if it’s a situation where I’ll end up with the fish on the surface to pull it over flat cover then I look for the extra flex. If I’m targeting bass that will pull me down into a tangle of limbs, then I have to weigh my options as to how fast I can get them moving away from those limbs and may have to move to a mag heavy rod. Through experience, you’ll learn what to expect.

There is a lot of information here and many different scenarios, hopefully this will help you pick the correct rod for your needs, versus making it even more confusing. Swing by the Ultimate Bass Forums and let’s talk fishing rods Ultimate Bass Rod Forum ask a question or tell us about your Texas Fishing Rod experiences.

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Mike Cork
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One Response

  1. Booman August 5, 2016

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