Your walleye fishing arsenal contains no piece of equipment more important than your walleye fishing rod. A walleye rod is like any other tool and you will find as you become more experienced that different rods are intended for different uses. Taking some time to select a walleye fishing rod will pay dividends when you hit the water.
There are far too many rods on the market for me to make any sort of specific recommendation. Rather than do that, I will simply highlight the important aspects of a good walleye setup and let you make your own choices.
In the early 1970s graphite rods hit the market and completely turned the business on its head. Graphite is lighter and far more sensitive than the old fiberglass rods that dominated the market before the 70s. Manufacturers have made a few forays into different materials, like boron, but the vast majority of rods are composed of graphite. Graphite is extremely sensitive, allowing the walleye fisherman to feel the bottom; rocks, weeds, and most important, a walleye bite. Sensitivity is extremely important when fishing for walleye. The old trick my dad did was to hold the rod tip against his voice box and have me feel the vibration in the handle when he talked. If you try this you better feel every last word or you have the wrong stick in your hand.
Rod manufacturers use a whole bunch of terminology when describing fishing rod characteristic. Light action, medium action, etc. To make things as simple as possible, we will stick with Fast Action and Medium Action for a good walleye fishing rod. Most good rods have a fast action. This means that most of it is rigid from the butt to the middle section, but has more bend in the end of the rod as it tapers to the tip. This allows the angler to cast lighter tackle and feel that light walleye bite. A medium action rod bends more in the middle section. If you like to troll crankbaits, you would probably favor a medium action walleye rod.
How to tell? Many manufacturers will put some sort of label near the handle to indicate action and lure weight. You just need to match up your preferred fishing method with the rod style of your choice. Most will opt for a spinning rod, which is simply has a receiver for a spinning reel. As a general rule-of-thumb, your best bet for a general purpose walleye fishing rod is a 6 foot, medium power, fast action spinning rod. If you plan to use a rig exclusively for trolling you may go to a similar baitcasting setup.
As your final consideration, look for a walleye fishing rod that is constructed from a single piece. Two piece rods add extra weight and really cut down on the action and sensitivity. If you can find a great deal on a rod… buy two. You always want to venture out with more than one walleye rod in the boat.
Anthony Michael posts articles and information about walleye fishing at http://walleyeguy.looncreekdesigns.com. For a selection of walleye fishing rod combinations, visit his page at http://walleyeguy.looncreekdesigns.com/walleye-fishing-rods.
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