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How many rods does a Co-Angler need for a tournament?


Scaling down your rods as a Co-Angler

How many rods do you need for a Bass tournament?  That is an age-old question that has a simple answer… ALL OF THEM!  Usually this is not an issue if you’re running your own boat, but if you’re a Co-Angler, you do not have this luxury.  You have to get the maximum performance and flexibility out of each rod and reel combination.  As a Co-Angler, you need to be able to do more with less.

When I’m heading to the majority of my events, I limit myself to 7 or 8 rods.  Some people may call that excessive, but with the unique rod storage capabilities of my Elite Rod Sleeves, I can easily manage that many rods.  I ran into a unique situation in an Everstart event last year where the Co-Anglers were limited to a 5-rod limit.  This really caused me to stop and analyze what 5 rods can give me the most variety of fishing options, and this is what I came up with.


My rods of choice are my Razr Rods – these rods are the brainchild of President/Owner of Razr Rods – and full-time guide at Table Rock Lake – Captain Rick LaPoint.  These quality high-end rods are AMERICAN MADE and have the best warranty in the business.  Obviously these scenarios will work with most rods that have similar lengths and actions.

  1. My first rod would be a 6’-6” MH Razr Rod (Model# C08RZ).  I use this for Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and swimbaits.  Some people like 7’+ rods for these lures, but there are times when this slightly shorter rod makes the underhand roll cast a bit easier to execute.  I will also use this set-up for a vertical Jigging Spoon presentation.
  2. A 7’-0” Medium action Razr Rod (Model# C09RZ).  This is a great all-around crankbait rod.  I will use this for throwing anything from my Bass Craft Crank Baits SB2.5 Squarebills to the Bass Craft DP 3.5 Deep Diving crankbait.  I can also throw a Rat-L-Trap type bait on this set-up.  Finally I will use this for topwaters like the Bass Craft Pro Walker 5.0, poppers, and floating swimbaits/wake baits.  I feel that the Medium action gives me the split-second delay I need on the hook set to ensure a solid hookup without pulling the bait away from the bass.
  3. This one is a 7’-6” MH Flipping rod (Model# C76).  This is a rod I use for flipping and pitching jigs, but I will also use this rod to throw a Carolina Rig, a frog, or an A-Rig.
  4. Next is a 7’-0” MH Razr Rod (Model #C10RZ).  I will use this set-up for many things, including a secondary Spinnerbait rod, a worm rod, or for dragging football-head jigs.  I believe that this is my most versatile rod I have.  In a pinch, I can use this rod for just about any presentation.
  5. The final rod would be my 7’0” MH Spinning Rod (Model# 010RZ).  This will serve as my finesse rod.  With this rod, I will throw Snack Daddy Lures (SDL) 6” Slim Shakey  worm, drag an SDL Elite Tube, or drop shot my favorite SDL plastic – the 5” Snack Stix.  Other uses for this setup would be swimming a grub, and throwing a Fluke or a Jerkbait.  One final presentation, which is a favorite deep water tactic of mine, would be ripping a Silver Buddy blade bait off the bottom for big smallmouth!

Now, this may seem like a lot of different options, but that is the idea.  The Co-Angler needs to create to most possible scenarios for themselves with the least amount of tackle.

When faced with these scenarios, you cannot just rely on the 5 reels that are mounted on your rods.  The key to success with this setup is having multiple reels in your bag.  My choice of reels is the Lew’s BB1 series of bait casters, and the Lew’s Gold Spin series of spinning reels.  I generally bring 3 additional reels with braid, mono, or Fluorocarbon lines in different pound-test line.

If I’m throwing the 7’-0” Medium cranking rod with my Bass Craft squarebill up shallow, I will have a Lews BB1HZ 6.4:1 reels with at least 15# line on it.  If we switch to deep water later, I will change-up to a BB1 5.1:1 reel with 10# fluorocarbon line on it in order to my DP 3.5 as deep as possible.  In the same light, if I’m using the 7’-6” MH setup to flip jigs with 25# line, I would then switch to a BB1SHZ 7.1:1 reel with braid for throwing a frog.

In summary, variety and flexibility is the key as a Co-Angler.  You do not need 10-12 rods strewn throughout the boat.  Follow these guidelines and use your Elite Rod Sleeves to keep your area neat and tidy.  This will make for a great day “Fishing the Back”, and your boater will be happy!

Thanks, and TIGHT LINES… Bass Angler Headquarters
Want read more great article like this about Co-Anglers, check out Fishing the Back!

Mike Mueller is a competitive angler who has been fishing tournaments for over 25 years.
Mike represents several companies, including:
5X3 Fishing (www.5x3Nation.com)
Bass Craft Crankbaits (www.basscraftcrankbaits.com)
Bionic Custom Baits (www.bioniccustombaits.com)
Bluewater LED (www.bluewaterled.com)
Elite Rod Sleeves (www.eliterodsleeves.com)
Jewel Baits (www.jewelbait.com)
Lews Reels (www.Lews.com)
Razr Rods (www.razrrods.com)
Rudy Project Eyewear (www.e-Rudy.com)
Snack Daddy Lures (www.Snackdaddylures.com)
The Pond Pro (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Pond-Pro/251711091506928)