Kevin VanDam’s tips to Choosing a Casting Rod

Casting Rod Choices

By John Neporadny

Even though he excels with any rod he picks up, bass-fishing superstar Kevin VanDam relies on certain rod lengths and actions whenever he applies a particular technique.

While rod manufactures continue to offer a variety of rods for special tactics, there are some models that still handle multiple tasks. VanDam’s multipurpose rod is a 6-foot, 10-inch high-modulus spinnerbait model he designed. It allows him to make accurate pitches in tight places but has enough length to cast long distances with topwater and jerk baits.

Other high-modulus graphite rods VanDam selects for specialized techniques are models measuring six and a half feet and seven feet, two inches. Both models have extra fast tips but plenty of backbone for power lures. The Michigan pro uses a 6 ½ foot-medium-heavy action rod for throwing ¼ – or 3/8-ounce spinnerbaits in tight places or targets such as thick bushes, laydowns, and boat docks. He prefers the 7-foot, 2-inch medium-heavy rod for burning ¾-ounce spinnerbaits, fishing ledges with ¾- or 1-ounce spinnerbaits, dragging football jigs or Carolina rigs, and working small to mid-size swim baits.

For all of his cranking tactics, VanDam favors rods constructed with a combination of E-glass for limberness and graphite for increased sensitivity. VanDam chooses a 6 ½ foot cranking model with medium action for tossing small topwaters and crankbaits around boat docks and other small targets. He moves up to a 6-foot, 8-inch model with a little stiffer action for casting larger crankbaits.

The most versatile crankbait rods in VanDam’s rod box are 7-foot medium and 7-foot medium-heavy models. He favors the 7-foot medium for cranking small to medium diving plugs and relies on the medium-heavy action for running lipless crankbaits through grass.

Two other cranking rods VanDam chooses are a 7-foot, 4-inch version for mid-size crankbaits and a 7-foot, 10-inch model for cranking large deep divers along ledges in the summertime.

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