Improve Your Fishing By Keeping It Simple

In this day and age of bass fishing, the equipment choices offered bass fishermen are beyond comprehension.

So many brands of gear exist, along with tips on how to use them, that it can sometimes be confusing. I believe “the law of diminishing returns” applies to bass fishing. Keeping things simple can benefit a fisherman and help make him more successful. One aspect of our fishing that is overdone involves our rod and reel setups.

Jim Moynagh

Recently I read an article regarding Rick Clunn’s selection of rods and reels. Clunn is a pro fisherman who has won more money bass fishing than just about anybody. He prefers to fish with one rod for all of his casting applications. It didn’t matter if the bait he was throwing was a topwater, shallow crank, or a spinnerbait. The size of the lure also didn’t matter. He uses the same rod for lures weighing 1/8-ounce on up to the bigger baits. He also uses just one reel on all of his rods. He deviates from this scheme when he switches to flippin’/pitchin’ applications. Then he’ll switch to a flippin’ stick.

Why does Clunn stay with this routine? For one, your equipment becomes very interchangeable, which can be very useful in the event of a failure with a rod or reel. But most importantly, you become very familiar with the equipment, resulting in better casting and performance through the day.

Casting becomes second nature; baits land within inches of where you aim. Compare it to golf. What would happen if you teed off with a different driver of varying length each hole? I don’t golf much, but I bet performance would be compromised.

Although I haven’t taken it as far as Clunn, I have tried to move in that direction, especially when it comes to reels. I fish with one model of baitcasting reel (Shimano Curado) and one model spinning reel (Shimano Symtre 2000). This way I can duplicate a retrieve as I move from one reel to another. If I had reels of varying retrieve speeds, it can result in a difficult adjustment.

Fishing line is another area where overkill can creep up on us. Berkley alone has so many different types of line available that I can’t even keep track of them. Do we need all of this specialization in fishing line? The variability is nice, but I prefer to settle on just a couple types of line.

If you are a fisherman who chases a wide variety of fish species, then there may be a need for keeping a greater variety on hand. But when it comes to bass fishing, keep it simple. Currently, I use just two types of line — Berkley Sensithin and Berkley XL. I’ve started using Sensithin within the last two years and have found it to be superb in baitcasting applications. It is very resistant to abrasion with steady, prolonged use. I have the XL around for spinning applications; its limpness for these reels is hard to beat. I should add I do keep some of the superbraids around, but only for a few specific purposes such as fishing matted vegetation.

With the huge assortment of equipment available today, it’s hard not to purchase a little of this and a little of that. I’m as guilty as anybody. However, getting too carried away can distract from a true focus and ultimately rob us of performance.

I’m not saying we should cease experimenting and expanding our own knowledge, but instead just keep it in check. We may be better served by learning more about the gear we already have instead of adding new rods and reels.

For a fine assortment of fishing gear, click here.

Jim Moynagh writes a twice-monthly bass fishing column on Visit Jim on Facebook at!/pages/Jim-Moynagh/167413610047622?fref=ts He is a FLW touring pro, and a former Forrest Wood Open Champion with multiple top 10 finishes. In 2012, he finished in fourth place for Angler of the Year honors. He also finished in fourth place two-straight times in FLW events in 2012. His expertise is deep-water structure fishing for large and smallmouth bass. Jim’s sponsors include M&M’s, All-Terrain Tackle, Chevy Trucks, and Ranger Boats.


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