The Power of Glass Rods
article by KENNY COVINGTON
I have always prided myself on tinkering with my fishing tackle. I spend hours trying to find the best rod and reel combinations, types of line and hooks that will allow me to be more efficient on the water and throughout my tournament year, catch more fish. Overkill? Perhaps, but I believe my success ratio far outweighs any negatives.
One of the best discoveries I made in fishing was the benefit of using glass rods for my moving baits. I first heard of glass rods back in the early 80’s when Rick Clunn won the Bassmaster’s Classic on the Arkansas River. Being intrigued by anything Clunn did at that time, he was the first angler that I knew of that used glass rods, specifically crankbaits, for bass fishing.
The concept wasn’t really new at the time because the famous “Lew’s Speed Stick” was a pistol grip glass rod that my father used back in the 70’s. However, Clunn was using a 7 foot model for crankbait fishing and this was revolutionary at the time. With all this being said, I started looking for glass rods to incorporate into my fishing. I had never used a glass rod so I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for or the best way to use them in my fishing. But I was determined to find out.
After my initial searches were fruitless I discovered a series of glass rods made by Lew’s and I immediately fell in love with how they worked on certain lures. The rods were cheap in price, 6’6 in length and weren’t much heavier than the standard graphite rods that had become the norm. My love affair with my new discovery was quick and has remained almost forty years later.
The first lures I remember throwing on my new glass rods were the Bandit 100 series crankbaits. I realized very quickly the benefit for the softer glass materials and the slower reaction times that allowed the fish to get my lures better. It definitely opened my eyes. From there I began to experiment with other moving lures. Rat L Trap style baits, topwater lures, spinnerbaits, any lure that required a delayed reaction for a better hookup, I would experiment with.
Not long after my initial introduction to glass rods, while fishing a tournament at Bayou Bartholomew, I was able to see the benefits of my new rods. By this time I had four glass rods added to my ever growing arsenal and as I soon learned, they were starting to pay off. In this particular tournament there was an early morning shad spawn on the cypress trees and the fish were so aggressive, when they would strike my spinnerbait I was literally jerking the lure away from the fish. Because of the quick reflex of the graphite rods I was using, I was feeling the fish before they were getting the lure well enough to be caught. I immediately changed my spinnerbait set up to a glass rod, and proceeded to catch the next dozen fish that bit. I knew then I was onto something.
Fast forward thirty some odd years later and in my rod box I have a 7’3 Academy crankbait rod as well as two of the 7 foot models, three 6’6 Skeet Reese Wright-McGill crankbait rods, a 6’10 Veritas crankbait rod and a 6’8 Lew’s topwater rod. All of these rods are glass composites meaning they have a mixture of graphite with the glass, making them much lighter than the initial glass versions I fished with but still have the delayed reaction and forgiveness of the original glass rods. Over the years, through trial and error, I have learned which lures I like to use with each one and the best way for me to become more efficient when using them.
Now that I have explained my fascination with glass rods let me give you some scenarios and the set ups that I find, when using a glass rod, to be more productive and makes for catching a few more bass:
One of my favorite things to do is use braided line with my glass rods when topwater fishing. Once you get used to the combination of the forgiveness of the rod and the no stretch of the braided line, your hookup ratio will increase dramatically. The braid/glass combination allows for longer casts and better hookups on the ends of those casts. This is my choice when throwing walking baits such as a Spook or a Chug Bug and when throwing a buzzbait. Also remember, when using this type of set up, a hookset isn’t really needed. Allow the line to tighten and pull into the fish, it will surprise you how well they are hooked.
Another situation I like when using a glass rod is when I am making shorter casts with squarebill crankbaits, spinnerbaits or larger topwater lures around objects such as cypress trees or boat docks. This is a when I have found using the shorter 6’6 glass rods to be very effective. The shorter rod allows for more precise lure placement and also better hookups due to the give of the rod when a fish strikes closer to the boat. I also do better using monofilament line in these situations. I like 20 lb. Big Game most of the time regardless of the lure I am using.
Another good combination is using fluorocarbon line and a 7’3 MH glass rod when using bladed jigs such as a chatterbait. I don’t have a set in stone reason why I seem to get more bites with a chatterbait when using fluorocarbon but for me that seems to be the case. The longer rod is important because it allows me to make longer casts and when throwing a chatterbait, covering water is important. The fluorocarbon, much like braid, has very little stretch and allows for better hookups. One of the things I have learned when fishing this particular set up is the importance of allowing the fish to load up on your rod before you set the hook. Also of note, this is also a great rod/line combination when night fishing with a spinnerbait.
I believed I have owned, used, and/or tried every model of glass rods that has ever been introduced in the fishing industry. Sadly, the better ones I have used, both Diawa and Pflueger models, are no longer in production. The initial Lew’s versions have long been out of production, as well. But there are plenty of options. Most rod manufacturers have a glass rod version of the rods they sell, which has allowed me to find suitable replacements.
I have used my glass rods when throwing the locally owned Wobblehead, a jerkbait such as a Rogue or Long A, soft jerkbaits like a Zoom fluke, a swim jig and the list goes on and on. I have a select few lures I will throw 100% of the time on graphite rods but everything else, at some point in time, I can make a logical argument as to why I would throw them on glass rods. In a fishing world where it seems newer technology has taken over, it’s nice to see that some things never need to change.
Well, it looks like we are out of time and space again. I sure hope we were able to share some information that will make you a better fisherperson and allow you to have more success on your next trip to your favorite fishing spot. With hunting season in full swing please be careful in the woods and on the water, take care and catch one for me!
See you next month!