Walleyes are notorious for their light bite, which makes them challenging to catch and fun to fish for. The key to landing more walleye is being able to detect their subtle strikes and set the hook before they can spit out your lure. You need a highly sensitive fishing rod that can transmit even the slightest strikes to your hands but one that is also stiff enough to enable you to set hooks quickly and successfully. The best walleye rod will also have the backbone to haul even large walleyes.
Below are the best walleye fishing rods that deliver the sensitivity, strength, power and lightweight comfort you need for walleye fishing success. The ideal fishing pole to choose will also depend on how you intend to fish for walleye. For jigging and rigging, you need a lightweight rod with plenty of sensitivity. For trolling, you need a heavy-duty rod that can handle the rigors of trolling. Right below the reviews are pointers on how to choose the best pole depending on how you like to fish for these shy biters.
How To Choose A Walleye Rod – Buying Guide
The best walleye fishing rod to go for depends on how you intend to catch walleye. There are different techniques and styles of fishing for walleye and each technique or style requires a rod with a specific set of attributes for optimal results. You have to decide on what length, power, and action to go for depending on whether you will be jigging, casting lures, live bait rigging or trolling.
This may sound very complicated but it is actually very easy to choose the right walleye rod. You just need to know what characteristics make for the best rod for your favorite walleye fishing technique. And we’ve explained it all below.
There are two main types of fishing rods: spinning and baitcasting rods. Spinning rods are ideal for finesse fishing using lighter lures. They are also easy to use and thus beginner-friendly. Most experienced anglers prefer bait casting rods which, work best when fishing with heavier baits. There are also technique-specific walleye fishing rods such as jigging, rigging and trolling rods for walleye. How you intend to fish for walleye will determine the best walleye fishing rod to choose.
When jigging or fishing with lures, a walleye will suck in the jig or lure very fast and spit it back out in seconds if they don’t like it. The best walleye jigging rod will have a very sensitive blank that offers a feel for even the lightest taps, a compact, and lightweight design and a comfortable and sensitive handle.
Live bait rigging requires a versatile rod that suits many casting techniques. Sensitivity is also important. You want a rod that lets the fish interact with the bait and consume it without pressure while also transmitting what is happening to the bait to your hands.
Trolling is a heavy-duty fishing tactic that subjects fishing rods to a lot of stress. A good walleye trolling rod is robust enough to withstand constant surging, snagging, bending, banging, and fish strikes without snapping. It should be strong and flexible enough to absorb shocks, have a sturdy reel seat and a durable handle that can handle being shoved in and out of rod holders repeatedly.
The power rating of a rod tells you how stiff it is, how much pressure causes it to flex, and what kind of backbone the rod has. Rod powers range from extra heavy, heavy, medium heavy, medium, medium light, light, and ultra-light. The kind of power a walleye rod should have will again be determined by the fishing technique.
Trolling is the most demanding when it comes to power. If you are planning on trolling for walleye, you will need a powerful fishing setup with the rod having a medium, medium or heavy power. Such a rod is strong enough for the rigors of trolling.
Vertical jigging and other types of lure fishing call for a medium light to medium power so the rod is light enough to have a sensitive fast action while also stiff enough for solid hooksets and packing enough backbone for hauling fish. Live bait rigging also requires a light power rod.
A light or medium power is ideal for live bait rigging applications as it makes for versatile rods that suit many casting techniques and sensitive rods that will help you register light taps on your bait.
Action describes a rod’s flexibility. A fishing rod can have an extra fast, fast, moderate or slow action. When under load, a fishing pole with extra fast action bends only at the tip while a rod with a slow action has a uniform bend that extends close to the handle.
Sensitivity is the most important quality in a walleye jigging rod. What makes a good walleye jigging rod is a fast or extra fast tip. Such a tip helps you present the jig in a lively manner that will attract walleyes, and ensures you can feel even subtle strikes and react accordingly for quick and powerful hooksets before the walleye can let go of the jig and escape.
With live bait rigging, a more flexible pole with a moderate or fast action enables the fish to feel the bait and consume it at their own pleasure without detecting the tension of the line while still ensuring you can feel what is happening at the end of the line. This maximizes the chances of a successful hook set.
Sensitivity isn’t very important when trolling, shock absorption is. Fast or moderate action is ideal as a more flexible rod will be a great shock absorber.
Most walleye fishing poles are constructed with graphite or carbon fiber. This is because graphite and carbon fiber rod blanks have all the qualities that make the best walleye fishing poles – they are incredibly sensitive and lightweight yet high strength fishing poles.
With jigging and rigging, sensitivity and comfort are the most important factors and a graphite or carbon fiber rod construction is essential. With trolling rods for walleye, the feel isn’t the most important factor and high-strength graphite or fiberglass fishing pole will do. Fiberglass isn’t the best material when it comes to sensitivity but it is really tough and durable.
A good budget is seven feet long but walleye poles come in lengths ranging from 5’9” to 8’ long. The optimal length to choose will depend on how you fish for walleye. For jigging, a shorter fishing pole of 5’9” and 6’6” long is ideal as it is lightweight and comfortable to jig or cast with for hours without exhaustion setting in. The reduced distance between your hand and the rod tip also helps you detect lighter strikes sooner.
When live bait rigging, a longer rod of 7’ to 7’6” length gives you more leverage for a sure hooksets while still transmitting the action at the end of the line quickly. When trolling for walleye, a long rod – 7’10” up to 10’ – will keep your fishing line a good distance from the boat propellers reducing the possibility of tangling. A longer rod will also have the strength to endure the rigors of trolling. a solid hook set.
The configuration is also a factor to consider here. While a two-piece rod has a portability advantage, a one-piece rod offers superior sensitivity and strength, which is very important for detecting the soft bites walleyes have and bringing in even trophy-size catches.
What pound test line you will be using for walleye fishing will also determine what kind of fishing pole will offer the best performance. The typical pound test line for walleye is 8-12 lb. Ensure you choose a rod designed to work with this line weight. If you’re using a heavier line for trolling, choose a heavy-duty rod with the power to handle the higher line weight.
Q: What Is A Good Walleye Rod?
Generally, a great walleye fishing pole is sensitive enough to allow you to detect subtle strikes on your lure or bait, stiff enough to allow you to make quick, firm hook sets and powerful enough to haul any walleye you land successfully.
A 7-foot long fishing rod with a medium light or medium power and fast action is a good all around fishing rod for walleye. What is a good fishing pole for walleye will also depend on whether you will be jigging, rigging or trolling.
Q: Why Do I Need Special Walleye Rod?
You need a special rod with plenty of sensitivity to be able to detect their soft strikes and set the hook quickly and firmly before the walleye can spit the lure and get away. Walleyes have one of the lightest bites of any fish species. They also spit out anything that doesn’t feel or taste right within seconds. This means that not just any fishing pole will do for catching walleye.
A technique-specific walleye rod specially tuned for walleye fishing delivers the exact kind of sensitivity, stiffness, strength, and power you need to catch walleye giving you the upper hand and maximize your success in detecting their shy strikes, hooking them successfully, and hauling them.
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Walleye are subtle strikers, which makes for exciting, fast-paced action on the water. Having the best walleye rod that helps you detect their bites, set solid hooksets fast, and haul them to your fishing boat successfully means that you will also have a delicious meal to look forward to at the end of the day.
The top rated walleye fishing rods in our walleye rod reviews meet these criteria and are all good walleye rods. Following the tips in our buying guide will help you choose the best walleye fishing rod for your favorite walleye fishing tactic (jigging or casting lures, rigging or trolling) so you will end up with a rod that will maximize your walleye fishing success.
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