Why Spring Fishing Success Can Come Down to the Right Rod

The reality is you don’t need to own dozens of rods to have a productive day on the water during the spring. Denali pros Ryan Butler, Jeff Kriet, and Michael Neal have all had success during this time of year utilizing various techniques in different areas of the country. Employing the right Denali rod for the job; however, is a critical element of the equation.

Blue Eye, Missouri pro Ryan Butler is no stranger to the power of a jerkbait. Butler grew up fishing numerous lakes in the Ozarks, where the jerkbait is an essential tool in most angler’s arsenals. While most anglers key on deeper water when utilizing the jerkbait, Butler prefers to keep his offerings in a shallower zone. “During the pre-spawn I like to identify what I like to call spawning creeks, and focus on the transition areas leading into those particular creeks, I’m keeping that jerkbait as shallow as I can around those areas,” said Butler.

Starting his search at the mouths of the creeks, Butler explores the transition areas along the way, until he locates an area where he feels like the majority of the fish have stopped.  “I’m looking for transition areas that include rock when I’m fishing an Ozark type fishery.  It can be where a bluff transitions to chunk rock, or pea gravel, or even where a bluff wall may flatten out. The fish are moving their way to the backs of the pea gravel pockets, where they will eventually spawn, so anything along the way is a likely spot to hold them,” Butler says.

As soon as the water temperature reaches 43 to 47 degrees you can find Butler with a Denali Lithium 6′ 8″ Medium Jerkbait rod (L802JBC) in his hands. “The Denali Lithium Jerkbait rod is the exact rod I want in my hands for jerkbait season, it is perfectly balanced and very light.  These are two important factors that make a huge difference in how fatigued you are after a full day of jerkbait fishing.”

When Denali pro staffer Jeff Kriet isn’t in the Gulf Of Mexico during the off season, you are likely to find him at Lake Murray, one of his favorite Oklahoma fisheries. Murray, unlike many other lakes in Oklahoma offers an abundance of submerged aquatic vegetation. “Anytime you can find good healthy grass this time of year it is going to be holding bass. One of my favorite ways to catch them is on a lipless crankbait,” said Kriet. “Ripping the bait out of the grass triggers a reaction strike from fish that would normally not bite. In order to do this you really need to use a good braided line, and a rod that has the proper action for the technique” Kriet concluded. Kriet’s rod of choice for this type of fishing is the Denali Lithium 7’0″ Medium Heavy Crankbait Rod (L843CB).

Fishing a bladed jig in the spring is second nature for Dayton, Tennessee pro Michael Neal.  Neal has already utilized the technique this year to help him claim a 2nd place finish at Stage Two of the Bass Pro Tour on Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. “Fishing a bladed jig in the spring is just something you need to be doing. Whether you are fishing massive grass laden flats in Florida, or 45 degree channel swing banks headed into spawning pockets on highland reservoirs it is just an effective technique this time of year,” says Neal. His rod of choice for a bladed jig is a Denali Lithium 7’4″ Medium Heavy Worm&Jig rod (L883WJ). 

“For me this is the perfect rod because I can make long casts if I need to, but it is short enough and has enough tip action where I can make precise roll casts as well.  I prefer to have enough backbone on my bladed jig rod to drive the hook home at the end of a long cast if necessary, and this rod allows for that and then some.” concluded Neal.