Question: What would be your ideal "grab and go" setup? If you were just grabbing ONE pole (size, brand) / reel/ line (mono, fluoro or braid) to go out for the day, what would it be? A lot of times I just have one pole with me. I am looking for the "ultimate setup. -Ryan
Great question Ryan!
While I wish I could answer this question with a single solution, I have to answer this question with two options, depending on your situation.
If you frequent lakes that have ample cover and/or have heavily stained water the work-horse set-up I would recommend is a 7'MH baitcasting rod with a nice fast action. I will pair this with a moderately geared baitcasting reel (like 6.3:1 gear ratio), which I will spool with 40lb Vicious Braid. I recommend a braid mainline, because you can always add a Vicious 100% Fluorocarbon leader to fit the conditions, or you can just tie directly to the braid if you are fishing around heavy vegetation.
This combo is an excellent choice for everything from crank baits, spinnerbaits, top waters, worms and much more.
A good cost effective setup would be a Bass Pro Shops Extreme Rod & Reel Combo. This is a great combo for beginners and seasoned casters alike.
The Fairy Wand
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you are faced with very clear water, and sparse cover, a spinning rod might be right for you.
Personally, I love keeping a spinning rod handy to make a few casts. Not only is a spinning rod more sporting, but it is the absolute best option when you are facing picky fish who shy away from power fishing tactics such as those mentioned above.
My personal favorite setup is a 6'6" Medium power, Fast-action rod (usually just labeled Medium) paired with a 20, 25 or 2500 sized spinning reel (number depends on the manufacturer). Again, I like to spool with braid, but I will use 15-pound Vicious Braid main line, and usually will choose between 8-12 pound Vicious 100% Fluorocarbon leader.
With this rod/reel/line combo you are ready to tackle any clear lake, with sparse cover. This setup excels while using Wacky Rigs, Shakey Heads, Ned Rigs, small Texas Rigs, small top waters, jerk baits and other finesse offerings.
A good example of a cost effective spinning outfit would be the Bass Pro Shops Extreme Spinning Combo. This is a great little combo that I used to use, and it will last a long time if you take care of it.
Hope this helped!