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A look at how the position of your fishing rod affects the presentation, for better or worse, of your bait or lure.
By Joe Sapienza
Tags: surf
Keeping your rod tip parallel to the surface will allow you to work a plug all the way back to the beach or jetty.

The relationship between your rod-tip and your plug can be the difference between success and failure. Are you using spinning tackle with the rod butt positioned between your legs and the rod tip pointed high in the 1:00 or 2:00 position, or are you using conventional tackle where the rod tip is low and parallel to the water? How high up your rod tip is above the surface of the water matters.

Example: You are casting a metal lipped swimmer from high atop a jetty. The metal lip plug has its eye in front as opposed to a darter or a bucktail which has their eye on the top. When the plug is far away from you, say at the top of the cast, the angle between your rod tip and the plug makes little difference, but as it approaches the base of the jetty your plug may be less effective.

The swimming lip does not dig in properly when it is real close and you rod tip is way up high. Many times fish will be right below you no more than 5 ft from the stones but your plug is not swimming properly due to the elevated rod tip. I have found that many of my hits come within 20 feet of the jetty.

Consider this: You are casting from shore and trying to get your plug down as deep as possible. If your rod-tip is 8 feet above the surface your plug will swim much higher than if you were able to get your tip very low. As a matter of fact, the angle you have created by a high rod tip actually pulls your plug up higher as the current grabs the swimming lip at a different angle.

An extreme example would be trying to swim a plug from high atop a bridge. Its not going to work as well as if you were swimming it from the bank. The angle is too high. The relationship between the eye of a plug and the swimming lip is critical. Plug manufacturers have gone through much research in trying to come up with the proper angle for the swim lip. These angles can be manipulated somewhat by bending the eye up to make the plug go deeper or down to make it swim shallower. However no matter what modification you do, as the plug gets closer and your rod tip is high, the swimming action changes because the “angle” is different.

Plugs like darters with their eye on top are not as susceptible to rod tip height as say a needlefish with the eye in the front and no metal lip to dig in. The action of a needlefish is much different when it is far away from you than say within 20 feet of you because of the height of your rod tip.

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