Ice fishing rods have come a long way in a very short time. They have become specialized tools in the anglers hands. However, some are better than others. One question to explore is, whats better, long rods or short ones?
I'm not discussing true long rods here, the 48” plus tools of the long rodder. That is a specialized technique. I want to discuss rod lengths for standard panfish presentation and how my views have changed in the last 2 seasons.
A few years ago, ice fishing rods truly underwent a transformation. They became highly sensitive instruments, with designed load points to cushion light line. However, many of the early premium rods were on the long side, at 26 inches or so and more. My first 'good' ice rod was a 28 inch Berkeley Lightning Genz series rod. It was sensitive and effectively protected 2# test line.
However, over the last couple years and my introduction to tournament fishing, I've become a fan of shorter rods. New rods are now engineered to offer the same advantages as the longer rod in a smaller package. Short rods pack easier into a case and weigh less. When actively fishing for panfish, I spend a lot of time on my knees next to the hole. The short rod allows me to sit closer to my electronics to offer a better view. It also keeps me closer to my line and strike indicator(s) allowing better strike detection.
Short rods also offer the advantage of being able to double as sight fishing rods. In this technique, you must look down the hole. Try that with a longer rod and see how long your arm lasts! Along with sight fishing is fishing in a shelter. Again, the short rod shines by not hitting the roof as easy when working fish.
In the end, rod length comes down to personal preference and fishing style. But I have definitely become a believer in shorter rods. Check out the vast selection offered by HT Enterprises and give them a shot this year on the ice. You may become a believer in the saying 'longer isn't necessarily better'.