“Bass fishing is way more technical than it used to be,” said Dusty Anders, expressing mixed emotions about the pace of the changes. “Rods and reels are lighter now — not as fatiguing. Reels now weigh 5 or 6 ounces, when they used to be 9 ounces.

“That makes a difference when you fish all day.” 

“That makes a difference when you fish all day.” 

Anders pays particular attention to selecting his reels, strongly favoring Ardent baitcasters. His favorite for flipping and frogging is the Grand with its 7.3:1 gear ratio.

“Its fast retrieve allows you to catch up to the fish to get them out of the grass when they hit the bait,” he explained. “Its also a lot more efficient for flipping because you get your bait back into the water quicker. With a reel with a 5:1 ratio, you get 40 to 50 less flips a day.

“More flips mean more chances for a bite. You may only get one more fish, but it might be that 5-pounder — the one you need.”

The second reel model he uses is an Elite, with a 5.3:1 gear ratio. This is his crankbait reel.

“A higher gear ratio would wear you out by the end of the day. Your arms will be burning,” Anders said. “Plus, you don’t want cranksbaits to be retrieved too fast. You need cranking power for big crankbaits like Strike King 6XD or Bandit 250 series.

“It’s good with spinners too.”

His third choice of reels is the Magnum, with its 6.5:1 ratio. At 6.2 ounces, it is heavier than its two 5.9-ounce cousins.

The Magnum’s main feature is a large spool that holds a lot more line. It’s a reel he likes for Carolina rigs. 

“It’s actually a reel that they make for saltwater use, but I use a big rig and make long casts,” Anders explained. “It’s useful in bad wind conditions.

“I can use bigger weights because the bigger spool handles them better.” 

Ander’s spools his reels with 20-pound Vicious fluorocarbon line. Like braided line, it is more sensitive and has less stretch than monofilament. And mono doesn’t cast as well as fluorocarbon.

“I can make longer casts with (flurocarbon),” he said. “Long casts are important to me so that I can stay away from the fish. I think that’s pretty critical.

“In combination with 7½-foot heavy-action rods, I can get 20 more feet per cast.”