Billy Billeaud doesn’t arm himself lightly for bass fishing in the Atchafalaya Basin.
His rods are all 7- or 7 ½-footers.
His punching rods are extra-heavy models. He also stows on the boat one heavy-action rod spooled with fluorocarbon line for extra-clear water situations.
The rest of his rods are medium action — for a very good reason. With short lines out, his usual fishing situation, and with no-stretch braided line, it’s easy to tear the hook from a fish’s mouth when using stiffer rods.
The bend in a medium-action rod helps prevent that from happening.
A convert from Spectra Lynch Line, Billeaud uses 70-pound-test Diawa Samurai braid. Heavy stuff.
Braided lines are inherently not colorfast, so in a slick trick, Billeaud takes the time to colorize short segments of the faded, light-colored line with black, green and brown Super Sharpie permanent markers. He does this for 2 to 3 feet of line above the jig, effectively creating camouflaged line.
Billeaud uses a variety of reels. Gear ratio is more important to him than brand.
Unless he is using crankbaits, he wants a 6:1 ratio reel.
“I am always in contact with a crankbait,” he explained. “With other baits — even spinners — you have periods of no-contact.
“If the fish is coming toward you with the bait, you need to quickly pick up any slack in the line.”