First things first, I am most definitely old school. I like spinning reels without 15 ball bearings and round baitcasting reels. I fish metal Penn 430 spinning reels and Swedish made Abu baitcasters because they work and you can't kill 'em.
My recommendations are based from a lifetime of boat and wade fishing in lakes and rivers. What I suggest for a rod and reel may not be the best choice for use in a kayak but they will certainly give you a starting point.
For a rod for either largemouth or smallmouth I like a fast action rod of 6 to 7 feet in length rated for 4 to 10 pound test and 3/16 to 5/8th's ounce lures.
I use similar rods for both spin fishing and bait casting. For smallmouth in rivers I almost always use 6 pound test mono. For largemouth I'll step up to 8 or 10 pound test depending on the structure and snag potential.
For lures most of them are interchangeable for smallmouth and largemouth. You need to get a few lures that cover all levels of the water depth.
Topwater - Heddon Torpedo and Zara Spook and the Rapala Skitter Pop will work for both large and smallmouth. Pick up a buzzbait or two for the largemouth in grass, pads, and weeds.
Mid-depth - There are dozens of crankbaits out there. I like floating minnow types like Rapala's and Rebels and fat plugs like Big O's or Bomber's. Most of them can run from the surface to 3 or 4 feet deep. To go deeper look for plugs with larger bills on the front or sinking models.
Deepwater - I like jigs. Plain leadheads are cheap and you can dress them with plain old twister tails and generic tubes and you'll catch fish. For colder water I like the rubber skirted jigs with a trailer of some sort attached, a twister tail or a rubber crawdad both work. For largemouth get some rubber worms and slip sinkers along with some hooks and rig them Texas style so they are weedless.
Get a couple of spinnerbaits too. They work for both large and smallmouth bass and you can fish from just under the surface to the bottom of the lake with them just by allowing them to sink and varying the speed of your retrieve. Sluggoes and Fin-S-Fish also work for both kinds of bass and can be rigged to fish all levels of water depth.
I hope this helps.
Tim Murphy :-)
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