this opens the proverbial can of worms…
i typically like 5 classes of rods for doing different things.
1 – jigs/spinnerbaits/chatterbaits/worms/swim jigs – I like to use a 7′ MH rod with a 6.3:1 gear ratio reel. I’m a big Daiwa junkie. So, my favorite setup for those things is a Steez 701MHFB paired with a Steez 103H Reel. Definitely pricey. If I could have 4 of this same combo, I would be set. Unfortunately, I only have 1, but it serves a lot of duties.
2 – crankbaits [shallow and vibration baits] – I like a ML graphite or composite rod with a 7.3:1 gear ratio reel. This would cover squarebills, rattletraps, and anything else that I feel needs to move fast. The fast gear ratio allows for a super fast retrieve. I have a few rods that fit the bill for this – 7′ g.loomis crankbait [graphite] or 7’4″ st croix mojo glass cranking rods [glass].
3 – crankbaits [deep diving] – For this, the key is a longer rod [glass/composite or otherwise] with a super slow reel. I use Daiwa Zillion “Crazy Cranker” 4.9:1 reels for all deep cranking duties. I’ll pair it with either a heavier g.loomis crankbait rod in 7′ or the 7’4″ st croix glass rod. I also have a 7’11” KVD Cranking rod that is a composite. It’s a decent rod, but it’s a little long for me [i’m 5’7″]. I’ll only go to it if I’m fishing 6XD’s or something really big that dives deep and really needs the extra distance.
4 – finesse lures – I like a 6’8″ spinning rod in ML with a 2000 size spinning reel. This is another place where I have a high end combo that I wish I had more of… I use it for drop shot, shakey head, exposed hook tubes, and at times swimming a grub. However, in a pinch, I’ll use the first combo to do some of these same finesse things [shakey head, tube, grub – just not drop shotting].
5 – topwater – If I’m throwing a popper or smaller walk the dog lure, I’ll throw these on a 6’6″ spinning rod rigged with a 2000 size reel with braid. Buzzbaits are usually thrown on the first combo listed above. Like I said, I wish I had more of that one.
At the end of the day, you can find a very specific rod for any situation. If you have any specific tackle questions, feel free to ask. I’ve tried a lot of stuff from high-end JDM rods/reels to entry level domestic rods/reels. I’m happy to give my opinions on any of them.