For the recreational angler, I think you can cover the majority of summer fishing scenarios with five rods. You may want to expand out from there when your wallet allows, but these five setups will keep you in the game.

(All rods mentioned are Duckett White Ice and reels are Lew’s models.)

1. 6’ 8” medium-heavy spinning rod with a Speed Spin reel - I can use this combo to cover a range of presentations -- dropshot, shaky head, throwing a floating worm, light jerkbaits -- whatever I’m doing, I can do with that one rod and braided line with a fluorocarbon or copolymer leader.
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One of my common uses for this setup is a dropshot with a 3/16-ounce sinker and a nose-hooked YUM Sharp Shooter worm for smallmouth and spotted bass. If I want to skip docks with a YUM Mighty Worm, all I’m going is switch my leader from 6-lb to 12-lb fluorocarbon.

This is also an easy outfit to use. You can cast it farther than you can with fluorocarbon or monofilament and you don’t get any tangle or twist in the line. Plus, that braid has no stretch so you don’t have to apply as much power to set the hook. It has all the benefits for a young angler, an older angler or anyone in between.

2. 6’ 10” medium action with a 6.3:1 gear ratio reel - This all-purpose baitcasting outfit offers the right balance of speed and power. With 10- to 20-lb line you can throw a YUM Dinger, a light spinnerbait, crankbait, jerkbait, topwater – whatever you want.

These first two outfits will cover 60-70 percent of the bass fishing techniques, but I’ll add a few more to help you cover your bases.

3. 7’ 1” heavy action with a 6.3:1 gear ratio reel - The longer rod creates more casting distance. This is a good outfit for throwing jigs, Carolina rigs, spinnerbaits, YUM 10-inch Ribbontail Worms or YUM Dingers.

4. 7’ 1” medium action with a 6.3:1 gear ratio reel - I use this outfit for making long casts in open water with crankbaits like the Bomber Fat Free Shad.

5. 7’ 8” extra-heavy flipping stick with a 6.3:1 gear ratio left-handed reel - When I flip, I crank left-handed because I’m stronger with my right hand. I’ll flip a YUM Bad Mama or a Booyah jig with a YUM Chunk around docks, laydowns, brush, heavy vegetation, so I use 65-lb braid. This outfit provides all the reach and power you need to get those big fish out of the cover.