If you don't plan to fish the elites this coming year you can probably get by with a lot less tackle than you'd like to believe. For the anglers just getting started, you need even less. Here are top 5 fishing rods that you need to become a well-rounded bass fisherman.
1) 7' Medium Light Spinning Rod: You can use this rod for dropshot, split shot, tubes, worms, even poppers and other very small hardbaits. This is going to be your most frequently used rod when you're getting started. Its also the rod that you'll still have in your rod locker as a back up 20 years later.
2) 7' Medium Heavy Spinning Rod: This rod will cover larger worms, senkos, light texas rigs, and even branch into medium topwaters, jerkbaits, etc.
3) 7' Medium Baitcaster: In no time this will become your go-to rod for everything from a crankbait, to a topwater, to texas rigs, worms, etc.
4) 7' Medium Heavy Baitcaster: You can use this rod for jigs, heavier texas rigs, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and other reaction baits.
5) 7'6" Medium Heavy to Heavy Baitcaster: If you even need a 5th rod, this will be the one. This rod is going to let you branch into frogs, small swimbaits, flipping and pitching.
Personally, we use Dobyns Rods for these applications. We recognize that every angler is different and needs vary but these are a great base line for you to make your decisions. In the beginning, consider the Fury or Savvy series then work your way into the higher product lines as you begin specializing at your favorite techniques.