Rod lengths depend on a few factors. Is it long enough to get the line around the bow of the yak while being able to bring the fish next to you for release. Also, it should be strong enough to pull a fish out of obstructions such as rocks, pilings, lobster pots, etc. Add a tip soft enough to feel the lure and, well, rod mfgs. need to make sticks for kayaks! The length of the rod butt may need to be customized (shortened) for comfort with a PFD and proper fit in a rod holder.
After following the reel's instructions, I adjusted the reel to reduce backlash. Learning on land before use in the yak was the plan. The first cast was at the local park and anything but impressive. But it did give an idea of how and when to thumb the spool.
My first massive backlash occurred on the ocean beach while trying to throw a light lure a short distance into bass busting in the surf. It was the first blitz of the year and the excitement of catching the first fish on a baitcaster had my blood pumping. I didn't thumb the spool all the way thru the cast, picking my thumb up for a split second. That was all it took. 35 minutes later, the snarl was out. Two people were there that morning, myself and a living legend sharpie. I laughed and he snickered as he walked away, stalking the fish. He was out of sight when I was done straightening the mess. The backlashes aren't much of a problem now.
As the season continued, I learned the benefits of using the reel and stayed with it. It all came together when catching a personal best while playing a super spook super slow with the baitcaster / 7ft. combo in my kayak. Reeling it in when it turned and ran to me was nerve racking, but my cranking hand was up to the task with the help of adrenaline! I was glad I kept the original small, quick retrieve handle.
Constant attention during the casting sequence was necessary or a backlash will occur. I'd always thought of a casting sequence as starting with throwing the lure. With baitcasting, the sequence starts immediately after the lure hits the water. Keeping line tension while retrieving is paramount or a backlash will occur on the following throw. Knowing where your lure is during the cast is very important. If your spool hasn't stopped before the lure hits the water, well, another backlash. Don't blink. Throwing at night requires thumbing the spool constantly. Make sure your thumb has stopped the spool before you make a move to engage the spool. Ending the cast with the rod in a comfortable position to begin retrieving is helpful.
Thumbing a spool can create problems. The spool will spin in relation to the line. This creates a loose, soft line core. If the core becomes soft, the outer line will dig in and create a backlash. Be aware of this after fighting a fish. If the reel has a levelwind and the line on the spool don't line up after a cast and before retrieving, the spool has spun in relation to the core line (pictured). The only way to remedy the problem is to let out all the line and rewind tight. Now, I rewind after 4 trips.
If you haven't tried baitcasting, consider it this year. It may increase your number of tows. It did for me.