Whether bass fishing for fun or competition, matching the right rod to the technique or presentation du jour, helps anglers catch more fish. And while plenty of weekend anglers find success casting plastics, crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits – you name it – on the same 7’ spinning rod, some heed the lessons of their childhood:
You’re gonna break the tip of that knife if you use it as a screwdriver! Quit using that wrench as a hammer!
You remember, right? There were different versions, but the lesson always boiled down to using the proper tool for the job. Only problem is, to use the proper tool, one must have the proper tool.
In the realm of fishing, St. Croix Rod has owned the mission of providing all anglers with the best tools for the job for over 70 years. Solid support for this claim can be found in the company’s ever-expanding lineup of specialized bass rods. Check out what the pros have to say about a sampling of St. Croix models, purpose-built for increased success with some of today’s hottest bass presentations.
Available in both St. Croix’s Legend® Tournament Bass (LBC70MHMF) and Mojo Bass (MJC70MHMF) series, the 7’, medium-heavy power, moderate-fast action Sweeper is the go-to casting rod for spinnerbait enthusiasts everywhere, including BASS Elite angler, Derek Hudnall, FLW pro, Cody Hahner, and MLF’s Stephen Browning.
Sweeper Spinnerbait Rod
“Anglers often find themselves going through numerous rods to find one that has the correct balance, sensitivity and other characteristics for the presentation at hand,” says Hudnall. “For fishing spinnerbaits, St. Croix absolutely nailed it with this rod. To be successful with spinnerbaits, you need a rod that’s sensitive enough to feel your way through cover, soft enough to withstand slashing strikes, powerful enough to get hook penetration, and balanced to a point where accuracy is maximized. The Sweeper is that rod,” exclaims Hudnall, who typically rigs his Legend Tournament Bass Sweeper rod with 15-lb Seaugar fluorocarbon and either a 3/8- or 1/2-oz Colorado blade spinnerbait – especially early in the year through mid-summer.
“The Sweeper may be my favorite technique-specific rod in St. Croix’s vast lineup, and in addition to spinnerbaits, it performs incredibly with bladed jigs as well.”
“The Sweeper Spinnerbait rod is one of St. Croix’s hidden gems. It’s an excellent open water spinnerbait rod, and my favorite tool for combing shallow flats for smallmouth,” he says. “Its 7-foot length is great for covering water, but what makes it special is its moderate-fast action. The slower action deters explosive smallmouth from spitting the hooks and puts more fish in my boat.”
As a resident of Wisconsin, Hahner has access to some exceptional smallmouth fisheries that are ideal for spinnerbait fishing at certain times of the year. “In the early fall, northern smallmouth move up with the bait and roam large, open flats,” he explains. “On those windy fall days, a spinnerbait burned just under the surface can elicit explosive bites. To get the speed I need, I pair the Mojo Bass Sweeper with a 7.1 gear-ratio reel spooled with 15-lb fluorocarbon. It’s the perfect burning combination, and the Sweeper’s sweet action handles those brutal strikes on a fast-moving bait with ease.”
Tournament pro, Stephen Browning, also sings the Sweeper’s praises. “It’s hands down the best spinnerbait rod I’ve ever put in my hands,” says the MLF angler, who also employs the Legend Tournament Bass Sweeper rod for light chatterbait duty. “It casts accurately and the parabolic action allows the fish to get my spinnerbait and load the rod for awesome hook ups. I keep two Sweepers rigged and ready on the deck year around.”
Dock Sniper Rod
The 7’, heavy power, fast action Dock Sniper is a casting rod designed and built to deliver the extreme accuracy necessary for skipping, pitching or casting almost any ½- ¾-ounce bait around the docks, as well as the requisite muscle to hoist bass away from the cables, pilings boat lifts and ladders that attracted them there in the first place. Available in both the Legend Tournament Bass (LBC70HF / retail $290) and the Mojo Bass (MJC70HF / retail $140) series, the Dock Sniper has become a favorite of bass anglers everywhere, including Hahner.
“Dock fishing is all about efficiency. How many docks I cover and how accurately I’m presenting my bait is critical to the amount of bites I’ll get,” says the young pro from Wisconsin, who pairs the Mojo Bass Dock Sniper with an 8.1 gear ratio reel and 17- to 20-lb fluorocarbon to quickly and accurately pick apart likely targets.
“The Dock Sniper is the best tool for job when pitching and skipping in tight quarters with deadly accuracy,” he says. “The rod’s soft tip allows me to slide baits in and under the smallest openings where the true dock monsters reside. And once I hook up, the Dock Sniper delivers heavy power to pull fish away from any trouble. When it comes to skipping and pitching, I’m confident I have the advantage over my competition with the Dock Sniper in my hand.”
Rip-N-Chatter Rod and Target Cranker Rod
It’s no secret that glass rods are popular options for fishing crankbaits and other reaction baits. The best glass rods offer that sweet and precise moderate action that cushions slashing strikes on a moving bait, while keeping the fish securely pinned. But some glass rods can be relatively heavy and lack sensitivity when compared to graphite. Too bad, because crankbait anglers need sensitivity in order to maintain contact with structure and cover and to ensure their chosen lure is fishing with exactly the desired motion.
New for 2020, St. Croix Mojo Bass Glass series rods now employ Integrated Poly Curve (IPC®) mandrel technology and design. That means their super premium, 100% linear S-glass blanks have gradual, consistent tapers and uniform wall thickness from tip to butt, resulting in incredibly smooth, strong, light and sensitive, moderate action glass rods. Best of all, all this technology and performance comes at an attractive Mojo Bass price point, starting at $140.
Voted “Best New Freshwater Rod” at ICAST 2019, St. Croix’s 7’2”, heavy power, moderate action Mojo Bass Glass Rip-N-Chatter (MGC72HM) casting rod is purpose engineered for shaking rattlebaits and slicing chatterbaits through the salad, and happens to be a favorite of MLF angler, Jesse Wiggins.
“The new 7’2” Mojo Bass Glass Rip-N-Chatter rod is ideal for throwing everything from chatterbaits to bigger crankbaits,” says Wiggins. “Its 100% linear S-glass blank with IPC® gives it awesome sensitivity for maintaining the right amount of contact with cover, and its heavy power allows me to rip the chatterbait through that cover when I need to, which often triggers strikes.”
Wiggins’ other favorite Mojo Bass Glass model is 6’10”, medium power, moderate action (MGC610MM) Target Cranker.
“This is the rod I throw square bills and other shallow diving cranks with whenever I’m fishing to laydowns, boulders, stumps or other specific targets,” says Wiggins. “A lot of time those targets are also close to the bank, which means you’ve really got to be accurate. The 6’10” Target Cranker allows for the kind of precision casting it takes to maximize opportunities in those cases, and when a bass slashes my moving bait, I know she’s going to stay pinned up.
“One thing I love about St. Croix is how well they cover the bases for any angler, even on price, and these Mojo Bass and Mojo Bass Glass rods are a great example,” says Wiggins. “With the entire Mojo Bass series, anglers are getting great performance and well-designed rods for a really good price. You can’t beat that!”
Wherever you’re at in the bass-fishing spectrum, having optimized rods designed for the ways you fish will increase your angling success. Don’t use a wrench as a hammer. From putting your cast where you want it, to hooking up, to winning the battle… St. Croix makes the right tools for any presentation and helps anglers bring more bass to hand.
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