Spinning Rods are for sissy’s. You throw little bitty baits on light line, and when you set the hook, you look like you are having a seizure. After about 20 casts, you spend the rest of the day unwinding the snarl that has cast through 10 guides over a hedge tree and into a stump. That used to be my opinion of spinning gear until I got my hands on the new St. Croix Legend Xtreme XS68MXF rod and combined it with the Abu Garcia Soron SX40 spinning reel. This combo makes music like a Boston Pops concert. Combined with some Sunline 8-pound fluoro, I look like I was born with a spinning rod in my hands.
After using this combo for several weeks my opinion has changed, and to be honest my prior experiences were attributed to operator error. This old buzzard has to admit that being hard headed was the ailment, and getting a good dose of “no fish” was the medicine. The “Tim Allen approach” wasn’t working, and I needed a little finesse in my life.
I have always felt like I was pretty handy with baitcasting gear. Put a bait under a low hanging sticker bush … no problem. Cast a jig and chunk a country mile and feel a 3-pounder sniff on it … no issue. But throw a spinning rod with 8-pound test on a spinning reel … NEVER.
Years ago, I used them for dock fishing for bass, mainly to skip tubes under docks without backlashes. I used them for crappie and bluegill fishing with tiny tubes, and I might even throw a small crankbait to catch a walleye. Use one for tournament bass fishing? Never. That was until the dreaded days of hot summer and the bite went south.
I went through a couple of weeks where I couldn’t have caught a bass if someone put it in an envelope and mailed it to me. Shad were everywhere, my deep spots went dry and a 22-pound lead in my local club became a 2-pound lead. I had to adjust, and I had to do it quickly. So, out came the spinning gear. I knew a Kicker Fish 4-inch Holeshot teamed with a Jewel Squirrel Head would catch something. They might be small, but maybe, just maybe, I could squeak out a small limit to protect my lead and my ego.
I practiced three days, only using spinning gear, and guess what? I caught a bunch of small bass, but about every 4th or 5th cast, I caught a keeper and some nice ones to boot. My confidence level improved, and the fairy wand told me where the fish were positioned. It told me where they were, and now it was grind ’em out time. I went from completely lost to feeling pretty good about catching a few and was able to parlay my new found weaponry into a new tool in which I have total confidence. The real beauty in this whole arrangement is I also found several new techniques – new to me at least – to catch No. 5. When the going gets tough, the tough now pulls out the St.Croix spinning rod and gets after them.
The St.Croix Legend family of rods is well known to die hard anglers. Jason Sealock, of our staff, recently did a killer review of the St.Croix Xtreme X70MHF and the XS68XF so it you want the down and dirty get it there. He gives you the nuts and bolts, the technology and the Kentucky version of how to use them.
For me, it’s about finding a new tool. The old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” doesn’t apply here anymore. I have found a confidence weapon that took a bad couple of weeks and turned it into a bright future. This old dog now has another trick up his sleave and shaky heads, drop shots and more limits of bass are in his future.
Fairy wands, heck … I am a believer!