Best Rods on Earth

New St. Croix Fishing Rods in Action

Spring 2022


“Their strike zone might not be as big, but you can still reel it fairly fast and still get bites,” Mullins added.

Over 65-degrees and Combs is adamant that bass can swim faster to knock down a bait that we can retrieve. When the bite dries up, or he believes they need to change, he’ll “yo-yo” the bait by pulling the crankbait with the rod to make it pulse - yo-yo - and pulling the crankbait with the rod, making the bait pulse or flitter.


Mullins is adamant that a composite rod does not work for him; graphite affords way better telemetry with what his crankbait is doing.

“If I am hitting grass or a stump, I don’t want any delay. I want to be able to rip the crankbait free or pop it out over that stump,” he explained. “Because you are missing out on a 1- or 2-foot section, you could be getting bit on but are missing out.”

A medium-action 7’2” Shimano Expride casting rod paired with a Shimano Curado MGL 150 reel spooled with 8- or 10-pound Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon line in colder water is Mullins first choice. As water temps rise, he’ll bump up to 12-pound test.

Though Combs prefers the Shimano Curado DC 150 casting reel as it holds plenty of 12-pound Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon line, it’s the faster gearing that he’s after. With 7:4:1 gearing, he’ll force himself to slow down. But, instead, he’d rather have the speed to catch up to pre-spawn fish that hit the bait and charge towards the boat.

“I like to catch up to those fish to get a hook into them,” Combs said.

Combs prefers the parabolic action of the Shimano Zodias 7’2” medium-heavy glass composite casting rod.

Since bass eat the bait funny at times, fiberglass not only gives them an extra second to inhale the bait but absorbs the power of the fish, helping to keep them pinned.


Combs suggests anglers slow down and thoroughly cover high percentage areas with multiple casts. Then, rotate through your bait selection, even if that means adding a Strike King Thunder Cricket and Blade Minnow trailer into the mix.

Boat positioning is overlooked, Mullins stated.

“You can’t be too shallow or deep and be at the right angle to keep off the fish but close enough to be able to get your lure to the right spot,” he shared.

The best anglers trust their intuition and gut instinct and Mullins has a feeling that he’s in the right area; despite the stubbornness of the bass living there, he’ll work around the area like a merry-go-round.

“The angle deal is the fish might be in a position that your crankbait clips that rock, and it pops up in his face in a way it hasn’t seen; that’s where you get that fish,” said Mullins. “So, you hit that spot from so many angles to give that fish every chance to react to it that you can.” •

Photo: LePera

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