The hunt for mega muskellunge has a way of beating up an angler’s body. That goes double for power fishermen; those who habitually heave larger, heavier baits with long, powerful rods. Larger baits mimic prey species like ciscoes, suckers, even baby burbot, thumping their fins and tails, vibrating mightily as they move through the water.
During the fall, musky anglers pitching large baits like “pounder” Bull Dawgs impart a rip-and-reel action. This involves a series of rapid rod jerks while reeling to take up slack line— over and over and over again. To pull off the retrieve, anglers routinely jut the rod between their ribcage and the inside of their armpit. Problem is, most conventional musky rods tend to hang between ribs, creating a bruised, raw spot along the ribcage.
“Consumer demand for a newer, better ‘rubber rod’ was intense,” says Rich Belanger, Promotions Manager for St. Croix Rod, who also notes St. Croix was the first to design a Bull Dawg-specific rod over a decade ago. “Anglers asked us for the ultimate big bait rod that could be fished comfortably, all day long, without beating them up”.
Starting many months back, the St. Croix R&D team went to work on a rod that offered ample power and action in the blank for throwing heavy lures while cushioning those oft-abused ribs.
“We ultimately developed a customized, oversized EVA butt handle made to pad and protect anglers’ bodies during rigorous retrieves, hooksets and battles,” noted Belanger. “The diameter of the butt handle is much wider than on traditional musky rods, but with no noticeable increase in weight. It distributes pressure more evenly across the side of your body; doesn’t get caught between two ribs so it spreads out the load a little more. The grip’s got some give to it, so you can rip all day long and not get that raw spot along the ribcage so common with traditional and split-grip handles,” explained Belanger.
“Anglers will appreciate the combo cork/EVA construction of this full-length 20-inch handle.”
The beauty of the rod extends well beyond its custom, cushioned butt section. Of special interest, the new Premier Series ‘Rubber Rod’ features an advanced PSS20 Fuji palming reel seat. This specialized reel seat positions all four fingers in front of the trigger, re-distributing pressure areas and greatly alleviating stress in the wrist area.
The 9-foot rod’s extra-heavy power, fast action blank, says Belanger, offers another keen casting advantage. “We built the blank to optimize casting efficiency with these big baits. In essence, the rod does the work for the angler. As you swing the rod backward, the weight of the lure flexes and partially loads the blank, creating energy. On the forward swing, the rod unloads and propels the bait a great distance. So it’s the rod itself that does the heavy lifting, once again saving wear and tear on the angler. Over the course of a day of casting a Bull Dawg, this makes all the difference in the world.”
Recently, musky anglers at the Chicago Musky Expo were able to see and demo the new 9’ extra-heavy power, fast action Premier Musky (PM90XHF). The rod brought home two awards for the Park Falls, WI rod company, winning both the Best Rod in the New Rod Category and Best New Product in Show at the always-popular musky showcase.
Priced at $220 and available at retailers in late February, the new Premier ‘Rubber Rod’ will easily throw baits up to 16-oz with relative ease.
- Premium quality SCII graphite.
- Kigan Master Hand 3D guides with slim, strong aluminum-oxide rings and black frames.
- Kigan Master Hand 3D top with SiC ring on musky models.
- Fuji® ECS, TCS or PSS reel seat with frosted silver hood.
- Premium-grade cork handle.
- Kigan hook-keeper.
- *Exclusive to this model is a specialized handle that provides the comfort of premium EVA and the feel of premium-grade cork.
- Two coats of Flex-Coat slow cure finish.
- 5-year warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service.
- Designed and handcrafted in Park Falls, U.S.A.
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