The St. Croix Rod Family joins us at Rainy Lake Houseboats

Paul, David and Hunter, Jeff and Karen Schluter, John, Pam, and Johnathan Smiley arrived Saturday afternoon for a three-day excursion on the Chairman II.  The Schluter’s are proud owners of St. Croix Fishing Rod Company located in Park Falls Wisconsin. A weather system moved through on Friday evening bringing some rain and brisk west winds.  We opted to travel to an area on the east end of Rainy Lake, winds were forecasted that made that end of the lake more comfortable to fish.  We moored the Chairman II on Sand Bay Island. We arrived about 5:45 PM and decided to get an hour of fishing in before chef Jim served a chicken and rib dinner.

Guides Jon Balaski and Kevin Erickson fished a reef out of the wind. Tomorrow’s walleye lunch is well in hand. I fished with Paul and Dave.  I knew they have an interest in our smallmouth bass. We stopped and fished a spot in the current. We caught five smallies and a walleye. Two of the bass were dandies, stout and fat! I was amazed at the sensitivity the rods Dave and Paul were fishing with.  They were using St. Croix spinning rods with 8 lbs. test mono.  The models were the Rage series. In current feel is dampened or softened for a better term. You often feel weight rather than the peck or strike.

I was watching the rod tips which I had asked them to keep quite high while working the jigs. I first noticed Paul’s tip and I could see the pecks. I said Dave I think you have a strike, lift your tip and feel for weight.  Paul felt the peck first and set the hook on a nice three pound plus smallmouth. Next it was Dave’s turn.( later in the trip I was able to feel the unbelievable sensitivity and set the hook super quick, and strong) . The Rage has unreal castability, the distance you can cast is amazing.

Jim’s dinner was fantastic. Jim worked a couple trips with our long time chef Bernie Lessard. He did not miss any of Bernie’s secrets. Our schedule has been very busy, and it we really appreciated Jim giving Bernie a break before the next trip.

Sunday morning the wind was blowing briskly out of the west. We opted to go down to Hale Bay a favorite area of mine while growing up at the Kettle Falls Hotel. Jon found walleyes in 22 feet off of an island, I found walleyes on rubble piles on a flat. The walleyes wanted jigs and ½ a night crawler, the best color was a red orange jig.

Back to the Chairman for a walleye shorelunch.

During the afternoon I went back to Hale and had more good action on walleyes and big smallmouth bass.  We fished the current the last hour and had non stop action on smallmouth. Jon and Kevin went on the north side of the lake to try wind blown weed lines for walleyes. The fish were not there.

Monday we went back to Hale, the fish had changed locations, they moved to points and islands they had not been before. We had a nice catch between the boats and another shorelunch was served.

Kevin was going to take Jeff and Karen smallmouth fishing, Pam, John and Johathan were going to do the “slow death method for walleyes, Jon, Dave and Hunter did like wise.

Jeff and Karen really hit the snmallmouth bass with Kevin. They used a white colored spinner bait and Jack All shaky worms in pumpkin green color. The Shaky worms are cast towards the structure and lifted on the fall you shake the worm on the way down, this is when the strike occurs. The worms are rigged Wacky style. Hook through the worm body exactly 1/2 way down the worm body.

Jon fished a flat close to the Chairman II; I was a little farther away, maybe a mile. Walleyes were stacked in 37 feet of water. We used the slow death method with 1 ½ oz. bottom Bouncers and the walleyes were going crazy.  Jonathon was using a St. Croix Rage in 6”10” length, medium power, 6-12 lbs. test line, 1/8- 3/16 oz. lures. Pam was using a Legend Extreme LXC70MF.

I have used St. Croix Rods for a long time. There selection of rods are second to none. There is a model and price range for all. Go to St. Croix’s website to view all of their rods. They also one both the best freshwater and saltwater rods at the 2012 I Cast show in Orlando Florida this summer.