Even though I primarily consider myself a bass fisherman, I started ice fishing well before I was targeting bass, in fact, I remember stepping in my first ice hole when I was 4. When I started ice fishing I just used any equipment I could get, including hand-me-down rods or the cheapest ones I could buy, thinking that it didnít matter for just dropping a jig down a hole. This equipment still caught some fish, so I didnít worry about it too much.
As I started becoming more serious with my bass fishing, I recognized that better equipment had significant advantages over what I had been using. So in the past few years I have upgraded all of my bass rods and it has had a noticeable effect on my fishing. Even with the lesson of my bass equipment, I still never thought about the need for better ice rods.
When I saw some St. Croix ice fishing rods in the store this fall, I decided that I should get one and try it out. At about $30 for a St. Croix Premier rod, it was a little more than what most of my other ice rods cost, but it wasnít so much that it didnít seem worth it.
I have been fishing three times with it so far and I am very impressed. The first time I tried it was at Evergreen fishing for early ice trout. Even though the early fish at Evergreen are notoriously light biters, I could see and feel every bite, even without a strike indicator. My next trip was up to the mountains to catch some bigger trout. Still I was very impressed with the rodís sensitivity to feel the fish and the backbones to set the hook and bring in bigger fish. I recently fished a lake down on the flat land where I got into a couple of different species and the rod performed great there, too.
I have been continually impressed with the Premier ice rod after visiting a few different locations and catching over a hundred fish with it. It is the most sensitive ice fishing rod I have ever used, but it also has great backbone that makes me feel like I have the advantage over the fish. Not surprising since itís a St. Croix, but it also has much better components (blank, guides, handle) than other rods I have seen on the market. Another thing I really like about these rods is that St. Croix offers them in longer lengths than you can usually find for other rods. I have never been a fan of the 20-some inch rods that are usually available. There are 6 St. Croix Premiers between 34 and 42 inches long. If you prefer shorter rods though, they also have several two footers. In addition to the Premier rods, St. Croix also has a line of Legend Ice rods.
I have learned for my bass fishing obsession that better equipment really does have its advantages. Iím just surprised that it took me this long to realize the same was true for what I use on hard water. This rod is a great investment and at 25-35 dollars for their Premier Ice line of rods, I would recommend them to any serious fisherman who wants a high quality rod for their hard water pursuits.