Park Falls, WI— In the martial arts of walleye fishing, it’s hard to beat jigging, rigging, and cranking for putting the beat-down on marble-eyed opponents. And probably no factor is more important to either technique than choosing the right rods for the job.
To that end, St. Croix Rod is proud to announce additions to the proven Eyecon family, the new Eyecon® ECS66MF and two-piece ECS66MF2 “Big Water” and ECS70MM “Crankin’” spinning rod models.
These latest additions to the 2011 Field & Stream “Best of Best” award-winning series grow the family from 11 spinning rod options to 14. The Eyecon series also includes numerous technique-specific casting and trolling rod models, which have grown in number for 2017.
“Walleye anglers absolutely love the medium-light power, fast-action 6-foot, 6-inch ECS66MLF and ECS66MLF2—so much so they’ve inundated us with calls and e-mails requesting a beefier version for deeper jigging and rigging. We are now pleased to answer their wishes with a medium-power ‘Big Water’ in the same length and fast action,” says Jesse Simpkins, Director of Marketing, St. Croix Rod.
These new models are recommended for line weights between 6 and 12 pound test and baits ranging from 1/4 – 5/8 oz., making them ideal for the bigger jigs and rig weights required in deeper water, current, and vegetation – and crankbaits – but more on that below.
In terms of construction, pro walleye angler and guide Brian “Bro” Brosdahl calls the entire Eyecon series “affordable masterpieces packed with technology.”
These masterpieces all start with the use of St. Croix’s premium-quality, ultra-responsive SCII graphite blanks, Kigan Master Hand 3D guides with slim, strong aluminum-oxide rings and black frames, a Fuji® IPS reel seat with black hood, and split-grip, premium-grade cork handle with EVA trim, and two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish
Jigging, Rigging… and More
Brosdahl doesn’t lack enthusiasm when getting down to the nitty gritty of walleye fishing applications for the new ECS66MF and ECS66MF2.
“The nice thing about the medium-power is it’s good for powerful hooksets in deeper water and current with heavier jigs. You can really make jigs talk with this rod. And in vegetation areas, a medium-power stick gives you the beef to pop a jig through the jungle and get bit. Lighter-power sticks pull and drag weeds. I’ll take the jigging path of less resistance. Another thing: 6’6” is a good fulcrum for jigging, whether sitting in a tiller chair or at the bow. It’s right on the money to stay in the transducer cone when vertical jigging so I can see my bait on the graph,” says Brosdahl.
He’s also a fan of the 6’6” as a perfect “’tweener-length” rod for rigging.
“Many times I don’t want a longer rod, which places my bait too far from the boat. I want to accurately troll or drift the live bait rig right through the marks I see on my electronics—right in front of their toothy faces.”
The new ECS66MF/ECS66MF2 also has the muscle required to slip live bait rig bullet sinkers through weeds, whether fishing minnows, leeches or ‘crawlers.
And for either jigging or rigging, Brosdahl swears by the rod’s fast action, meaning the rod only starts to bend closer to the tip section, which means better hook-sets and increased sensitivity.
“The ECS66MF’s fast action is a true telegraph of what’s going on at the end of your line. With a fast-action rod you realize snags in a split-second, you can pop it out, and keep working at putting fish in the box. And you’ve gotta have it for jig puppetry—that ability to pop, twitch, and dance your jig without any lag time. Combine that with St. Croix’s SCII graphite and the ability to feel bites and react for quick hook-sets is really noticeable. There’s only a split second between zero and hero.”
But the rod has even more versatility than jigging and rigging.
“I love it for pitching and twitching shallow-running stickbaits and hardbaits—or hairpin spinner jigs and Thumper jigs. You’re not fighting the spinner resistance with this rod,” adds Brosdahl.
Hardcore Crankin’ Stick
But when it comes to hardcore crankin’, Brosdahl turns to the new Eyecon® ECS70MM “Crankin’” rod.
“Nice thing about this new rod is you get the true movement out of a crankbait and it handles a sweeping hookset. The moderate action compensates for the lack of superline stretch and prevents hooks from being ripped out. It also allows the fish to do what it wants to do, and that’s inhale the bait,” says Brosdahl.
In terms of specific applications, he says it’s a great rod for long-line trolling or casting.
“Long-line trolling is super effective and easy, especially on river systems. Cast the crank behind the boat and bounce the lip of the crank off the bottom. This rod was built for Shad Raps, pure simple. Or twitching Husky Jerks. Casting rattlebaits. Even tossing smaller spinnerbaits through the weeds, which is overlooked. Add a small minnow or chunk of ‘crawler and troll that through the weeds!”
At the end of the day, the entire St. Croix Eyecon series packs a ton of science, craftsmanship, and professional expertise into affordable walleye weaponry. With prices from $120 to $160, anglers now have the ability to build an arsenal of pro-quality technique-specific rods without breaking the bank… and in a sea of rods with big promises or disposability, that’s newsworthy.