Dad Testing a Fishing Pole I Built Him

Dad Testing His New Fishing Pole on Smallmouth Bass

A few years back I built a rod for my father as a Christmas gift. He loved it – the rod was blue with white wraps and really nice guides, and it was intended to be a crappie rod (we are terrible at crappie fishing still, but we like to try to catch them and fry a handful of the smaller ones up periodically).

Well, when we fish jigs in Wisconsin each year, there is a really good chance that we will catch pike, or smallmouth bass – even largemouth in the weed beds – the occasional muskie… and all of these fish pull hard.

The rod broke.

What was weird though, was that a fish didn’t break the St. Croix blank – it broke when Dad moved the rod to the side with his hand high up near the tip. Snap. Heartbreak.

When we contacted St. Croix, we were very happy to find out that they would be willing to send a replacement blank that was similar at no cost aside from shipping. (HUGE thank you to St. Croix!) I completed the new rod build before vacation this year, and this was the maiden voyage… and boy, the smallmouth put the rod to the test!

Time to fish.

The Minimalist Fisherman - Over 2,000 Subscribers Banner
Click the banner to jump to The Minimalist Fisherman on YouTube.

NOTE: I’m looking for new ponds, pits and creeks to fish in Illinois. If you are located in the Midwest and you have any suggestions, or if you’d like to fish some spots with me, please send me an email and let’s set something up! That’s the whole reason I do this: to make new friends, get better for my family, and find new spots to fish.


Location: Wisconsin
Time of Year: 2nd Week of July – Evening
Weather: Post Storm & Overcast
Water Temperature: Over 80°F

Power Rig: N/A
Finesse Rigs: Slip Bobbers with Live Leeches & Spinning Rods with Hula Sticks on Jigheads

Oh hey, check this out – you can still get a free copy of Ned Rig Secrets – guaranteed to help you catch more fish!

Ned Rig Secrets by AJ Hauser
An Easy-Reading 20 Page Guide. Simple Instructions. Beautiful Images. Fun Story – It’s All Here.

Let’s get better.

Cold Weather Largemouth Email

“When will those bass come back shallow?!”
It’s an age old question for us bank fishermen. When did they move out… and when will they come back? Soon I hope…

* Stars & Bars Fishing is dedicated to in-the-field videos, putting the techniques we write about to work. Episodes>


Subscribe to The Minimalist Fisherman.
Weekly articles & videos to help us become better anglers – and better men.