“The Lamiglas XCC 801 GH is the best steelhead plug rod I’ve ever used, but there is an application that it excels at that most wouldn’t think of.”
For three years now I’ve used the 801 as my live bait striper rod on the Sacramento River. There are a number of things I really love about the rod besides it’s great looks.
Striped bass are eating machines, and will eat or try to eat virtually anything they can get their mouth around. On the Sac in the spring time there is a large downstream migration of salmon smolts, and I try to mimic the smolts, in size at least, by using shiner minnows. Minnows can be fished a number of ways but the two primary techniques are power drifting, similar to boondoggling, and back bouncing with one to two ounces of weight.
The 801 fits this fishery and method so perfectly for a number of reasons, but two are critical: A great plug rod allows the steelhead to grab a lure and turn away with it without feeling too much of the rod, and then it gets into the butt of the rod which helps set the hook. The way the rod should react on a striper bite is no different.
Stripers, like all predatory freshwater gamefish, strike smaller baitfish and then, don’t ask me how, turn it around to swallow it head first. The whole process takes only an instant, and if your rod is too firm, it will not allow the fish to do this. The softness of the first three or so feet of the 801 allows for the “grab and go” bite of a striper to happen. The second very important quality that the 801 has is its ability to absorb violent shock. When I am fishing minnows I am using a very small (size 4) octopus bait hook. The size and weight of this tiny hook allows the minnow to swim very naturally, which in turn gets more bites. The problem then becomes finding a rod which isn’t so firm that it pulls the hook out of the striper’s lip. The smooth parabolic bend of the 801 and it’s shock absorbing qualities make it the perfect rod for fighting stripers. Even with the small hooks we lose very few fish, and the rod still has enough power to bring large stripers to net.
Take a look at the XCC 801 GH for any fishery that requires softness in the tip, yet power to lift when necessary. You’ll be glad you did.
For more info on John’s California based trips visit http://www.johnklar.com