Musky America Magazine

Making these lengthy casts requires a long rod, and as a Musky nut and guide, I have been an advocate of them. Rods recommended for steel-head seem to be the best choice. One example is an 8' 6" medium action bait casting St. Croix Imperial XL rod. A bass sized bait casting reel with 12# line is an ideal match. This combination is perfect for casting the medium weight plastics, along with big plastic worms and lizards. The other is a spinning steelhead/walleye model. The 9' 6" St. Croix, Legend is one example. This rod has a unique cam-lock graphite spinning rings which allow widespread placement of the reel on its 24 inch handle. It's surprising back bone when fighting heavy fish is its foremost feature. A medium spinning reel with an in-spool drag and 12# line is a good choice. Both of the rods are specially designed for catching steelhead trout in rivers. These fish can reach up to 20, even 30 pounds, and produce a fight in a river's current that is a test of rod strength. It's common for them to make drag-screaming runs of 25 to 50 yards. Long rods allow a greater vertical line angle from the rod tip to the lure at long distances. This steeper angle will enhance your ability in finessing lures through bulrush beds and other thick cover. Short rods often leave too much line laying in the water, making it easy for the fish to see, besides being prone to hanging up on weeds, downed timber and brush.