This Issue of the News Flash: G. Loomis GLX vs. NRX Comparison, Leech Lake Diaries, Shimano Stella FE Report, Pictures of Your Boat, Much More….
Well, we promised in our last newsletter to finish our LEECH LAKE DIARIES which is what we’re doing this issue. Now that we are back I can tell you this was a wonderful trip and sure gave us a great opportunity to try out lots of gear in a picturesque setting which Leech Lake provides. Although we’re not quite into the fall fishing season, we certainly were close being the latter part of August. Here’s the second half of our report:
Day 9: Great morning. Very calm and 51 degrees. Wow! I just love the north woods! Dixie fixes a BIG breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and bacon. Yummy, but soooo heavy. Lunch will necessarily be minimal. Go to bait shop for more leeches. Out. Go to second shop. Two small containers. Buy them and ask how’s fishing been yesterday. Owner says “bad”. I feel like I have regained my manhood!
Load boat and head out to Cedar Point. What a beautiful morning. Set up a Shimano Cumulus (with Shimano Stella 1000) and Loomis NRX (with Shimano CI4-2500) with Lindy Rigs, one with red tail minnow, one with leech. Bite starts immediately on leech. Red tail dies lonely, no takers. Switch to leech both outfits. Dixie and I trade outfits back and forth. NRX is definitely far more sensitive. Absolutely amazing feel!
Every walleye caught falls in the slot of 18″ – 26″. Can’t keep these so begin keeping perch for our Friday night fish fry. 4 PM head for gas dock and ask attendant how’s fishing been. Says “terrible”, but should be better today with front having come through. We confirm his prediction. Pay almost $80 for 20 gallons of gas and head back to cabin. Clean 13 perch for dinner. Great sweet meat. Dixie once again cooks up a perfect meal with onion rings, salad, French fries, pie. Put in “The Last Waltz” CD by The Band. Fall asleep by Mystery Train…….
Day 10: Muggy morning. About 65 degrees but humidity is 100%. Dense fog everywhere. We have light breakfast and head for town as fog is too dense to be out in on lake. Town hard to find in this soup! Decide to go back to cabin. Beautiful deer and fawn in yard just feet away from us. So pretty. They like peanuts as well!
Fog lifts around 11 AM as temperature rises above 80. Saturday on lake means lots of boats, skiers, sea-dos, tubes, etc. Make decision to explore on road rather than lake. Drive to Park Rapids and then some back roads. See lots of deer. Very peaceful and scenic. About 5 PM head to cabin. Go to Lucky Moose Bar & Restaurant for dinner. Nice place. Good food, big portions. Cold beer. Great staff. Back and in bed by 9:30 PM
Day 11: Day started out easily enough. Coffee, donuts, coffee cake. Load boat at 8:30 AM, away from dock at 9. Decide to try Cedar Point for walleye. Wind is about 10 mph which creates a nice drift. Land first walleye immediately using Lindy Rig w/leech. It’s keeper as under 18″. Lots or perch bites. Decide to fish south of Goose Island. Wind starts picking up. Clear sky – no clouds. Go to ½ oz sinkers on rigs. Catch several huge perch. Keep for dinner. SE Wind creates 2 ft+ rollers in 30 mile east to west stretch that ends around Goose Island (far west). Getting tough.
Eat sub sandwich w/diet Coke behind point, out of wind. Now over 80 degrees. Wind picks up, no clouds, damn! Head back to Cedar Point which hopefully has less wind. Not. Wind pushes drift along fast, but walleye hit like crazy. Catch many, all between 18″ – 26″ long, so adios – back in the lake. 4 PM waves are now 2 – 3 ft+ as Cedar point is 5 miles+ north in Walker Bay. Decide to troll deep crankbaits back to cabin for suspended fish. Lake too rough to run at any speed in 17 ft Lund. 87 degrees, 25-30 mph wind, no clouds. Arrive at cabin 5:30 PM totally beat up.
Clean fish, have beers, play with chipmunks using dry roasted peanuts. 2 Chipmunks get in fight over food. Mean little rascals. Dixie fries fish. We eat dinner and collapse. This was a great fishing day, but a very tough day with wind, sun, heat, and handling boat. Hope tomorrow is cooler w/o wind.
Day 12: Unbelievable. Wind blowing even stronger today. Full south blasts. Already 75 degrees at 7 AM. Have donuts and sweet rolls and off to fish. Try to head north in Walker Bay. Make it about 2-3 miles – waves are 3 ft and coming over bow. Decide we will cast for northern in smaller bays. Use Mepps spinners, crankbaits, spinnerbaits in chartreuse, day glow orange, red & white. Casting is tough yet amazing with wind to back. Almost throw the spool on CI4-2500 one time. Yea, I’m bad!
Afternoon temp now 87 degrees and wind still 30 mph. Hot sun, wind burn’s us up once again. Dixie needs to potty. I suggest back of boat. My wife is a real trooper so gives it a try. Almost lose her on big wave. Funny…very, very funny. She completely misses the humor. Insists no pictures! Woman is getting old….Catch lots of small northerns. Nothing big. Little guys tear up tackle, slime boat, distract from mission. Try Agency Bay weed beds. Wind like a cyclone and swirling. 3 PM starts changing, blowing from west. Waves intense, so head back to cabin around 4 PM. Fish Shingobee bay for walleye, but wind makes holding boat very difficult. 5 PM sky darkens. Front coming in fast. Go to cabin. Clean boat. Put up tackle. Decide it’s steak and martini night. Dixie whips up some fresh corn fritters. Umm, umm good! Bedtime comes around 10 PM.
Day 13: Get up at 5 AM freezing! Temp is 52 degrees. Moon full, loons calling, Doe and fawn in yard along with chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels (red and gray), and blue jays. Great morning! Fix some coffee. Do some work on computer. Put peanuts and bird seed out for animals. Wind still strong, now out of west. Should be great fishing. Dixie fixes BIG breakfast sausage, egg, muffins, coffee, juice. Ready to go get some fish!
Leave dock, go through canal, under bridge, all hell breaks loose. Wind similar to tropical storm (that’s just before it’s declared a hurricane)! Figure we can make it to Agency Bay. Bad idea. Waves 3-4 ft coming over bow. Need a MUCH BIGGER boat! Try to fish leeward side, but no go. 500 ft from shore wind is like test chamber for jet engine. Dixie ask if we are crazy. Not yet but soon. Head back toward cabin s-l-o-w-l-y, still soaked. See capsized boat, but help already there. Both occupants are OK and in one of the rescue boats. Dragging capsized boat to Walker it appears. Decide to go to bait shop for some dock fishing bait. Owner tells us winds 40 mph plus and “only crazy people are on the lake today”. Little does he know. Driving back to cabin see a jet black squirrel. Wow! First time for either of us. Gorgeous! Fish off dock, feed chipmunks, squirrels (red and gray, no black), and birds. All in all not too bad a day. Dixie fixes another great meal and we consider ourselves lucky but, according to bait shop owner, crazy.
Day 14: Up early and on computer so can get an early start fishing. Wind seems gone. Dixie goes to town for leeches. None anywhere. Great. Ask bait shop owner (guy who still doesn’t know we are crazy) what else will work. Suggest what he has in stock (surprise!) – minnows and worms. Beggars can’t be…etc., etc. Load up on suggested bait. Stop at Hardees for breakfast of champions ~ Sausage & egg biscuits. Load boat and head out to Cedar Point. Perch immediately take liking to worms and minnows, but not walleye. Back troll, drift, try different colored Lindy Rigs, jigs, etc. Two break-offs, probably northern.
A nice day. Wind about 10 mph, sun shining, temp about 65-70. Doesn’t get much better. Head for Goose Island. Lots of weeds, no walleye. Back to Sand Point. More perch which we decide will be dinner. Lots of boats out, but all are moving. No one seems to be on a hot spot. Guide boats are here for 30 minutes, then leave. I use my Loomis SMR822S-SP GLX rod. One of my favorites. Discover we forgot sandwiches. Diet Coke and water for lunch. Fish until 5 PM, nothing changes except perch bite slows. Back to cabin. Fry up perch and drink some local beer. Call kids and talk to grandkids. 3 year old twins need more companionship – chatty Kathies for 30 minutes! Bedtime.
Day 15: Last day on the lake. Dixie fixes bacon & eggs breakfast. I screw up coffee, make it way too strong. We both gag, put hot water in with coffee. Yuck! Best we will have, so head to boat, load minnows, gear, and cooler (with sandwiches today). Try around Sand Point 6-12 ft water & weeds. Bite is quick and we catch some big perch and a few walleye (still 18-26″ so must be released). 11 AM bite stops. Really stops! Decide to move east through channel to open water. Lots of boats but no one catching.
Fish through afternoon. Amazingly slow and getting hot. Cloudless sky with nice breeze. Nice way to end our trip. Decide to give it up at 4 PM and head to cabin, take trailer to ramp, load boat, back to cabin to pack up. All done at 7 PM so bake a frozen pizza and have some crackers and cheese. Early to bed, long drive tomorrow.
Conclusion: Well, we made it back home in a day and a half. We take our time, especially with all of the construction going on. It was really great to get away and try out many different products we carry. We’ll be reporting on many of these “field tests” in upcoming newsletters. Basically, it was a good trip although we were somewhat disappointed in our mediocre success on Leech Lake. Like any lake, this lake has a learning curve that includes fish movement, technique, times, etc. We’ll expect better results when we return. We were VERY impressed with all of the local folks we met in and around Walker, Minnesota. Every person was extremely helpful and couldn’t do enough to assist us. The Maples family (cabin owners) were THE BEST!
Our next trip will be in October to the panhandle of Florida, so if you pass a blue Toyota Tundra pickup truck with American Legacy Fishing logo on the sides give us a toot of the horn. We’ll make sure to toot back and give you a big wave!
This issue we have some field test reports on some of the gear we used over the last two weeks we think you will enjoy. We also have some information on some of the new products we have received or will receive in the next few weeks. Some great stuff either here or on its way to us. We thank you for all of your support and are always here to assist you any way we can.
Next Issue: Send Us Pictures of Your Boat……………
Let’s be different next issue. How about sending us pictures of your boat. No rules here. ANY boat you fish out of will quality. Your boat, your buddy’s boat, your favorite party boat, your tube, whatever. Even your dock or shore will do! We figured that there have got to be some beautiful, unique, unusual, or weird craft being used to fish from. Here’s your chance to show all of our readers your equipment, regardless of size, condition, or uniqueness. Be sure to include a BRIEF description so we can give credit where credit is due.
If nothing else, this may motivate you to finally take a picture of your prized craft for posterity. We’d love to see it and promise to include your picture in the next couple of newsletters. Here’s your chance to show off what can be one of your biggest investments (or smallest) to your fellow fishermen. Please send your pictures to [email protected] and we’ll make sure they get into our newsletter. Do it now so you don’t forget! We’ll be waiting….
How Can the New Shimano Stella FE Spinning Reels Be Worth THAT Much….
There’s a little story I’ll tell you about the new FE Stella’s. When we first received the pricing information from Shimano I was shocked. The price increases were, in my opinion, ridiculous. The 1000 sized reel price increased $100! Who in their right mind would pay $700 for a 1000 sized spinning reel? Someone must be crazy! The rest of the models went up about the same amount. WHO is in charge of your pricing? They need their head examined! They need to get in touch with reality!
The Stella FD’s were wonderful reels and I couldn’t see how a few minor changes could justify such aggressive price increases. Personally I still use Stella FA’s and FD’s and have been quite happy with them, although the later FD versions have some obvious improvements over the FA’s. So it was hard for me to see how these new FE’s could be “that much better”. Changing the color scheme slightly, in my mind, surely didn’t justify these much higher new prices.
Then we received our first 2500FE. It is, simply put, so far beyond the FD’s that I am eating my words every day. It’s just as radically different from the FD as the new G. Loomis NRX is from the GLX rods. Absolutely a piece of art as well as the most impressive reel I have ever held in my hand. It isn’t just cosmetics! The internal gear train is much tighter with tolerances reduced substantially from the FD series. Cranking the new FE’s is so much easier it literally is almost effortless. The reel balance is amazing and again, very different from the older FD. Shimano has a lot of the technical details on their web site if you’re into that sort of stuff; I’m not. It really boils down to the simple fact that when you hold one of the FE’s you know you are holding the finest spinning reel available in the world today. I have several on order and will be switching all of my older Stella’s to the FE’s. They’re almost mystical….and that good!
With our 30 day “no questions asked” return policy you may want to consider buying one of these just so you can experience this reel. As I said, words just do not do it justice. If you feel it’s not that much of an improvement then just send it back for a full refund. I’ll probably put it in my arsenal. It’s sort of like taking a puppy home for a night to see if you’ll like him. I’m pretty sure if you ever get one of the FE’s in your hands it will most likely stay there for a long, long time. Perhaps longer than the puppy!
G. Loomis GLX vs. NRX Rod Comparison………….
The first thing we noticed was that the NRX was slightly lighter in overall weight. This was a plus as well as a negative. With the lighter weight picking the correct reel to use seems far more critical to us than with the GLX. Maybe just a personal quirk, but the NRX was far more comfortable with either the Shimano Stradic CI4-1000 or an older Shimano Stella 1000FA than it was with a Stradic CI4-2500 or a Stella 2500. On the other hand, the GLX seemed extremely comfortable with either sized reel. Again, could just be me, but the larger reels almost made the NRX feel a bit cumbersome.
When we finesse fished these rods the NRX just beat the pants off the GLX. The NRX was almost “electric” in sensitivity. Sort of like when you add a 1000 watt amplifier to your sound system. It literally “boomed” with feeling. Now the GLX is no slouch, but cannot compare to the NRX. We also fished a Shimano Cumulus with the same reels and would put this rod in third place on the sensitivity meter. Again, it’s not that the GLX or Cumulus rods aren’t extremely sensitive. It’s just that the NRX is “out of this world” sensitive.
Although we didn’t have an opportunity to hook into any monsters with either of these rods, we certainly caught our share of nice fish. Both handled larger walleye with ease. Northern pike? Not a problem. Power-wise we really didn’t see much difference, which is to be expected as both rods’ specs are identical. Both rods we a real joy to use when landing a fish. And, if you’re not finesse fishing it would be very difficult to tell them apart from a pure fish handling perspective.
When casting the NRX we were also very pleased. It handles all sorts of lines with ease and seemed to cast a bit further than the GLX. Also, the irritating braided line “buzz” wasn’t there that is an irritant with the GLX rod using Recoil guides. We attributed this more to the guide train on the NRX than the blank itself. We like Fuji guides better than Recoils, so the NRX, which has a mix of both, seemed a bit smoother to us. This “felt like” longer casting distances although we had no real way of scientifically measuring it. The winds gusting up to 40 mph certainly provided a bogey both good and bad when we were tossing crankbaits, so let’s just say they are close to the same in casting distance for now.
The NRX rod’s components are absurdly top-end, well above the GLX components, which obviously contribute to the sensitivity and light weight. We sort of had mixed emotions about the split grip. We like the exposed blank and the contribution it makes to sensitivity. Usually on split grip spinning rods the grip can prove uncomfortable after a few hours of intense fishing. This just wasn’t the case on the NRX. The grip is very comfortable and will not impede a 10 hour fishing day in any way. Where we thought the GLX beat the NRX was in the overall handle length. For fishing a jig or Lindy rig we found the butt end of the NRX about 2″ too long for our liking. Again, probably personal preference. Keep in mind I use a 5 ft ultra-light with a “mini” grip for many walleye finesse situations, so longer handles are problematic for me.
So what’s the “bottom line” here? The NRX is a hell of a rod, no question about it. It is, in our opinion, the best fishing rod ever made. And we have used all of the Japanese JDM rods, all of the USA made rods, and all of the “super premium” rods as well as many custom rods, some using the latest “hot” blanks from “you know who”. Nothing, and we mean n-o-t-h-i-n-g beats the NRX. So should you toss those GLX rods? Of course not! First, the NRX only comes in 5 spinning models and 8 casting models. The GLX rods cover far more applications with many more models. Plus, unless you’re finesse fishing or need the lightest rod available, the GLX rods offers close to the same performance albeit slightly heavier. Basically we think both the GLX and NRX have a place in the boat. But, if you don’t have at least ONE NRX you are truly missing a unique fishing experience!
Shimano Waxwing Jigs Now In Stock………………
One of the “hits” of this year’s ICAST show was the new Shimano Waxwing series of jigs. In fact, these jigs won “Best of Show” for hard lures this year. We can see why. With the “wings” on this lure the jig swims (or drops) side-to-side in an irregular pattern which has got to get any fish’s attention. And attention usually leads to a fish strike. At least that’s our take on it. So we figure these new jigs will have a heck of a lot more appeal than just saltwater applications. We can see using these for bass, salmon, steelhead, lake trout, walleye, etc. applications, especially given their “fish irritating” action.
There are 14 colors which when seen in person vs. on Shimano’s web site just knock your socks off. These are beautiful jigs and look as good as any Megabass lure we have ever sold. They come in two sizes: 3.1 oz (about 3 ½” long) and 4.1 oz (about 4 ½” long) and are packaged individually with corrosion resistant double hook. The smaller sizes are $17.99, the larger $19.99 I’m thinking about putting a treble hook on them for some freshwater applications.
We plan on trying these Waxwing Jigs out on a variety of applications, both salt and fresh. We’ll be in Florida in October and can assure you our tackle box will have most of the waxwings in it. Stay tuned for a report in future newsletters.
Why I Like the Sunline 600 yd Spools and a Few Other Thoughts………….
OK, I’m a dinosaur. I still fish with monofilament line more than any of the newer, “exotic” lines such as fluorocarbon, braid, composition, etc. Probably has something to do with my age and my unwillingness to change. I think Dixie calls this “set in my ways”! Yep, that’s me.
So, we’re heading to Minnesota and I load up on 600 yd spools of our Sunline Super Monofilament line in various lb tests. When I started packing I realized just how compact these spools are and just how convenient they fit in my tackle bags. Amazingly I was able to get 10 spools in two tackle bags. I guarantee you I couldn’t have done this with what I had been using.
When we got to the lake I spooled my reels (I also used some Power Pro braid and some Sunline Super FC Sniper), but never used up a whole spool of 660 yards. The nice thing about these Sunline spools is that they come in their own plastic case, so there’s no loose line wandering around your tackle bag or catching on something and taking off to who-knows-where. I like that.
Of course the line itself fishes great and is supple and low stretch and doesn’t twist near as bad as most mono lines. We fished jigs many days all day and yet had minimal line twist. That’s cool. So here’s a great product that won’t break the bank when you buy it with the most convenient spool and container I have ever seen. OK, it’s no big deal, but I just wanted to tell you about these 660 yard spools. Oh, and yes, we have them in stock.
Shimano Curado 50 Rocks in Minnesota…………..
Just hours before leaving for our fishing trip (literally) I received ONE new Shimano Curado 50 Casting reel. Let’s get small! This is like a Curado 200 with small-man syndrome! Small and Cute to be sure. Once at the cabin I put some Sunline Super Natural Mono in Jungle Green color on this little guy. Jeez, I’m a decorator! The damn stuff matches the reel color perfectly! But how will this reel fish?
Now fishing is an interesting sport. There are two phases, fishing and catching. We practiced the first phase (fishing) extensively, trolling big deep running (20 ft) crankbaits over deep water for suspended fish. No luck. We also trolled the edge of weed beds for prowling northerns and musky. No luck. Finally, we cast the weeds and edges. Bingo! Catching time! We hooked (and landed) a 4 lb smallmouth and a few northerns that would go 6-8 lbs with ease. This didn’t even make this junior Curado breath hard.
This Curado 50 looks like a little guy, weighs like a little guy, but fishes like a 800 lb gorilla as far as guts and power are concerned. It’s a reel that delivers MORE than it promises. We trolled BIG cranks and caught BIG weeds. The reel handled this with ease. We threw big spinners and bucktails. The reel handled these with ease. We even threw ¾ oz jigs with plastic worms and live bait and the reel handled these with ease. Frankly I’m now convinced that the Curado 50 (and 51 left hand version) will be one of the more significant additions to our product offering for 2010.
Just so you know, the specs for this great little reel are as follows: 6.9 oz weight, 6.4:1 retrieve ratio, 7 bearings, 10 lb max drag, 25 in. line retrieve per crank, and line capacity of 10/105 yd, 12/85 yd, 14/70 yd, price $199.99 Frankly, LOTS of bang-for-the-buck!
Shimano’s New $90 Caenan Low-Profile Casting Reel Now In Stock……
When this reel first came out after ICAST we just didn’t pay too much attention. After all, it was a $90 reel so how good could it be? And we try to only carry The Best Gear. Then we had a chance to use one. One word kept coming into our head: DEPENDABLE.
Most casting reels that sell for under $100 aren’t that great and usually become “throw-aways” after less than a season of hard use. They are “clunky”, heavy, and just not very good as they typically are a compromise. We think the Caenan is a bit different.
Need a New rod or Reel? Our “Enhanced” Trade-In Values (+10% – 15%) are back for 30 days ONLY……..
Just a quick reminder that we are still offering “Enhanced” Trade In Values on your old rods and reel until September 15, 2010 After that all trade in quotes revert back to our normal trade in values. Yes, we know the NRX rods are expensive. And yes, they’re definitely worth every penny. So, we’re trying to help you out. We believe that any serious fisherman Deserves to own at least one NRX rod or certainly any of the other premium rods we offer to make your fishing experience the best possible. So, to make this a wee bit easier we’ve “Enhanced” our trade in values on all G. Loomis and St. Croix rods for the next 30 days. You’ll receive 10% to 15% MORE TRADE IN VALUE when you trade in any used G. Loomis or St. Croix rod from now until September 15, 2010.
These enhanced values will Expire September 15, 2010 if you haven’t done your trade and at that time we will drop back to our usual (but liberal) trade in values we normally quote. So, as we say in southern Indiana, “time a’ wasting”. We’re doing all we can to get as many of you into these fantastic NRX rods, so drop us a note at [email protected] with what you want to trade in and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours with a trade in value quote that will be good against anything we sell, not just NRX rods. But, with these higher values there will never be a better time than now to score that NRX you’ve been considering ( and must have in our opinion!).