I was recently on the Review Your Gear Podcast and the question came up about the rods I have exclusively been using for the past 4 years now. Not only do I use these rods on a daily basis, but I am also allowing my clients to use these rods as well. I do have a few heart attack moments using these rods for my work, but at the end of the day, I feel they are catching my clients more fish!
Why do I feel they are catching more fish? In all honesty, I believe it’s because they are feeling more bites. These rods are made out of the finest components on the market. Each rod is hand-built and the attention to detail is unmatched without a doubt. I look at these rods kind of like golf clubs. Each rod, just like golf clubs, has a purpose, or maybe I should say a time and place. I will break down the rods I have in my bag, and when I put them to work.
The first rod I will talk about is the 6’ 10” JTX Mag ML. This is my all-purpose rod and gets used for everything over a course of a guide season. It handles pitching light jigs on the river really well. Both live baits and plastics on jigs the rod handles well. I also love to use these rods casting crankbaits early spring on Devils Lake. It handles jig raps and I have even run bouncers with it.
My new go-to rod for most of my jig fishing now is the 7’ 1” JTX Mag ML. It has a strong backbone to handle large fish. In fact, my largest walleye to date was a 35-inch beast I caught this past spring. I was pitching a Clam tungsten jig with a Salmo Slick Shad and boom! All my jig pitching in the river in the spring I do with 6lb Berkley high viz XT. I like the feel and I love how mono falls and drifts in the current more naturally.
Another rod that JT Customs will release this coming season is a prototype I had them build me. It is a play off the 7’ 1” spinning rod I was just talking about and this one is a baitcaster I used heavily this summer for all my bouncers. Whether I was pulling propeller rigs or slow death rigs this rod was a match made in heaven! It absolutely dominated and it turned into a war between clients and other guides I was fishing with to be able to use this rod. Super light and easy to fish with bouncers 1 to 2 ounces in weight.
A very forgiving rod and a great rod for those finicky cold water walleyes is the 7’3” JTX Mag ML. This rod has a nice soft tip that these light biters don’t seem to feel, which allows you to let the fish suck the bait in. I also love using this rod when I am running a live bait rig and or dragging tiny ⅛ oz jigs and a half crawler.
The last rod I will talk about in this article is the JT Snare Rod. It’s 9’ 2” and it’s super light and really forgiving. I found this to be a great creek chub rod and also worked great with lighter bouncers while pulling spinners and or propeller rigs. I think it shined best when running creek chubs though. The fish would not feel the rod allowing plenty of time for me to flip the bail open and let the fish inhale the minnow. This worked great as the extra rod in the rod holder and the length kept the baits away from the boat and other lines. A guarantee rod I have in the water at all times and a bonus fish catcher.
Again, all these rods I feel have changed my fishing game for the better. Just like when I was playing hockey I would fall in love with a certain stick and I needed to have that stick to feel comfortable and confident. These rods for myself and my clients do the same thing for me. Good equipment is so important. Just like good electronics (a story coming soon) they make my job a lot easier and it more rewarding for my customers.
If you’d like to give JT Rods a try, use promo code “Mpeluso” for 5% off your next JT Custom Rods purchase on their website.