I love working the Ice Fishing shows! It is so much fun getting to talk to hundreds of people about something that I truly enjoy and care about. There aren’t a lot of other places where you get so many likeminded people in one place. This year at the Sioux Falls Ice Institute and the St Paul Ice Show I noticed a lot of people asking the same type of questions. Usually it was some form of, “I’m looking for a walleye rod, which one do you recommend?”
To answer that question, you need to get to the root of how you want to use your rod, and that is more specific than saying, “to catch walleye.” The Tuned Up Custom Rod line-up has a full SEVEN different rods that can be used to catch walleye, but each one is designed to be fished differently. And, that difference comes down to your lure or bait of choice.
Walking down the tackle aisle at any retailer will tell you that there are literally hundreds of different lures that you can choose from. And each one has its own time and place. But for walleye, the lures tend to fall into one of four categories: Small Spoons, Medium/Large Spoons, Minnow Profile, and Live Bait. At Tuned Up Custom Rods, we design our rods to excel in specific areas and with specific lure styles and sizes. Let’s break them down.
This is the bread and butter for most walleye anglers. The place where most people start, and where most people stay when it comes to jigging for walleye. These spoons range in size from about 1/16oz to 1/4oz. Some of the most popular spoons in this category include the Northland Tackle Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon, Lindy Rattl’N Flyer Spoons, VMC Tumbler Spoons and many more.
The Tuned Up Custom Rods Precision is perfect choice for people who plan to fish spoons mostly. And since that tends to be most walleye anglers, the Precision is usually the Walleye rod that I recommend. The Precision is a solid carbon fiber rod with a fast action and medium-light power (those terms are subjective, some people consider it medium power, and others call it a mag medium-light). However, you classify the Precision, it has been designed with the spoon angler in mind.
Any spoon that weights more than 1/4oz would fit this segment. Usually, the spoons used for walleye fishing max out at 3/4oz, but there are a few options that go heavier. Think Swedish Pimple, Leech Lake Flutter Spoons, and others.
The Newly Redesigned Tuned Up Custom Rods Power Precision is the ideal choice for this category of baits, along with The Tuned Up Custom Rods Commander. Both rods, have enough tip strength to support these heavier lures. But the rods themselves are very different in design.
The Power Precision has been around since before Tuned Up Custom Rods was a company, but the original design needed an overhaul. This year we released the totally redesigned Power Precision, and it’s basically a brand-new design. The Power Precision is a medium powered, fast/moderate fast action rod. Its action is considerably slower than the original power, giving it a lot more forgiveness when fighting a fish.
The Commander is designed to be a big fish, big bait rod. It is a medium-heavy power, fast action rod. It has enough tip sensitivity to fish medium sized spoons down to 1/4oz. but it shines with heavier baits. The fast action allows for brutal hooksets which are perfect when fishing in deep water with lots of line out.
Minnow Profile Baits:
Minnow Profile baits have exploded in popularity in the past decade. They can range in size from tiny 1/16oz all the up to and past 1oz. They are useful for catching anything from bluegill to lake trout, but we’re going to focus on walleye sizes. The classic option is the Rapala Rippin’ Rap and Shad Rap. These are super popular in the open water scene, but since the release of the Ultra-light sizes, and other downsized options, they have taken winter walleye fishing by storm. These baits are usually characterized by a number such as #3 or #5. The larger the number, the larger (and usually heavier) the lure.
The Power Precision and the Commander are designed to be used with these larger minnow profile baits. They have enough tip stiffness to counter the weight and the added water resistance found with jigging these lures. While both rods can handle these baits well, the Commander is the better option for a dedicated minnow profile rod.
Sometimes the #3-#5 sizes just aren’t big enough. If you are fishing a massive walleye fishery like Lake of the Woods, Lake Mille Lacs and especially Lake Winnipeg you might find yourself needing a larger lure, like massive 1/2oz-1oz spoons or #7-#9 Rippin’ Raps. In that case the Tuned Up Custom Rods Vulcan is the go-to rod of choice.
The Vulcan is a Heavy power, moderate-fast action rod built on a solid fiberglass blank. This gives you incredible control and power, while also more forgiveness from huge headshakes. You will not find a walleye or walleye bait that can over-power the Vulcan.
Finally, we come to the oldest form of walleye fishing, and often still, the most effective, live bait fishing. This method is usually as simple as a plain red hook, sinker, and slip bobber. But it can be as complex as bait feeder reels and iFishPro tip-ups. Regardless of the setup, the basics are a live minnow attached to a hook.
The Tuned Up Custom Rods Deadstick is the perfect option for people who want to fish live bait but would rather not be stuck watching a bobber all day. The Deadstick is a medium power, moderate action rod built on a solid fiberglass blank with a high viz orange painted tip. Because of the rods slow action and delicate tip, you can watch the rod tip for bites, rather than a slip bobber. Pair this rod with an Okuma Bait feeder reel, and you have a passive fishing machine, that lets you focus all of you attention on a second jigging setup.
We here at Tuned Up Custom Rods have put a tremendous amount of thought into making the perfect line-up of walleye rods for any type of walleye situation. Visit us at www.tunedupcustomrods.com to see more information about our line-up and to order your own custom walleye rod.
By, Dan Baker