Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Overstock Liquidation On Lot 1

Great stuff going up for auction.  New and current product.  193 items worth over $1600 in regular retail.  Check it out!  Ready to ship out now!

Follow this link to bid if you'd like!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Trail Blazers Adhesive Glow Strips

Visit our online catalog to order.  

Winter Pre-Buy is ON!

Winter Pre-Buy has begun at Red Rock online!  Not only do we offer incentives like FREE SHIPPING and COOL GIFTS, you can also sign up for Red Rock Rewards and add discount points to your pile when buying early ice gear!   It's "win-win" all the way!  

Here's an example of just one of the cool gifts we're offering at Red Rock now during the online winter Pre-Buy Sale.  Everybody needs a Big Larry (not me - I'm Joe; the aluminium torch in my hand):

For more on Winter Pre-Buy for big ticket ice fishing gear at Red Rock online, go here:  Winter Pre-Buy Sale and Details

Sunday, June 7, 2015

R2T2 - the MTU - On the Open Road

Yes, it's firetiger extraordinaire and about as homely as an Asian Carp but this is our new Mobile Tackle Unit (MTU) also known as Red Rock's Tackle Truck (R2T2).  We're taking the hottest lures plus rods, reels, line, terminal tackle, camping gear along with steals & deals out to meet the world.  We have a lot of stuff and you need to see it!

If you are in a bind and need something, we might have it on the truck.  (Yes, I know it's a trailer - but a truck will be towing it and Tackle Truck sounds better)    We're starting out small in Ely for now,  but do me a favor and share our Facebook page with your friends.  We may be coming to a vacant lot near you as we test this baby out and our Red Rock Wilderness Store page on Facebook will be where we'll be updating.

Very exciting stuff!

Here's our Facebook link - Give us a like and please share with your friends

Fluoro, Mono, Braid - which fishing line do I need?

Now, a lot of fishermen insist on tying fluorocarbon line to the end of their braided line. Personally, I have compared fluorocarbon to plain old mono for trolling lures and I'm not so sure it matters one bit.  I've heard all the fluorocarbon "benefit" stories like how fish "began to bite" when they changed to fluoro instead of mono, but I've used it was well.  I used it down to 2 lb. test for fishing slow-moving bluegills through the ice while using #14 tungsten jigs.  From a fish attracting stance, I couldn't tell any difference between 2 lb. mono or 2 lb. fluoro.  On the jig colors that did peak their sluggish interest, they didn't care if the line was fluorocarbon or not.  It made zero difference.  All I did was have ridiculously hard time tying the stuff to the end of my mono in an ice fishing pop-up.  My 54 year-old eyes were not helping an it was like tying hair.  I won't even bother with 1 lb. line. I'd need a bionic eye for that and Oscar Goldman isn't around to fund it these days.

Fluorocarbon vs. Monofilament

That being said, fluoro is a bit stronger than mono with less stretch and faster recovery after it is stretched.  "Stronger" in all cases means that 8 lb. fluoro is skinnier than 8 lb. mono while offering 8 lbs. of tensile strength.  Braided line is no different.  Stronger means smaller diameter, same strength.  (Today's new monos are also pretty skinny as well - I wouldn't get as obsessed as many fishermen do about line diameter.  More premium mono's are pretty thin these days.) 

That also makes fluoro more sensitive.  If you are sight fishing, that doesn't amount to a hill of beans.  However, over the side of a boat, a quicker response from lure to line to rod tip to your rod handle, can only be a plus.  And,  because fluoro sinks, it would be  particularly good for fishing walleyes with jigs and a decent graphite rod.  If they are biting light, you will feel it right away.

Because of the "sink" factor in fluorocarbon line, you do not want to use it for bobber fishing.  Between the bobber and you the line sinks and when it comes time to set the hook, you have a big bow of line underwater which also drags down your bobber as well.  It just doesn't work, so use regular mono when using bobbers.  Regular mono is better for topwater fishing as well.  Fluoro is better for trolling and jigging.  Now, unless you are a pro-fisherman wannabe like so many are today - everybody wants to win and strike it rich while doing the dream-job of fishing - , I would not lose too much sleep over the mono/fluoro "conundrum" unless you enjoy trying different stuff.  Then, knock yourself out.  For me personally, my fishing events revolve 50% about trying the new stuff out and 50% for actually catching fish.  For a lot of fisherman, it's 100% about the end result of boated fish.  Myself...I like the journey.

Copolymer Monos
They've been around forever. These are still monofilament lines more or less, but they are sort of a line inside of a tube.  Think of a spaghetti noodle inside the hole of a licorice.  The outside could be a fluorocarbon coating or different density material/blend wrapped around a chewy center.  Properties include differing suppleness, maybe abrasion resistance, better casting abilities, etc.  I've used copolymer lines and they felt like "line".  They worked fine, but I'm going to have to conclude that except for maybe ice fishing lines in tough conditions where a slippery fluoro outside is beneficial at less cost than full fluoro line, nothing really stood out for me to seek only copolymers as some of our customers do. It's a neat idea, it perhaps keeps the relative cost lower, but except for real specific uses, I'd say that it is a marketing ploy to some degree.  "Two polymers is always better than one polymer."  Plus, they use the prefix "co" which suggests that the two polymers get along well with each other - so it has to better than otherwise lonely monofilament.  He couldn't find a mate - he's still just a mono.  I'm waiting for the "tri-polymers" to come out next.   

Braided Lines

Now, the superlines are another part of the journey.  They are a whole different animal.  Braided line has no stretch and is really strong, thin and sensitive.  If you are fishing in weeds with crankbaits, a 15-30 lb. braid will shred the weeds and and allow you to bring up the fish, weeds and all, assuming you have a stiffer strong rod to carry this load.    This could be very useful in fishing for big northern pike although pike are less fussy and you could tie the braid right to the snap swivel as well.   A 15 lb. braid is about the diameter of 4 lb. test mono.  That is really thin and makes it a popular line for clear water lakes.  If you are using a 10 lb. braid which is like 2 lb. mono, do you really need any mono or fluoro leader?  I don't think so.  I don't use a leader with 15 lb. braid and it seems to work pretty well.  I put fish in the canoe.  What more do I need?  The real advantage to these super thin braids is that they cut through the water with less resistance making it easier to pull a crankbait.  They also cast to the other side of the lake or in my case, 10 feet into shore, completely out of control, making me look like a newbie who's never plugged the shore before.

Another advantage to braided lines is in line twist.  I do not care HOW expensive your snap swivels are, when you cast or release for trolling 60 or so feet of line,  the rotor on your spinning reel (the part that holds the bale and winds the line onto the spool) is going to put a twist in you line, every single time you crank up the line.  Do to friction on the line as it lays in the water, plus the fact that the line is flexible, the line does NOT rotate in the water in coordination with your spinning reel.  Your reel rotates but your line does not spin with the reel.  It may spin a little and that is where your snap swivel comes into play helping to relieve the twist caused by your reel.  If you crank while your drag is being pull out with a large fish, you are putting a crazy twist in your line.  When you hear the drag, you stop cranking or you'll pay the price later.  Many do not pay attention to the drag sound and they wail on that reel, wearing out the drag and twisting the crap out of the line.  If you do all of these things, braided line can be a blessing for you.

Braided line will twist and you can see the twist in it that is directly caused by your reel.  However, unlike mono and fluoro, that twist really doesn't make line handling for casting and trolling a pain in the neck.  There is no memory in braided line and it is very fine so a twist in it is relatively meaningless.  Plus, if you use a baitcaster reel, while baitcasters do not add line twist to anything, they work far better with a 20 lb. braided line than with any mono.  Your backlashes and baitcasting nightmares tend to go away almost (I said almost) completely with braid.

Disadvantages to braided line include getting it wrapped around your finger when you are snagged on a log and a big wind suddenly pushes the boat.  You may lose that finger.  I always recommend that people NOT touch or handle braided line with hands and if you absolutely need to do so, wrap it around a stick or pliers handle or something and then pull.  It can cut you to the bone.  The other disadvantages are in knots and cutting braid.  If you can't tie and test the improved clinch knot below, practice it at home for several tries first.  When you want to cut braid, you need a little pair of scissors.  Like Kevlar fibers, Sprctra and Dyneema need to be sheared to be cut.  Nail clippers or anything that pinches as opposed to shearing, doesn't work very well, not even in a pinch (get it?).

Note that braids require an improved clinch knot to hold plus you can always use this knot on all of your line, particularly on fluorocarbon.  That stuff is slippery too and it can let go without this knot.
Improved Clinch Knot
Another disadvantage of braided line is reaction time.  I've found that graphite rods (that are stiffer than old fiberglass models) are a bit on the "quick" side for setting hooks. With a braid and the lack of stretch, they are faster than old rods and you sometime pull the hook out of the fish's mouth.  I find it harder to do, but a one or two second delay improves your hook set.  Gotta remember to do that, however and it is tougher since when you feel a bump while casting, the tendency it to set the hook.  I swear that I miss more fish with braid because I'm too quick on the set but it's hard not to react, at least for me.  


I recommend that those who would like to keep it simple to just stick with mono. The pro fisherman each have 14 different rods in the boat with 14 different line combos and get ups plus the menu on their iPhones to tell them which to use in what area of the lake.  If that's what you like to do, swell, but for me, I usually just have the one rod.  And, that's why they need a 400 hp motor on the back of their boat to carry all of that stuff at 70 mph to the "hot spot".  Fortunately, I live in the Boundary Waters region of MN so we don't have to race to "the spot" since there are no people even here anymore.  We can use smaller motors or canoes and don't need life jackets with whiplash collars as they are now being required  by many tournaments due to "outboard overkill".  I get a kick out of that.

Knots are easier with mono.  Cutting mono can be done with clippers or a knife. Cutting braid pretty much has to be done with scissors since braid is made out from Sprectra fibers which need to be sheared to be cut.  It flattens out  and doesn't pinch off like mono and fluoro does.  For trolling crankbaits and other lipped lures, a good 8-10 lb. mono will do the job quite well in the Boundary Waters of northeastern Minnesota. The advantage to mono when used with a fast graphite rod is that it has a little stretch to it.  You are less likely to rip the lure out of the fish's mouth and miss him during the hookset with a little bit of stretch.  It is easy to set a hook too fast with braid in particular. 

Good Mono Line -  Silver Thread AN40 Doesn't cost a lot.  Thin diameter.  

Another Good Mono - Tough trolling/casting  - Maxima

Tough Fluoro for trolling and jigging - Maxima

Ely Mn Resort - bass fishing
Bob N. with a nice wilderness Smallie from Wood Lake in the BWCA


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Serious Lightweight Raingear

Everybody sells raingear.  It's all over the place and I've tried a lot of it over the years.  For cheap but effective rain wear, Frogg Toggs exist. These are made out of house wrap similar to Tyvek and I gotta say, they do a pretty darn good job.  They have super lightweight models that crunch down pretty small to stuff in a pack or golf bag.  My only gripe is that they get sweaty around the forearms and wrists and like a lot of rain gear out there they can get warm when the sun comes out.  Not as breathable as I would like, but nonetheless, I've worn Frogg Toggs for years.

Then, there's really high-end stuff from Frabill that is heavier in weight and supposedly will stop water fired from a cannon at 10 feet, or something like that.   Cabela's has their spendy house brands of rain gear of which I've heard fishermen swear by and at.  The big gripe there is that they'll make a house model that people like and only keep it around for a year or two and then drop it.  If you need a replacement down the road, it may not exist any more.  I have to guess that both Frabill and Cabela's stuff both get kind of hot in warm weather and I suspect that neither of them breathes as good as any one of us would like.  Rain gear is a little strange from a consumer standpoint.  It seems that to "be good gear" it has to feel heavier and more substantial regarding the weight of the cloth for it to be perceived as "worth" the investment.  Once they begin wearing it, I hear talk of the desire for lighter material.

Enter the new kid on the block - Striker Brands.  If there ever was an innovative company to grace the upper Mid-west with their presence by providing truly great gear, Striker Brands is it. They are a smaller company with their designer Shawn Knodt at the design helm and Shawn is a friendly, unassuming, humble genius when it comes to figuring out what we want in clothing.  Shawn focuses on fit, function and features that make sense.

Have you ever had a feature on something that you had no idea what it was for?  I have.  You just wondered who it was that designed that item and if he/she ever really ice fished before.  With Striker Elements rain wear, there are no goofy features.   They all serve a purpose.

Striker Elements rain suits have strategic mesh inside the suit to facilitate your perspiration's evaporation.  They also are made of lightweight but strong rip-stop nylon with taped seams, water proof zippers, pit-zips for increased air flow, a detachable hood, inside waterproof pocket, and a longer "tail" on the back to keep the jacket covering your butt when you are doing stuff.

The pants, in typical Striker-only design, have adjustable leg lengths so you aren't dragging you cuffs through the mud and tripping on them. They also ZIP OFF so you can turn them into shorts that you'd wear all day long!  Maybe I don't get out much, but I have never seen zip-off, nylon, ripstop, water proof rain pants anywhere!  Plus the crotch zipper is also waterproof so your nether regions don't take a focused bath while seated in the rain.   This is all  "Shawn".  I've seen the big-name stuff and it's nice, but Striker's gear is great.

Nobody makes any rain suit like this.  Take a look at the video and check out the features up, close, and personal:  

Ely MN resort, ely MN rental cabins

Friday, May 15, 2015

Get to the Bottom for Walleyes - Poor Man's Downrigger

For most of the season, walleyes are on the bottom.  Getting the lure to the bottom is what you need to do to catch walleyes.  If you are three feet above them, you may be too high.  It will take a highly motivated walleye to swim up there closer to the sun when it bothers their light-collecting eyes.  Now that is not to say they won't run up and attack if they are feeding heartily, but for best results, being on the bottom is where you want to be.  Most people who have a hard time catching walleyes in areas where they are present is because they can't figure out where the bottom is and get their lure down there. 

Lead Core Line and Downriggers
For those of you who are unfamiliar, lead core line is essentially a tiny, braided tube of line with lead thread inside.  Think of weaving a a line around a pencil like a Chinese finger cuff and make it about 30 lb. test in width.  That's not very wide and I can imagine how they put the two together with some sort of special weaving machine that would not be found at the local hardware store.

Lead core line is used usually with a round, bait caster reel and a rods made for trolling.  Lead line is only for trolling.  Usually, a mono leader is tied to the end of the lead line and because it sinks like a rock (lead) it allows a lure to be dropped down to specific depths.  It works well, but requires different gear including rod holders and other techniques.

A downrigger is a lead ball on the end of a cable with a clip on the lead ball.  You clip your fishing line from your rod to the lead ball, and lower it to the depth you want to troll the attached lure.  When a fish strikes, the line releases from the clip (like a spring-type clothes pin) and you reel the fish in.  This works well for lake trout in deep water where the fish are suspended.  Some use these for walleyes in really specific environments, but it's a lot of extra junk and usually not needed for BWCA area fishing.  It's really pain when the bottom is variable like it is in the northeastern Minnesota walleye lakes.  Crank the ball up, lower the ball and repeat.  You'll develop forearms like Popeye. 

Lure Diving Depth
One of the biggest questions in the store here are about lure dive depth.  Everybody, and I mean everybody has a really specific depth they are seeking in a particular lure.  When I ask them why, they answer that their required depth is where the walleyes are and that is where they want to be.  At that point, I ask if they are aware as to how lure dive depth is determined.  99.9878% of them have no clue.  Everybody assumes that if the lure says 30 feet of dive depth, that it just magically goes to 30 feet and attracts fish.  Some folks even buy stiffer flex rods to accommodate that tremendous drag that a big, wide lip TDD 11 Rapala Tail Dancer puts on the rod and reel.  It's like dragging a #2 shovel behind the boat. but that still doesn't put the line down to where it needs to go you only have 50 feet out.  Also, how do you actually know where that lure is going really?  i doubt you are going to dive down there and measure.

Lure Dive Depth - How it is determined

The way lure dive depth is measured is by using 10 pound test mono with the lure in question towed 100 feet behind the boat at 2 MPH.  Now, how often does anybody fishing with plain mono and no line counter know that they have 100 feet behind the boat?  Also, I tend to troll at 1 to 1.5 mph.  For me, 2 mph is snortin' right along and pretty rare.  Counting on dive depth that is written on the box is kinda worthless in my case.

A Better, Simpler Way

Rubber Core Sinkers
There is an immensely simpler way to get your lure to the bottom without all this fancy stuff.  Sure, you can use inline chain sinkers, and Lindy Snag-proof sinkers both of which would do the job.  And, then there are bottom walkers and assorted other hardware, but I have a better easier way do it. 

All you have to do is take a step back in time to the old-fashioned days of fishing before braided Spectra even existed.

Enter Rubber Core Sinkers
For the average-to-serious fisherman, this is the poor man's downrigger.  They are inexpensive and easy to use.  To set up for trolling in 16 - 20 feet of water, a popular depth range for many walleyes in middle of summer, simply lay your line in the slot of the sinker and twist the black rubber ends in opposite directions. Give it about four twists and you'll see the line wrapped around the black rubber core inside of the sinker.  The good thing about this sinker is that unlike splitshots or other crimp-on sinkers that will not grip braided line, rubber cores, on the other hand, grip quite well due to the twisting of the core and the sticky nature of rubber.  There are many different types of sinkers out there that will do the same thing, but they not as compact and easy to attach.  But, the one defining feature is the rubber end of the sinker.  The cool thing is that this end, because it is rubber, deflects off of rocks.  When I used to spend a lot of time guiding on Basswood lake, I discovered the anti-snag properties of rubber cores in jaggedy rocks.  Splitshots jam in and hang on.  Rubber cores, more often than not, deflect and continue.  Plus, when they do snag, because they are longer body sinker, when you back up to pop it out of the snag by jerking the opposite direction of travel, the body length gives you leverage.  A splitshot hqas no leverage.  I locks in like a chock under the wheel of a propane truck.  A longer body sinker gives you that little bit of leverage to pop it out in the fairly rare occurrence of it getting stuck.

Position the sinker about 14-18 inches from your snap swivel.  I like to use snaps that are round on the end like a duo-lock snap AKA a crank-bait snap. This type of snap increases the action of any lure because it is round where the lure attaches instead of and increase the area for the lure to wobble.  I like either one of the two pictured, but tend to go with the more minimalist version on the left because it doesn't pick up as many of those fine weeds as the one on the right with the two little ends sticking out.  Now, if I'm not in weed areas where those little slimy weeds a sticking up, then the one o the right works just fine.  In either case, the round end of the swivel promotes a better wobble than a snap swivel that looks like the brass one on the right. Notice how it comes to a point?  That isolates the lure and wide-wobble lures like Ugly Ducklings are almost neutralized in their wobble by that confining point.  The bras snap is fine for using with a walleye spinner rig or like a Mepps spinner or spinner baits in general.  No wobble there.

Watch Your Lip

Rapala Scatter Rap Jointed 9
So finally, after all that discussion about dive-depth of lures, the type of swivel you need to use with simple rigs, here is what the lure's bill  should look like. You do not want a deep diving lure with a big, shovel of a lip.  The rubber core sinker did all the work for you already, so all you need down there is a good wobble and minimal diving.  So, use lures that don't have a deep-diving lip or you'll be shoveling mud, sand and rocks behind that sinker.   This is why I tell my store customers that dive-depth is irrelevant and pointless because virtually none of them know how dive depths are determined.  (they will now after reading this)  Not knowing dive depth measuring method means that they will most likely lot get to the bottom if only relying on the lure.  If they did apply the "100 foot back, 10 lb. test mono, 2 MPH rule" for determining dive depth, they'd have a pretty hard time assuring that the lure is going where they expect it to go while fishing up here in Minnesota's Boundary Waters.  In some lakes here, the bottom goes up and down like a yo-yo in far less than 100 feet.  How do you control your lure's dive-depth in that?  You simply can't rely on the lure and what it said on the box.  You CAN if you use a rubber core sinker.  Any depth you want to go!
Salmo Hornets
Rapala Scatter Rap 5

I like to use 1/2 ounce to 3/4 out sinkers depending the size of the lure and the depth of the bottom.  I also always use a floater diver.   You do not want  to use a lure that sinks so when you stop, your sinker rests on the bottom and your lure floats up. The same will occur with a snag.  Sinker is stuck, with the lure floating off the bottom 14-18 inches.  On less thing to snag up down there.  Salmo Hornets work great in this situation along with Rapala Scatter Raps and various other shallow to medium running floater/diver lures.

So there you have it.  The Poor Man's Downrigger for Walleyes.  Now, get out there and get on the bottom!