SEC T I ON T H R EE Edge TV host Jeremy Smith def initely put the rod through paces, in scenarios ranging from river muskie f ishing to numerous Canadian trips. Bucher Tail. Fish get conditioned to bigger, higher- prof ile baits and a lot of times that little snack comes by it’s going to appeal to the f ish.” “The LMD90MLF is pretty much my #1 stick right now. I just like throwing it, especially for a lot of smaller baits, and it’s really versatile, too. Besides smaller bucktails it’s become my number 8 Colorado rod for double 8s. Also, I’m using it with Super Shads and triple Ds and crankbaits with smaller hooks—it’s just a good stick for all that stuff. It’s also become my go-to live bait rod. I’ve been testing the rod for a couple of years and have caught a couple dozen f ish on it. It was a rod we were pushing for big time, so we put it through a lot of testing and supplied a lot of feedback during the development stage,” says Smith. On an ending note, Belanger says he and the rest of the St. Croix team are incredibly pleased with this recent recognition in Chicago by their muskie peers. “We are truly honored any time we are recognized with an award. But part of the credit should go back to our customers. We get the idea from customers, whether that’s anglers or retailers—like this entire Legend Tournament Musky Downsizer rod series—and then we design the rod, play with it, ref ine it, test it more, and when it’s 100% we’ll bring it to market. But really, it’s the listening part to customers that makes rods like this happen.” With regards to his favorite muskie rod winning “Best New Muskie Rod” at Muskie Expo Chicago, Smith says, “I’m pumped the industry is realizing you don’t need an extra-heavy rod. This rod just makes f ishing so much more comfortable and sporting. Especially for anglers who don’t muskie f ish a lot, you get a size 300 reel on it, and it just makes f ishing way more fun. And it’s way better for f ighting f ish. It’s designed to f ight muskies. So much of the other stuff is designed around throwing big baits and that can reduce the fun of f ighting f ish. This is just the real deal. At nine feet, you can f igure 8 really well with it and it’s great for boatside maneuvers. The other thing I like about it is the reel seat isn’t too far forward yet it’s perfectly balanced; in comparison with other rods of the same length, I feel like you get a lot more working rod and it’s not in the butt section.” About St. Croix Rod Headquartered in Park Falls, Wisconsin, St. Croix has been proudly producing the “Best Rods on Earth” for over 70 years. Combining state-of-the-art manufacturing processes with skilled craftsmanship, St. Croix is the only major producer to still build rods entirely from design through manufacturing. The company remains family- owned and operates duplicate manufacturing facilities in Park Falls and Fresnillo, Mexico. With popular trademarked series such as Legend®, Legend Xtreme®, Avid®, Premier®, Tidemaster®, Imperial®, Triumph® and Mojo®, St. Croix is revered by all types of anglers from around the world. Belanger adds, “And it really is made for catching and f ighting f ish. After throwing Bulldawgs and double 10s all day, It’s really nice to throw #5 Mepps or 500 Series Volume 03  No. 01  | 2019  ‡‡‡