Professional Bass Anglers, Ish Monroe is no stranger to winning
Ish Monroe grew up in San Francisco, California spending a
portion of his youth working in an actual
tackle store. Is it any wonder then,
that this BASS Elite Series Professional Angler is also a tackle addict
at heart? TackleTour caught up with Ish between the two recent
International Sportsman Exposition events in San Mateo and Sacramento,
California, and he agreed to sit down and discuss with us some things
old, some things new, and some things on the horizon.
Cal: Hi Ish, first,
let me thank you for taking the time from your incredibly busy schedule
to sit down and talk with us and congratulations to you on your success
this past fall at the 2006 BASS Elite Shootout on Lake Amistad! I can't
imagine how satisfying it must have been for you to stick to your game
plan and have it work out so well. Now I know most journalists that come
to you probably want to talk fishing and learn the ins and outs of your
approach when you it the water, but let's change gears a little here.
Our readers' primary focus is on product and learning about the latest
and greatest the tackle industry has to offer. The perception, amongst
the majority of our readers, is that some of the latest and greatest is
reserved for the market over in Japan. I know you were there recently.
What new and exciting products did you see during your visit to Japan?
Ish calls the
California Delta and Clear lake home
I.Monroe: Actually, what I was doing in
Japan wasn't so much looking for what was new and exciting, but I was
actually looking for some of the older, original baits like the Daiwa
Titan Jerkbaits and some of the original Lucky Craft crankbaits. I was
looking for some of those original baits because a lot of the times, the
first generation baits are the best and since not many people on the
tournament trail have them anymore, it's just a little different look to
give to the fish.
older tackle, what do you remember, as your very first fishing combo?
I.Monroe: Boy... I think I was about 11 or
12 and I think it was a Shimano Bantam Rod - the one with the big ole
handle in the back, and some Daiwa reel. The one before the PT33. Daiwa
Magforce? Yeah, that was it!
I remember those
rods and that reel. Do you recall your first experience fishing that
I.Monroe: Yeah... backlashes. I had a lot
of backlashes and had to learn how to use it!
Do you use right
or left handed reels.
I.Monroe: Right hand reels
ISh's primary fishing strength is flipping into heavy cover
introduction of the Steez product line, and to a lesser extent, the
Zillion reels at last year's ICAST, it seems Daiwa is really leading the
charge in bringing over a lot of their high-end product line that was
formerly reserved for Japan, into the United States. How much input did
you have in what you thought they should and should not bring to the US
Market or was the product line already a foregone conclusion?
I.Monroe: I had no input with what Daiwa
was debuting at ICAST last year, but since the introduction of the Steez
rods, I've had a lot of input for future models because they saw how
interested I was in these rods. So we're looking at expanding the line a
little bit and bringing over more of what they sell in Japan.
Tell us more
about the expanding Steez lineup and when will they be available?
I.Monroe: There's going to be an 8'
flipping stick built from the Compile-X blank material. It's going to be
a two piece rod with the separation at the handle like you find in a lot
of longer Japanese rods. I like it a lot. I think the way they do this
two piece construction makes it a more sensitive stick than a telescopic
rod and it makes it more durable because you don't have the two sections
sliding around when not in use.
There's also going to be a new, 7' worming
rod built out of the Compile-X blank. It's going to have a lighter tip
and be lighter in action than the current 7'1" rod which will make it
great for texas rigs with lighter line. You can use eight to ten pound
test with no problems of breaking the line on hookset. I'm trying to get
them to make some other rods too, but I can't talk about them just yet.
The 8' flipping stick and 7' worming rod
bass out of the thick of it
should be available very soon.
With no previous
knowledge of what Daiwa had in store for us, we published our review of
the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) version of the Steez baitcaster a
week before last year's ICAST. In fact, it won our "Ultimate Enthusiast"
award for having features formally found only in Daiwa's limited edition
reels. I, personally, was thrilled to see these products land stateside.
But tell us, as a seasoned tournament pro and someone who fishes almost
everyday, what was going through your mind that very first time you
picked up the Steez Baitcasting reel?
I.Monroe: Oh man, I thought it was the
greatest thing since sliced bread. I'm familiar with a lot of the other
manufacturer's product and I even played with the new Shimano low
profile digital reel before it came out, but when they put that Steez
reel in my hand I could not believe how light it was. Then with the
smoothness of the spool and the new drag material, it was the most
awesome reel I ever felt!
What were your
thoughts when you cast it for the first time?
I.Monroe: After I cast it and used it for
a day, I basically came back to the hotel room and told my girlfriend
I'm kicking her out of the bed and am sleeping with this new rod and
reel. Really, that's a true story!