Secrets Of The Ice Hunters: Vol 1
"We have extremely pressured fish, both perch and walleye," says Brandriet. "It's like fishing cold front conditions all the time."
As the adaptable angler modified his terminal tackle, Brandriet's evolving finesse tactics also required changes in his rods. Working on the design team for Frabill, Brandriet developed two specifically suited to his style of fishing.
Seventy-five percent of Brandriet's fishing calls for his namesake Eric Brandriet Model 678003 26" L Perch / Finesse Walleye Ice Hunter Combo. "This rod can accommodate anything we do in South Dakota," Brandriet says of the rod that is sensitive enough to detect the subtlest bites, while retaining the ability to accommodate a variety of lure sizes. "It's light, but it will still catch a big walleye."
When the bite heats up at nearby Lake Oahe, Brandriet follows suit, typically fishing deeper, and often for larger fish. There, he calls on the Eric Brandriet Model 678005 27" ML Jumbo Perch / Walleye Ice Hunter Combo. "At Oahe, we fish out to 60 feet, which typically requires a larger lure; so I match it up with a little heavier rod," he says. "This one has a soft, sensitive tip, but it retains surprising power."
Both of the Frabill sticks designed and used by Brandreit are a bit short by South Dakota standards. At one time, the angler chose rods up to 35" in length. So what gives?
"There's a couple reasons for a little shorter rod," the ice hunter shares. "First, the rods are easier to fish inside a shelter. And when we fish outside, a shorter rod lets me kneel down right over the hole."
Why is that significant? "I can cover up the fish," he answers. "Out there, everybody's watching."