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Pro Angler Brent Ehrler talks about his incredible year and Lucky Craft Rods

Date: 1/21/09
Interview: Brent Ehrler
Location California Delta
Interviewer: Leo



Brent starts the day at Lake Toho with the national anthem

Introduction: Brent Ehrler has won both the Everstart Championship (2003) and the Forrest L. Woods Cup (2006) in just a few short years of fishing the national circuit. In 2008, Brent finished in the top 50 in 4 out of the 6 regular season FLW Tour season. He also finished 7th at the 2008 $1 million Forrest L. Woods cup. Brent lives in Redlands, California and is widely known as one of the best anglers in the world and one of the most personable anglers on tour.  Brent took a few minutes of his busy schedule to tell us a little more about his fishing and the now widely available Lucky Craft rods.

Leo: You had an incredible 2008 fishing year. Finishing 2nd (1 point back of David Dudley) in the angler of the year race and taking 7th in the Forrest L. Woods cup.  Can you point to one thing that attributed to this success?

Ehrler: The best way I can describe it is that I had an open mind.  I was able to make decisions on tournament day that allowed me to get one or two extra good fish.  Good practice was also a major factor.  Being able to learn from what I found in practice and being able to change and adjust to the fish was definitely the key for this year.

Brent holds up two Delta hogs at the weigh in

Leo: Does 2008ís success have you excited for 2009?

Ehrler:  I am very excited about 2009.  I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about it.  Itís more the anticipation of doing well or not doing well.  I absolutely love doing well in tournaments.  I absolutely hate not doing well.  I would like to think that I learn more and more every year about fishing back east.  I hope that I can continue to learn and continue to do well. 

Leo:  Letís talk Lucky Craft Rods?  How long have you been using the rods?

Ehrler: I have been very fortunate to use the LC rods for 5 years now.  The first rods I used were the cranking series and the first time I tried them was at the Everstart Championship in the fall of 2003. 

Brent has been fishing Lucky Craft rods for five years

Leo: What influence have you had in the design of these rods?

Ehrler: In the beginning, we only had the crankbait series.  I didnít have any input or influence other than telling Minoru (my good buddy and LC President) that I liked or disliked them.  Then Minoru decided to try and make a full line of rods and not just the cranking line.  This is where I started to help out as much as I could.  This is about the same time that I was put on the National Pro Staff at LC.  All the current pro staff had rod sponsors and couldnít help out so it was a no brainer for me.  Minoru sent me about 30 rods back to Louisiana and said this is the start, try them out.  The rods only had the name Lucky Craft, the length of rod and the flex on them.  I tried each rod and told him which models I liked.  This was back in 2005 at the FLW Tour event in Monroe LA, donít ask me how I finished in that one, it wasnít the rods fault.  Since then, Minoru and I have worked on all the rod length and actions for the current line.  We took a few trips to Lake Perris with about 75 rods.  It was actually pretty funny.  The two of us out there with close to 100 fishing rods littered across the deck of my Ranger. 

Landing a fish on the Delta

Leo:  The rods used to be $350 - $400 now they are in the $150-$200 range.  Whatís the reason for the price drop? Are they discontinuing the rods or just decided that the price point would be more effective in that range?

Ehrler: Lucky Craft has had a great brand name for hard baits for many years now.  The rod market seamed to be a tough one to break.  LC basically started the high quality high end hard bait market.  Other companies did the same in the rod business.  It was tough for LC to sell their rods at the price I feel is reasonable for how good they are.  They deserve to be in the 3 to 400 range.  They felt it would be better to get more products into more hands and let people find out at a great price range how good the rods actually are.  Imagine if you walked into a tackle store and saw a Pointer Minnow for $8.  That is exactly what is happening with the rods.  I think itís ludicrous and smart at the same time.  The rods should not be sold at that price, but Iím excited for people to get them in their hands and try them out.  They wonít be disappointed. 

Brent talks about his day on the Delta

Leo: What components are on these rods? And where are they made?

Ehrler: I'm not positive on where they are actually made. They are made overseas but, I am not sure exactly where. They are not being made in house at the LC factory but, the LC team is overseeing their design closely. As for the components, LC is using all quality Fuji components. All the guides are the Fuji SIC guides. The cranking rod is a glass and composite rod. The rod tip is glass and the rod butt/handle is composite giving them the perfect blend for optimum performance.

Brent and fellow anglers surround Hulk Hogan at Lake Toho

Leo: Itís tough to find these rods in a local shop. There are a number of Tackle Tour sponsors, i.e. Tackle Warehouse and Monster Fishing Tackle that are carrying the rods online.  What would you tell a customer who has never felt one of these rods in their hand that would help them decide to buy one?

Ehrler: The rods are bait specific.  This means that if they want a rod for using a Pointer Minnow, they buy the Pointer Rod.  If they want a rod for pitching a worm, they buy the pitching rod and so on.  They donít have every application covered but they are pretty close.  Rods are hard to buy sight unseen.  Everyone wants to pick them up and get a good feel for them in hand.  They will eventually get into most of the local dealers.  Until then, people will just have to trust the Lucky Craft name and know that they stand for a quality product.  Iíll be all over this country for the next 7 months.  If you see me, ask me about them.  Iíll show you the models and let you see how they feel. 

Fishing structure on Lake Toho

Leo: Tell me about the big bait models.  Are they designed for giant 8 to 12 inch swimbait or more for baits along the lines of the Real California and Basstrix style baits?

Ehrler: The Big Bait Special is a little light for the giant stuff.  I like it for something like the 8 inch Osprey, the 8 inch Triple Trout, the Tru-Tungsten Bluegill and Tilapia, or like you said the Real California.  For the hollow baits like the Berkley Hollow Belly, I like the jig rod, flipping rod, or the pitching rod depending on the size of the bait and the cover that Iím fishing.    

Leo:   If an angler wanted a good versatile rod for a number of applications which rod would you recommend?

Ehrler: Thatís an easy one.  I use the pitching rod the most.  It is a MH action rod with a fast tip.  I use this for any kind of worm that Iím casting or pitching.  I also use lighter jigs with this rod as well as spinnerbaits and buzzbaits.  Itís the basic work horse out of the bunch.  Also, I notice that most people donít use a specific cranking rod.  A lot of people just pick up their worm rod and tie a crankbait on.  They are really missing out on the advantages of using a glass rod that is designed specifically to help them land more fish.  When it comes to the cranking rod the 7 ft MH BDS rod is a great all around cranking rod. 

Armed for the tourney with Lucky Craft Rods and plenty of lipless cranks

Leo:  I hear there is a Jig rod coming out soon?  Tell me about that rod.

Ehrler: Yes, I forgot that one isnít out yet.  It will be very soon.  The jig rod is going to be a 7 ft heavy action rod.  This is perfect for casting and pitching a jig.  Itís awesome for open water and is also easy to use when skipping jigs around lay downs and docks.  I also use this for the Hollow Belly at the Delta.

Leo:   I understand you lent one to Rick Grover of Anglerís Marine a while back.  What did Rick think of the rods and are they available at Anglerís Marine now? 

Ehrler: I got Minoru to give (lend) a few rods to Anglerís Marine to try out and see how they liked them.   I went fishing with Rick a few weeks ago and we jacked them up on the LV 500 and the LC Marty crankbait.  I believe Rick was using either the BDS cranking rod or the Deep Strike cranking rod, I canít remember.  He basically told me that Minoru would have to pry it from his dead fingers if he wanted it back.  Yes, they currently carry all models. 

Brent finished 2nd, just 1 point back of David Dudley, in the angler of the year race

Leo: Letís talk tournaments for a second before we let you off the hook.  After looking over the 2009 FLW Tour schedule what events have you the most excited?

Ehrler: You know, I donít really have one in particular.  Everyone is making a big deal about the first event at Guntersville.  Iíve never been there that time of year, could be good.  Table Rock could be fun as well.  The whole season looks pretty fun.  If I had to pick one I would probably go with Lake Norman.  Weíve gone there the last two years and I really enjoyed it, I finished 13th and 6th.  Itís a fun place.  The fish just bit there. 

Leo:  Anything else new and exciting for Brent Ehrler 2009?

Ehrler: Not much is new.  Iím just looking forward to going out and representing my sponsors and fishing some fun tournaments.  I pre-qualified for the 2009 Forest Wood Cup so Iím excited to get out to Pittsburgh and have another chance at a million dollars. 

Leo:  Thanks Brent for taking the time to share your thoughts on fishing and the Lucky Craft Rod line with us here at Tackle Tour. Best of luck on tour in 2009!

Ehrler: Thank you, I appreciate the opportunity to talk about Lucky Craft. 

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