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BASS Elite Series Angler, Ish Monroe Sits Down With TackleTour to Discuss His Tackle Affliction (continued)

Cal: We're in the process of fishing and evaluating the Steez Compile-X baitcasting rod right now. What's your perspective on the Compile-X rods? 


Ish also considers fishing topwater his secondary fishing strength

I.Monroe: It's a great blank. I used it extensively for the first time at the Busch Shootout tossing a jig and I swear I could feel every little pebble or rock through the rod. Of course, I had it paired with a TruTungsten jig and some Maxima Flurocarbon line so that certainly helped, but it was just incredible. The area I was fishing was rocky and there was a lot of old line tangled in the rocks from other people breaking off. With this rod, I could actually feel when I was caught up in this line and tell the difference between that and a pressure bite. It saved me a lot of jigs that day and landed me a lot of fish. And then, after hooking a fish, you're in total control. I don't know what it is, but there's just something different between that Steez rod and say, the Daiwa Light and Tough Series. You're just in total control even when the fish is running at you. 

Cal: What are your three favorite rod and reel combinations right now and for what applications do you rely upon them and why?

I.Monroe: 1) The 7'1 Compile-X Steez rod paired with a Steez baitcaster. I use this for jigs and light pitching. It's an awesome jig rod and also really good with spider jigs on a three quarter to one ounce jig head and about twelve pound test line. 

2) That new, 8' Steez flipping stick paired with a Zillion 7:1. I haven't caught a fish with this rod yet because I haven't been on a flipping bite since I got the rod, but I can tell, I'm going to love this stick. 

3) The new 7' Steez worming rod paired with a Steez reel and I use that for all my worming needs. 

Cal: Well, I can tell you certainly like those Steez rods! 

Ish lives fishing and fishes because he loves it, and would rather be fishing than anything

I.Monroe: Definitely, and I know they're really expensive, but it's all about the feel. When I went to Japan, I bought a lot of the Japanese Steez rods and brought them back with me. I'm sponsored by Daiwa, so I didn't have to do that, but that's how much I like them. When I'm tournament fishing, I'm concerned with getting the fish into the boat as soon as I can. But when I'm fishing for fun, I just love to feel the fish at the end of the line and I love being able to feel when they thump that tail. I'll pay almost anything for that degree of sensitivity and the Steez rods give that to me.

Cal: One of your other sponsors is Reaction Innovations. They have a good following amongst our readers and certainly draw a lot of attention from their product names and packaging. Perhaps their most famous product is the soft plastic Beaver series. Aside from that bait, what product from Reaction Innovations have you relied upon to help fill your livewell on tournament day and what secrets can you tell us about how to fish this bait that may not be so obvious to the recreational angler? 

I.Monroe: You know what? I love them all. I really do. Not one bait in the Reaction Innovations line is junk. A lot of people don't like the ball breaker but that's because they're not fishing it right. Most people wacky rig it because that's what they think it's for, but I fish it Texas rigged with no weight and retrieve it. When you retrieve it through the water, that ball will kick back and forth like a swimbait. It's just awesome. I also really like the Squeeky Dolphin Buzzbait. It's the best buzzbait I've fished by far because it squeeks right out of the package - you don't have to break it in!

What's new with Reaction Innovations is the Skinny Dipper. This is going to be out any day now and it's a soft bodied swimbait about four and a half to five inches long. It's going to have a paddle tail and you can fish it on a jighead. It's modeled after some baits we saw in Japan.

Cal: I see you're also sponsored by Tru-Tungsten. They feature a lot of signature series products yet, there's no Tru-Tungsten product named after Ish Monroe! Is there something in the works and if so, what can you tell us about it?

I.Monroe: Oh yes, definitely. I guess  the biggest thing is going to be a new Tube bait I helped design that's sort of like the Toro Tube but with thinner plastic for a better hook up ratio. It's going to be 7 inches long and available this spring. We're also working on a new hook specifically for this tube bait to make it easier to fish in a swimming retrieve. That won't be ready until the fall, but I'm very excited about this tube bait. I think it's going to be great.

Cal: What is your biggest bass to date, and what's the story behind how and where you caught it?

Ish has been a pro for 14 years now and recently won at Lake Amistad last March

I.Monroe: I was pre-fishing with a buddy of mine on the California Delta. We were practicing for the 2003 Bassmasters. I was guiding the boat down this one stretch of bank flipping a brush hog and got something like 20 bites. I didn't set on any of them because I was pre-fishing and didn't want to scare them off. After we finished the side, my buddy said what about the other side? I told him, oh, I know about that side, that's the big fish side. He kept telling me we should try it just to see if there were any fish there. So I troll over to that side and we start working it. I got five hits in a ten minute period. They were there. Then my buddy says I should set on one just to see what size they were because they could be small. So I listen to him and set on the next fish. Right when I set, I knew it was a good fish and I told him, "I hate you". 14lbs 1 oz. I went back on low tide to check out the area and saw a five foot bed - all cleared out - and I knew that's what the fish was sitting on.

Cal: Well Ish, it's been a pleasure. Thanks again for taking the time with us and demonstrating that yes, indeed, Tournament Pro's can be Tackle Addicts too! 

I.Monroe: It was my pleasure and thank you for the interest Cal. I checked out your website, and read some of your reviews, and you guys do an incredible job. I couldn't believe it. You get into more detail than a lot of the manufacturers do. I was really impressed. 

Cal: Is there anything you'd like to say to our readers in parting? 

I.Monroe: Yeah, just go out and don't be afraid to have fun!

TackleTour would like to thank Ish Monroe for taking the time out of his hectic schedule to share with us, some of the up and coming products from Daiwa, Reaction Innovations, and TruTungsten. Wed also like to thank Long Nguyen for helping make this interview possible.









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