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Mark Greenig: Cedar Creek’s Swish Rod quite the contraption

A nice example of a Swish-Rod and accompanying 1990 magazine advertisment. MARK GREENIG/RECORD

It’s no secret winter is weighing heavily on many people. Concerns are surfacing about the upcoming fishing opener questioning whether we will be in our boats or fishing on ice. I have an offer from our local bait shop assuring me if I go ice fishing opening day they will provide me free bait. In light of that distinct possibility, let’s discuss the forgotten, yet sophisticated, Swish-Rod.

This unique and versatile fishing rod came on the scene in the late 1980’s. The product was introduced by Cedar Creek of Montague, Mich. The rod was guaranteed to perform in the worst weather. It touted the ability to be used for all species of fish, from panfish to northern pike.

Features for the ice fishing enthusiast were many. The Swish-Rod included an adjustable electronic beeper, light indicator, very large 8” diameter aluminum reel, adjustable stand, depth setting device, drag and brake control, line ice wiper and depth calculator. The rod even came with a six month limited warranty which was uncommon for the time.

The drag and brake control is set by a tension knob in the middle of the aluminum reel. Turn right for more tension, left for less. Two small black plastic handles made it easy to reel even with heavy mittens on. The aluminum pole stand was an ingenious idea. The small stand was also adjustable with cut metal grips on each leg to stop the Swish-Rod from sliding if tension was set to tight and a large fish took the bait. Height could be set from 4” to 6”. If not needed it folded neatly up against the fiberglass rod. The entire piece is 24” in length. The flexible fiberglass rod is about 9” of that total length. There is only one large 3/4” metal eyelet on the rod end. For whatever reason, the large end eyelet is canted to the right. My guess is that design was to reduce line friction when a fish took the bait.

The Swish-Rod is collectible and a valuable asset when ice fishing in Minnesota. Law allows two lines per person when fishing through the ice. Many individuals, including myself, often use one line for active jigging. The other pole is referred to as a dead stick. That simply means you set the depth, use active live bait (with or without a slip bobber) and let the bait sit. Such a method is considered a passive approach to catching fish. Often, the jigging motion brings in fish and live bait “closes the deal.”

When first introduced, the Swish-Rod was expensive for its time. Cedar Creek offered their product for $48.29 which included shipping. In 1990, the company was actively seeking dealers to market this item.

Once again, this is an entry level collectible, which in the proper setting provides great rustic home décor. However, if you enjoy ice fishing, this collectible is just as valuable as part of your ice fishing equipment for reasons noted.

I don’t come across these very often. The ones I have seem very durable and long lasting. Having said that, it is a challenge to find one with all the bells and whistles still present.

In terms of value, it should not cost you anywhere near its’ original selling price. The best places to find one is at garage sales and flea markets. I could find none for sale on eBay. If you’re patient, you should find a Swish-Rod for no more than $10.

Lastly, please note I prefer to pay for my own bait. I really don’t want to be ice fishing when the 2013 Minnesota fishing season begins. Until next time, may all your searches be successful.