Black Friday – Online at Red Rock

Can’t get to Red Rock in person on Friday?  No worries ’cause we can bring Red Rock to you!  In fact, you are already one click away from our exciting online catalog.

Lots of online deals and they START 11-25 which is Wednesday!  When you spend over $50 on anything online, we’re going to put a FREE gift in the box!  Limit one gift per order per customer.  Trust us, it will be a neat and useful gift as our way of saying that we really appreciate your business!

So, Click Here to be teleported to the links in our online catalog, blog page.  There you can see and click on our exciting online specials and deals!

We wish you a Happy & Safe Thanksgiving holiday for you, family and friend!

Need to get in touch with us?   Email Red Rock Here

Black Friday Sales – In Store at Red Rock!

For our customers who drive in to shop at Red Rock this Black Friday, we are having one of our Secret Word Sales!  Those of you who know what that is, go to the Ely Shopper online, find the latest issue of the Shopper  (11-25-2015) and locate the Secret Word(s) hidden somewhere in the Ely Shopper.  If you cannot find the Secret Word(s) find someone who has and pay them for it.  It’s worth the extra effort.

For example:  If you wanted to stock up on Rapalas  – without the Secret Word(s) you would get 20% off on Black Friday which is nothing to sneeze at in itself.  WITH the Secret Word(s), you will Double Your Discount and get 40% OFF of Rapalas on Black Friday!

Our beautiful Wild Pearle Jewelry (and others) upstairs – without the Secret Word(s), you’ll get 25% OFF – WITH the Secret Word(s) – it goes to 50% OFF!  Not too shabby, eh?    This beautiful jewelry is made in Canada and ranges from $9.99 to $30.00 or so so we are talking GREAT way to impress for a not a lot of cash!

That’s just the tip of the discount iceberg at Red Rock this Black Friday!  Books are up to 70% OFF,  Summer Rods up to 40%, Ice Rods & Reels up to 20% and it doesn’t end there!  There are also great discounts on Camping Gear, Paddling gear, Un-painted Glassware and Ceramics – up to 50% OFF with the Secret Word(s).

Ice Fishing Suits are $50 flat discount – no Secret Word needed.

You need to check out the 8″ HT Polar Fire auger.  I can even fire one up for you outside the store or you can watch this video.

Power Ice Augers  (no Nils) get a $40 Gift Card for a future purchase.

Can’t make it to Ely?  Go here to our catalog page with online specials

Every Purchase of $50 or more gets a FREE Gift! (while supplies last)  

AND ANNOUNCING:   Red Rock In-store Customer Rewards Program!  We record your purchases and offer discounts at certain achievement levels!

And Finally:  For a unique gift that is Made In Ely, check out our collection of hand-painted wine glasses, mugs, and ornaments.  Now is also a good time to get your  custom orders in with us as well.  Earlier is better because I’m not a speed-painter by any means and Christmas is around the corner.

Go Find a Shopper!  Black Friday is Coming!

We’re out on the Fernberg Road, NE of Ely 16 miles.  Right Across from the Ojibway Lake Access.  Allow about 15 -20 minutes to get here from Ely.  Email us here:

Have a GREAT Thanksgiving with Family & Friends!

Customer Loyalty vs. Saving $5 bucks – which is better?

Back in the day of only about 6 years ago and longer, we were on fire in sales. was the goto place for gear and everybody far and wide was buying from us.  From Maine to Montana, Canada and Nebraska, was the ice fishing and outdoor gear supplier.   There were days when the phone would ring so hard with people trying to order we couldn’t handle it all.  Those same customers would tell us three days later that they kept trying for three days to reach us.  We wondered why they simply didn’t order online, but back then about half of them refused to use the internet other than as an information source.

Today, everybody and his brother is an online seller and our market has dried up considerably and a relative almost nothing.  In our ordering files, many of our customers would order 10-14 times in one winter to our amazement.  What did they do with all of that stuff?  We don’t know.  Our sales of ice fishing suits made us heroes with sale reps and distributors.  We were considered giants in the industry.   The great cash flow made paying bills pretty easy.  One would think that we would never run out of business because our following appeared very loyal and enthusiastic.

But, then the real economy hit.  The one where things are going great in large metro areas because all during our powerful sales, people who couldn’t find work were running out of money and moving to the cities for crappy/good jobs.  We began to feel it rather quickly and knew that something was up, but the busy parts of the winter fogged our view.   Forecasting sales was rather tough plus we learned that if we didn’t order heavy during buying shows, when product ran out, we’d be sitting with nothing to sell later in the winter.   How does a little company with four  people running around like rats on fire predict the future of the business?  I still don’t know.

Also, based on past experiences of abysmal sales such as 1991 and 1996 and 2001, they usually bounced back in about two years or less.  Recessions meant that people would have time to fish and put food on the table in doing so.  But the “staycations” of 2008 and 2009 really changed everything as we watched sales plummet.   Everything began to drop rapidly from our unbelievable kevlar canoe sales to fishing tackle.  Sure, there were still people out there with money, but there were far fewer.  And, wouldn’t you know it?  Our competitors decided that to bolster lackluster sales, they would go online a compete with us.  That is exactly what they did.  Big box retailers with a minor presence online, decided that they would use their comparatively vast resources to become a major presence online.  That, and companies who knew absolutely nothing about ice fishing decided to join the fray and soon, we were competing against a really large monster with less and less shoppers who had disposable income.  Add to that the new obsession with iPhones, apps, and the wave of completely unnecessary distractions that burned up limited disposable income and we have 1996 all over again.  That was the time when everybody fell the need to spend $1800+ on a new computer and join America On Line to do that “email” thing.  Only, this time is much worse.

Instead of paying attention to the lagging economy outside of the all-important metro areas of the US, our president played with Solyndra, global warming, saving everybody, and adding restrictions to restrictions.  Congress sat on their hands and worried about lining their own pockets.   That just made the economies outside of the metro areas dwindle some more and in a much bigger way this time.  It also shored up many big box retailers positioned in those metro economies to catch every disposable income dollar that came their way.   Iphones added a new way to shop and check prices right in the store.  If you are small business, the need for all the social media talk and attention is more than you can handle – at least it is for me.  The big dudes have teams of online marketers.  We have me and Jackie.

So, what was our response to this looming economic disaster?   On the internet, the expert youngin’s who have the spiky hair, sleeve tatts and skinny jeans all say “More information!!!!!!”  We could win back our old familiar customer loyalty by giving of ourselves in a deep, highly-detailed way.”   All we had to do is produce hundreds of videos, write tons of online articles, and link, link, link!  We’d be seen as the true experts and everybody would then re-love us and shop with us once again.  So that is what I did.  [Insert snort of derision here.]

Fortunately, I like writing and I like making videos.  For the past 17 years online, writing product reviews and product analysis was my forte.  I liked blunt, easy to read write-ups of products that I like to use myself.  Unlike the politically correct and nauseating corporate big box retailers, I like to say it like I see it.  Everything is not all good.  Some products or aspects of said products, suck.  For my product attitude, I’m pretty sure I would not be admitted in the corporate “suits” world.   Plus those skinny jeans guys are offended by butterflies that pass too closely overhead, so I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t/couldn’t last there.  I’d offend some wussie in my first five minutes there.   Plus, I have no blotchy, or at least, blotchy-to-be tatts and one of those flat-brimmed caps that I can stick my ears under.   Oh, aside from rudimentary usage as a radio and a phone, I hate my iPhone, too.  Nope – I can’t be in either the suits or the skinny jeans.

So write up a new storm of articles I did in the new web-responsive format which required changing everything around from old familiar webpages into what I would call “chaos on a stick”. And here I am reviewing and sharing freely.  At this writing, has been viewed by people who can’t find this info anywhere else on the web about 120,000 times.  That’s in in less than 18 months.   Therein lies the rub.

My video reviews of all that stuff along with my free articles are now seeing about 400 people per day and this whopper is going to go substantially higher in December.  Then it will peak at even higher numbers of readers in January and drop down slightly in February to a sudden drop off for March.   That means 10’s of thousands will be looking at my stuff to learn, to understand, to make decisions!  Hooray!  (We all know that spending $49.95  these days requires about 3 days of study, reviewing customer reviews, and maybe some meditation.)   In relative terms, the numbers of people who will actually shop with the company who gives the plethora of knowledge will be zip, zilch, doo diddly, diddly squat, etc.   The thought of being used makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

How can that be, you ask?  Well, it all comes down to dollar attitude.  Essentially, I’m beginning to view them all as “users”.  My work has become the mainstay for those big box retailers who laugh all the way to the bank because Red Rock just sold the product for them.   I know this to be true because we’ve had many people in the store who said that they used our website for information and then bought the ice auger from Amazon or Fleet Farm because it was “on sale” and they could get it the next day for free.  (Does anyone need an ice auger in October the very next day?  Are you going to test it in your living room? What’s the frickin’ hurry? )   99.998% of these people don’t even realize how offensive and insulting this  is to me.   In effect, I do all of their work, eliminate all of their risk, and I am rewarded with nothing but a smile and hearing what an awesome website I have.     How cool is that?

Every purchase today is down to the dollar and clicking on the best deal for literally $10 or less sometimes.  There is no customer loyalty anymore.  Just take the info you need and find it somewhere where it is the cheapest.  Well, remember – if you didn’t buy it from us, I’m not helping you with your warranty issues.  Lets see what Amazon does when you have problems 4 months out and the manufacturer won’t return your phone calls or reply to your emails.  It’s not my first rodeo, so I just can’t wait to hear the stories of how you sat all winter with no functioning Marcum-Vexilar-Strikemaster that you paid $650 for.    Oh yeah – roll your eyes and think it won’t happen….it happens ALL the time.  We’ve gone to bat for more customers than I can count over the years.  Lets see how that big robot handles your problem.  I can’t wait…

If I sound a little irritated, it’s because I am.   My website and efforts to be the best are resulting in no sales for my company.   There is no customer loyalty and saving a buck online is all that matters.

Perhaps it is time we go the other way and shut everything down as far as our web articles and videos are concerned.  Then you can watch some dude on youtube talking about his 7 year old Jiffy power auger with the bungee cord holding on the gas tank.   Maybe we need to sell skinny jeans, lattes, and iphones since that appears to be all that matter these days.    We need cash flow and can’t keep spending our  time and effort making everybody feel warm and cuddly about a lousy $300 fish locator or an ice auger.   People spend far less time making car buying decisions.

Customer loyalty ends with the almighty $5 dollar savings.  Sadly, it has come to that.

Thanks for listening to me whine.

Straightline Reels – WHY?

Frabill 261 Straight Line Reel

Frabill 261 Straight Line Reel

What is a fishing reel, really?  It’s just a device that spools your line up so it doesn’t lie on the floor of the fishhouse getting tangled in your boot laces.  When I was a kid, I developed boot-lace-eyelet/fishing line tangling into an artform.  It was special.  Clear mono line in white snow on a grey, cloudy day.  “Hey, why is that minnow crawling around on the ice searching for water?”

When little spinning reels came out in the early 80’s we were still using the flat wooden lathe sticks with line wrapped around the notched ends.  The reels  with little fishing rods were a huge improvement and probably didn’t really catch on until the very late 90’s.  At least, that was the case for me because 2001 was the ice fishing renaissance as far as I’m concerned.  That’s when all the Fish Traps appeared and nobody even knew what a pop-up shelter was yet.  Then Clam bought out Fish Trap, Eskimo charged forth with cheaper stuff, and the competition went crazy bring all sorts of gidgets and gazmos to the forefront of ice fishing.  I really got into it then as well.

I used spinning reels -still do- for years on end.  But, no matter what they say about “anti-twist” design, the rotor on the reel still twists the line far faster than the swivel on the far end can handle, not to mention the friction from the water itself which inhibits a lines ability to spin straight quickly in water.  If you add a lure that spins or swims, you add twist  to the rotor twist.  Before you know it, after 50 retrieves of your lure down deep,  you have added enough twist to your line to power a balsa rubber-band plane around the county without stopping.  As long as you know this, you are OK.  If you don’t understand what I just wrote, which appears to be the case for about 50% of all fisherman (I have explained line twist ad nauseum),  you will be cussing at the particular brand of line on your reel.  That is not to say that some line just twists up more easily than others, but in my own observations, most mono’s do as well as all the other mono’s out there.  With only a few exceptions, I can’t tell the difference and I try a lot of different line.  Now, I have customers whom, after a volatile experience with twisting, will argue much differently, but the reality is that the line isn’t crappy and neither is the reel most of the time.  The circumstance is the crappy part.  Spinning reels spin things a lot.

That being said, straight line reels came out and have changed many aspects of ice fishing for me. First, if you are fishing in clear water, you jig might spin for a minute, but it doesn’t sit there and spin forever.  Spinning jig syndrome, is never good and very frustrating with rainbow trout and ‘gills.  I assume this applies to crappie as well, but crappie water is too dark to see anything and they are usually deeper.   You can see the flasher flicker as your jig spins though.  If it is changing colors a lot and you aren’t moving, something is spinning and it’s not you.

Straightline reels came out with one company who was a real innovator.  They hang off of spinning rods and work with drag, plus the ability to drop down a #14 tungsten pelkie (jig) on it’s own weight.  If you’ve never seen a #14 tungsten pelkie, they are small enough to inhale through your nostril and get stuck in your lung with out you feeling it.  Now, don’t get liquored up one day in the fish house, start a video camera and attempt this.  You will most likely die or come really close to croaking after racking up a $100 K hospital bill.   I’m just illustrating a point regarding tiny size and weight.  Everybody jumped on the straight line wagon and Frabill did as well.  From what I can see, they’ve pretty much perfected copying the original straight line reel down to the really easy spin and decent drag.

The Frabill 261 is the cheaper one and for the money, it’s going to be a great reel.  Now, when you pick it up, it has that cheapo plastic feel because it’s made out of plastic -go figure.  It doesn’t feel weak or flimsy, but it is light weight and your first impression is that it is going to be a piece of crap.  But, remember the mono line wrapped around a stick?   This is light years better than that and it stores your line neatly.  It also has a decent drag. The stick had a “hand” or “arm” drag.    Will this 261 reel survive fishing 8-10 lb. lakers every day.  No.    That’s not what it is made for.  How about 2 lb. walleyes?   Sure.  Repeatedly, every weekend?  That remains to be seen.  It just might.  Someone is going to have to take the challenge and test it out.   It spins forever when you push the release button on the side and the star drag feels pretty good.   How well will it spin after it has had several large fishing pulling on the drag – we’d don’t know just yet.  The intent of this reel is panfish.

Eagle Claw, also an expert in knocking off designs of others has a similar reel  and I have one.  It works pretty well but it has the drag of a cheap reel.  You have to carefully adjust it and if you turn it 1/8 inch too much, it is locked up tight or goes super loose.  The Frabill 261 drag is much easier to adjust and does not appear to be as touchy.  I may have to make a switch.

Frabill 371  Straight Line Reel

Frabill 371 Straight Line Reel


The Frabil 371 is the spendier version.  It is built a little differently than the 261 and feels a bit beefier with more metal parts.  Good drag.   This reel would be capable of dragging in several big fish on a regular basis.  It is built nicely with a metal, enclosed spool and you can literally hold the 371 by its housing while cranking.  Don’t know why you would want to do this, but you could.  You can’t do that with the 261.  The spool is exposed and spinning.

There is an advantage to an exposed spool when it comes to line loops and tangles, but being straight line reels, such maladies are not too commonplace.  That’s the whole point: to reduce the twists that cause the loops and the cussing out in the blackout HT insulated pop-up where you can’t see your hand in front of your face.

I highly recommend getting one of these reels for your collection.  How to decide?   If you fish on the weekends and sometimes skip a weekend to do something foolish like watch a football game or hockey, get the 261.  If you fish ever weekend and after work sometimes during the week, get the 371.  It’s that simple.  Can you break all the rules and interchange parameters for buying?  Sure, just know that they vary in heavy duty-ness.  The heavier duty will be fine in all situations compared to the lighter 261.  The 261 may (or may not)  develop issues with heavier usage.  You could probably find a break-even analysis app to determine which will give you the ultimate satisfaction like so many of our millennials are doing today, or you could just pick one depending on how much money you have in your pocket, like us old farts would do in making this “major” decision.

The main thing is to get a straigthline reel and fish with it. I feel that even the cheaper ones are worth it for some species of fish and improving your  catch.   I use straightlines for almost everything now.  They work well and my jigs don’t spin.

And, that right there is the point.



Ugly Duckling Super 40 Pack

Regular Retail Price is $419.60.   Going here for less than half price!

This is a Super 40 Pack of our really popular, highly effective Ugly Ducklings priced to hit the water and start producing fish!  We have too many in stock and our overstock is your gain!  Ugly Duckling enthusiasts all know how difficult these are to find worldwide, so now is your chance to stock up on several popular colors and sizes for fishing unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.  We hear it all the time about how our customers “threw everything in the tackle box at ’em” and when they clipped on an Ugly Duckling, they almost sank the boat with fish fighting to bite!  Ok, I may have embellished a bit about the sinking the boat, but, we do have tons of customers who know what I’m talking about with Ugly Ducklings!  The key to using them correctly is to use a crankbait or duolock type snap.  Do not tie them on as they will come through the water like a stick.  You need a duolock type, crankbait snap, period.  Use that same snap on all of your other tackle and watch their action improve, but nothing will do it like these Ugly Ducklings.

This is a nice lure mix for a broad species attraction from crappies and gills to rainbows and walleyes to large northern pike and lake trout.  Give it a try and then rent them to your buddies!

Buy/See it here on Ebay!

NEW! HT Polar Fire Auger and Black Friday Info!

New! HT Polar Fire Ice Auger!  Smooth runner, affordable price, compact design!

Black Friday Sale is Coming Next Week!  See below how to maximize your savings at Red Rock!


Have you checked out the prices on ice augers lately?  They are insane to say the least when you consider that you are simply making a hole in the ice.  There are 2-stroke gas mix, 4-stroke straight gas,  propane and electric augers.  They all do the same thing.  They make a hole in the ice.  If they turn super fast with a single chipper style blade, you are wet from the knees down no matter what you do.  If they turn more slowly, they get accused of being “slow” whatever the heck that means in ice fishing.  I mean, does 5 seconds more really mean anything for the average ice fisherman seeking to have a good time?  Sure, if you are a Swiss Cheeser running around on the ice drilling grids and chasing perch and crappies it makes sense that you would want fast and light in a power auger.  I’ve watched the youtube videos of people racing to drill holes to prove auger superiority and shake my head.

That’s right up there with the most ball bearings in a fishing reel which happens to be the #1 standard for determining if a reel is valuable or not.  You can hear them in the aisles of a big box retailer telling their buddy – “Look! This reel costs $29.95 and has 14 ball bearings in it.  It HAS to be a good reel!”

Really?  Are you going to take the reel apart and count the bearings?  Do you actually know how to take it apart and reassemble it, and do you know what a bearing really looks like?  This isn’t a hub on a utility trailer in the back yard.  The whole “reel bearing obsession” is absolutely ridiculous and today’s fishermen are falling deeper into this silly line of reasoning.

The same thing applies to ice augers.  How fast do you need to drill when you are in under 24 inches of ice?   Many of our ice fisherman across the country are on 12 inches of ice and less.  Is 20 seconds to drill a hole, too long?  Does shaving off 3 seconds warrant a $500+ auger when you just want to go fishing on the weekends?

So, if you don’t need the smokeless nature of propane and electricity, you can trim a bunch cost off of your auger.  You can also find abundant fuel and gas 2 strokes, when you use premium 91 octane or higher gas in them start reliably and have plenty of power.  I ten to run my gas augers a little rich.  Another trick to eliminate smoke is to run Amsoil Saber Two Stroke synthetic oil after your motor is broken in.  That runs at 75 to 1 and replaces the gas with your regular two stroke fuel mix.

This is a really nice, cleanly made auger with the one exception of the “Extra Fuel Lever” on top of the powerhead.  If you pay attention and don’t let the handle fly like 80% of the desk pilots of the world do when starting a small engine, you’ll be fine.  If you let the recoil fly, you might tear this little lever off.  It’s a minor detail that won’t amount to a hill of beans if you can refrain from being a bull in a china shop.  And, I’ve seen plenty of well know auger brands with all sorts of parts sticking out  that were broken off.   Like I said, this is a very minor detail to this auger.  The way it runs and the low cost is very much worth not letting the recoil fly.  The blades are simple straight blades and interchange with Eskimo 8″ blades.

The other detail is starting the motor.  It’s a very geared-down, 33 CC power head and it is really easy to turn over.    I’ll be using this one all winter long this season.  I’m expecting that it will do quite nicely.   Watch the video here.

Order Your HT Power Ice Auger Right Here

Note that I am running slightly richer fuel mix than 40:1 since it’s a brand new motor, hence the blue smoke on throttle up.  Also, the clutch will reach maximum grip after about 2 hours of drilling time.  Expect a little bit of slippage until that time and back off of pushing hard into the ice.  Every auger I have ever used has done this.  After a couple tanks of gas, the motor will be broken in and usually the idle will then slow down a bit while speed and power will increase.  Every motor needs to break in.

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So next Wednesday – Check out our Black Friday Deals



Ebay auction

Table-Top Two-fer Overstock Sale – Tip-ups/Ice Gear

Deck out two people for tip-up fishing this season on early ice!  Just about everything you need plus studded forearm bands for self rescue if you go through.  Check it out on Ebay!

Over $300 value for a steal if you are the lucky winner!  Excellent, retractable, Rapala ice skimmers, tip up lights, mini gaffs, fillet knife tool kits and and fish house corners.  Just crew them up wherever you need a little shelf!

Ebay auction

Ebay Auction

Auction – Table Top Two-fer Overstock Sale – Ice fishing

It fits on this table top and there are two of everything there.  You have 3 days to jump in and bid.  $260 value going for a GREAT price!  No reserve PLUS FREE SHIPPING to the lower 48 states!  Please check it out and if you like what you see, go ahead and bid.  The auction is on right now!  Nice selection that will go for a song!


Ebay AuctionGo to Auction Here

Rod holders – tip down style, tip-ups, bucket seats, eskimo patch kits, mono line, Gapen’s flicker spoons for lakers and northern, line spool holders, tip-up alarms,  rod glow lights, camera/electronics flex mounts, ice anchor drivers lindy ratlling flyers ( not shown)