Angler Driven to Increase Fishing Satisfaction
Your Control Starts with Our OwnIn the context of manufacturing, vertical means owning or exercising increased control over the elements within the value chain, which consists of all the businesses and individuals that play a part in the manufacturing process. "From the handles, shims, and advanced coatings, all the way to the mandrels that our carbon fiber blanks are rolled onto, St. Croix builds it in-house," says Johnston. "That's a huge difference from most fishing rods that start with a blank made by someone else. We start at the very ground level with the foundation, by designing a specific mandrel for each rod blank we build, then craft everything else around it. The control an angler feels while using one of our rods on the water is a direct result of the total control we exercise in our operations."
Johnston says St. Croix exists to give all anglers the upper hand. "That's why we don't have an entry-level rod, we just have a starting point." Total control and consistency afforded by vertical manufacturing means a $100 fishing rod gets the same level of dedication in design and build as a $600 one. "All of them are handcrafted from different blends of materials, components, and technologies," Johnston continues. "While an angler may feel differences within those parameters, they'll never see it in our attention to detail, performance or service."
A Triumph for All AnglersVertical control and consistency are on parade in the number-one selling North American fishing rod in the entire industry - St. Croix's expansive Triumph Series. Durable, sensitive, and powerful Triumph rods are made for savvy anglers seeking the best combination of performance and value. Featuring 61 distinct models covering freshwater, musky, travel, salmon & steelhead, surf, and inshore - the Triumph family of rods blends technology with value to give anglers the precise tools they need to maintain the upper hand at an exceptional price. Triumph for example," says Johnston. "There's a urethane shim inside - completely of our own design - that's hydrophobic, is turned in-house on a CNC lathe, and offers the best shim technology in the industry for a starting point rod. It offers increased fit, resulting in improved sensitivity that's a hallmark of many of our other models all the way up the line." Johnston continues: "Or look at the multiple guided lasers we use in Triumph throughout the build process to ensure straightness, guide alignment, and meet our own stringent quality-control standards." These are highly uncommon traits for a rod in the $100 range, especially so for one designed and built in North America.
Built from premium SCII carbon, Triumph is an outstanding choice for anglers who appreciate high-performance without high cost. SCII is a standard modulus carbon fiber with a higher strain rate than fibers commonly used by other rod manufacturers. It's St. Croix's most popular material that is lightweight, durable and sensitive - exactly what anglers expect from a St. Croix rod.
With an estimated 8-10 million new and reactivated anglers coming to the sport within the past year, Rosner has certainly noticed what a quality fishing rod can do for a first timer. "I just can't stress enough that when just starting out, you need equipment that gives you the best possible chance of having a good experience. Success breeds more success and keeps anglers coming back for more. St. Croix rods - and Triumph, specifically - are the perfect vehicle to get new anglers confident in doing more fishing," Rosner concludes.
Victory DefinedReleased earlier this year, St. Croix's new Victory Series helped St. Croix team members, its anglers, and the entire fishing industry win during a time when victories were hard to come by. St. Croix's mission was to deliver the best technique-specific bass rods on the market between $180 and $250, do it with an all-new material, and handcraft them start to finish on U.S. soil in Park Falls, Wisconsin.
Victory rods are crafted with an all-new material known as SCIII+, a hybrid of St. Croix's advanced SCIII carbon and exotic SCVI carbon. "In itself, SCIII is an exceptional material for building fishing rods," says St. Croix Product Manager, Ryan Teach. "It's a high-modulus high-strain carbon fiber that produces sensitive and lightweight rods with excellent durability, and can be found in our Avid, latest-generation Mojo Bass, Mojo Musky and other popular St. Croix rod series. SCVI is a super high-modulus high-strain carbon fiber that's too stiff to be used as a primary material but can be efficiently combined in selective amounts and strategic locations with other materials - SCIII in this case - to add power while reducing overall weight. These new technique-specific bass rods truly have it all, at a price that's accessible for a wide variety of anglers."
The specific construction of each technique-specific Victory rod is painstakingly distinct and customized to excel in its intended use. "The exact amount and location of SCVI material is optimized on each rod in the series," says Teach. "Each one is different and unique. For the angler, that means each rod has the right power exactly where it's needed, with a correctly balanced tip that supports the desired technique while minimizing rod torque. And it isn't just the blanks that are unique," Teach continues. "Handles, guide spacing, and even hook-keeper designs are customized and optimized on each of these rods."
"Again, what's incredible to me," says Johnston," is the way we use the same processes, equipment, and handcrafted techniques to create rods like the Triumph and Victory, just the same as we would on Legend X or Legend Xtreme. From the way carbon fiber is patterned, cut, and laid out before rolling up on the mandrel to create the blank, through the way componentry is added, and on to how the rod is finished; you just don't see that level of dedication on lower price point rods without our vertical manufacturing process."
Anglers everywhere - tournament pro Chad Grigsby, for one - are offering resounding praise and excitement over Victory Series rods. Grigsby, who fishes the MLF Big 5, says victory comes in his line of work from being the best angler during any given week. "I have to put together the best patterns that extract the biggest fish or I won't be consistent enough to have longevity," he offers. "I'm proud of my 19 years on tour, and grateful to St. Croix because Victory rods give me what I need to help keep me there."
Grigsby says he's continually amazed by how St. Croix can keep coming up with better ways to make a rod. "That's just what they do; it's their commitment to us as anglers and their legacy to our sport and industry. Victory is the latest example of that, and the fact that they're all made start to finish in the USA? I'm probably most proud of that."
Victory to a tournament angler like Grigsby usually means being on a podium at the end of a long tournament, hoisting hardware, and celebrating a week well-fished. But winning also means using their knowledge, skills, and available tools to innovate and push the envelope on the water. "It's just like this rod series," Grigsby says. "St. Croix makes some incredible fishing rods, but it takes a special brand to go to work each day, looking to best what is already widely considered as the best. That's the same challenge we face as tournament anglers."
For St. Croix and its anglers, "Handcrafted in North America" means employing passionate people to transform the highest quality materials into the Best Rods on Earth, classified as such by virtue of their remarkable performance characteristics, overall quality, and ability to elevate any personal angling experience. Ultimately, however, it's the impressions and opinions of anglers that matter most. Whether it's a father and son Canadian fly-out, an inshore adventure, catching bluegills in a farm pond, or competing in the Bassmaster Classic, handcrafted St. Croix fishing rods are conceived and delivered to give any angler the upper hand while maximizing their satisfaction on the water.