The Best Rods on Earth for Prying 'Eyes
For 2022, St. Croix Rod introduces the totally reimagined Eyecon Series, featuring heightened performance, improved technique-specific comfort and ergonomics, and all-new aesthetics. The angler-favorite walleye series also grows by two with the addition of industry-first Jig-N-Rap and Rip-N-Rap models for a total of 18 distinct choices.
Doubling Down on DurabilityEyecon's premium SCII carbon blanks get even stronger and more durable for 2022. The SCII material itself is a new formulation, featuring both increased flexural strength and reduced weight over St. Croix's previous-generation SCII carbon. From there, new Eyecon rods are made even stronger with the addition of St. Croix's Fortified Resin System (FRS) technology. "We know that walleye anglers often employ aggressive jigging tactics that not all rods can stand up to," says St. Croix Product Manager, Ryan Teach. "Our all-new SCII carbon material combined with FRS takes the performance of these new-generation Eyecon rods to the next level. In addition to being stronger and more durable, they're also noticeably lighter than previous Eyecons."
Comfort is KingAggressive techniques demand more than superior strength. They also require carefully considered ergonomics that minimize angler fatigue. "Eyecon rods are truly technique specific," says Minnesota-based 'eye chaser and St. Croix pro, Joel Nelson, a self-described handle snob who's well known for sounding off on the importance of proper fishing-rod ergonomics. "These new Eyecon rods bring versatility and comfort to any walleye angler's arsenal without compromise. I'm talking performance and comfort, not one or the other," says Nelson, who suggests most serious walleye anglers tend to match one rod to a specific lure. "They'll take a favored length, power and action and dedicate it to a specific line/leader setup and lure. In some cases, they have to compromise on handle design in order to fish the length, power, and action they need for a preferred presentation. Not with these Eyecon rods; all of the handle designs and lengths are designed to optimize comfort with the intended technique, helping anglers fish longer without getting sloppy in their presentations."
Nelson agrees. "Walleye anglers will experience the full force of engineering and design behind these new Eyecon rods once they start fishing them, but they're going to immediately appreciate their exceptional, lightweight balance as soon as they pick one up… before they even put a reel on it."
The Strong, Silent TypeAll Eyecon Series (non-trolling) rods for 2022 get a new hybrid guide train that decreases weight, increases overall durability, and reduces the noise and disruption that often comes from fishing braided line. What's a hybrid guide train? Teach explains: "We've gone with light and incredibly durable Sea Guide Atlas Performance stainless steel guides in the upper portions of these rods to eliminate the troubling possibility of knocking out inserts," he says. "And since stainless steel guides at the lower end of a rod can be noisier with some braided lines, the bottom two guides are SeaGuide Aluminum Oxide models with black frames. Of course, spacing differs on each model to optimize performance per technique, and all specific guide-train designs will pass a large-diameter leader-line knot with limited disruption.
- HEAVY METAL / EYS58HF - 5'8", heavy power, fast action spinning / Retail $150
- VERTICAL JIG / EYS63MLXF - 6'3", medium-light power, extra-fast action spinning / Retail $150
- VERTICAL JIG / EYS63MXF - 6'3", medium power, extra-fast action spinning / Retail $150
- JIG-N-RIG / EYS66MLF - 6'6", medium-light power, fast action spinning / Retail $140
- JIG-N-RIG / EYS66MLF2 - 6'6", medium-light power, fast action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $150
- BIG WATER / EYS66MF - 6'6", medium power, fast action spinning / Retail $140
- BIG WATER / EYS66MF2 - 6'6", medium power, fast action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $150
- SNAP JIG / EYS68MXF - 6'8", medium power, extra-fast action spinning / Retail $150
- FINESSE / EYS70LF - 7'0", light power, fast action spinning / Retail $150
- RIGGIN' / EYS70MLF - 7'0", medium-light power, fast action spinning / Retail $150
- RIGGIN' / EYS70MLF2 - 7'0", medium-light power, fast action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $160
- CRANKIN' / EYS70MM - 7'0", medium power, moderate action spinning / Retail $150
- JIG-N-RAP* / EYS71MMF - 7'1", medium power, moderate-fast action spinning / Retail $150
- RIP-N-RAP* / EYS71MF - 7'1", medium power, fast action spinning / Retail $150
- SLIP-N-RIG / EYS76MLXF - 7'6", medium-light power, extra-fast action spinning / Retail $150
- SLIP-N-RIG / EYS76MLXF2 - 7'6", medium-light power, extra-fast action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $160
- DRIFT-N-FLOAT / EYS80MLF2 - 8'0", medium-light power, fast action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $160
- BOUNCE-N-TROLL / EYC70MHM - 7'0", medium-heavy power, moderate action, casting / Retail $140
New Eyecon Jig-N-Rap and Rip-N-Rap Models
The reimagined Eyecon series expands to an unprecedented 18 distinct rods (not including separate trolling models) for 2022, with the introduction of the all-new 7'1" medium power, moderate-fast action Jig-N-Rap and 7'1" medium power, fast action Rip-N-Rap models.
Until now, anglers have been required to compromise with respect to handle design, length, power, or action when choosing rods for fishing Jigging Rap® and Rippin' Rap® style lures. Northern Minnesota fishing guide and St. Croix and Rapala pro, Tony Roach, explains.
"Every walleye angler knows the effectiveness of a Jigging Rap. They also know how uncomfortable it can be to fish one all day long with the wrong rod. The first thing anglers will notice is how light and balanced it is," Roach says of the new Eyecon 7'1" medium power, moderate-fast action Jig-N-Rap rod. "The second, is how it fits well in your hand. The ergonomics on this rod and the entire reimagined Eyecon series help anglers fish longer without getting sloppy. They're that comfortable."
Roach most often fishes Jigging Raps with six-to-ten-pound braid and a ten-pound fluorocarbon leader. "The stiffer leader can help you from foul hooking the lure and it is also very abrasion resistant," he says. "Like a lot of walleye anglers, I like using braid because I can feel everything, even on a slack line. The problem with braid though is you tend to lose fish if you don't have the right rod, especially with Jigging Raps when the fish gets one of those single hooks." Roach says walleyes often pin Jigging Raps to the bottom, making hook-ups a challenge at times. "The heavy nature of the lure also makes it vulnerable to head shakes as you are reeling in a fish. This rod solves that problem, the MMF - medium power, moderate-fast action - functions very similar to a crankbait rod, it ensures proper hook setting power while absorbing those big head shakes on braid. The 7'1" length also casts far and picks up line in a hurry. My hook-up-to-landing percentage sky-rocketed with the new Eyecon Jig-N-Rap rod, and I feel little or no fatigue after day of fishing it."
- Premium-quality SCII carbon with FRS for unparalleled strength and durability
- Hybrid guide platform featuring SeaGuide® Aluminum Oxide guides with black frames, Atlas Performance stainless (SS304) guides and a black PVD coated tip top
- Sea Guide® IPSA reel seat with thread-covering nut and black hood on spinning models
- SeaGuide® TCS reel seat with black hood on casting model
- Premium-grade cork modified split grip on spinning models with tailored foregrips designed for each technique
- Premium-grade full EVA contoured handle and foregrip on casting model
- Kigan hook-keeper
- Emerald Walter Green color
- Two coats of Flex-Coat slow cure finish
- 5-year warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service
- Technique-specific walleye series designed for superior performance utilizing custom handle configurations unique to each model for angler comfort and functionality
- Designed in Park Falls, U.S.A. and handcrafted in Fresnillo, Mexico
- Retail price $140 to $160
New Eyecon Series rods are being introduced at ICAST 2021 and are expected to be available for purchase at St. Croix dealers worldwide this fall.