Last month, St. Croix Rods swept a trifecta in rod-building awards at ICAST, the fishing industry’s prominent annual trade show.
Each year, the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) recognizes outstanding products in the ICAST Best of Show awards. St. Croix Rods captured this honor for three of its rods in the freshwater, saltwater, and fly categories.
The Legend Glass Spinning Rod won Best of Show in the freshwater category while the Mojo line took home two awards: one in the saltwater category for the Mojo Yak and another in the fly category for the Mojo Trout.
What does it take to build a world-class rod? Let’s look at St. Croix Rods’ trifecta of award winners.
St. Croix Rods: Behind the Winners
It takes over three dozen steps to build, assemble, and finish each St. Croix rod. On the journey from conception and design to manufacturing and inspection, more than 32 pairs of hands move each rod. Rods are built at either the company’s headquarters in Park Falls, Wisc., or the brand’s state-of-the-art factory in Fresnillo, Mexico.
St. Croix Rods is a family-owned and managed manufacturer of high-performance fishing rods. In its 70-year heritage of U.S. manufacturing, St. Croix has grown to become the largest maker of fishing rods in North America.
Freshwater: Legend Glass Spinning Rod ($240-260)
Raise your glass for the 2018 ICAST Best of Show winner in the freshwater category. New for 2018, the Legend Glass is a medium-power, moderate-action spinning model (LGS72MM) measuring 7 feet 2 inches. If you’re the angler who loves to launch small and midsized baits on relatively light line, this rod is for you.
The Legend Glass is perfect for windy days. It delivers lighter baits with both distance and accuracy. The rod’s slim profile outperforms stiffer rods that tend to cause slim profile crankbaits to tumble when cast. It bends enough to protect ultralight fluorocarbon line — a feature anglers appreciate.
Saltwater: Mojo Yak ($150-160)
The Mojo Yak is chock-full of features for the kayak angler, improving its performance while overcoming the common challenges of fishing in the tight confines of a kayak.
The rod’s handle was engineered for performance. To build an outstanding handle, St. Croix collaborated with Winn, a company known for polymer grip technology. The patented grip is tacky, shock absorbent, and comfortable, providing a positive grip in the wet or cold.
Shortening the Mojo Yak’s split-grip simplifies maneuvering a rod inside the boat. The rod’s butt end is rounded to prevent clothing snags. Eliminating these hangups lets you stay seated and still fish using topwater techniques. Saltwater anglers spoke, and St. Croix listened.
Fly Fishing: Mojo Trout, $180-210
As the folks at St. Croix Rods like to say, “Good trout fishing isn’t too hard to find. Affordable, versatile and smooth-casting fly rods shouldn’t be either.” And it’s the inspiration behind St. Croix’s all-new series of Mojo Trout fly rods.
The Mojo Trout series consists of 11 new two- and four-piece models ranging from 6 to 9 feet in length and covering the all-important 2-7 trout fishing line weights. It’s a full array of premium fly rods that won’t break the bank! Built with the latest in carbon fiber and composite technology, the high-modulus SCIII graphite produces sensitive, lightweight, durable rods. Now that’s something to get excited about!
According to Kelly Galloup, fly fishing outfitter, author, and instructor, “When it comes to a trout rod, I don’t want one that will cast across the parking lot; I want one that is light in the hand, loads efficiently, and casts smoothly without being too slow. That’s all I ask. Mojo Trout does all of this and looks great too.”
St. Croix: ‘Best Rods on Earth’
St. Croix infuses each rod with the passion of the engineers who design it and artisans who craft it — an obviously award-winning combination. When you build premium products, the industry takes notice. Winning three industry accolades in one year says you’re doing something right! But for St. Croix Rods, the real accomplishment is in winning the hearts of discerning anglers.
On July 12, 2018, the ASA awarded three of its ICAST Best of Show awards to St. Croix Rods, confirming that it does build the “best rods on Earth.”
Paul Schluter, St. Croix Rods’ president, said, “All of us at St. Croix Rods are thrilled and honored to have been recognized in this fashion. I promise we’ll continue striving to provide every angler with the best fishing experience possible.”
Lowell Strauss is an award-winning writer and photographer from Last Mountain Lake, Saskatchewan. He’s a full-time freelancer, father of two, Scouter, and shooting coach. Living a stone’s throw from the middle of nowhere, he spends his time among wildlife and wild places chasing his dreams—hunting, fishing, and shooting.