Park Falls, WI – Diehard custom rod builders are true geeks, not freaks. Like a sculptor consumed in concept and covered in clay, rod builders endeavor to create perfectly functioning tools that double as works of art – their masterpieces hung with pride above the mantle between fishing trips.
So why go through the trouble of handcrafting a custom rod when a heritage company like St. Croix already builds the “Best Rods on Earth”? Just ask Tom Kirkman, a pedigreed rod builder from High Point, North Carolina. He’s not only been crafting custom rods since the 1970’s, Kirkman also publishes RodMaker, a bimonthly specialty magazine, and produces the International Custom Rod Building Exposition in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
“Sure, there’s the aesthetics alone of a custom-built rod, with wraps offered in every color scheme; after all, cars are painted all different colors to suit each person,” says Kirkman. “But the real reason is most manufactured rods are to be one size fits all. But an angler may desire a handle with a different diameter, or, perhaps, someone fishes a technique differently than the average Joe, and needs a rod to perform differently. And the list can go on and on.
“But basically, it’s because the most passionate people in any sport desire customized tools to fit their needs. And, while there are a lot of blank manufactures out there, St. Croix is one of the most highly respected.”
How has that respect been earned? St. Croix offers both hardcore and hobbyist rod-builders nearly every blank used in the USA factory-produced rods. That means you can craft a personalized rod knowing that exclusive St. Croix technologies have your back…and blank. So go ahead and wrap those guides in Chicago Cub blue or Packer green and gold and know that despite the fanaticism, the rod will fish like a pro.
And if you want to see how pros fashion blanks and build finished rods, St. Croix encourages you to take a Factory Tour. “St. Croix is the last bastion when it comes to manufacturing rod blanks in the United States,” says Director of Marketing Jesse Simpkins. “It’s the pride that goes into creating the technology, as well as the engineering to make it come together and then the actual manufacturing process. Every employee here truly cares about building the perfect rod, whether we finish it here, or the blank is customized by someone else.”
Whether you’re going to construct a rod from scratch yourself, or hire a custom rod-builder, just remember the blank is the foundation in which all great rods are built upon…so choose wisely.
St. Croix Proprietary Blank Technologies:
INTEGRATED POLY CURVE® (IPC®) TECHNOLOGY
Developed exclusively by St. Croix, Integrated Poly Curve® (IPC®) tooling technology has rapidly become the engineering leader in rodmaking. Designed to eliminate all transitional points in the rod blank, IPC-engineered rods feature smoother actions, increased strength and greater sensitivity.
ADVANCED REINFORCING TECHNOLOGY™ (ART™)
Advanced Reinforcing Technology™ (ART™) is an exotic carbon fiber material that adds a magnitude (10X) of strength with virtually no increase in blank diameter or weight. ART significantly improves the hoop strength of the blank by preventing it from deforming or “ovaling” under a severe load, such as a powerful hook set or fish battle. ART is also a critical part of our slim-profile ferrule design.
TAPER ENHANCEMENT TECHNOLOGY
After several years of R&D and testing, St. Croix has perfected an innovative new Taper Enhancement Technology (TET) that begins with precision-cut, curved blank patterns made possible by a state-of-the-art computerized pattern cutting machine. When combined with IPC-mandrels, these unique patterns create blanks with better actions and improved sensitivity. This pattern design and cutting technology is a dramatic departure from traditional straight-line patterns cut by hand. TET is featured in SCV spinning and casting blanks.
FORTIFIED RESIN SYSTEM
St. Croix once again breaks new ground in premium rod manufacturing technology with the development of a new Fortified Resin System (FRS), which combines a fortified super resin with new computer operated curing ovens that provide improved temperature and time management through all stages of the curing cycle. FRS prevents microbuckling by keeping the carbon fibers in proper alignment. Blanks manufactured using this advanced manufacturing protocol test out consistently to be 33% stronger than those built with standard resins and curing methods. Blank series manufactured with FRS include all fresh- and saltwater SCV and SCIV.