Park Falls, WI – Over 32 pairs of hands are required to complete three dozen different steps in the manufacturing, assembly and finishing of a St. Croix rod. Whether that takes place at the company’s headquarters in Park Falls, Wisconsin – or their state-of-the-art factory in Fresnillo, Mexico – each St. Croix rod is a product of the passion and attention to detail of the engineers who design them and artisans who craft them.
On Thursday morning, July 12, the builders of the Best Rods on Earth couldn’t help but smile as they focused on the big screen above the breakroom fireplace at the St. Croix Rod factory in Park Falls. Images flipped across the screen announcing that this team had been honored with three American Sportfishing Association (ASA) ICAST Best of Show awards!
Legend Glass Spinning won Best of Show in the freshwater category while the Mojo line took home two awards: Mojo Yak for the saltwater category and Mojo Trout in the fly category.
ICAST 2018 Best of Show: Legend Glass Spinning
New for 2018, the Legend Glass 7’2” medium power, moderate action spinning model (LGS72MM) puts the power to launch small and midsized baits in your grasp. It’s perfect for windy days or situations that call for lighter baits to be delivered with both distance and accuracy. It’s designed to handle small to medium crankbaits, including square bills and similarly sized bladed jigs, and excels with midrange, standard lip crankbaits that dive to depths of 16 feet.
During the ICAST On the Water event, participants repeatedly noted the rod’s light weight.
“What drives St Croix more than anything else is the focus on giving the angler the advantage on the water,” the new Legend Glass 7’2” Spinning Rod (LGS72MM) just so happens to be a result of that,” says St Croix’s Dan Johnston.
“Legend Glass spinning is going to be a go-to rod for folks that throw light to mid-size baits on relatively light line, in addition to slim profile crankbaits that tend to tumble when cast on rods that are too stiff.” “The blank also bends down enough to protect very light fluorocarbon line with small crankbaits, which is something anglers have been looking for.”
“The linear S-glass on the IPC mandrel makes Legend Glass arguably the best fiberglass rod ever put on the market,” Johnston added. “The fact that we just put it on a spinning rod is really exciting. It’s cool to finally be able to throw thin-profile, lightweight cranks on lightweight line.”
The St. Croix Mojo rod family is fun and full of attitude. Anglers appreciate the quality and value of every model in each Mojo series. The St. Croix team sure had their mojo working with both the Mojo Yak and Mojo Trout, as they earned Best of Show awards in the Saltwater Rod and Fly Rod categories respectively.
“In preparing for 2018 product launches and ICAST, we did our research, did our homework and the entire team worked hard all year to bring these products to the ICAST show floor. We collectively decided which rods we would place in each rod competition and selected Mojo Yak for saltwater and Mojo Trout for the fly category,” said Jeff Schluter, Vice President of Brand Management.
The Mojo series has quite a history. Mojo Bass was introduced 10 years ago at ICAST 2008 and has a special place in St. Croix’s heart. At that time, it was difficult to imagine that releasing a new product during a recession was a good thing, but with Mojo Bass, the timing was perfect.
Jason Brunner, the “mad scientist” of the team and Director of Engineering and Manufacturing, gave Mojo its name. As the story goes, the team was gathered around the conference table struggling to come up with an appropriate name when Jason challenged the team, “We need to find our Mojo!”
And they did.
ICAST 2018 Best of Show: Mojo Yak
To best describe Mojo Yak is to begin with its kayak-specific characteristics, each designed to improve fishability or thwart the common challenges of operating in such tight, sometimes unforgiving quarters.
The rod’s handle was crafted with equal scrutiny. To build the best handle for the job, St. Croix collaborated with Winn, utilizing the company’s superior polymer grip technology. Super tacky, shock absorbent and comfortable, the patented material provides a sure-grip even when wet or cold. And operating at water’s edge, a kayak angler’s hands are seldom bone dry.
Mojo Yak’s shorter split-grip effortlessly manages fishing inside the kayak’s cockpit. You’ll notice, too, that the butt end is rounded, letting the rod slide across the angler’s chest, catching less fabric.
Enthusiastic about Mojo Yak, St. Croix pro Jamie Denison added, “I love the shorter handle. For years, people would ask me to cut part of the handles off of their rods. Sometimes less is more. It allows you to move the rod tip more freely; let’s you stay seated and still have the ability to apply the action for various topwater techniques like walk-the-dog. I’m tickled to death that St. Croix’s engineers listened to us.”
ICAST 2018 Best of Show Fly: Mojo Trout
Good trout fishing isn’t too hard to find. Affordable, versatile and smooth-casting fly rods shouldn’t be either. This line of thinking is the inspiration behind St. Croix’s all-new series of Mojo Trout fly rods.
The Mojo Trout series consists of 11 new beautiful and dutiful two- and four-piece models ranging from 6’0” to 9’0” in length and covering the all-important 2-7 trout fishing line weights. The result is a full quiver of premium, high-modulus SCIII graphite fly rods that cover all trout-specific fly fishing applications – without breaking the bank.
Renowned outfitter, author, instructor and industry influencer Kelly Galloup has lived on fly fishing’s leading edge for over 40 years and takes a keen and critical interest in any new fly fishing products. “These new Mojo Trout rods are super light in the hand, true to their weights, look great and cast as smooth as silk,” says Galloup, who doesn’t believe in judging any rod by its price tag. “A rod should be judged by its performance, not by how much it costs. These affordable new Mojo Trout rods will perform favorably against any other rods at any price.”
Galloup drills down on what makes a truly great trout rod. “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.”
It’s a Wrap
“All of us at St. Croix Rod are thrilled and honored to have been recognized in this fashion,” said company president Paul Schluter. “On behalf of the entire St. Croix Team, I say “thank you” to the retailers and outdoor writers who support us. And I promise we’ll continue striving to provide every angler with the best fishing experience possible.”