Angling entrepreneurs Bob and Bill Johnson were so enthralled with their home along the St. Croix River that they named their fledgling rod company after the Wisconsin-Minnesota border water in 1948. Sixty-five years later, the close-knit organization lies in the capable hands of the Schleuter brothers. It’s only right that the base for St. Croix Rods lies a few casts from another famed river, the Flambeau.
It seems we do our clearest thinking—and dream up innovative, often extreme ideas—while near the water. If you study the levels of creativity, artistry, and imagination currently entering the rod-building equation, you might be hard pressed to think of a better explanation for the extraordinary fishing wands we wield today.
Of course, new technology or novel cosmetics often produce loftier price tags. But with best fishing rods, as with sportscars, you often get what you pay for. These select rods represent angling artistry—visually stunning, but more importantly, efficient and functional in new and often extreme ways.
- <h2>Envy Black by 13Fishing</h2><a href="http://www.13fishing.com" target="_blank">13fishing.com</a> - In a few years, 13Fishing has gone from industry upstart to serious tackle contender, offering an array of innovative rod designs. Envy Black is the newest series, sporting sleek looks and new actions. Among 13 casting and 9 spinning models, “Crankenstein” is a 7-foot 11-inch heavy-duty caster that fishes light for its size. Featuring a blend of glass and carbon fiber, this big stick matches outsize cranks and manhandles monster bass. Paired with a powerful reel and 12- to 25-pound line, Crankenstein wings plugs a mile, using its length to set hooks in deep water and keep bass pinned for the duration. <br /> Built with J40T Japanese Tory Carbon composite blanks, Envy Black rods offer strength and minimal weight. Radical reel seats and cork grips by Evolve give them a modern, edgy look. Guides are wispy Titanium Black Pearl Recoils that match the cosmetics. Rods have a flexible hook keeper for securing lures, hooks, or drop-shot weights, $225 to $260.
BASS >Mag Crankbait • Fenwick Aetos 7-foot 4-inch (A741MHFC) (fenwickfishing.com) • Lew’s David Fritts Speed Stick (DF70MHC) (lews.com) • CastAway Skeleton DD22 Special 7-foot 10-inch (SKXMHC710) (castawayrods.com)
BASS >Drop Shot/Finesse • Quantum Tour Tactical Spinning 6-foot 9-inch (quantumfishing.com) • Fenwick Elite Tech Smallmouth 6-foot 9-inch (ESMS69ML-F) (fenwickfishing.com) • Edge Rods Bass Drop Shot 6-foot 10-inch (6100-1(HM)-Spin) (edgerods.com)
WALLEYE >Rigging/Jigging • Wright & McGill Tony Roach Micro Honeycomb 6-foot 8-inch (WMTRW68ML) (wright-mcgill.com) • St. Croix Legend Tournament Walleye Jig-N-Rig 6-foot 6-inch (LTWS66MLF) (stcroixrods.com) • Fenwick Elite Tech Walleye Rigging 7-foot 2-inch (EWS72M-F) (fenwickfishing.com)
WALLEYE >Trolling • Daiwa DXW Trolling Rod 7-foot 6-inch (DXW76TMHFB) (daiwa.com) • Wright & McGill Tony Roach Micro Honeycomb 8-foot 6-inch (WMTRW86C1T) (wright-mcgill.com) • St. Croix Eyecon Trolling 8-foot (ECT80MM2) (stcroixrods.com)
PANFISH • St. Croix Panfish Series (stcroixrods.com) • B’n’M Poles IM7 Crappie Wizar (bnmpoles.com) • B’n’M Poles Sam Heaton Super Sensitive (bnmpoles.com) • Berkley C-Series Crappie Rod (berkley-fishing.com)
PIKE/MUSKIE • Fenwick Elite Tech Muskie (fenwickfishing.com) • St. Croix Legend Tournament Musky (stcroixrods.com) • St. Croix Mojo Musky (stcroixrods.com) • G. Loomis Muskie Rods (gloomis.com) • Musky Mayhem Avaio Series (muskymayhemtackle.com)
CATFISH • Rippin Lips Super Cat Series (rippinlips.net) • Team Catfish Thunder Cat (teamcatfish.com) • Team Catfish iCat (teamcatfish.com) • Tangling With Catfish Extender (tanglingwithcatfish.com) • Tangling With Catfish Extreme (tanglingwithcatfish.com)