Welcome to 2021. More than ever, the turning of the calendar holds the promise of better things and better times to come. Most excitingly, perhaps, it’s an opportunity to return to some of the normalcy everyone is craving.
For many, travel will be a big part of that normalcy. Individuals, couples and families can be expected to take to the highways and skies in record numbers in 2021, and as one of the most popular forms of outdoor recreation in North America, fishing will be on the agendas of many travelers once they reach their destinations.
Guided by its unrelenting mission to give all anglers the upper hand, St. Croix is celebrating the return of angling travel with brand new multi-piece Avid Trek, Triumph Travel, and Triumph Surf Travel Series rods, beautifully handcrafted and embodied with St. Croix technology and performance.
Few anglers “get around” more than St. Croix pro, fishing-travel specialist, and FLW tournament bass pro, Troy Lindner, who is quick to point out that St. Croix’s newest travel models combine the multi-piece construction necessary for travel with next-level performance. “The sensitivity and strength of these multi-piece rods are the best on the market. I’ve tried out many different companies’ multi-piece and collapsible travel rods; nothing compares to St. Croix Triumph Travel for overall value and Avid Trek for performance,” reports Lindner. “The more sections a rod has, you would usually lose sensitivity. But you can fish the new Avid Trek series side by side against a one-piece and not know it’s a three-piece rod, and the Triumph rods offer similar performance at an incredible value. I’ve taken Triumph Travel rods with me on numerous trips around the world to Canada, China, Japan, Thailand, Netherlands, France, Austria and Switzerland. I ‘ve never broken one of these rods in transit or fishing, and they perform flawlessly.”
NEW St. Croix Avid Trek Travel Rods
Packed with power, exceptional sensitivity and a selection of models to cover virtually any fishing scenario, new, American-made Avid Trek three-piece travel rods combine St. Croix’s Integrated Poly Curve® (IPC®) mandrel technology with premium, high-modulus SCIII carbon for smooth power, improved casting accuracy and increased sensitivity. Featuring slim-profile ferrules, they sport Sea Guide Hero Hi-Grade guides with slim zirconia rings and SS316 stainless gun smoke frames. The series’ six spinning models have Fuji® DPS reel seats with gun smoke hoods, while the casting model has a Fuji® ECS reel seat with gun smoke hood. All Avid Trek rods come with a Sea Guide hook-keeper, select-grade cork handle, and two coats of Flex Coat slow cure finish for a sharp, clean and polished appearance.
“By definition, travel rods are multiple-piece rods, and multiple pieces usually mean less-than-ideal performance. The most amazing thing about these new three-piece Avid Trek Series travel rods is that you give up nothing performance-wise by bringing them along,” says Ryan Teach, Product Manager at St. Croix. “They’re ideal for both fresh and saltwater pursuits, and the combination of SCIII carbon with IPC and ART technologies results in a super-smooth response. Even in the hands of an expert angler, if you disguised the ferrules, these rods would be hard to distinguish from premium-quality one-piece models. They’re that good.”
St. Croix pro-staffer George Kunkle of Albertville, Alabama, confirms that Teach’s description is spot on. “I’m really impressed,” he states. “The first thing I noticed when putting these new Avids together is that they are almost seamless. There is no play whatsoever around the ferrules. During field testing, I tried everything I could to get at least a squeak out of these rods and it wasn’t happening. I’m not normally a fan of multi-piece rods but these are a different beast. They really feel like a one-piece product.”
Kunkle experimented with some heavier models and found them great for battling everything from black bass through light muskies. “I even caught a 42-pound catfish on one and never heard a sound or felt any play where the segments came together,” he reveals.
Justin Carter of Charleston, SC, an accomplished tournament angler and St. Croix pro, recently put both medium-light and medium power Avid Trek Series rods through their paces. His review: “These rods were a home run from the first minute I held them. Right from the start there was nothing I wanted to change about them at all.”
Carter gave both rods a full workout. He started by targeting deep-water sheepshead, a sensitive bite that requires a rod with enough backbone to slug it out with the tasty bottom brawlers. “I could feel the bites right through the blank,” remarked Carter, “That’s real surprising for a travel rod.”
Carter also put his Avid Trek rods up against 20-pound redfish and tempted 30-pound jack crevalle during a topwater blitz. They performed so well he slipped one into his charter boat rotation. “My clients have caught well over 1,000 fish on that rod in three months,” states Carter. “Not a single angler realized they were holding a 3-piece rod until I told them. Now, when I travel, I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing feel or action when I take an Avid Trek instead of a full-length one-piece rod. I can pack easily, go confidently, and pursue anything I want, anywhere I want.”
At the other end of the spectrum, St. Croix Southeast Regional Account Manager, Randy Hamilton, likes the 7’ medium and medium-heavy Avid Trek paired to a 3000 or 4000 series reel for targeting big redfish and bones. “For how light that rod is, the lifting power is impressive when you connect with a big 6- to 10-lb. fish,” he explains. “I didn’t notice these were three-piece sticks while the battles were underway. There’s not a spot in these rods where you don’t feel fully connected. I was hopping soft-plastics for reds and that combination of SCIII carbon with IPC technology provided a great blend of strength and sensitivity on 20- to 30-pound class braided lines.”
Hamilton also appreciates that the tips on his Avid Trek models are light enough to throw one-quarter- and five-eight-ounce jigs. “Plus,” he adds, “the accuracy is awesome. This series is tough like our Mojo Series, but some of the weight has been engineered out so you can also throw baits for hours without getting worn out.”
Lindner says the Avid Trek 7’ medium spinning model (ATS70MF) represents an incredibly versatile choice for most traveling anglers that can be used in all sorts of fishing applications, from bass and Canadian walleye to most inshore saltwater species and many European and Asian exotics.
Designed and handcrafted at the St. Croix Rod factory in Park Falls, Wisconsin, U.S.A., Avid Trek Series rods carry a 15-year transferable warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service. Retail prices range from $260 to $290.
NEW St. Croix Triumph Travel and Triumph Surf Travel Rods
Durable, sensitive and powerful Triumph rods are made for savvy anglers seeking the best in performance and value. The expansive Triumph family of rods blends technology with value to give anglers the precise tools they need to maintain the upper hand at an exceptional price. The formula works; collectively, Triumph enjoys the special distinction of being the best-selling North American-made fishing rod series in the world.
For 2021, the entire Triumph collection has been fully reimagined with upgraded cosmetics and new components, including six, four-piece Triumph Travel freshwater rods and two, four-piece Triumph Surf Travel rods.
Built from premium SCII carbon, Triumph is an outstanding choice for anglers who appreciate high-performance without high cost. SCII is a standard modulus carbon fiber with a higher strain rate than fibers commonly used by other rod manufacturers. It’s St. Croix’s most popular material that is lightweight, durable and sensitive – exactly what you’d expect from a St. Croix rod.
These exceptional travel models get a rich, new look for 2021, featuring a refreshed logo that helps celebrate Triumph’s legacy to anglers, as well as new colors. Freshwater Triumph Travel models look resplendent in Deep Run Blue, while Triumph Surf Travel models wear a distinctive Sea Smoke shade of green.
All Triumph rods for 2021 now feature modernized Sea Guide componentry, starting with XDPS, ECS or TCS reel seats (depending on model) with eco-friendly sandblasted hoods. All feature Sea Guide Atlas Performance slim aluminum-oxide guides with black frames, premium-grade cork handles (custom cork tape handles on Surf models) and two beautiful coats of Flex-Coat slow cure finish. All Triumph models come with a 5-year warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service.
“In terms of value, nothing touches Triumph rods,” says Dan Johnston, St. Croix National Accounts Manager. “The price may suggest otherwise, but there’s no such thing as an entry-level St. Croix rod. Think about it; these handcrafted rods undergo multiple steps of laser alignment, use advanced carbon materials and resins that cost hundreds of dollars per gallon, employ top-quality components and have handles with CNC-lathed urethane shims that enhance sensitivity. The performance-to-price ratio is simply incredible. Rod nerds (we in Park Falls included) will immediately appreciate the precision and care in in how these rods are designed and handcrafted. Triumph rods fly way under the radar; they simply look and perform well beyond their price, and these four-piece travel models are no exception. St. Croix excels at slim-ferrule construction,” Johnston adds. “Triumph rods have the best fit and reinforcement, making them feel and perform more like one-piece rods. You simply don’t feel any dead spots when casting any of these rods, which is extremely rare at these price points.”
St. Croix pro Blake Tollefson of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin agrees, adding details to Johnston’s points gained from first-hand on-the-water experience with the new fast-action Triumph Travel rods. “These feel like one-piece rods… nothing like the ‘dead’ multi-piece travel rods I’ve fished in the past,” he says. The sensitivity really raised Tollefson’s eyebrows. “I couldn’t believe how well you could feel everything… from a fish eating, to the feel of maintaining contact with cover and structure,” he adds. “Their unexpected sensitivity was impressive in all aspects and really speaks to the care St. Croix used throughout Triumph Travel’s design and manufacturing.”
Of course, beyond their remarkable performance, Triumph Travel’s packability is of primary benefit. “I was able to attach the compact, thickly-padded soft case right to the side of my backpack and jump on a plane to Florida. No additional carry-on items to pay for… you can literally fit everything you need for a fishing trip with these rods into your backpack,” says Tollefson, who also advocates for keeping a dedicated, four-piece Triumph Travel rod in one’s vehicle at all times. He says the 6’6” medium power (TSR66MF4) or 6’6” medium-light power (TSR66MLF4) models provide excellent versatility for such duty.
“Like a lot of anglers, I think about fishing all the time. But I sometimes find myself in places and situations where I hadn’t planned on fishing, but get there and wish I’d packed a rod. Triumph Travel makes it super easy, convenient and affordable to keep a high-quality fishing rod behind the seat of your truck at all times. When you remember it’s in there, it’s like reaching into your front pocket and finding a 20-dollar bill anytime you need it.”
Getting where you want to go and doing the things you love are going to be a whole lot easier in 2021. And since you’re reading this, it’s a safe bet that many of those plans are going to involve fishing. So, pack along one or more of St. Croix’s all-new Avid Trek, Triumph Travel or Triumph Surf Travel Series rods and leave the compromises at home. They’re lovingly handcrafted with the St. Croix pride, performance and technologies you need to maintain the upper hand in any travel-fishing situation.
Like the rods? You’ll love our lifestyle apparel.