I’ve never put much thought into what goes into a fishing rod — until now. After a tour of the St. Croix rod plant, I have a new appreciation for the stick in my hand that I use to catch walleye. At a recent media event hosted by the Mercer Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, I had the opportunity to participate in a tour of the plant, where I could see every step of the manufacturing process of a quality fishing rod is created. To say it was an eye-opener is an understatement.
The process starts with the rod blanks, where graphic fiber material is wrapped around steel rods to form the hollow rod blank. The blank then begins it’s journey through each department, where a St. Croix team member works their part of the magic. It’s quite impressive to actually walk through the entire process where the blanks become rods. They are inspected, numerous times, to insure quality control. They are painted. Tested some more. Then in the assembly department, the rod comes to life. Handles and eyes are added by hand. Each eye on the rod is tied on with thread by hand. To keep up with production, they employ folks to tie the eyes off site as well as in the plant.
The technology behind the manufacturing was also amazing. Using state of the art of the manufacturing processes helps. But the engineering technology behind the manufacturing is what sets St. Croix apart. They use high-strain, graphite fiber material, that combined with other materials and processes, creates a rod with unbeatable strength and durability. So when you buy a St Croix, it could be for life.
But what impressed me more than the technology, was the fact that over 32 sets of hands touch every rod that is produced. That’s over 32 people that specialize in one area of production, doing their part of building a custom product— not fully automated robotic machines pumping out fishing poles. It’s people – American people – crafting a quality product right here in our back yard. Think about that when you’re in the fishing rod section of the sporting goods store.
Starting in June, the St Croix plant will be offering tours to the public. If you have ever fished at least once in your life, you should take a tour of this plant and see what goes into creating some of the finest fishing rods on the planet. Wait, I think their slogan is “The Best Rods on Earth”.
Located in Park Falls, Wisconsin, the plant is clean and organized. It produces around 4,000 rods per week, and they land in the hands of anglers all over the world — Canada, United States and Russia are the top three. If you find yourself in Wisconsin this summer, put this tour on the “to-do” list.
For more information, visit their website at stcroixrods.com.