ORLANDO, Fla. – Most bass fishermen don’t include a fly rod as part of their regular tournament arsenal.
But the folks from St. Croix Rods think they should – and they’ve got a new one that’s making waves at this week’s ICAST trade show.
St. Croix’s new Mojo Bass Fly Rod won “Best of Show” in the Fly Fishing Rod category Wednesday night, giving St. Croix two of three awards in the rod division. The company’s Avid Inshore model took the prize in the Saltwater Rod category.
Officials from St. Croix are hoping the bass rod will catch on with anglers of all ages and skill levels.
“We wanted to target the hardcore bass angler on fly fishing,” said Dan Johnston of St. Croix. “We wanted to build a rod that was castable for both the ultra-beginner and somebody that’s been doing it forever.”
In the interest of providing rods that are usable by everyone, St. Croix has introduced three models – a 7-weight, an 8-weight and a 9-weight. All three have long been popular with anglers who target bass with fly tackle.
“You can throw almost all bass flies with those three rods,” Johnston said. “Another thing we did is we made them 7-foot-11. They’re tournament legal, and the fact that it’s pretty short for a bass rod improves your accuracy because the tip is closer to your hand.”
The rods have a moderate-fast action that allows beginners to feel fly line right away out of the tip. The design makes the rods easy to cast, but gives the angler tremendous power for fighting and landing fish.
While the rods are aimed at all bass anglers – from avid tournament competitors to weekend anglers who aren’t interested in tournaments – Johnston believes they could be a valuable tool for those who fish competitively.
“There are a lot of situations where my spinning and baitcasting tackle will outfish a fly rod,” Johnston said. “But there’s also no question in my mind that there are some situations where I can definitely catch more fish with a fly rod.
“Let’s put it this way: I’ve got a fly for bedding bass that I don’t even want to show people.”
All three models retail for $150, and Johnston said the company is expecting a bump in sales after the Best in Show victory.
“I’m not going to say it’s a game changer that should cause every tournament angler to drop their other stuff,” Johnson said. “But it’s certainly a viable alternative. You can cover a lot of water with a fly rod, because you don’t have to reel the fly all the way in. You can just pick it up and put it right back down.
“We’re encouraging people to try it.”