While I agree with many posters on that forum that St. Croix messed up when it discontinued two of the best affordable rods on the market - their green Legend Ultra and the black Avid (replaced with a green Avid that was a terrible rod). Still, it seemed crazy that with fly fishing participation at an all-time high, and record numbers of young, female and ethnic participants, that the company would simply exit a promising business.
One of the most active forum members, George Cleveland, took it on himself to approach the company directly. Here is the response he recieved:
Hello George—Good morning and thank you for your inquiry. We are remaining in the fly rod segment of our industry but instead we have made the decision to concentrate on the $300 and below market as well as our conventional rods. We’re still in but at the lower end. I hope this helps answer your question.
Customer Operations Manager
St. Croix Rod
Ph: 715-762-3226 ext. 147
What does this mean? Probably that all future fly rods will be built at their Fresnilla, Mexico, facility.
Here's what I do know. When touring the St. Croix factory last year, I was told - and it was visibly evident - that with booming sales, the Park Falls facility is at maximum capacity. With fly rod production split between Mexico and USA, it would make sense to consolidate all fly rod manufacturing at one location.
My hunch is that if all the rods are made in Mexico, then it would be foolish to make rods that sell for premium prices that would have to compete against USA-made rods at those same prices.
At one time, St. Croix was a leader in the budget fly rod market. I believe with some reorganization of their pro staff and some input from dedicated anglers, they could well be a strong contender to TFO, Echo and Redington. Their new revised Imperial series - including their upcoming Imperial Salt - are certainly outstanding rods. The new Mojo Trout series is impressive as well. The Mojo Bass is one of the very few true "bass rods" on the market, and comes at great price.