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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:mad: Earlier today I went on the St Croix web site and was checking out there “new” 2006 rods when I noticed that a new imported “Reign” model had replaced the Imperial line. So I got to thinking well my Imperial, which I am very fond of and bought because it was a good quality American Made rod with a life time warranty, was to break and I turned it in for warranty replacement what would I receive?

So I emailed St Croix and asked them. There reply was that should my American Made Imperial need to be replaced it would be replaced with an imported Reign series rod.

Needless to say when I purchased my Imperial the fact that it was an American Made rod was a strong factor in choosing it over other models. Had I known if it were to break that it would be replaced with anything other than an American made St Croix then I would have never bought it.

To add further insult the new “Reign” rods are ugly as sin and do not even have the regular St Croix label but a huge “Reign” sticker so you know its not even a part of the St Croix line up. I think my Imperial is a handsome rod, it has a St Croix label and also has a real small “made in America” on it, which always made me proud to use it and glad that I paid the money for a rod made in America by an American.

I am very disappointed in St Croix and will never buy one of their products again, nor will I support any other company that is moving their operations overseas. And why should I? Why not just by a cheaper rod from Cabelas? At least you know what your buying up front and you actually get what you pay for.

I have to wonder if they are so proud of their business choice if they will change their motto to “St Croix an American and Chinese tradition”.

Wow come to think of it I think I still have the old “St Croix an American tradition” sticker that came with my rod on my truck. I guess I will have to remove it. I think I am going to chuck the rod while I am at it.

Randy if you can, please delete my previous post about the St Croix fly rods on sale. Thanks,

Basil
 

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st croix

I own several st croix rods from my 9 weight to a couple of spinning rod combos with penn captiva reels, they are by far the finest rods I have ever owned, but it does not surprise me . I told a friend of mine that it would be just a matter of time, and obviously that time has come. A few years ago I sold 3 shimano spinning rods and reels and 2 baitcast rods with reels because I found that st. croix was American made and switched. lets hope that it is not the end to a fine American made rod company:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Tom, I am very disappointed. St. Croix has always coined its self as a proud American company, more so than any other rod manufacturer. Then they go and do this. I think it is just absurd. I hope that the models that you own will continue to be made in the US.
 

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re: sell out

I hated to hear they were going to let a line go that way. As I understand it it will be thier "entrance" level rods that are inported. St.Croix is actually one of the last to do this Winston, Sage and the others have been doing it for some time and selling them for the higher price.
I hope you are planning on coming to the National Rod Builders Show in Charlotte in Febuary. The St.Croix rep. will be there and you can talk to him in person. Also if you are really fond of that particular model you could probably find some places that have the blank in stock and keep it for a back up.
There are a probably 3 other US blank manufactures left that haven't been bought out by the "big outside company". When All Star was bought thier buyer didn't think a $6 million profit on blank sales was enough so they cancelled them, they just sell finished factory rods now.
As far as import rods go the lighter wieght stuff, ie. 1-4 weight fly rods and light spinning outfits, have come a long way. The stronger powers are usually heavy and "whippy".
Just a note other than one brand of snake guides 99.9 percent of the guides and reel seats come from overseas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sammy, Thanks for the info, I am afraid I will not be able to make the show.

What brand of snake guides is manufactured in the US? I know Strubble proudly builds their real seats in the US. What about REC? Do you know if they manufacture their products here or abroad? I have their catalog and nowhere on it could I find anything mentioning them manufacturing their products in the US. Also what Blanks are still made in the US?

I have been reading up on rod building. I cannot wait to give it a try.

Also I checked out your web site. I would like to see some pictures of the rods you build if you could share them with us.
 

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re: sell out

I'll try and get some answers a little later tonight. Thanks for dropping by the site. It's not finished yet. We are still working on the back ground and I have to manage to keep a rod long enough to get some pics to posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sammy, Your site looks really good so far. Don’t worry about looking for answers to the questions I asked. I thought you might have already known the answers. I will do some research when the time comes
 

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re: sell out

Lets see if I can get this right. We'll go with the parts first:
Bellinger
SnakeBrand, they make the best snake guides I've ever seen.
Strubble
REC
The components from these companies are a good bit higher in price but look very good.

Blank manufactures, excluding St.Croix, Thomas and Thomas and the rest of the big boys that have started importing rods at what they call "entry" level:
Shikari, I'm told it is a indian name
All Star
G Loomis
Graphite USA
Stephen Brothers
Burkenhimer
Talon

If you have the finances you could go to one of the top four and have a blank made for you, but there is usually a minimum order say around 300 units before they would make them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the info Sammy. I am just looking into the possiblity of building a rod for personal use. No ambitions of mass production quite yet.
 

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re: ST.Croix

I understand, just beware when you get ready to do one, my fly tying desk has turned into a book/ supply table. Maybe a couple of times during the year I get to tie a few when I'm low Hellgramites or something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Reply from Paul Schluter President of St Croix

Dear Basil,
Thank you for your message which has been forwarded to me by Mike Neumann in our Service Center. I appreciate hearing from you, and also appreciate this opportunity to respond to your comments.

1. I'll begin by stating that retail prices of fishing rods have been driven downward by competition from imported rods which are built in parts of the world with lower production costs than our own in Park Falls, Wisconsin. Fly rods are no exception to this, and in fact, many new brands of imported fly rods have appeared in the marketplace in the past few years. St. Croix did not create this phenomenon. Nor did we promote it. But imported fly rods have been well received by consumers as long as they offer good value. So as it stands today, virtually all fly rods offered at retail prices below about $170 are built outside of the USA (mainly Korea and China).

2. Prior to about 5 years ago, the vast majority of specialty fly shop owners resisted selling imported fly rods. Today, these same retailers strongly promote these rods because a portion of their customers demand them.

3. No St. Croix employees were displaced as a result of our decision to import Reign fly rods. In fact, our employment level has remained stable for the past several years which is quite remarkable given that an ever increasing percentage of fishing rods sold in the United States are built in countries with lower costs of doing business. Today, about 95% of the fishing rods sold in this country are imported, and there are just a handful of fishing rod manufacturers left in the USA.

4. Both the owners and employees of St. Croix realize that our jobs can be secure only when this company is profitable. We also understand that we cannot remain profitable unless we continuously grow our sales. This is because our cost of doing business increases steadily and rapidly due to conditions which are largely beyond our control. For example, the cost of providing medical insurance for St. Croix's employees has tripled in the past 3 years.

Unfortunately, our cost of doing business is increasing much faster than our ability to absorb these higher costs through improvements in productivity and/or price increases to our customers. As I mentioned in #1 above, the downward pressure on prices caused by the steadily increasing influx of imported fishing rods makes price increases difficult to achieve. So given these factors, all of us in Park Falls realize that to grow our sales, and hence remain profitable, we must assimilate sourced products into our line of fishing rods which we build in Park Falls. These products include fishing reels from England, Japan, and Thailand; and fishing rods from China.

5. We could not build our Reign fly rods in Park Falls and sell them for a profit without substantially raising their prices. And we cannot substantially raise their prices and expect to remain competitive in the current marketplace. Would we prefer to build Reigns in Park Falls? Of course we would! But we can't so we can either concede this price point to other brands of imported rods, or have them build in our sister facility in China. Fortunately for the well being of this company, we chose the later.

6. Our new Reign fly rods offer better performance than the Imperials, which we discontinued. The blanks for our Reign fly rods are designed by our Engineer, Jason Brunner, who designs all of our rod blanks, including those for our top-performance Legend Elite and Legend Ultra fly rods. Furthermore, Reign fly rods are constructed to our exact specifications, under our own supervision.

On the other hand, Imperial fly rods were designed about 15 years ago. Our strategy of continuously improving our products has resulted in our increased ability to design rods blanks since that time. It's certainly your prerogative to prefer the cosmetics of the Imperials, however, you have not asserted that the Imperials perform better than the Reigns. You should know that since their introduction at the Fly Fishing Retailer Show this past September, fly shop owners and buyers have repeated told us that Reigns perform as well as, or in most cases, better than any other rod at the price of the Reigns. And based on early sales results, we expect to sell at least twice as many Reigns in 2006 as we did Imperials in 2005. This fact is a pretty telling story, in and of itself.

7. In the event that your Imperial fly rod becomes damaged, our preference will be to repair it to its original condition. If we cannot do this, then we will replace it with the closest model available at the time.

In summary, all of us at St. Croix strive to provide our customers with outstanding value. This includes offering hundreds of models of premium-performance, USA built fishing rods in the following series: Avid, Legend Ultra, Legend Elite, Premier, Avid, Legend Tournament, Wild River and Tidemaster. Furthermore, having successfully provided outstanding value in products and services for a long period of time (58 years) has earned St. Croix it's reputation as an "American Legend".

I do apologize for the length of my writing, but your assertions about the attitudes of St. Croix's employees relative to the country of origin of our Reign fly rods are simply incorrect and unfounded. In addition, the wording and tone of your message to your "fellow fly fishermen" illustrates your desire to do harm to this company by dissuading others from buying our products. All of us here certainly understand and respect your decision to make buying decisions based upon your own values. But your mission here is to damage St. Croix's reputation because you are not satisfied with the manner in which we might service your Imperial fly rod if it happens to become damaged. Your bitterness is in response to an event has not even occurred!

If you are as concerned about preserving USA jobs as your message implies, then why not promote the purchase of USA made rods over those which are built offshore? Instead, you suggest buying cheaper rods, which inevitably, are imported. How do you think your words affect the job security of the 150 St. Croix employees, not to mention those working for other USA fishing rod builders? Your words only serve to jeopardize the livelihoods of the same people of which you have expressed such concern.

Finally, I ask that in all fairness, you distribute my response to those same fishermen who received your initial comments.

Thank you for your business and I extend an invitation to you and your fellow fishermen to visit our facility in Park Falls. With prior arrangement, I will personally give you a tour and show you how hard we work together to meet or exceed our customer's expectations.

Sincerely,
Paul Schluter
President - St. Croix Rods
 

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Very nice of the president of St. Croix Rods to address your concerns at length Basil and I appreciate your sharing the response with the other members of the board. Fairness and decent behavior from all concerned.

It is certainly a tough time to compete as an American business. But it is good to see the commitment to quality and open, honest communication from the CEO of an American company.
 

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basil did you tick this guy off or what??
nice to see that a ceo will even bother to send a reply let alone one that took 30+ mintues to type out...


zooker
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I thought it was good that he personally replied and felt it was only fair that I include his spin on the issue. I guess the company did not have much choice to stay competitive.

The whole trend still does not sit right with me though. I just think its a shame. You would think in a Country such as ours that things would steadily get better. This is not progress.
 

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re: ST.Croix

Yes, it was nice that he replied. Most will I've had several communications with a "top dog" at American Tackle. A company which uses "American" in its name and advertising but is almost completely selling foriegn components. I have replaced quite a few this summer on repairs.
What they fail to tell you or maybe they just don't realize is the market is flooded with "low priced" blanks on my end. So much so that dealers bought them in bulk and now they can't give them away. I know of one dealer that bought several hundred and after sitting on them for some time has cut them up for reamers to recover some of the cost.
Eventually this will make its way to the finished rod market and you will end up with only 2 catagories, low cost and very high cost. I would also feel safe in saying that the longer it went on the "cheaper" they will make these rods, in as far as you won't see light crisp actions that were first brought out.
Companies will then be faced with trying to fool you with fancy advertising or coming out with thier "premier line" that was actually what they started with back here in the US.
Man I didn't know my two cents worth would take up that much room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
LMHO, I think your right Sammy, thats a pretty good prediction of what will most likely end up happening. :)
 

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Basil---I can certainally understand your frustration involving St. Croix's decision, but having been a small business owner for over 30 years, I can also identify with Mr. Schluter's reasoning for their changes. Its not just our fishing supplies, its all our commodities. I do try to buy most of my fishing supplies and everything else from independently owned stores and American goods whenever possible. As for our U.S. manufacturing, we have already shot one foot off and it appears that China will chop the other one off.

Regards, Forrest
 

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I have a St. Croix imperial 9' 8wt that I use for bassin and a 6 wt I bought as my first fly rod......the 8 wt is a better Bass rod than the Avid I purchased a few years later!!!!! The Imperial and old premier lines were absolutely ideal warm water rods. I will keep mine as long as I can. Hopefully I'll pass them to my sons in about a year or two. I must admit I purchased a reign bait casting rod and a spin rod before I learned they were not made in the USA.
 
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