Premier US rod maker St. Croix is ‘investing’ in its international business as it prepares to launch a new range of pike rods later this year.
The series – the LT (Legend Tournament) Pike Casting Rods – will be manufactured in St. Croix’s Park Falls facility, the same site that produces the company’s hugely successful Victory, Legend and Avid ranges. It will begin to be shipped in November.
“We have been strategic in our approach to international markets with the goal of being more sensitive and responsive to local market needs, and this brand new collection of rods is at the vanguard of those efforts,” said St. Croix Director of Marketing Jesse Simpkins. “Pike fishing is a very popular category, particularly in Europe, and fits well with St. Croix’s heritage. We feel this is the best place to start.”
Evidence of St. Croix’s seriousness about its overseas business is the appointment of an international representative, Greg Goddard, based in Geneva, Switzerland. Goddard is charged with identifying international opportunities and recommending how the company goes to market in those regions.
“It’s not that we have done anything wrong up to now, but rather that we have not given international markets sufficient focus and investment,” added Simpkins. “Now we truly intend to open up the brand internationally and this is the first step.”
The new series will comprise six fast-action casting rods designed for throwing artificial baits. But Simpkins is quick to stress that ‘these are not muskie rods turned into pike rods.’
Top European anglers and existing St. Croix distributers have been closely involved in the development of the series over the past two years to ensure they are perfect for purpose. Florida Fishing, the St. Croix distributor in France, was instrumental in developing the brief and testing this new series. “They have been key players in making sure these rods are the best they can possibly be,” said Simpkins.
“The blanks for the series are made using St. Croix’s SCIV+ Plus material, which makes the rods light and balanced without compromising on power.”
The pike range will be at the higher end of the price scale, with St. Croix reluctant to compromise on the quality for which it is admired. The company will manage the initial distribution trough existing distributors, while it is also seeking distributors in regions where it is not currently present. Meanwhile, the brand is looking at launch opportunities for other species-specific rods. “This is only the start,” said Simpkins.