St. Croix will be introducing the updated Avid Series Surf Rods at ICAST 2019, and they will be available later this year.
My first “nice” surf rod was a St. Croix Ben Doerr Series 10-footer. It was much lighter and more responsive than the heavy, slow-action rods I’d been using to chuck clams. It was my first plugging rod, and I loved it.
I thought of that rod when I pulled the new St. Croix Avid out of the shipping tube last month. St. Croix had gone back to the Avid Series’ roots with a stealthy charcoal finish, a return to a classic look after the candy apple finish on the previous Avid model. Another change from the previous Avids was the action, at least on the 10-foot, 1- to 4-ounce-rated model, which seemed to have moderated a bit. The red Avids were very fast, which I liked for some specific applications, but not as much for an all-around surf rod. When I wiggled the new Avid, after fitting it with a Van Staal VS 200, I could feel that the rod had a bit more touch, and on my first outing with it, I comfortably worked bucktails, swimming plugs, and pencil poppers. The rod’s action is “crisp” but not so fast that I lost the feel of a sweeping jig.
I tested the lower end of the 1- to 4-ounce rating, and found that it easily cast 1-ounce Red Fins and bucktails, and could launch 2.5- to 3-ounce topwaters. The rod could definitely handle 4 ounces, but for bait. I think it’s a bit too soft to effectively fish a large metal lip or heavier jig.
While the look and feel reminded me of the Ben Doerr, St. Croix has made some major technological advancements in the past 20 years. According to the company:
Avid Surf rods combine St. Croix’s Integrated Poly Curve® (IPC®) mandrel technology with premium, high-modulus SCIII carbon for exceptional strength, smooth power and increased sensitivity. They also sport Fuji® K-Series KW tangle-free guides with Alconite® rings and Corrosion Control™ frame treatment for superior casting distance and improved corrosion protection. The Fuji® DPS Deluxe reel seat with Back Stop™ lock nut and matte grey hoods ensures the reel stays locked in place, while a custom cork tape handle with machined trim pieces provides a sure, comfortable and resilient grip.
Except for the two lightest spinning rods, the Avids are all two-piece, but with the 70:30 split and the slim ferrules, they fish like a one piece.
St. Croix Pro, and well-known surfcaster, Crazy Alberto Knie, said of the rods:
“They have the length, strength and leverage to overpower a cow striper, ‘snookzilla’ or even [tarpon] when these trophies plow for structure or make a last-ditch run right in the wash. These new Avids have the look, feel and ability of a high-end custom-designed rod at a great price for surf rats looking to jump to the next level.”
Meaning, just like the Ben Doerr series two decades ago, these rods (priced between $250 and $420) are perfect for the fishermen looking to step up to a high-quality setup without spending the money for a custom or top-of-the-line factory rod (like the St. Croix Legend series).
The Avid series is meant to be fished hard, and I plan on doing just that for the second half of the 2019 striper season. I’ve gotten a lot of casting practice on it so far, and hope to soon feel that big-fish-stopping power that Crazy Alberto was talking about.
The rods are designed and handcrafted at the St. Croix Rod factory in Park Falls, U.S.A., Avid Surf series rods are available in seven spinning and three casting models to handle any surf fishing duty. Spinning rods range in length from 7’ to 12’, while casting choices run 10’ to 12’. Each rod carries a 15-year transferable warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service.
- 7’ one-piece, medium power, fast action (VSS70MF)
- 8’ one-piece, medium power, moderate-fast action (VSS80MMF)
- 9’ two-piece, medium power, moderate-fast action (VSS90MMF2)
- 9’6” two-piece, medium-heavy power, fast action (VSS96MHF2)
- 10’ two-piece, medium power, fast action (VSS10MF2)
- 11’ two-piece, medium-heavy power, fast action (VSS110MHF2)
- 12’ two-piece, heavy power, moderate-fast action (VSS12HMF2)
- 10’ two-piece, medium power, fast action (VSC100MF2)
- 11’ two-piece, medium-heavy power, fast action (VSC110MHF2)
- 12’ two-piece, heavy power, moderate-fast action (VSC120HMF2)