A behind-the-scenes look at rod building at the St. Croix Rods factory
Grab your fishing pole and let’s go fishing’.
It’s a phase I’ve heard and used many times before. Who knew it’s been wrong all these years. If it’s made to hold a reel it is not actually called a fishing pole. It should be called a fishing rod. I learned that – and much more – when I had the privilege of touring the St. Croix Rods factory in Park Falls and, more importantly, meeting the town’s people who handcraft what St. Croix calls “The Best Rods on Earth.”
It was like stepping into a live episode of How it’s Made. I shared this experience with a few other media members who also had a special privilege of snapping photos. Some of the employees I met in the factory had been working at St. Croix for over 30 years. They all had their own stories to tell and were proud to work there. Machines, of course, are involved in the process, but it’s not a machine that builds fishing rods. That’s done by people. The hands of those who craft the rods are amazingly consistent and the process is meticulous. Couple having the latest technology with employees who care about their job and that’s the St. Croix secret to success. Before walking through the clean factory, I had no idea how much work went into making a rod. And to be honest, I have never really thought about it.
Before a rod leaves the factory, at least 32 sets of hands are involved in building and testing each rod before it goes out the door. Some rods see 36 sets of hands.
Here’s a look at the work done by some of those sets of hands …