#14-tie    St. Croix  Imperial     9 foot #8      $260.00

St. Croix Imperial

buy nowSt. Croix Imperial

Here is a rod that we labeled the best inexpensive rod a few years ago.  It still does a pretty good job and the price is right.  But today we are seeing new inexpensive rods built in Korea like the Mystic Reaper that are better, using higher modulus graphite, giving us a rod with a much lower swing weight.  But if you are looking for an inexpensive 8-weight made in the US, the Imperial is still a good choice.  The Imperial is a handsome dark cherry red rod with complimentary red wraps.  They use a nice, comfortable full wells grip with a gray anodized, double uplocking seat that has nice big locking rings that are easy to grip.  An extension butt is use with a nice big rubber butt cap.  Guides are two SiC stripping guides with the rest hard chrome snake guides.


George’s casting notes:


Performance at 35 feet:  18 points out of 20

Middle of the road in feel and accuracyThe best rods are far lighter in swing weight.


Performance at 60 feet:  18.5 points out of 20

Good, but the HMG was better and more accurate.  And the BVK blew it away.


Performance at 80 feet: 18 points out of 20

I can force it but I’m not getting very good accuracy.  Again, the HMG was better. 


Performance at 100 feet: 17 points out of 20

Going yard is not easy and you won’t be doing it with any wind.


James Anderson:

#11 St. Croix Imperial     9’#8      $260      68.5/80

St. Croix Imperial

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This St. Croix Imperial is another rod that shines in close but looses gas quickly at longer distances or in the wind.  Now that less expensive rods are outperforming it, (Fenwick Aetos, Fenwick HMG, Redington Predator, Echo Base, and Mystic Reaper) it’s time for St. Croix to step up and go back to the drawing board.  The one good thing about the Imperial is that it’s still made in the USA, major props to St. Croix for that.


Performance at 35 feet:  19.5 points out of 20 The Imperial feels pretty darn sweet at this distance.  Accurate with a delicate presentation, I could see this rod being very useful when sight fishing for spooky fish.    

Performance at 60 feet:  17 points out of 20 OK but not great.  The Imperial doesn’t have enough power plus it feels a little too heavy in hand to score above average.

Performance at 80 feet:  16 points out of 20 Well, plain and simple – the Imperial needs more power.  


Hit the Hun?  16 points out of 20   Nope…

Capt. Jamie Allen:

#10 (tie) St. Croix Imperial 


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These rods (St. Croix Imperial and G.Loomis PRO4x) are not each companies top of the line rod but both will get the job done at a reasonable price. Both are medium fast rods that track well. The St. Croix feels like it has a nicer swing weight while the Loomis has a little more power.



Capt. Skip Zink:

#7 (tie) St. Croix Imperial          56/60

St Croix Imperial

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Good balance and swing weight, OK guides, tracked well, not a fast rod but good enough.