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St. Croix Imperial i602.2

Score 3.83


6', 2-Piece, MSRP $150.00, AA  63, ERN  1.28




St.Croix Imperial 1602.2 (6' pc) Paul Jeremy Jim Joe Composite Score
1.)  Rod Tube, Sock and Presentation 4 5 5 4 4.5
2.)  Grip and Reel Seat 4 4 4 4 4
3.)  Hook Keeper, Label and Rod Markings 3 4 4 4 3.75
4.)  Guides, Ferrules and Tip-Top 3 4 4 3 3.5
5.)  Short Distance Casting 3 5 5 4 4.25
6.)  Medium and Long Distance Casting 3 4 3 4 3.5
7.)  Roll Casting 2 5 4 3 3.5
8.)  Accuracy and Delicacy of Fly Delivery 2 4 4 4 3.5
9.)  Fish Handling 2 5 4 5 4
10.)  Reviewer's Prerogative 2 5 4 4 3.75
Composite Score 2.80 4.50 4.10 3.90 3.83


Jim Stuard's Comments:  Quite surprising, this mitey mite comes in at 6’ and delivers the goods in a way the only rod close to it in functionality (the Hardy graphite) can’t; value. In my opinion, if the ugly duckling Green Stix rod hadn’t stolen my heart by casting so damned well, this rod would easily have won for best value. Between the packaging, finish level and castability, it’s right up there with the more expensive rods and a true 2wt by my estimation. 


Joe Cornwall's Comments:  Scary good, that's how I'll describe this budget stick from an iconic manufacturer that's been around this business long enough to know how to get it right.  In my notes I wrote: "It casts so easily, it's like casting with a thought."  Accurate beyond reasonable expectations and a level of feel, both during the cast and with a fish on, that is more than any reasonable angler could ask for in a rod twice this price.  I'll let my final, scribbled note describe how I really feel about the Imperial - "This might be the best all-around panfish rod I've ever cast."  Perfect match with the BP UL!  This rod certainly makes my top 5 list from this review, perhaps my top 3.


Jeremy Kurtz's Comments: St.Croix has brought back the Imperial line of rods. This little 6 footer is what I feel, to be the best of the 6 foot rods in the shoot-out. It is light weight, smooth casting, and very responsive.  It is quick, but not stiff, and casts a nice loop. Casts very well in close, on out to mid-range. The rod lets smaller fish show off with excellent feel, although I would not feel comfortable with a large bass on the other end. This rod isn't intended for that. Think small stream trout, and bluegills. You may want to try this one with a 1wt line. The blank is a nice burgundy color. The guides are chrome snakes, and the wraps and finish are good. The seat is an aluminum up-lock with a nice rosewood insert. St. Croix has another winner here!


Paul Feldman's Comments:  This rod was not my cup of tea, or should I say, “cup o noodles”. It’s one of those short, ultra limber rods that I usually refer to as “noodle” rods. It does OK on a short line but you sure can’t push it if more distance is needed. I found that I needed to use a little extra wrist action to turn the fly over on longer casts. It might be a fine rod if you are seeking brook trout on a small creek or bluegills on a farm pond, but if a breeze picks up, reel in and head for home.  On the plus side, I thought the grip was the perfect size for a 2 weight rod (most are too large) and the reel seat was very attractive for a relatively inexpensive rod.


Manufacturer's Comments:

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