Stick with spike
ST CROIX is an American rod company based in the mid-west state of Wisconsin. Found in 1948, St Croix is well known in the US as being a premium brand, especially in the bass and fly fishing markets. A few Yankee mates of mine living over here rave about their St Croix rods and bemoan that fact that they often aren’t readily available in local tackle shops.
St Croix probably hasn’t had the exposure it deserves in this market, but that could all change with the release of the “Australian Collection” of rods. Queensland-based tackle company Tacspo has been working with St Croix to develop a range of rods specific to our conditions and our fish. Fisho was lucky enough to test out the “Australian Collection” AVID/AVS63MH, a gutsy one-piece spin stick rated for 8-14lb line, during a recent trip to Coffs Harbour. Measuring 6’3”, this fast-actioned rod features the almost incredible stiffness inherent to the premium Legend Elite ES66MF spin stick we tested back in February 2008 issue. I ended up buying that rod, and it has since become one of my favourite snapper and flattie jigging sticks.
The AVS63MF is a class up from the ES66MF in regards to power and a class or two down as far as componentry and finish is concerned. I’d rate it as medium to heavy snapper rod as it’s well suited to 20lb braid and easily casts 7” plastics on 1/2 to 5/8oz heads. Anglers who specialise in casting lures for cod and barra, as well as though who chase spade-headed flatties, would also appreciate what this rod has to offer.
When I first used it I thought it might be a tad short for getting the long casts so vital when chasing reds in shallow water, but it surprised me by actually being a pretty nice casting tool. The super fast IPC blank loads up crisply and allows a nice, snappy cast, even with an unwieldy plastic dangling from the trace.
Both the ES66MF and the AVS65MH possess uniquely “spiky” blank characteristics. The ES66MF in particular is incredibly stiff and fast. This makes these rods ideal for active lure fishing, such as when using plastics for reds and flathead. The sensitivity and “feel” offered by the super-responsive blank material, combined with the fast actioned power and low-down grunt, make both these rods very nice to use. The new AVS63MH isn’t the sort of rod you’d buy if your preferred style of fishing involves quietly soaking a bait; rather, it’s for anglers who like to actively search out fish with repeated casts and entice strikes via aggressive rodwork.
As far as cosmetics are concerned, the AVS6MH is fairly understated with a slate grey blank and bindings. Fuji SIC guides and no-fuss cork grips round out what is essentially a workmanlike but classy package.
The rod comes complete with a rod sack for added protection and should retail for about $399.
By Jim Harnwell.