If you listen closely, you can actually hear the sound an inferior fishing rod makes under pressure.

It starts with the incessant “creak” as a shoddy outer finish crinkles while the blank bends under extreme strain, followed by an angler-exasperating “Crack!” as it fractures and splinters. And then there’s the boisterous “Bang!” – audible the millisecond the line breaks; it’s so loud it sounds like someone fired a rifle next to your head.

Rod broke; fish lost; costly tackle tumbles to the bottom of the drink. Talk about getting torqued under tension!

There’s no doubting a skirmish with silvery-sided salmon can put an enormous amount of strain on a rod. Now add to the angling equation the torque of techniques like trolling in-line divers with huge flashers and flies in tow, or tossing lead nearing the half-pound mark when fishing in furious current conditions. Operating these strike-educing schemes alone is enough to break down the integrity of a substandard stick.

Responding to the woes of frustrated guides, professional anglers and weekend warriors of the Pacific Northwest, the crack engineers at St. Croix Rod designed the critical Wild River series; all built to tame these beastly species and the demanding techniques used to catch them.

New for 2014 are three potent additions to the series— in 9-, 9.5- and 10.5-foot lengths—packing extra-heavy power with moderate actions; all able to withstand the twisted techniques of the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and even trolling the Great Lakes. And all are built on St. Croix’s premium SCII graphite blanks, which allow an angler to feel every shake of the fish’s head and pulse of their tail.

“The new Wild River models have the power to survive methods anglers use along all the Pacific Coastal areas and rivers, and perform incredibly well when reeling in massive fish weighing 50 pounds and more, ” says Oregon St. Croix pro staffer John Krauthoefer of Firefighters Guide Service. “They perform wonderfully for any technique that puts a lot of stress on equipment, yet lets the angler enjoy the fight while reeling in strong-willed salmon and steelhead.”

Built with superior-quality cork, the handles provide comfort in cold- and wet-weather conditions, and two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish secure the double-foot Kigan Master Hand 3D guides tightly to the blank, which flexes fully and impressively when fighting a fish.

Of course, like all models in the Wild River series, these new tough additions are backed by St. Croix’s 5-year warranty with Superstar Service, and handcrafted in the USA.

There’s no need for ear plugs when fighting a salmon or steelhead on St. Croix’s Wild River rods; the loudest sound you’ll hear is fish hitting the inside of the ice chest.

Image courtesy St. Croix Rod

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