The term “gypsy” often gets a raw deal. Used derogatively, the label evokes notions of nomadic merchants peddling questionable goods and services from village to village, leaving an oil slick of hoodwinks and abracadabras.

That’s the ugly image.

Certain villagers in Park Falls, Wisconsin, however, like to think of gypsies in a more positive light.

To this, St. Croix Rod recently partnered with fishing’s nomadic conquistador, Capt. Ray Van Horn, and his traveling television show, The Gypsy Angler. The premise behind Van Horn’s popular program is one man’s calculated approach to conquering a particular piece of water.

Florida based, Van Horn takes advantage of the Sunshine State’s treasure-trove of opportunities and fish species unimaginable. “I don’t just fish for one species in one location, or one part of Florida for that matter,” confirms Van Horn. Rather, the cerebral nomad sources and scouts areas in search of the hottest bites. “I do my homework, only hiring guides occasionally,” says Van Horn, underscoring the show’s doctrine of teaching anglers how to discover and then solve new bodies of water.

Fishing so spot-and-species specific requires tactics that are as precise as a shotgun offense lining up against a 3/4 defense. And because of Van Horn’s penchant for detail, he also chooses equipment with grave scrutiny, fishing rods included.

“St. Croix builds technology into each of their species-specific rods,” says Van Horn. “Few companies make all the styles of rods I need in a season of filming. Fly fishing, inshore, bass or whatever I’m after, St. Croix has it covered. And to get that kind of quality across all of their lines is unique to say the least.

“Literally, I did cartwheels when St. Croix selected me as a partner.”

There’s also a patriotic side to Van Horn that further cements his bond with St. Croix. “I work with American-born companies, which includes all of my sponsors.” The vast majority of St. Croix rods are engineered and crafted to completion right in Park Falls, WI – as born in the USA as it gets.

St. Croix Rod claims to manufacture “The Best Rods on Earth.” Van Horn goes deeper into space contending they build, “The best rods on earth, and any other planet you choose to fish.”

Guess we shouldn’t be surprised that this gypsy already has his eyes fixed on the fourth planet from the sun. And if he finds fish, suffice to say St. Croix will build a rod for him.

Image courtesy St. Croix Rod

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