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St Croix Fishing Rods

Best Rods On Earth

Monday July 16, 2018

Experienced fishing guides are often asked to promote or endorse products for manufacturers. I suppose because we are on the water over 300 days a year and our show of confidence in a product speaks volumes to anglers. I've been using St. Croix rods for several years and over the course of time I have slowly replaced my quiver of rods for the preferred St. Croix. Go figure, a Florida saltwater guide using a Wisconsin manufacturer's rods...

In 2003, St. Croix's promotion manager, Rich Belanger offered me the opportunity to be on their guide program.

As a seasoned guide, I know that endorsing a product should be seriously considered before accepting. I always consider quality, performance and functionallity, but I'm a stickler when it comes to price and value... that's where St. Croix really excells. Here's the saltwater line-up for what I use.


I exclusively use this rod with 8 pound test and 2000 series reels for giant redfish and spotted seatrout. I love to watch anglers bring in ladyfish and small backwater tarpon with these versitile rods. They are great rods for light artificials and small live-bait because you can cast a country mile and in our lagoons distance and accuracy count...

Don't think there's enough power and backbone in this light-tackle? That's a sixteen (16) pound snook (above) caught on this rod with 8 pound test. If official... it's an IGFA world record!  Try that on a Wal-Mart rod!

[Going For Records]

Yeah, I know eight foot rods don't store well in homes with low ceilings but ohhhhh... do they cast. I switched to eight footers for my personal use several years ago and immediatly noticed I could get 15% or more extra casting distance, better hook sets and control when slugging-it-out with saltwater beast. I use 10 pound test with these rods and 4000 series reels. I'm serious about IGFA regulations and use Ande Backcountry, but if I were not, I'd use a braided like powerpro or Spiderwire to get an additional 15% casting distance.

[Girls On Big Redfish Video]

You want to know a fishing secret? Sure you do! Live bait in saltwater produces big fish. I use these rods for live-baiting in the lagoon and inshore beach areas for redfish, snook, tarpon, shark and just about anything else that will bite. If you fish with me enough you'll quickly understand how effective live-baits can be when presented properly and these eight foot sticks have pumped in world class snook, redfish and trout.  Tarpon over 100 pounds have fallen to this rod also!
I use 12 pound test and 3500 series baitrunners on these rods so I can fish multiple rods and let the fish run for a few seconds (if needed) before setting the hook.

[Live Baiting Snook Movie]

Tip: Cast further use lighter line & longer rods....


Baitcasting for largemouth bass in Florida has become a past-time for this guide. Why? When I can hook-up with brawling, gill rattling snook in the backwaters, inlets, docks and various structures in the brined waters of Central and South Florida. Bass fishing becomes... well... anticlimatic.
No pistol-grips when you fish in our waters. You'll get that rod pried from your wet bloody hand before you can wipe the saltwater spray from your eyes when a giant snook or tarpon explodes on your bait.
This is a powerful rod for coaxing fish out of structure. I use 15 pound test and my clients often have their *BVD's removed when a determined snook shows them what he's made of.

*BVD: Brandname of undergarments. Having them removed is a slightly southern (maybe redneck) term for being "taken to the cleaners", "having your clock cleaned", etc...

There are fishing locations where the snook actually display BVD's in the mangroves like trophies above the fireplace.

Tip: Bring an extra pair of BVD's when fishing for snook in structure...

Long rods for longer casting won't leave you longing for longer fish. If you need that extra bit of distance in your cast and eight foot casting rod will help you leverage that lure or bait further into the fishing pockets.

Combined with your favorite casting reel this St. Croix rod will man-handle almost any inshore fish boatside.


One of my clients was struggling with a minimum requirement for fly fishing for tailing redfish in the lagoon... A fifty foot cast.  He missed several opportunities and was obviously frustrated as each fish eventually spooked when I tightened the distance between angler and prey by poling closer.

As a guide with redneck tendancies, I'm well aware of the male ego so I was careful about offering assistance with a fly-casting lesson and use of my equipment (his sluggish offbrand 8 wieght was just not up to the task), but felt compelled to offer the suggestion.
I explained, "You must consistantly be able to cast half your fly-line (50 ft.) and preferably 70 feet if you want to increase your hookup ratio. I can help you, if you desire." I suggested with empathy.
To that, I received a tort reply from the angler and his midwestern fishing partner: "B*ll Sh*t No one can consistantly cast a fly seventy feet and be that accurate too, I've fly fished for 35 years and that's a fact."

With that said I left well enough alone and decided that I'd wait for them ASK for assistance. After all I have an ego too!  Shortly afterward we had another failed endeavor on a cooperative redfish, I felt the need to take a break for a diversion because the frustration was taking it's toll on the angler and his partner. I interupted, "Let's take a minute and drink some water and eat some of my wife's homemade muffins." Which was welcomed promply after I displayed. Gina's muffins are rarely denied.

While resting and admiring the Florida wildlife (manatees) and weather, I pulled out my St. Croix 8 weight and proceeded to strip off my entire flyline, organize it on the deck of the boat and stretch it with each pull as if maintaining or conditioning the monocore to rid it any memory. I could feel the anglers watching me as they chattered over the poling platform helping themselves to the muffins.

Yanking all the flyline off the reel, I promply made two false cast sending sixty feet or more aloft and shot the remaining line on the deck through the guides and pegging the end of the 100 foot monocore line, exposing a few inches of backing at the end of the rod just the way Chico Fernendez taught me 14 years ago.

Making a long story shorter: They had their double haul lesson caught a redfish apiece and traded their "other brand" flyrods for St. Croixs'.

Tip: Buy St. Croix rods

Best Fishing Rods for Florida

Reviewed by Captain Richard Bradley on Last modified: July 09 2018 18:12:59.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

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Fishing Reports

July - 2018 Fishing Report

Fishing Forecast

July - 2018 Fishing Forecast

It's hot and July proves to turn the temperatures up to firecracker levels as the Daytona 500 approaches and so does our nation's independence day. You won't find many cooperative fish on the Banana River Lagoon during July unless it's during the early morning hours or late evening. The lagoon's lack of tidal flow is it's downfall during the warmer months and extremely hot summers can almost stop the fish bite altogether during the daylight hours. Look northward toward the Mosquito Lagoon or south at Sebastian Inlet for better redfish and sea trout results. Snook can make a pretty good showing during the cooler mornings, but after the sun comes up to mid-morning strength look for the fishing to slow down quickly. You'll find excellent fishing out of Port Canaveral and on the beaches during July so ask your guide about fishing close to the beach during July and you won't be disapointed.

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Lagooner Fishing Guides
Cocoa Beach's premier saltwater fishing guide with over 25 years of charter fishing experience in his native waters.
Telephone: 321-868-4953

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Cocoa Beach, FL

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Inshore and Offshore Charter Fishing near Orlando and Cocoa Beach, Florida. Catch redfish, sea trout, tarpon, snook and many other saltwater gamefish aboard the world famous Lagooner flats fishing boat with renowned Captain Richard Bradley.

Great guide and lots of fun!!! - My wife and I have been fishing with Capt. Richard and Capt Gina for years. We have been out many times with them and always have a great time and catch fish. We love going to go to eat with them at a local place that will cook the fish we catch. They are super people and we try to get with them annually. Give them a try and you will be glad you did.
about Lagooner Fishing Charters on February 20, 2015

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