Posted on October 12 2010
St. Croix Moves to Nano-Particle Resin
After extensive testing in the laboratory and on the water, St. Croix adopted the new 3M™ Matrix Resin to bond the high-modulus/high-strain graphite fibers used in all of their highest performance Legend Elite rods, as well as a new series of specialty fly rods named the Bank Robber. The new 3M Matrix Resin is unique because it uses nano-sized spheres of silica as a homogeneous, non-abrasive filler between the carbon fibers of a graphite rod blank, which results in a much stronger finished product.
Fishing rods break when over-flexed because the carbon fibers endure “micro-buckling” on the compression side of the tubular structure. This micro-buckling, visible only with an electron microscope, results in either immediate blank failure or a permanent weak spot – which breaks the next time the rod is over-flexed. The “nano-silica” particles in the 3M Matrix Resin pack together to reinforce the individual carbon fibers during compression when the rod is flexed, which resists micro-buckling – and significantly improves the hoop and flex strength of the blank, resulting in a much stronger blank with increased sensitivity – all without changing the weight, action or power of the finished rod.
“The new 3M Matrix Resin has opened the door for us to become more creative in our rod blank designs,” explained Jason Bruner, St. Croix’s Director of Engineering. “The strength improvement we’ve seen in our laboratory is incredible, with a 30% average increase in strength on existing products. The new 3M Matrix Resin has also allowed us to push the limits of design in new rod series, like our new Legend Salt. In that case, we were able to create substantially lighter, more sensitive saltwater rods without compromising strength.”
Bank Robber Series
St. Croix and Kelly Galloup have co-developed a mini-series of specialized streamer fly rods named the Bank Robber – built specifically for “pounding the bank” with streamers along major trout rivers. Kelly Galloup is a well-known fly designer, outfitter, writer, seminar speaker and lodge owner on Montana’s Madison River. His Butt Monkey, Zoo Cougar and other innovative patterns have led the recent revolution in streamer fly fishing.
“We’ve known and respected Kelly for years,” explained Jeff Schluter, St. Croix’s vice president of marketing, “so when Kelly decided he wanted to create the ultimate streamer rod, we knew it was the right project for St. Croix.We have the same philosophy and core values, so it’s truly exciting to work side-by-side with Kelly. The Bank Robbers are built exactly the way Kelly wanted them.”
The new mini-series features two 9′ 4-piece rods rated for 6-weight and 7-weight lines. Built on high-modulus/highstrain SCV graphite blanks and reinforced with super-high-modulus SCVI graphite in lower sections for added power with reduced weight, they’re two of the first St. Croix rods to feature 3M™ Matrix Resin. Bank Robbers are fitted with Fuji K stripper guides and Fuji MN tops, both with Alconite rings, and hard chrome snake guides – with all thread wraps protected by two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish. The handles feature lightweight machined-aluminum reel seats with built in hook-keepers and flora-grade cork grips. All Bank Robbers are handcrafted in Park Falls, Wisconsin, and come with a rugged rod case with handle and divided polypropylene liner. They are protected by a lifetime limited warranty and will retail for $400.
As mentioned above, St. Croix’s Legend Elite fly rod series has been upgraded for 2011: the SCV graphite blanks with carbon-matte scrim now feature the new 3M Matrix Resin.
“The updated Legend Elites continue to represent the state-of-the-art in fly rod design,” explained Jeff Schluter, St. Croix’s vice president of marketing. “We’ve combined our SCVI and SCV graphite fibers with 3M’s amazing new Matrix Resin. Plus, each blank features proprietary Advanced Reinforcing Technology for additional hoop strength and slim-profile ferrule design. Finally, we rolled the blanks on mandrels designed with our Integrated Poly Curve tooling technology. The result is a breakthrough in smooth casting power, lightweight feel, and rugged durability – all with no increase in retail price.”
MSRP $410 to $520