Tops on the Gift List: St. Croix Imperial Fly Rod

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Why not put a fly rod on your holiday wish list? Or, better yet, give the gift of a fly rod, and you inevitably give the gift of fly fishing. Joe Cermele and I put together a big list of our favorite gift ideas, from big ticket items to fishy stocking stuffers, which you can check out here. But I decided that a rod had to top my list. And for the best all-around fly rod value, I think it's mighty difficult to beat a St. Croix Imperial. Classic brand. Costs $200. Smooth casting, fast action rod. Tough as nails. Backed by a lifetime warranty. And best of all it is--and will continue to be--made in the U.S.A.

And that, for me, is the real kicker. I've seen enough cheap imports with flashy endorsements. I also know that most anglers (like 99 percent) cannot tell the difference between a $200 rod and a $700 rod, at least when it comes to casting. So how about a rod that's a proven performer, that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and is made in Park Falls, Wisconsin? St. Croix recently reaffirmed its commitment to making Imperials in the U.S.A., and I say bully for them. The Imperial might be the best "feel good" product in fly fishing now.

One other thing: While everyone is beating a path to the outlet mall, or surfing the web for cyber deals, you might think about going to a fly shop and supporting a small business. Your fly shop needs your business more than ever.