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Hot Products for 2023 - Part I: Fishing Rods

Hot Products for 2023 - Part I: Fishing Rods

With the season hitting full stride now, most anglers have either gotten out for a few casts or are planning to do so any day now. Hopefully, your fishing arsenal is up to par and ready to go as the stripers, weakfish, scup and fluke bites all increase in intensity over the next few weeks, soon to be joined by sea bass and offshore action.

Inevitabley, though, those first couple of shakedown runs point out a few holes left over from last year’s busy season, as well as a couple tackle upgrades you might want to make. Maybe a new spinning or conventional reel, a super-sensitive jigging rod or some new foul weather gear is on your shopping list. Of course, you might want to add something new to your lure arsenal as well.

With just these thoughts in mind, here’s a quick two-part rundown on some hot gear for the 2023 season, all available now at the shop or from www.whitewateroutfitters.com.

Fishing Sticks:

St. Croix Sole Saltwater Fishing Systems:

The all-new St. Croix Sole Saltwater Fishing Systems appeal to anglers seeking precision-balanced high performance in a pre-matched inshore spinning rod and reel combo from a brand they can trust. Essentially, they take the guesswork out of trying to match the perfect rod and reel by offering both in a single package. Four lightweight, versatile and powerful Sole models feature St. Croix’s newest formulation of sensitive and durable SCII carbon, further strengthened with FRS technology that are matched to ultra-smooth and saltwater-proven Sole spinning reels. Price: From $225.

St. Croix Seage Surf Series:

St. Croix’s tech-forward Seage Surf Series rods begin with a brand-new formulation of premium, light and sensitive SCII carbon material, which increases flexural strength while reducing weight. From there, St. Croix adds ARTTM and all-new Veil technology for extreme strength and next-level durability. The thin and lightweight Seage Surf Series encompasses 12 models ranging from 7’ to 12’ with medium-light to heavy powers. Whether you fish the back bays, open ocean beaches, jetty rocks or in the shadow of Montauk Light, we’ve got an option that’s perfect for you.

Price: From $210.

St. Croix Mojo Inshore Spinning and Casting Series:

Whether bottom-fishing for fluke, scup and sea bass, wrestling over-sized stripers from inlets or hoping to score your first cobia in Long Island waters, St. Croix’s popular Mojo Inshore Series has the strength, durability and “feel” to keep you ahead of the pack. This series begins with lighter, upgraded one-piece SCIII carbon blanks, further enhanced via Integrated Poly Curve (IPC) mandrel technology for increased strength and smoother actions. Light, medium-light, and medium-power models have full-cork handles, while medium-heavy, heavy and extra-heavy power rods have full-length cork and EVA combination handles with a non-marring rubber gimble, affording additional protection and keeping them secure in rocket launchers and other rod holders during rough rides to the fishing grounds.

The series includes 19 spinning and 8 casting rods, each providing the flexibility to target virtually any species along the Northeast coast while offering a staggering combination of technology, durability, performance and value.

Price: From $170.

Jigging World Ghost Hunter Series Spining and Conventional Rods:

Looking for a new set of offshore rods that can really take a beating? The Ghost Hunter Jigging Series is exactly what you need. Built on one of Jigging World’s strongest carbon fiber offshore jigging blanks, these rods are designed for anglers seeking a fast action blank with incredible power that’s impeccably finished. The series has models to wrestle aboard anything from blufin tuna down to black sea bass. Extremely popular in New England, these rods will shine in our own waters as well. Models are available in both spinning and conventional styles, and weights ranging from 250 to 450 grams.

Price: From $279.

ZCR Custom 80/130 XXL Giant Tuna Rods:

The ultimate rod for fighting giant bluefin tuna out of the rod holder, ZCR’s custom 80/130 giant tuna rods are built on their own exclusive platform. Featuring an exceptionally powerful butt section while maintaining a soft tip to prevent pulled hooks at boatside under high drag pressure, this rod is best suited for a 130-lb.-class reel but will also match up well with an 80-lb.-class setup. With Winthrop roller guides, EVA foam foregrip, and an ALPS #6 curved Aluminum Uni-Butt, plus an optional Winthrop T-10X Adjusta-Butt, these all black tuna sticks come in an XXL length of 8’0”. Price: $1,349.99. NOTE: ZCR does not use the Thrasher 80/130XL or 80/130 XXL blanks noted on the website. They would prefer if we say “the rods are built on their own exclusive platform,” as in the above copy. 

Sage SALT R8 Saltwater Fly Rods:

Sage dubs the Salt R8 series as being the ultimate flats flyrod and they are, but they’ll also pull double duty throughout the bays, Long Island Sound and on near-shore ocean waters when targeting surface feeding stripers, bluefish and false albacore. In short, they are a great all-around choice for anglers working floating and intermediate fly lines on the flats while targeting predators feeding relatively close to the surface.

With 9-foot models that can easily and smoothly throw 6-WT to 12-WT lines there’s a perfect match available whether you target schoolies to cows or Fat Alberts to ‘gator blues. Designed for fine-touch shots and precise presentations with an intuitive “sweet spot” that prioritizes touch and speed for shorter on-demand casts, these rods are also powerful enough to end a battle quickly for a successful release. Additionally, they feature corrosion-resistant Titanium Fuji K-guides with an angled shape that prevents snags and tangling in the chaos of the fight. Large chrome snake guides and tip-top allow larger saltwater knots to pass through with ease while a heavy duty reel seat and oversized locking rings keep the reel tight to the rod during every encounter.

Price: $1100.

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  • Bryce Poyer