Wednesday, March 9, 2016

St. Criox Imperial 6wt 9' Review

St. Criox Imperial

The St. Criox Imperial was the first fly rod I've ever held and fished with. I've come to know this rod very... intimately. All creepiness aside, this rod has helped me catch carp, bluegill, largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, striped, rainbows, browns, steelhead, suckerfish, hardhead, shad, and the list continues to grow. This was my go to gal until I got bought my 3WT, 7WT switch, 2WT, and 5WT. I'd like to share what I think about her.

St. Criox Imperial 6wt 9' Review
The Imperial ranges from a 2WT to 10WT with different lengths and butts depending on the rod you choose to purchase. There is even an option to purchase the rod in switch rod form at 11ft in length with an option of a 5WT - 8WT. Needless to say, the Imperial is as versatile as St. Criox makes it.

The Look
  • The Imperial has a gloss burgundy finish that looks nice. Throughout the lifetime of your ownership, the scratches will begin to become more noticeable and the gloss will begin to cloud.

  • The reel-seat is made of rosewood which stands out from many other rods that use synthetics.

The Feel

  • While most 6WTs average at around 3.5oz - 4.5oz, the Imperial 6WT is in one of the lighter rods in its weight class weighing in at 3.0oz. However the Imperial feels heavy in hand.

  • This rod is considered to be fast action and is a bit of a stiffy to cast.

  • The butt of the rod is extremely powerful and will hold up against big bruisers.

In Practice
  • As my first rod, the Imperial wasn't the best choice. You can barely feel the line load when you cast therefore it is hard to judge how well you're casting. Lots of piled fly line in front of me was my experience. Now that I am a more fluent caster and can throw line more accurately, this rod does just fine at casting.

  • The Imperial performs at its best when throwing weighted flies and line. Streamers, nymphs, split shots, and poly/versi leaders are a delight to cast.

  • Throwing dry flies with this rod works but it is very difficult to get a good and long enough drift. The lighter the fly your using the more difficult it is to feel the Imperial load line which affects your accuracy.

  • The Imperial is an overkill for smaller fish like small stream trout and bluegills but is perfect for medium to large sized rivers and stillwaters. I've fought and landed big fish from coastal steelhead to 10-15# carp without the fear of breaking my rod. 

My First Fish on my First Fly Rod, The Imperial


The St. Criox Imperial is a great rod that will serve you well but will perform at its prime when nymphing or streamer fishing. The rod looks and feels great but can be a bit of a stiffy if your looking for a softer fast action fly rod.
When casting light rigs, the Imperial lacks the sensation of a loading rod; therefore I would only recommend this rod to a more experienced angler.
The butt of the rod is very powerful and will help with fighting and landing bigger fish. Paired with a good disc drag reel (I have a Ross CLA 3) the Imperial will defeat any fish you encounter.

Now that I have a few more options in choosing which rods I want to use, I find that I use my 6WT Imperial primarily for streamer, steelhead, and stillwater fishing.

Priced at around $200, the St. Criox Imperial comes with a lifetime warranty that can be used to upgrade your broken rod for a brand new more expensive rod. You just have to pay the difference between your rod and the one that you want; pretty awesome. I love my Imperial and will continue using it for bigger gamefish.

+ Strong rod that will work for many gamefish species
+ Weighs less than most other 6WTs
+ Casts great with weighted flies, indicator rigs, and sink-tips
+ Performs well at cutting wind
+ Lifetime warranty with optional upgrade plans
+ Comes with a tube

- Not ideal for throwing dry flies and light rigs
- Loading fly line is barely felt
- Does a minimal job at protecting light tippet (5x, 6x)

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