I received the first 24 from the first production batch this week... the Senior Stewards from the 2010 WI CC will think that Christmas has come early this year...
I've also been in contact with the folks at St. Croix this morning; both 12 and 9-6 rods are still on target for early October delivery to dealers placing orders NOW. While there's always a risk that some components may not come into stock in time (for example, these rods do have the 2010 New Release Fuji Black Alconite Carp Guides; let's hope Fuji anticipated the demand!), I'm fairly confident that St. Croix will be close to this target date.
A couple of answers to rumors and concerns:
1. The 12 footer is $280, is of course hand-crafted in Park Falls, WI, and has state-of-the-art fittings, as well as some very advanced design and engineering principles underneath the skin. It also carries St. Croix's Lifetime Warranty. It's no secret that I've replaced my UK rods (made in China, of course) in 2.75, 3.00, 3.25, and 3.50 tc's with this one rod. The price for 3 Avid's is $840, and the 12 rods cost me around $2,800... Seems relatively cheap to me to go with the more versatile, hand-crafted, American-made, high quality products.
2. I've been seriously thinking about a 12-6 "Big River/Long Cast" rod, but it isn't even at the design stage yet. I may start design work later this year, but that would mean a 2012 delivery date at the earliest... I'm very picky about my prototypes!
3. The 9-6 rod is just simply the one rod I would buy, if I could only afford one rod. I believe it's the most versatile big fish rod I've ever designed.
4. What do I get from the deal? I have 24 rods (awards for Stewards and rods for folks to "try before they buy"), and the satisfaction of knowing that my time and money spent in R&D and lots of testing (the FUN part!) has paid off with the first Carp Rods exclusively designed and hand-crafted in the US. And yes, I'm biaised... but I think they are good!