PARK FALLS, WIS. – Alex Klein of Oroville, California caught 39.89 pounds of spotted bass over three days of competition to win the pro division at last weekend’s Wild West Bass Trail Superclean Showdown on Lake Shasta. The win was Klein’s second on the popular and competitive circuit, coming on the heels of last season’s win at the Wild West Bass Trail Duel on the Delta.
One of couple dozen exceptionally talented California anglers recently added to the St. Croix pro staff, Klein comes from a strong fishing family. “I’ve been fishing since I was really young,” Klein says. “Bass Fishing Hall of Fame member, Gary Klein, is my uncle, and my dad, Steve, taught me how to fish. My dad was my fishing mentor, got me into the sport, and was also the one who encouraged me to start fishing professionally. I’ve been fishing the Wild West pro-ams since the circuit was formed in 2015.”
St. Croix Regional Pro Staff Manager, Matt Frazier, is a part of St. Croix’s Analytical Team – an exclusive group of “technique masters” tapped by St. Croix’s Product Team to help design, refine and perfect new rods before they make their way into the hands of mainstream anglers. “St. Croix has made a conscious decision to really drill down here in California,” says Frazier. “Our clear, deep-water reservoirs are different from many of the impoundments and shallow natural lakes throughout much of the rest of the country, so the techniques California bass anglers employ are different, too, as are some of our tackle preferences. As a part of St. Croix’s mission of designing and crafting rods that give all anglers the upper hand, we agreed there was a lot of ground we could be covering with California anglers.”
According to Frazier, covering that ground started with getting St. Croix rods into the right California hands. “The past couple years we’ve built our staff here with the best and most influential anglers. Alex Klein is one of our elite-level ambassadors, along with other remarkable anglers like Bill Kunz, Alex Niapas, Cliff King, Shane Pierson, Kyle Grover and Zack Thompson. And we’re continuing to build staff below those guys based on real fishing talent and accomplishments.”
Frazier says the team is seeing good results so far. “St. Croix is already using California staff input in the development of new rods – most recently in the release of the incredible new Legend Tournament Bass Series – and we’ve been able to increase inventory to many of our St. Croix dealers and even bring a couple new retail partners on. Thanks to anglers like Alex, we’re seeing more and more St. Croix rods on the decks at tournaments, on TV, in articles, and on social media.”
Klein says while he’s only been on staff with St. Croix for a couple months, he’s always fished the Best Rods on Earth.
“I’ve been fishing St. Croix ever since I started,” says Klein, who has an affinity for finesse presentations and specific lengths, powers, and actions that support them. “It feels great finally being on staff with St. Croix. They have always made superior rods and backed them with the best customer service. It’s why I’ve always used them. They’ve always been great people to deal with, but now that I’m on the team, I’ve come to more fully appreciate the passion, attention to detail, engineering, and technology that goes into their rods.”
One of Klein’s favorites is the LBTS71MF VERSATILE model in St. Croix’s new Legend Tournament Bass Series. “St. Croix got everything right with this rod, including the name,” Klein says. “It’s the rod I used to win last weekend’s tournament, which saw north winds – about the toughest conditions you’ll see on Shasta. I caught all my fish throwing 3.3 and 3.8 Keitech Swing Impact Fat swimbaits in the gold flash minnow and smallmouth magic colors on ¼ and ½-ounce heads when bass were actively pushing shad, as well as dropshotting a 4” Keitech Easy Shiner in 25-30 feet of water. The LBTS VERSATILE has the ideal power and action for both presentations, while being incredibly light, sensitive, and comfortable to fish all day.”
Klein says he also enjoys building and fishing his own rods, which he crafts on Rod Geeks BASS III blanks. “It’s just something I really enjoy doing,” he says. “There’s a lot of custom builders out there making incredibly unique and beautiful rods. I do enjoy the creative side of it, but I get the most satisfaction from building practical rods that are customized and set up to support my style of fishing. I choose Rod Geeks blanks because they’re made by St. Croix’s people in St. Croix’s factories, so you’re starting every project with the best. The 7’ medium power fast action SCIII spinning blanks are all business and a perfect match for my finesse fishing.”
Klein says he was lucky to grow up in a fishing family and offers the following advice for anglers looking to get involved in tournament fishing. “While it was my dad who encouraged me to start fishing competitively, seeing my Uncle Gary’s success on the national level showed me that if I worked hard enough at it, I could make bass fishing a career. There are so many great local clubs and trails out there now, all anyone with an interest really needs to do is get involved,” he says. “Join a club and start fishing some club tournaments. Ask questions and spend time on the water. You can’t learn from the sidelines, so just get out there and have fun. As long as you’re motivated to learn, the experiences will boost your abilities and confidence.”
About St. Croix Rod
Headquartered in Park Falls, Wisconsin, St. Croix has been proudly producing the “Best Rods on Earth” for nearly 75 years. Combining state-of-the-art manufacturing processes with skilled craftsmanship, St. Croix is the only major producer to still build rods entirely from design through manufacturing. The company remains family-owned and operates duplicate manufacturing facilities in Park Falls and Fresnillo, Mexico. With popular trademarked series such as Legend®, Legend Xtreme®, Victory Avid®, Premier®, RIFT, Imperial®, Triumph® and Mojo, St. Croix is revered by all types of anglers from around the world.