Ugly Stik 7 vs. St. Croix Premier: Which Fishing Rod Reigns Supreme?

If you’re an avid fisherman, then you know that no two fishing rods are alike. From carbon and fiberglass construction to action and power, there’s a lot to consider when shopping for the perfect setup. Ugly Stik 7 vs. St. Croix Premier – if you’ve narrowed down your search to these two popular brands and their spinning rods, let’s see which one reigns supreme.

While these impressive spinning rods have some similarities, knowing what sets them apart will be of greater help when figuring out which one is the best for you. From blank construction and sensitivity to power and action, each and every aspect implies that these rods are designed with certain styles and fish targets in mind. The St. Croix Premier might offer better quality overall, but your final choice should always come down to your specific preferences.

Both Ugly Stik and St. Croix Are Staples in the Fishing Gear Industry

Both Ugly Stik and St. Croix are reputable fishing brands established as leaders in producing high-quality fishing rods in a wide variety of categories, from affordable and convenient gear to tournament-level equipment. Before we compare their rods, let’s go further into detail about their history and discover what made them popular in the first place.

St. Croix Boasts a Rich and Successful History Spanning Over 70 Years

St. Croix is more of a prestigious fishing brand founded over 70 years ago. Throughout its history, St. Croix has consistently delivered exceptional craftsmanship, innovation, and performance. The brand offers a diverse range of fishing rods tailored to meet the needs of anglers across various fishing styles, from freshwater to saltwater environments.

Known for their meticulous attention to detail, St. Croix rods are handcrafted using advanced manufacturing techniques and premium materials to ensure superior strength, sensitivity, and durability. With a strong reputation and a loyal following among anglers, St. Croix continues to be synonymous with top-notch quality and excellence in the fishing industry.

Ugly Stik Is Known for Manufacturing Affordable Rods Without Compromising Performance

Ugly Stik is also a renowned fishing brand that has earned a reputation for producing incredibly durable and reliable fishing rods. With a history dating back to the late 1970s, Ugly Stik became known for its iconic clear tip design, which provides excellent sensitivity while maintaining unmatched strength.

Moreover, anglers appreciate this brand for manufacturing rods that are able to withstand rough handling, harsh conditions, and even accidental mishaps, making it a trusted choice for those seeking a rod that can handle the toughest challenges. With this blend of durability, affordability, and performance, Ugly Stik continues to be a reliable and popular choice among enthusiasts of all skill levels.

Fishing rods, spinning rods with fishing lines on a wooden background in the morning light. Fishing.
Both brands are known for manufacturing quality equipment

Spinning Rods Offer the Precision and Sensitivity Needed to Land Your Catch

Spinning rods are a popular choice among anglers due to their versatility and ease of use, making them suitable even for beginner fishermen. Featuring a reel seat located on the underside, these fishing rods allow for easy attachment of spinning reels.

Spinning rods are specifically designed to cast lightweight lures and bait with precision. Not only are you getting that much-needed accuracy for landing your target fish species, but you’re also able to detect even the subtlest of bites underwater, as these rods typically have a flexible and sensitive tip.

These Versatile Rods Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Spinning rods are available in various lengths, powers, and actions, catering to a wide range of fishing techniques and possible targets. No matter if you’re hunting down the largest freshwater species or hoping to land some of the common saltwater species, a spinning rod can be a reliable and efficient tool for accomplishing it.

person holding a fishing rod
Spinning rods are a popular choice among anglers due to their versatility

Ugly Stik 7 vs. St. Croix Premier – A Brief Overview of Main Specifications

While there are plenty of available options, the exact rods I’ll be comparing today are the Ugly Stik Tiger Elite Spinning Fishing Rod and the St. Croix Premier Spinning Rod. Both are spinning rods, and these handy pieces of equipment are more or less similar when it comes to suitable fishing styles and compatible gear. However, there are some notable differences that will surely help you decipher which one is the better fit for you.

Before I get to a detailed comparison of various aspects of these rods, here’s a brief overview of their main specifications:

Aspect Ugly Stik Tiger Elite St. Croix Premier
Blank Material Blend SCII graphite blank
Length 7′ 5’6”
Weight 6 oz 1 oz
Action Fast Fast
Power Heavy Ultra-light
Price $80 $170

St. Croix Has a Purely Graphite Blank, While Ugly Stik Uses a Blend of Materials

When it comes to blank construction and used material, Ugly Stik uses a blend of different components to build strong and reliable blanks, while St. Croix employs high-quality graphite for its construction. The better choice depends on your preferences, so it’s best to familiarize yourself with the blank construction of both rods to fully understand their advantages and disadvantages.

Tiger Elite’s Blank Blend Includes Graphite

The construction of the Ugly Stik Tiger Elite rod entails a combination of different materials in order to combine the desirable qualities of each component, such as strength, flexibility, sensitivity, or weight reduction. Incorporating graphite into the mix enhances the sensitivity of the equipment, allowing it to be more responsive and transmit even the subtlest vibrations from the line to the angler’s hands.

Premium SCII Graphite Is a Standout Feature of St. Croix

St. Croix Carbon 2 (SCII) is the second generation of carbon fiber composite material that this brand uses exclusively for the blank construction of their rods. These blanks are sensitive and incredibly durable, making them ideal for a wide range of fishing applications.

Moreover, they are very lightweight – much lighter than its contender – making them easier to handle and control, especially during those long sessions that turn into nighttime fishing endeavors.

A man holding a rod while fishing in the lake
The material used for the rod’s build has a big effect on various aspects

Action, Power, Length – The Three Key Aspects of Fishing Rods

For any beginner angler, getting into this sport can be overwhelming and confusing at first, as you have to learn plenty of fishing slang and become well-versed in gear talk. When it comes to fishing rods, it’s best to start with their three key aspects. Once you understand each one, figuring out which rod is the better choice for you will be easy.

Here’s a comparison of the Ugly Stik and St. Croix spinning rods in regard to action, power, and length:


Action refers to how a fishing rod flexes when pressure is applied to it, particularly during casting and fighting your catch. Both of these rods are fast action, meaning they are built for quick flexing near the tip of the rod when pressure is applied, while the lower sections remain stiff. This results in a highly sensitive and powerful rod that’s equipped with a rapid recovery rate.

Fast-action rods, including both the Tiger Elite and the St. Croix, excel in situations that require long-distance casting, quick hook sets, and the ability to control and handle larger fish species. The sensitive tip allows anglers to detect subtle bites and make precise presentations, while the stiff lower sections provide the backbone needed to fight and control fish effectively.


While these rods are comparable in terms of action, it’s a whole different situation when it comes to power, meaning the rod’s ability to handle different fishing line strengths and lure weights. Tiger Elite is a heavy power rod, as it’s built to handle big game fish and heavier lines. It’s commonly used in saltwater angling, where fishers target large species such as tuna or marlin, but they are also suitable for freshwater environments.

On the other hand, St. Croix Premier is an ultra-light power rod specifically designed for finesse fishing and targeting small to medium-sized fish. It offers exceptional sensitivity and flexibility, allowing for casting lightweight lures and detecting even the slightest of nibbles.


The length is obviously a crucial aspect of any rod, as it determines casting distance, leverage, and overall control. Shorter rods, like the 5’6” Premier, offer enhanced control and maneuverability, making them ideal for angling in tight spaces or when precise casting is required. They’ll offer excellent performance while kayak fishing, ice fishing, or casting in dense cover.

Longer rods, like the 7′ St. Croix, provide increased casting distance and improved line control. That’s why they are favored in scenarios where long casts are necessary, such as surfcasting, trolling, or fishing in wide-open areas. As with all three aspects, determining the perfect fit for you entails carefully thinking through your preferred techniques, usual targets, and the environments you mostly angle in.

St. Croix Offers Unparalleled Sensitivity for Detecting Bites

If one of your top priorities is to have a fishing rod that is able to detect even the slightest of nibbles from small creatures such as the panfish species, the better choice would be the Premier. Its graphite-based construction brings superior sensitivity, as it has the ability to transmit vibrations more effectively to the angel’s hand compared to materials like fiberglass.

While Tiger Elite is built from a blend of materials that bring out the best in each other, it still can’t match the unparalleled sensitivity of an all-graphite blank. However, if having an incredibly tough and resistant rod is more important to you, the Ugly Stik rod is definitely a rod worth investing in.

A man sitting in a stream while fishing
If you need excellent sensitivity, the St. Croix is the better choice

Reels, Guides, Handles – What’s the Perfect Setup?

When it comes to compatibility with fishing reels, there are a couple of things you need to take into consideration. The Ugly Stik rod has a conventional reel seat built from anti-corrosive stainless steel, providing a secure and comfortable grip. On the other hand, the Premier features a Fuji DPS reel seat with frosted silver hoods, a reliable component that provides a secure and precise connection within the setup.

Although the construction is different, both of these rods can be used with a variety of spinning reels, including the Okuma Ceymar and the Daiwa 3000. As for the guides, Tiger Elite features the 1-piece Ugly Tuff guides that are designed specifically for eliminating insert pop-outs, while the Premier boasts Kigan Master Hand 3D ones.

The Tiger Elite Is the More Affordable Choice by a Large Margin

From the material used in construction to the quality of various inserts, it’s obvious that the Premier is better equipped than its contender. However, all of those features don’t come at a low price – to be more exact, adding it to your fishing setup will cost you around $170. So, if that doesn’t fit your budget, and, more importantly, if the Premier is not fit for the kind of angling you’re planning, the obvious choice would be the Tiger Elite.

At just around $80, the Ugly Stik spinning rod has gained popularity as one of the most affordable options on the market while still being able to provide a reliable and durable piece of equipment. Moreover, the manufacturer provides a 7-year original owner warranty, which is a better offer than St. Croix’s 5-year warranty.

Barramundi fish
The Tiger Elite rod might be very affordable, but it’ll still get you that dream catch

Go With Your Personal Preferences, and You’ll Surely Find Your Perfect Match

While looking at the specifications of these rods, it’s easy to cut your research short and conclude that Premier is the better choice overall. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for you – maybe you’re used to handling simpler equipment, or you commonly target larger species, making the Ugly Stik a better investment. All in all, if you just stick to your personal fishing preferences, you’ll be able to find the perfect match that will serve you well for years to come.