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Rod Review

The Search for One: St. Croix Speaks in Xtremes (continued)

Sensitivity: After fishing the LES76MLXF two years ago, I was really excited to get this Legend Xtreme stick out on the water to see what it was about. The blanks between the Xtreme and Elite series rods in St. Croix's lineup are essentially the same, but the Xtremes are built with a more aggressive blend of components and cosmetics. So the first thing I did with this rod was to tie a jig at the end of the line to see what I could feel.

"Medium-Heavy" sticks are a favorite among bass anglers for their versatility and allowance to still let you enjoy the thrill of the fight.

While I'd rate the sensitivity of this stick as very good, I was not reminded of that "it" factor I felt with the LES76MLXF. I'm sure that's due to the fact the two sticks are of different powers. It's difficult to shake the whole lighter powered, finesse feel from spinning gear.

Fig 1 : This chart illustrates the deflection characteristics of the LXC71MHXF (blue curve) in comparison with our Search for One baseline rod (yellow) and an off the wrack G.Loomis MBR843C GLX (green).

Power: So while the LES76MLXF felt a bit more crisp and sensitive than the LXC71MHXF, it's certainly no where near as powerful. Every rod manufacturer rates their rods differently, so a "medium" from one company can be a "medium heavy" from another and a "heavy" someone else, can be a "medium" from yet another manufacturer. This is why it's a good idea to pay attention to the lure, or even better, the line ratings on a stick. This is also why we came up with our RoD Deflection Chart.

One thing we always enjoy about a St. Croix stick is the attention to detail. The thread wraps on this rod were perfect.

The easiest thing to do when you're in a tackle store inspecting a rod you're interested in buying is to flex the tip of that rod and see how it feels. Then, pick up a different stick, do the same and compare. By strapping our test rods up on our RoD WRACK and charting the results, we're essentially doing the same thing - comparing similar rods so you can get a sense of how they might feel power wise.

The graphics on this rod are there and noticeable, but not in your face and distracting.

The LXC71MHXF from St. Croix aligns very nicely with our Search For One baseline stick, a cosmetically enhanced version of the original MBR783C GLX from GLoomis. Granted, our test subject is 7 inches longer and rated with a faster taper than the MBR783C GLX, but its behavior under load was very similar.

Most companies will put a rubber gasket here because it's easy, or an off the shelf winding check, but not St. Croix. This is a custom piece.

Out on the water, in terms of power, you can expect to have good control over your catch yet still experience the thrill of uncertainty during a good hard fight. The LXC71MXHF affords its owner that fun, exhilarating feel that makes medium heavy powered rods so popular with those in search of one stick to "do it all".

Performance Ratings for St. Croix Legend Xtreme LXC71MHXF

Pitch (1-5)
Cast (1-5)
Sensitivity (1-5)
Hook Set (1-5)
Control (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

Features: The Legend Xtreme line is St. Croix's opportunity to push the envelope with their product. The LXC71MHXF comes with a protective rod sleeve similar to those by Rod Glove and Stick Jacket. If we had to guess, we'd say Rod Glove was St. Croix's source, but there's no branding on the sleeve to back up our suspicions.

Traditionalists will balk at the choice in grip materials. Those with more of an open mind will realize it makes far too much sense.

The rod features Fuji's K series guides with SiC inserts and stainless steel frames. These are micro-sized tangle free guides wrapped conventionally (on top). There is no hook keeper on the rod and the reel seat is Fuji's SK-2, split seat.

The LXC71MHXF features Fuji K-Series SS framed guides with SiC inserts.

The controversial piece in St. Croix's composition of the LXC71MHXF and all it's Legend Xtreme siblings is of course the grip material. It is a rubber coated foam grip that is highly durable, light weight, and is sculpted in the shape of a split grip. Feature wise, it is what you seek in a good rod grip. Comfort and functionality is topic for our next section. The only criticism we have of this grip is St. Croix's choice on how to cap off the assembly at the bottom. The butt cap is a very attractive aluminum piece, but because it's aluminum, it also has no grip, so if you're leaning the rod up against a table, your boat, your car and resting the bottom of the rod along a slick or semi slick surface, the rod will not hold steady.

Features Ratings for St. Croix Legend Xtreme LXC71MHXF

Grip (1-5)
Guides (1-5)
Reel Seat (1-5)
Hook Keeper (1-5)
Rod Sleeve (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

Next Section: Time to talk Design and Ergonomics










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