Drastically Different : The St.
Croix RAGE RC71MHXF Rod (continued)
blank is a blue-grey color, with contrasting wraps and red trim. Quite a bit of
flake is used in the finish; too much for my taste, but I prefer rods to be in
the raw, matte state anyway. With that said it doesn't look bad, and many
anglers should agree. The finish overall is decent, but a couple imperfections
were visible upon very close inspection. Not a major deal at this price point,
but still something you'd rather not find.
There were a few small cosmetic issues, this one being the most noticeable.
Pac Bay Minima micro guides are used on the Rage. These guides feature
stainless steel rings that provide up to a 30% weight savings over traditional
ceramic. They are also more robust to resist cracking, grooving. or just all
out breaking. The guide feet are easily visible under the wraps which may
bother some, but as long as they don't fail or wiggle I have no personal gripe
guides sport a clean look and appeared to be of decent quality.
Though this is only a 7'1” rod, it utilizes 13 guides including the tip top.
While the guide spacing looks average for most of the rod, as you near the tip
it gets pretty congested. The guides are super light so it probably doesn't do
much to the overall weight, but I have to wonder if it's really necessary to
have them so close together.
In hand, the Rage feels pretty good. Other than the exposed reel seat threads,
the handle is comfy and well proportioned. In hand you get a slight tip-heavy
sensation, but it's not enough to be bothersome. With a reel on board, it feels
satisfying enough to easily fish all day without annoying you.
guide spacing nearest the tip is very tight.
I was surprised to
see that the Rage produced very similar Wrack results compared to our baseline
Loomis. Though the tip is slightly softer on the chart, I was expecting it to
be a bit wider of a gap here.
Real World Test:
The Rage RC71MHXF was tested on three southwest Florida lakes. It was used the
majority of the time with plastics, topwaters, and small soft swimbaits on 12lb
mono and 20lb braided line. Reels included the Shimano Scorpion 1000XT, and
Daiwa Zillion Coastal.
clearly possesses an extra fast taper.
One thing I really like about this rod is it's extra fast action. Many
manufacturers claim this action, but once on the water it often times proves to
be false. Not here. This rod is absolutely extra fast, with quite a soft tip
that transitions quickly into the power. The action translates into great
accuracy, with a tip that loads easily no slop in the blank.
Rated up to 3/4 ounce lures, I find that's about the maximum I prefer on this
stick. While many rods can be pushed a bit further in a pinch, I don't like the
soft tip of the Rage for baits over it's maximum rating. It's “ok” up to about
an ounce, but again, not optimal for me. If I was forced to pick just one bait
to fish on this rod for both optimal casting and fishing, it would be a
Senko-type bait. St. Croix would have had no problems marketing this as a
“Senko Special” rod.
wire hook keeper is mounted on the underside of the blank.
As far as the micro guides go, well, I guess the debate continues. Once again I
notice no real increase or decrease in casting distance. Despite what many
claim, I just can't discern a difference in a rod with micros over one with
standard guides under normal casting. Line to leader albright knots pass
through these guides without fail in leader sizes up to 17lb test.
Rage on sensitivity