When the bass get deep in the summer months, it can take some specialized equipment to catch them. I try to keep my approach to this wonderful sport as simple as possible, but it’s hard to cut corners when you’re trying to catch deep bass. I’ve been testing the St. Croix Legend Tournament Casting Rod and I’ve been impressed by every aspect of it. 4 characteristics really stood out to me, however.
Lightweight and comfortable to fish with
I’ve been using the 7-foot, 10-inch heavy-power, fast-action Legend Tournament Casting Rod and I’m blown away by how light it is for such a stout rod. Although it’s labeled as a swimbait rod, I’ve been using it to fish big football jigs, Carolina rigs and flip shallow cover and it’s an absolute pleasure to fish with. If you spend a lot of time fishing, using a heavy rod is a surefire way to develop shoulder, elbow and wrist pains. You can fish with this rod all day and feel great at the end of the day, which is great for tournament anglers who fish multi-day events.
The St. Croix Legend Tournament is also very ergonomic and well balanced. It fits very well in my hand which has led to an improvement in my flipping, pitching and casting accuracy. The cork handle is very comfortable and there’s also a nice pad on the rod butt that allows for more comfortable hooksets and fewer bruised ribs.
It’s a workhorse
This rod really lays the wood to the bass, whether you’re fishing deep or shallow. I’ve done my fair share of flipping shallow cover with this rod and most of the 3-pound bites I’ve had have come flying out of the water on my initial hookset. When the rod is under the strain of a hookset, I haven’t heard any popping or cracking, which is probably due to the 3M Matrix Resin St. Croix incorporated into the design. After fishing deep structure with the Legend Tournament, there isn’t a fish I’ve caught that’s made me feel outmatched or overpowered in any way whatsoever. Catching a 4-pounder on this rod feels the same as a 2-pounder on many other rods I’ve used.
I also really liked the small-sized Fuji K Series tangle-free Concept Guides. I’ve had rods in the past that would allow the line to wrap on the line guides during casts– not only is it annoying, but it has actually snapped a few of my rods. Even in windy conditions, the St. Croix Legend Tournament promotes flawless line flow through the guides, resulting in better efficiency and longer casts.
This rod features a high modulus, high stain SC IV graphite blank that is extremely sensitive. If you throw a Carolina rig with a tungsten weight on the Legend Tournament, you can feel even the slightest transition areas or irregularities on the bottom. The increased sensitivity has allowed me to better visualize what my bait is doing, which has resulted in a lot more confidence in offshore situations.
The sensitivity of the Legend Tournament has also helped me when flipping shallow cover. In the summer, you don’t always get those nice “thumps” when a bass bites—instead, it will often get mushy or you’ll just notice your line swimming away. I’ve had a lot of light bites on this rod and I’ve felt every one of them. The Fuji SK2 split reel seat transfers vibration and sensitivity to your hand extremely well.
Loads well when fishing deep
Fishing a Carolina rig or football jig in deep water is pretty darn tough without the right rod. Without the right taper, it’s easy to jerk the weight instead of the fish. The Legend Tournament, however, has excelled with these techniques. When I get a bite, I simply reel until the rod loads up and my execution has been almost flawless, and this is coming from a predominantly shallow fisherman.
I’ve also noticed a decrease in rod twist with this rod. Some rods will twist in your hand when you execute a sweeping hookset, which results in poor energy transfer. The Legend Tournament doesn’t do that—everything stays in line for a more direct pull on the hook.
If you’re a serious angler looking for a high-end rod made in America, I would absolutely recommend this rod to you. Priced starting at $250.00, it may not be in everyone’s price range, but it’s a mighty fine rod that will totally overpower big bass.
Review by Walker Smith