By Terry Brown
If you want to fish the best of the best in bass fishing sticks, St. Croix has you covered with the new Legend Xtreme line-up of rods. They are not inexpensive but they are high class, high quality and feature-packed. Not only are they built to the highest rod making standards, but they also are well balanced, light, extremely durable, fish like an extension of your arms and look great too. They are also built right here in the US in Park Falls, Wis. St.Croix incorporates 65 years of rod building experience into improving on current rod lines.
I recently ran the St. Croix Legend Xtreme, LX76MHMF, through its paces fishing a 1/2-ounce football head jig and Zoom Super Chunk on deep points for fall transition fish on wind-blown points. With winds at 15-20 mph, it’s usually hard to feel bites. Not with the Legend Xtreme. The blank through handle and split reel seat allow you to feel every rock and piece of wood equally well not to mention the lightest of bites, and the new Xtreme grip becomes an extension of the rod blank. It is tight, has excellent grip, even wet and cleans up very easily with a wet rag should you get it dirty or slimy from handling fish. The Fuji SK2 split handle reel seat is balanced well, ergonomic and the machined-aluminum handle trim pieces add a touch of class.
The high definition blank starts with 62 million modulus high-strain, expensive graphite, which adds strength as well as feel and contributes to its light weight, all day fishability. It is very light and easy to manage, even for a 7-foot, 6-inch heavy duty rod, and the materials allow for it to be a smaller diameter as well.
The Fuji K-R Concept Tangle-free guides and slanted frames shed loops and combined with SiC rings and E-color finish frames they look great and are virtually tangle free. These guides taper well and are smaller than standard rod guides but allow for easier threading than with micro guides. The high quality guides allow for smoother and longer casts, with less line slap, and more feel. The Advanced Reinforcing Technology built in by the St.Croix rod builders in this series maintains the rods cylindrical integrity and will not allow the rod to “oval” even under a heavy load.
With all that said, this rod fishes extremely well is not unwieldy and balanced perfectly matched with a Team Lew's baitcasting reel we used in this test. No tangles and no mess, just a great fishing rod. The St. Croix Legend Xtreme is set up for braid, mono and fluorocarbon lines, and based on what I have seen with fluorocarbon, I am comfortable this stick will stand up to any line and any normal fishing condition.
As mentioned earlier we fished this rod is some super windy conditions and was super impressed with the feel. There was no creaking and cracking on the cast or hook set and I was amazed at just how sensitive this rod was even with a bow in the line at times. You could not only see the line jump on the bite but also feel it through the blank.
One trick I have used to test sensitivity in these new rods with space age handles is to tap the base of the rod with a coin while a buddy holds the tip. If he can feel it tapping at the tip there is no question you can feel the fish. This rod gets high marks on that test. Most cork handled rods absorb some of the sensitivity. They too have advantages but these new handles are so sensitive it will be hard to go back to foam and cork.
The power of this rod is fantastic and swinging 4-pounders is no issue. I really liked having the confidence in the rod for the hard hook set on long casts as well as, close up in tight cover.
The Legend Xtreme is not a rod for everyone’s budget but if you can afford the very best, this rod has to be on your list. The MSRP is $410, but I would put it up against any rod I have ever fished. The Legend Xtreme won the Best Freshwater Rod at ICAST 2012.
You can buy them at Tackle Warehouse by clicking here.