An Enthusiast Level Rod For Anglers Of All Levels, Legit Design's Big Bait Special
||Legit Design via Arundel Tackle
Total Score: 7.67 -
Every now and then, our coverage of ICAST affords us the opportunity to meet some exciting new manufacturers. That is how we were introduced to Molix, G-Rods, 13 Fishing, ARK Fishing, and many more. This year's
virtual event bore similar fruit. Legit Design is a rod company based in Japan, and includes Legit Design International a subsidiary headquartered in Taichung, Taiwan. Arundel Tackle out of Chicago, Illinois is in partnership with Legit Design for exclusive North American distribution rights. That's how we got our hands on the subject of today's review. Introducing the Legit Design Wild Side WSC75XH Big Bait Special.
Legit Design Wild Side WSC75XH Big Bait Special Specifications
||85% Graphite, 10% Aramid, 5% Glass
||4 oz max
||Two (separates at handle)
||9+tip Fuji SS/SiC (all double footed)
|Rear Handle Length
||Made in China
The Wild Side WSC75XH Big Bait Special arrives in a custom, two compartment rod sleeve. One compartment houses the handle assembly, the other the remainder of the rod. This two piece design is common among sticks made for Asian markets and is intended to make transport of the rod easier in smaller cars. It is far less intrusive than having the rod break down right in the middle of its length, and once assembled, can easily be mistaken for a one-piece stick. In fact, I have several rods with this design that after time, I came to forget they were actually two pieces (Daiwa Steez STZ801HFBA, Shimano/Jackall Poison Glorious 173MH Biwako Versatile, Evergreen International Balista, and so on).
The Wild Side
WSC75XH Big Bait Special arrives in a custom, two compartment rod sleeve
First thing I noticed when pulling the rod's components out from the rod sleeve was the glossy finish over the rod's blank. I haven't seen a stick with this treatment over the entire blank in quite some time. The second thing I noticed was the reel seat. It's made by Fuji, but it's very old school with no cut away to give you any sort of illusion that you're connected to the blank. Of course, the rod is in two pieces, so even if it were cut away, you wouldn't be touching the actual blank. However, what I really appreciate in reel seats with that design is they generally feel smaller and less bulky. Fully assembled, the last impression this seven foot, five inch (7'-5") stick left me with was a sense of it being relatively well balanced, but also kind of heavy.
Well, you know with a name like "Big Bait Special," there was really only
one reel I could put on this stick, right?
Real World Tests:
Well, you know with a name like "Big Bait Special," there was really only one reel I could put on this stick, right? Anyone remember Daiwa's not so big, Big Bait Special casting reel? I've had a ZPI Custom Painted one sitting around unused since 2008, and promptly brought it out of retirement to pair with this new, namesake rod. I spooled the reel with some 40lb PowerPro Hollow Ace braid and installed a top shot of 14lb Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon. The old, Big Bait Special casting reel by Daiwa is about the same size as the previous generation, non TWS, TD Zillion. In fact, the spools are interchangeable. The hollow braid with a topshot leader is a good way to get a good amount of heavier test line on the reel.
I brought this reel out of the archive to pair with its namesake
Casting: This is probably my favorite characteristic of the WSC75XH. It loads well and is fun casting baits anywhere from roughly one ounce on up to four ounces. The largest bait I tied onto this stick was Baitsanity's Explorer 2 Glidebait. This bait tips our scales at 5.4 ounces and is over the WSC75XH's recommended range, but I wanted to test the stick's capabilities.
This is an old school, Fuji reel seat with no cut away
Turns out the WSC75XH can handle the weight pretty easily, but did feel just a hair over burdened. The stick comes with a 4 ounce maximum recommendation, so obviously it's best to stay under that range. On the other end of the spectrum, I was whipping around a half ounce Megabass Uoze Swimmer tipped with a Reaction Innovations Spicy Beaver for a total lure weight of one ounce, and the Big Bait Special handled this lure combo almost as if it was made for it.
The short handle on this rod is finished off with an old school
boat rod style rubber bulb
The one downside with this rod in the casting department is the length of its rear handle. True big bait sticks have a good fourteen inches or more behind the reel seat to give you good, two handed leverage launching big baits. The WSC75XH's rear handle measures just twelve inches. It works, but just another couple of inches would be ideal. Given the rod's two piece design, it would be cool to see Legit Design come out with a longer handle option like Evergreen International did with the optional Savage Grip for the TMJC-74XXX Balista back in the day.
Well, the Daiwa Big Bait Special never was one of my favorites. It tapped out in
favor of my Ryoga 1520L after failing to land a really nice fish despite a drag
that was tightened about as far as it could go
Otherwise, sticking within the rod's recommended lure rating, that extra length in the handle isn't entirely necessary and the stick feels good casting baits like GanCraft's Jointed Claw 230 SS (3.8oz) and Jackall Lures's Gantarel (2.5oz). In fact these baits are perfect for the WSC75XH. Unfortunately, its Daiwa namesake reel did not fare so well and had to tap out after half a dozen casts with the Jointed Claw
culminating in a huge hit that would have been the very first fish caught on this rod except for the fact my Big Bait Special reel didn't have enough drag to set the hook and tame that beast, so I lost the fish. After that incident, I quickly replaced the with a back up, my Daiwa's Ryoga 1520L spooled with 50lb Yo-Zuri Super Braid and a 20lb Sunline Supernatural leader connected with an FG Knot tied with the assistance of the Daiichi Seiko Knot Assist 2.0.
The rod's blank features a glossy coat finish
Sensitivity: The reason that glossy coat over the rod's blank stood out to me when I first pulled it out of its rod sleeve is my general feeling any finish like this on the blank affects sensitivity. It's a great measure of protection for the blank, but generally speaking, any additional weight on the blank hampers performance. This is why Gary Loomis is adamant about sanding his blanks after they come out of the curing process. That rough texture on the blank is a
by-product of the cellophane wrap used to hold the graphite together during the baking process and offers no benefit to performance. He has it sanded off each blank to ensure the final product is as light as possible and can deliver on its full potential for sensitivity. Painting the entire blank or covering it in a clear, protective, glossy coat just adds unnecessary weight that ultimately hampers performance.
Versatility is the key shown here with yet another reel, for a
bit faster retrieve, burning a Megabass MagDraft Freestyle rigged on an Owner
I'd rate the WSC75XH Big Bait Special as average in the sensitivity department. You get some sense of what's going on at the end of your line while working your bait, but its not heightened. Granted, fishing big, hard bodied baits is a lot like throwing a crankbait. Ninety percent of the hits are so hard, you could feel them through a broomstick.
Sensitivity is not the most important aspect in a stick like this. Rather, the stick's power and ability to launch the baits are more important. The WSC75XH handles those duties perfectly fine. But if you're fishing a soft plastic swimbait with a jig style hook, having a feel for the bait comes in handy. In situations like this, the WSC75XH is not the best choice.
Next Section: Power and Sensitivity Fishing Big Baits...