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Rod Review

Ignore the Labels and Just Fish It : Lucky Craft's LCMG 761XHF


Date: 7/11/10
Tackle type: Rods
Manufacturer: Lucky Craft
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 7.92 - GOOD

Last year, Lucky Craft’s Fat Mini Magic Cranking Stick ran away with double award honors during our Crankbait Rod Wars, and while their Search For One entry is still busy dueling amongst the other remaining contestants, we thought we’d take a step back and check out what Lucky Craft’s big bait sticks are all about. For a company with so many quality crankbaits, its not a stretch to imagine their cranking stick would perform well, but can they create the same kind of magic with their big bait sticks? Certainly our Swimbait Rod Wars of 2008 have long since been completed, but what means is we now have a good deal of data against which to compare the Lucky Craft big bait sticks. So do they have what it takes? Introducing our review of the Lucky Craft LCMG 761XHF-Swim Bait Special.


Introducing Lucky Craft's LCMG 761XHF "Swim Bait Special"


Lucky Craft LCMG 761XHF Swim Bait Special Specifications

Material   Graphite
Length 7' 6"
Line Wt. 10 - 30lb
Lure Wt. 1/2 - 2oz.
Pieces 1
Guides 7 Guides + Tip Top Fuji SS Frame/SiC insert
Power Rating Heavy
Taper Extra-Fast
Rod Weight 6.5 oz
MSRP $199.99


Impressions: While this review will concentrate specifically on the LCMG 761XHF- Swim Bait Special, we also fished the LCMG 800XHXF Big Bait Special. Both sticks feature full rear cork grips and matching foregrips and come standard with Fuji, stainless steel framed guides with SiC inserts. The graphite material in each rod is sourced from Japan, but is shipped to China for rolling and the final rod build. Like the 701MF before them, both the Swim Bait and Big Bait Specials were super clean in their builds though admittedly, very conservative. It’s interesting what the addition of just a split rear grip can do to the overall impression of a stick. The 701MF actually has a very small portion of graphite exposed at the rear grip, but just that bit of exposure is enough to give the rod a very interesting appeal. The two sticks in this review are less intriguing.


Fig. 1 : This RoD Deflection Chart shows the deflection characteristics of both the LCMG 761XHF and the LCMG 800XFXH against all three category curves from our Swimbait Rod Wars.


Lab Tests: But of course, aesthetics are just one small part of the overall TackleTour review equation. First stop for both of these sticks was the lab and a date with the RoD WRACK. What we found is that both sticks charted very similarly and both are right in the wheel house of our “All Purpose” average for big bait sticks.


Lab Results for Lucky Craft LCMG 761XHF Swim Bait Special

Avg RoD (2-32 oz)
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Lucky Craft LCMG 761XHF Swim Bait Special
LCMG 761XHF Heavy Carolina Rig
LCMG 80XHF Big Bait Special
2008 Swimbait Rod Wars "All Purpose Rods" Average

Similar to the 701MF, both the 761XHF and 800XHXF are a bit tip heavy with balance points measuring out to eleven and twelve inches from the centerline of the reel seat respectively. Balancing torque numbers are 0.33 foot pounds from the 761XHF and 0.48 for the 800XHXF reinforcing their tip heavy feel. Given these sticks weigh six and a half (6.5) and seven point seven (7.7) ounces respectively, these numbers are all decidedly average at best.

Much like the 701MF reviewed last year, the 761XHF sports clean detailing.

Field Tests: Since the 761XHF and 800XHXF tested out so similarly in our lab, we decided to forego the extra effort it takes for us to bring one-piece eight foot rods out on the water and stick with the 761XHF for this review. Know that if extra casting distance is your primary objective, then the 800XHXF is going to suit your needs better.

See the space between the winding check and blank? That's because the foregrip of the LCMG 761XHF is part of the reel seat's locking mechanism.

Casting: Speaking of casting, I matched the 761XHF with a Shimano Caclutta 201DC, spooled the 201DC with some fifty five pound Daiwa Samurai Braid tipped with a twenty pound Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon leader and had at it. The 761XHF loads very well despite its extra-fast rated taper although one area of criticism for this seven foot six inch stick is the rear handle. At nine and a half inches, it is too short for traditional big bait duties.

Otherwise, this stick is very traditional in layout.

When tossing big baits and trying to gain distance with a two handed cast, I prefer a rear handle that's at least twelve inches long with about fifteen inches being ideal. The 800XHXF's handle is not much better measuring only one inch more. Realistically, both sticks need about two inches more length in the rear handle to facilitate comfortable two handed casting.

Traditional yes, but executed superbly with a painted reel seat...

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