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Rod Review

St. Croix's Legend Elite rod... it's BEAUTIFUL!

Date: 2/24/02
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: St. Croix
Reviewer: JIP

Total Score: 8.7

Introduction: St. Croix has been producing superb fishing rods for many years and they are well known for their high quality and all American fishing gear.  But there are two more advances that separate them from other premium rod manufacturers.  It's their new and exciting advanced SCV graphite and the new high tech IPC tooling process that has been applied to their Legend Elite series rods.


St. Croix Legend Elite (ES66MF) Specifications

Material SCv High-modulus/high-strain graphite
Length 6'6"
Weight 3.35oz.
Line Weight 6-12lb.
Lure Weight 3/16-5/8oz.
Pieces 1
Power Medium
Action Fast
Color Deep Green
MSRP $300.00

Impressions: When I first unpacked the Legend Elite spinning rod and held it in my hands I was amazed.  You can tell right away that it's a premium fishing rod that's built with the finest components available.  St. Croix's Legend Elite series rods are built with their revolutionary Integrated Poly Curve (IPC) Tooling Technology along with the advanced new SCv  high-modulus/high-strain graphite.  This spinning rod weights only 3.35oz. which is extremely light weight.


"The Legend Elite series, try not to slobber too much." -St. Croix


The shiny Fuji guides also caught my attention.  The ES66MF features 7 Fuji SiC Concept Guide System that's used to enhance sensitivity, to protect all fishing lines, and much more.  The guide rings are housed in Fuji's titanium plated frames that make a nice match for the rod while improving performance in sensitivity and guide durability. 


Complete Rig for ES66MF

Rod St. Croix Legend Elite ES66MF
Reel Shimano Sustain
Line 8lb. Trilene XL


The Legend Elite spinning rod uses a quality grade cork handle and a skeletal-cork reel seat design for maximum comfort.  The ES66MF also comes in the CRT79 soft case to keep the beautiful rod from being scratched.

St. Croix's Integrated Poly Curve Tooling Technology: Integrated Poly Curve (IPC) tooling technology was introduced by St. Croix in the year 2000.  This advanced rod building process allows St. Croix to create rod tapers that are smooth and continuous from the tip to the butt of the rod.  The continuous curve eliminates the weak points that appear during the traditional compound tapering used in other high end rod processes.  Some advantages from the IPC process:


            1. Smoother action in the rod

            2. No transitional weak points on the blank

            3. Stronger blanks

            4. Increase in sensitivity


Visit St. Croix's homepage for additional details and illustrations on IPC technology.


SCv Graphite: This is St. Croix's high-modulus/high-strain graphite that provides ultimate strength without loss in fishing performance.  In return these rods are incredibly fast, and cast easily and accurately.  The Legend Elite rods are 20% lighter than comparative models due to the 100% carbon-matte scrim that's used to create the blanks.


Fuji SiC guide rings: The Fuji guide rings that are made of Silicon Carbide (SiC) has a few benefits.  The SiC ring dissipates heat from where the line makes contact which eliminates line wear and guide damage.  SiC is a super smooth and hard material that's 12 times tougher than stainless steel and about twice as hard as aluminum oxide.  Silicon Carbide ring also weighs 1/3 less than stainless steel and 1/6 of tungsten carbide rings.


Fuji's SiC Concept Guide System with titanium plated frames are used on the Legend Elite ES66MF to further enhance performance

Tests: The Legend Elite ES66MF went through many vigorous tests that's composed of four days fishing and a couple days performing the specific tests below.  Paired with the Shimano Sustain this lightweight but powerful combo felt comfortable in my hands.  The 100% carbon-matte scrim used to create the blank made the ES66MF much lighter than other rods of this class.  The quality cork handle plus the skeletal-cork reel seat added to the overall comfort that played an important role during many hours of field tests.  Fatigue at the wrist and arms usually occur if I fish continuously, but this never happened because this rod weighs only 3.35 ounces.


The quality cork plus the lightweight Legend Elite makes this rod comfortable in your hands.  Also notice the skeletal-cork reel seat on this spinning rod

Casting & Accuracy: The ES66MF spinning rod is quite impressive in this category.  This new graphite used delivers greater strength while attaining fishing performance.  In return this rod is incredible in casting (unless you're not used to casting a fast rod) and accuracy.  I was able to cast lure sizes that are inside and outside the recommended lure weight range.  Each cast I was able to hit my target with ease.


This rod was designed to fish for bass, walleye, and other such fish in this class, but I like to venture beyond and try some things that are totally off.  I placed an ultralight reel and tied a Kalin's mini trout tube on there and tried casting.  Even though this rod is fast, there's still enough flex at the tip for me to get the 1/32oz. mini tube to where I wanted.  That was quite amazing.  To obtain good casting abilities and accuracy, St. Croix used their best materials and attached high quality components such as the Fuji SiC Concept Guide System.  These guides also reduce line twist.

Sensitivity: Is this rod sensitive?  Yes very.  The Legend Elite rod was designed to excel in this area.  To achieve greater sensitivity St. Croix used their best graphite available along with their IPC tooling technology.  When a curve is smooth and continuous any vibration will travel further than lines with a small but sudden directional change.  In addition the Fuji SiC guides with the titanium frames amplify the vibrations even more.  When I was testing the ES66MF I tried the following: drop shot, finesse worming, and lab tests that included our telegraph and line vibration tests.  The St. Croix Legend Elite ES66MF rod was able to sense the little bumps on the bottom of the lake, fish strikes, and even slight vibration during lab tests without any problems.

Power: The ES66MF spinning rod is rated medium powered but with a fast action.  This is something everyone will notice just after picking this rod up and whipping it.  The butt strength is tough and when bending the rod to the floor you will notice that it flexes mostly near the tip.  This is the type of rod I prefer to worm with.  It's sensitive, yet there's a lot of power for a solid hook set.  The strength of the rod allowed me to fight the larger fish without being intimidated.  By having control of the fish at all times and being able to pull it away from structure or heavy vegetation, I knew I was fighting a winning battle.

Warranty: A premium rod package is not complete unless it comes with a premium warranty plan.  St. Croix offers a limited lifetime warranty back by their unmatched service.  St. Croix believes in forming a relationship with their customers and will do everything possible to ensure customer satisfaction.


Legend Elite ES66MF Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Built with SCV graphite, Fuji components, and St. Croix's IPC tooling technology makes the Legend Elite a premium rod 9.5
Performance Constructed to excel in many areas such as sensitivity, castability & accuracy, and strength 9
Price This is a premium rod, if you want to use one, you must be willing to spend 6
Features Loaded with Fuji SiC Concept Guide System, skeletal-cork reel seat, and a soft carrying case 9.2
Design (Ergonomics) Designed with quality cork and being lightweight adds comfort, and at the same time reduces fatigue 9.5
Application This rod can be used for multi-applications and even venturing outside the recommended ranges caused no problems 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Excellent construction L Premium price
J IPC processing!  
J Fuji SiC Guide Concept System  
J Lightweight  
J Powerful  

Conclusion: St. Croix has been around for many years and each year they try to achieve additional stretch goals to improve their already high quality rods to better themselves and to satisfy their customers.  With the introduction of the IPC tooling technology and the new graphite St. Croix was able to design a rod that is much lighter, stronger, and a better performer in many different areas.  This is what I expected and that's what I experienced when fishing with the Legend Elite ES66MF spinning rod. 



Have fun and keep on fishin!









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