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Rod Review


What the Finesse : This Legend Has "It" (continued)

Sensitivity: This is where the LES76MLXF really surprised me. When I think about a medium light powered, seven foot or over spinning rod, the last thing I think of is sensitivity. I suppose I spent too much time in the early days, with inexpensive, two piece spinning rods with a “medium light” power. They were not very good sticks and all left me with a lingering, bad impression.


9 guides + the tip top on the LES76MLXF.

On my first cast with the LES76MLXF, after I reeled in the slack and put tension in the nylon monofilament line, all those bad impressions flew out the window. In fact, I almost did a double take to make sure I wasn’t holding a casting rod – almost.


Wait, was that a hit?

The LES76MLXF is a very sensitive stick. Even fished with monofilament, I was able to feel every bump, tick, stop, and pull as I dragged my dropshot rig along the bottom of Lake Sonoma. Though I continued to do my due diligence and fish other rods on that trip, when push came to shove, I found myself reaching for the St. Croix on countless occasions.


It sure was! and a tiny one at that!

Power: Back in the lab, we strapped the LES76MLXF up to the RoD WRACK so we could compare its deflection characteristics to that of our WTF baseline rods. What we found was this stick indeed has a very soft, compliant tip, but transitions into a backbone relatively quickly and is ultimately, more powerful than either of our 2-powered baseline rods.


Fig 1 : This chart illustrates the deflection characteristics of our St. Croix LES76MLXF as compared to our two WTF baseline rods. You can see that our LES76MLXF actually has a softer tip than either of our test rods, but when it comes time to lean into the rod's backbone, this stick is built to deliver.

Out on the water, this difference was immediately discernable. The LES76MLXF sets up quickly after the hookset and control of your catch is never an issue. On our day out on Lake Sonoma, it seems all I could attract were the smallmouth and boy, what fun this stick was battling those bronzebacks!

Lab Results for St. Croix Legend Elite LES76MLXF

Model
Avg RoD (1-32 oz)
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
St. Croix Legend Elite LES76MLXF
3.25
X-Fast
3.8
12
0.21
DSR820S GLX
3.02
Fast
3.9
8
0.15
SMR822-SP GLX
2.75
Fast
3.7
7.5
0.15

Warranty: St. Croix offers a limited lifetime warranty on all Legend Elite series rods. Their actual warranty claim process is broken up into three levels depending upon whether or not you registered your rod, whether or not you are the original owner, and whether you wish to take this opportunity to exchange in kind or upgrade your rod. For a detailed explanation of all your options, we suggest visiting St. Croix’s website or contacting the company directly. As a side note, St. Croix also offers a trade in program for your old sticks should you be interested in exchanging your perfectly good St. Croix rod for another.

Ratings:

St. Croix Legend Elite LES76MLXF Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Conservative, but clean and precise 9
Performance This stick truly surprised me 9.5
Price No longer the top dog in St. Croix's "Elite" still comes at a price at which you need to prepare yourself 6
Features St. Croix's tech together with top grade components 9
Design (Ergonomics) Again, conservative... I'd love to have this stick in the former design with the painted reel seat! Otherwise the fit and finish is wonderful. 7.5
Application Looking for one spinning rod to handle all your finesse needs? This might be it! 9

Total Score

8.33
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

 

Pluses and Minuses:

Plus

Minus
+ This rod is surprisingly sensitive - If you want Elite or Elite Xtreme, you have to pay to play. That's just how it is
+ Really soft tip with a good, strong backbone  
+ St. Croix quality is second to none  
+ Not just SiC inserts in the guides, but titanium frames too  
+ Not digging the styling? Order the blank and have one custom wrapped!!  

  

Conclusion: Rod origins, technology, styling, components and all put aside, sometimes you get a hold of a stick and all it does is make you want to fish it. St. Croix’s LES76MLXF is one such stick for me. Those who have inquired privately and received recommendations know I have been singing the praises of this stick all year long – and my praises do not come lightly. The more tackle I handle through the years, the more jaded I become. Where I can easily evaluate the performance of any piece of tackle objectively, it takes an increasingly well executed product to inspire my enthusiasm, and while I still prefer the styling of the former Legend Elite line, the performance of this stick in particular more than makes up for it.


Sometimes you get a hold of a stick and all it does is make you want to fish it. St. Croix’s LES76MLXF is one such stick for me.

The bonus in enjoying the performance of a stick from St. Croix? If you do not like the styling or want to tweak the rod’s performance even further, you can order the blank separately and either wrap the rod yourself, or have your favorite custom builder put the stick of your dreams together to your needs and specifications. St. Croix welcomes rod builders by giving them access to their blanks and boy, would this blank be sick as a finesse casting rod!


The LES76MXLF is more than worthy of its moniker as a “Legend” and just may make an “Elite” angler out of you, and “What the Finesse”,  it has easily won this Editor’s Choice.

For now, if you’re looking for a high performing spinning rod in the medium to medium light power range, built by one of the three remaining US rod manufacturing giants, put the LES76MLXF on your short list. This stick flat out performs and it does so at a very high level. It is more than worthy of its moniker as a “Legend” and just may make an “Elite” angler out of you, and “What the Finesse”,  it has easily won this Editor’s Choice.

Looking for the St. Croix Legend Elite Rods? Try Hi's Tackle Box


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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