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Rod Review

Winter Jerkbait Fishing with St. Croix’s Application Specific Legend Tournament Rod (continued)

Real World Tests: To test the St. Croix LTBC66MF we fished through two winters targeting bass in the California Delta and Clear Lake. Though designed for fishing jerkbaits we also used the rod for fishing a variety of plastics to test the rod’s range. We paired the LTBC66MF with a Daiwa Sol and a Shimano Calais and spooled up with Toray Fluorocarbon for fishing plastics and Trilene Big Game for fishing jerkbaits and ripbaits.

The rod casts lures up to 5/8oz well

Casting: Some anglers like to fish jerkbaits with spinning gear but I much prefer using baitcasting rigs as they allows me to get casts out quicker, and with jerkbaits one of the things that you will want to do is cover a lot of water quickly searching for fish willing to give chase. The LTBC66MF is 6’6” in length and offers a reasonable casting distance, and while it can be out-cast by longer rods it is designed to offer a proper blend of casting and control.

Geared up in warm clothes we hit the Delta and Clear Lake

Retrieving: Jerkbaits are great in the winter and as long as the fish are not lockjawed and sitting right on the bottom the variable action of these baits is usually enough to get inquisitive fish to strike. When fish are in the mood to chase bait then hang on tight, strikes are sudden and intense.

A small cork grip is placed below the reel seat

The LTBC66MF is a great length rod for medium sized jerkbaits that do not dive too deep. The tip on the rod feels crisp and I found it easy to work jerkbaits and the moment I felt any tick or resistance on the line it was easy to set to the side or upwards without the tip getting in the way. Sets are quick with this fast action rod and because the rod is not very long or forgiving you will want to loosen up the drag a bit as the tip will only absorb so much shock.

A foam butt finishes the rod off and serves as a cushion against your forearm when ripping lures

If you prefer a steady retrieve while fishing jerkbaits the LTBC66MF can accommodate the method but if you are like me and like to routinely mix it up with a series of pauses and jerks to illicit a more erratic motion then you will absolutely love the accurate response and control offered by the LTBC66MF.

A look at the bare Fuji ECS reel seat

When fishing at Clear Lake the water was so clear that I could see over 30 feet down and actually witnessed both fishing chasing the jerkbaits and even strikes. The LTBC66MF is so responsive that I could the lures to pause or surge forward right in front of fish in an effort to draw more strikes. Sight fishing with jerkbaits is phenomenal fun, and the LTBC66MF is a great tool for teasing fish into striking.

The rod is loaded with Fuji Alconite guides supported with chrome frames

Power: When field testing the LTBC66MF in the stained water of the California Delta I drew most of the strikes on the pause right between jerks. The water clarity was 3 feet at best and less than 2 feet on most days. I never saw the bass take the bait, the minute I felt anything I set the bait and the battle would ensue. There were even two occasions when I unexpectedly caught schoolie stripers and even these three pound striped bass were a lot for the LTBC66MF to handle. 

The graphite looks solid in color with pearl flakes through the reel seat...

The LTBC66MF is just as the name implies, a jerkbait rod, not a heavy ripbait rod. While great for soft jerkbaits and smaller hard ripbaits this rod feels burdened with deep diving ripbaits in tow. This is a good medium powered rod for ripping up bass but if you intend to target stripers with ripbaits a longer rod with more power to handle bigger fish is desirable.

...but look closer under the sun and you can see the tightly woven fiber graphite fiber









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