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Rod Review

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

Ergonomics: The LTBC66MF features a number of noticeable elements that influence both the rod's styling and ergonomics. The rod makes use of a traditional Fuji ECS reel seat that is finished off with a machined aluminum wind check (spinning models do not have this and are finished with a small cork fore-grip on top of the Fuji SKM reel seat). This feature not only looks sharp but also helps balance out the rod with a lighter reel strapped on.

Under load this rod has plenty of give

The rod has a split grip design with the rod application “jerkbait” labeled right in the center for easy identification, there are no winding checks between the grips but a thick layer of finish is present. At the very end of the rod the cork knob is finished with an attractive EVA butt that helps cushion the base of the rod against your arm when popping jerkbaits.

With a fish on the line we try high sticking

On the scale the rod weighed in at 3.7oz. which is actually .2oz. less than St. Croix’s own published specification. The LTBC66MF feels light in hand and is relatively easy to balance with various smaller baitcasters, in our tests the Daiwa Sol matched up very nicely.

A open design lure hanger makes it easy to strap on both soft and hard jerkbaits

Price & Applications: Though designed specifically for jerkbaits the LTBC66MF handles lightweight plastics well. The length and power of the rod make it a fine choice for fishing small jigs, hula grubs, and even light worming applications.

Even small fish will take on a erratic moving jerkbait

Retailing for 220 dollars the LTBC66MF is among the most affordable rods in the Legend Tournament series which retail from 210-280 dollars depending on length and model. At this price point the LTBC66MF falls right into the entry premium segment where there is plenty of competition from both mass producing Tier 1 brands and mid-range offerings from custom rod builders.

The hook hanger in action

St. Croix is able to successfully target this segment with this rod as it exhibits plenty of custom rod appeal and yet is able to leverage the technology and resources of a big builder. To top it all off each and every one of the Legend Tournament rods are handcrafted right here in the U.S.A. and come backed with St. Croix’s lifetime limited warranty and “Superstar Service.”

Though designed for jerkbait fishing this rod also makes a nicely rounded smallmouth rod as it handles small plastics surprisingly well

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

St. Croix Legend Tournament LTBC66MF Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Great construction and quality components the St. Croix Legend Tournament rods are built with the latest technology and it shows. Nothing too flashy here, just a quality rod 8.5
Performance The St. Croix LT Jerkbait rod is great for small to medium diving soft and hard jerkbaits, it struggled on larger baits but when it came time to "finesse" jerkbaits to trigger strikes from indecisive fish the accurate feel of this rod was exceptional 8
Price We ranked the price for this rod as 'good" considering the competition. There are a lot of rods at this price point that have a lot to offer but the St. Croix can hold it's own, if you prefer a rod made in the U.S.A. you will want to add a bonus point here 7
Features All the features you would expect in a jerkbait stick, the St. Croix Legend Tournament rod features a crisp feeling blank, split grip design, and am attractive machined winding check 8
Design (Ergonomics) This  rod exhibits great ergonomics and is easy to balance out with most smaller reels, it feels light in hand and can be fished all day without breaking a sweat...as long as you don't tie on anything too big 8
Application Though first and foremost a jerkbait rod the LTBC66MF can also double as a light jig rod and is unexpectedly good for fishing smaller plastics, which makes it a great choice if you are looking for a well rounded smallmouth rod. 8.5

Total Score

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

J Clean attractive design with use of quality components L Not for large deep diving ripbaits, best for soft and medium diving jerkbaits
J Custom rod appeal built with the latest technology  
J Excellent for "finesse" jerkbait fishing  
 J Reasonable price for a premium rod  

Conclusion: St. Croix’s blue Legend Tournament rods make use of some of the most advanced rod building techniques and technology available but what does that all translate to when it comes to real world fishing? The LTBC66MF Jerkbait rod proves to be a very polished light jerkbait rod that is excellent for soft jerkbaits and medium depth ripbaits. Though a bit light for larger lipped deep divers the LTBC66MF makes it easy to impart erratic action to most jerkbaits without sacrificing any feel or the ability to get in a solid hookset. Though first and foremost a jerkbait rod the LTBC66MF can also double as a light jig rod and is unexpectedly good for fishing smaller plastics, which makes it a great choice if you are looking for a well rounded smallmouth rod. If you are in the market for a quality rod to fish smaller jerkbaits the LTBC66MF is just about as good as they come.


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