Drastically Different : The St.
Croix RAGE RC71MHXF Rod
Total Score: 7.16 -
all the new companies entering the Bass rod market over the last several years,
the old standbys remain firmly in place. Sure, as design and technology
continues to progress, they've had to follow the trends and step further away
from the more traditional looking rods of days gone by. One of these long
standing companies is St. Croix rods, who is so big and popular you'd be hard
pressed to find an angler who hasn't at least heard their name. Based in Park
Falls, Wisconsin, the sheer number of rod styles and models they produce is
nothing short of impressive.
SC III Graphite
12 + tip
Rear grip length
Rage RC71MHXF features bold cosmetics.
I can think
back to the late 1990's when I purchased my first St. Croix rods. After school
that rainy day, my dad dropped me off in front of the International Sportsman's
Expo at the now defunct San Mateo, CA location. At the time I was admittedly a
G. Loomis enthusiast, but two hours later I walked out of the show with two
brand new St. Croix Premier rods, one spinning and one casting. The sales rep
even threw in a hat and a couple of patches, one of which I promptly talked mom
into sewing onto my backpack.
rod makes use of SC III graphite and IPC Technology.
As with most
tackle I've ever owned, turnover time was short, and after a couple years I
tired of those sticks and sold them in favor of some fresh gear. That was my
last personal experience fishing with St. Croix rods, so when I received one of
their new Rage rods for review I was actually very enthusiastic about fishing
one after such a long hiatus. Granted, this rod sports drastically different
cosmetics and technology compared to those conservative Premiers I fished as a
teen, but I was optimistic that this new rod would be even better!
contoured grip resists wear much better than standard cork.
This rod makes a pretty bold statement in the looks and features department.
You won't find anything really average or “run of the mill” about the design,
which can be a good or bad thing depending on who you are. For me, I fall
somewhere in the middle. While I don't find anything particularly unattractive,
some aspects of the rod may be trying just a bit too hard for my tastes.
The Pac Bay Minima
reel seat leaves a good portion of the blank exposed for increased sensitivity.
The grip is pretty unique in the fact that it doesn't use traditional cork or
foam. It's outer layer is comprised of a neoprene skin that is fitted over a
contoured core. The skin has a typical smooth rubber feel to it, but remains
easy to grip when wet. No sponginess or softness here; the outer skin is thin
and has a firm feel thanks to the underlying core. Finishing off the rear grip
is a rounded foam butt cap. The overall grip length is good, but for those with
longer arms (me) another inch would be nice.
Exposed threads get in the way of direct finger-to-blank contact.
The Rage RC71MHXF uses a Pac Bay Minima reel seat. Looking at the seat, it's
easy to see why it's named Minima. It offers a minimum of material to help
maximize blank contact all while reducing weight. While the heart of the reel
seat is very comfortable to hold, it's the lock down threads that hurt the
ergonomics. There is quite a long bit of the threading exposed, and the
underside of it has a channel in it. The channel is located right where your
finger is going to be resting, and over the course of a day can make for a raw
finger if you hold the rod like I do much of the time.
The edges of the
channel on the underside of the threads make for some added discomfort.
Rage on components