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Rod Review

 

St. Croix's All Purpose Victory Series Rod (continued)

Sensitivity cont'd: So to switch things up and get a better feel for the rod's capabilities in this category, I cut the crankbait off and tied on a Nishine Lure Works Finesse Football Jig. Once again the VTC73MHF performed on par with expectations matching what I'd expect in terms of sensitivity for a rod at this price point. Because of the treatment at the reel seat, I had my doubts, but I'm pleased to report that foam bridge does not do anything to hamper sensitivity.


Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our St. Croix Victory VTC73MHF against the historical averages of similarly powered rods we've tested over the past twenty years

Power: One area that's never in doubt for me with St. Croix is power. I knew, once I felt that tap of a take on the jig, all I had to do was take up the slack and swing and the VTC73MHF would transmit enough force to help me set the hook and control any fish to the boat. The concern I had though was with my 10lb leader and whether or not this stick would be too powerful for that light of a connection (the rod's lower end line rating is 14lbs) not to mention my connection knot. Of course, I had my drag set appropriately, but sometimes you just never know especially since the braid and leader material were new to me as well.


Checking out the tip

After several successful landings my concerns were alleviated. The VTC73MHF has a nice, smooth power curve with enough give to help you land your fish even when fishing lighter than recommended line and while fishing single hook, jig type baits or treble hooked baits like the BX Big Brat squarebill. The rod's fast taper did not cause any difficulties with the latter technique.


Cork rear grip

Design & Ergonomics: St. Croix's Victory VTC73MHF fishes pretty much how you want a 7'-3" medium-heavy powered rod with a fast taper to fish. At four ounces (4 oz) even in weight, it's not too heavy, but nor is it super light. It is a little tip heavy, but that's part and parcel with its length and ten inch (10") rear handle. If the reel seat were further up along the blank, it'd help with balance, but most anglers don't care for longer handles on built for conventional techniques. For me, a 10" rear handle is about the shortest I like to have on my casting rods.


Fuji guides with stainless frames and aluminum oxide inserts

Lab Results for St. Croix Victory VTC73MHF

Model
Avg RoD
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
St. Croix Victory VTC73MHF
1.74
Fast
4
12.5
0.28
TSFO >100 Rod Avg
1.76
--
4.6

8.0

0.19


A minimal butt end just large enough for comfortable two handed casting

The real question with this stick, of course, is that treatment at the reel seat. Without asking St. Croix directly, my guess as to why they've chosen to finish the reel seat on this rod in this fashion is for comfort. That foam bridge provides a nice, comfortable surface to wrap your fingers around when palming the reel. My issue with the design is if this was the goal, why not just use a standard, non-split reel seat? For me personally, that change in texture underneath the reel is just odd and an unnecessary feature when standard reel seats provide the same amount of support without the change in texture. The good news is, the design does not hamper performance at all.


Clean detailing at the transitions

Price & Applications: Priced just under $200 at $190, the VTC73MHF is a very versatile stick. Given its taper, it's best suited for vertical bait presentations, but with proper drag settings, is fine with some moving bait applications too including spinnerbaits, squarebills, and lipless cranks. It is really your prototypical all purpose specification and a good candidate if you are on that search for one.

Ratings:

St. Croix Victory VTC73MHF Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Another nice, clean build from St. Croix 9
Performance Very versatile spec with good sensitivity 8
Price A price point many anglers will appreciate 8
Features It's more about the blank than the components with this rod 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Good weight, but tip heavy and an odd reel seat 7
Application A good candidate if you're looking for one stick to handle a lot of different applications 8

Total Score

7.92
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
+ Nice, clean build - While it didn't hamper performance, I find that foam bridge at the reel seat unnecessary
+ Very versatile  
+ Good sensitivity  


St. Croix delivers another clean, precise build on a blank with solid performance

Conclusion: Coming off my successful experience with the VTS73MXF, I was excited to fish that rod's all purpose, casting configuration sibling. The VTC73MHF did not disappoint and is an excellent candidate for any angler's search for one stick to handle a great majority of applications. The one item I felt was a bit odd in the reel seat is something I'm sure many others will enjoy. It is comfortable to grasp, but simply not for me. Keep in mind, I'm okay with Fuji's polarizing ACS reel seat and there are those who despise it. As with most things in the tackle world, personal preference dictates our choices. What's important here is St. Croix delivers another clean, precise build on a blank with solid performance.

 

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