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Rod Review

Fishing crankbaits? St. Croix has designed an affordable premium rod just for you, the Avid Crankbait series

Date: 6/24/02
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: St. Croix
Reviewer: JIP

Total Score: 8.92

Introduction: With the introduction of 15 new models to add to their already popular Avid series rods in 2002, St. Croix has included a new line specifically used for fishing crankbaits. The Avid Crankbait rods are not as high-end as their Legend Elite series, but they still contain premium quality components at an affordable price.


St. Croix Avid Crankbait Rod (AC66MHM) Specifications

Material High-modulus SCIII graphite
Length 6'6"
Weight 4.15oz
Line Weight 10-20lb
Lure Weight 3/8-1oz
Pieces 1
Power Medium Heavy
Action Moderate
Color Matte Black
MSRP $150.00

Impressions: Similar to other St. Croix rods, the Avid Crankbait AC66MHM displays great detail and outstanding workmanship.  The Crankbait rod is built using St. Croix's premium SCIII graphite, 10 high quality and lightweight Fuji Alconite guides applying Fuji's New Guide Concept, Fuji's exposed-blank reel seat, and an ergonomic select-grade cork handle.  An addition which I have not seen until this year from St. Croix is that each rod has their own unique serial number that allows easier tracking for St. Croix and yourself (some of us do have a lot of gear!), and giving yourself a more personalized and closer relationship with your tackle.


Along with the quality components used, the Avid Crankbait series is built with the right action and power.  And this year St. Croix has added a unique serial number on all their rods


Complete Rig for AC66MHM Tests

Rod St. Croix Avid Crankbait AC66MHM
Reel Daiwa TD-X100HSD
Line 12lb. Trilene XL


The AC66MHM casting rod that was chosen for this review has a medium-heavy power and a moderate action.  This is the type of rod that many Anglers like to fish crankbaits with.  St. Croix produces four rods in their Avid Crankbait series that has a length of 6'6" and 7', all with moderate action, and a choice between medium or medium-heavy power.


Fuji Alconite guide rings: As we all have learned by now the Fuji New Guide Concept has two important points.  One is the weight of the guides.  The second is the use of the correct number of guides.  Alconite guide rings are considered by many Anglers and rod-makers as one of the better guide materials and would definitely be one of their top choices for building a rod because they are lightweight, strong, and very durable.  

Field Tests: Why do some Anglers prefer to fish crankbaits and other reaction baits with fiberglass rods?  That's because fiberglass rods are durable, has good flexibility, softer, and more forgiving.  That's probably the reason why St. Croix didn't choose their SCV graphite even though that material is high-modulus and high-strain.  The SCIII graphite is still a premium material and I would say it makes a good crankbait fishing rod because it delivers good flexibility, durability, and responsiveness... all the benefits of fiberglass and more.  So with all this said I took the Avid Crankbait rod out for a few days fishing with not just crankbaits, but with other reaction baits such as spinnerbaits, top-water rip baits, and more.

Casting & Accuracy: After the first cast I knew right away that I am going to enjoy throwing crankbaits all day using the St. Croix Avid Crankbait rod.  St. Croix has made this rod very easy to cast and you can achieve great distances.  They chose to apply Fuji's New Guide Concept to the Avid Crankbait rod that assists in casting far and also making it more accurate.  The low profile guide frames and the 10 Alconite rings make it possible.  The use of a higher strain but responsive and flexible graphite material also adds to the ease of casting.


The AC66MHM has 10 high quality Fuji Alconite guides and that's only one of the many things that make this rod easy to cast, accurate, sensitive, and powerful


The comfort level while using the Avid Crankbait AC66MHM is very good.  After an entire day throwing and retrieving a crankbait that gives much resistance in the water, fatigue was minimal due to the lightweight(only 4.15 ounces) of the rod and the comfortable and ergonomic handle and grip.

Sensitivity: This is where the Avid Crankbait, a high-modulus graphite rod beats any fiberglass rods used for crankbait fishing.  The downside of fiberglass rods is that you lose sensitivity, but that's not the case with the AC66MHM rod.  While retrieving your crankbaits using this rod you are able to feel every wobble the lure produces, everytime it hits any type of structure, and of course when fish strikes.  A graphite crankbait rod delivers better sensitivity, but other factors like the type and number of guides used and the exposed reel seat also contribute to the senses.


The use of Fuji's exposed reel seat adds to the sensitivity in the design of the Avid Crankbait.  Also notice the ergonomic cork handle that makes holding this rod more comfortable

Power: The St. Croix Avid Crankbait in medium-heavy has plenty of backbone for fishing reaction baits and to pull your catch in with confidence and power.  The rod was designed with a specialized, technique specific taper that makes this flexible but yet powerful rod the way it is.  With the right combination of reel and line you will have no problems landing fish in the double digits.

Warranty: A premium rod package is not complete unless it comes with a premium warranty plan.  St. Croix offers a limited lifetime warranty back by their unmatched service.


Avid Crankbait AC66MHM Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The use of a higher strain graphite along with premium components combined to create a high quality product 9
Performance A high-modulus graphite rod that has almost all the benefits of a fiberglass rod, plus more 9
Price A premium rod that sports quality components at an affordable price 8
Features The use of Alconite Fuji guides applying Fuji's New Guide Concept, plus an ergonomic grip make this rod feature packed 9
Design (Ergonomics) Designed with a select-grade contoured cork handle and an ergonomic grip makes the Avid Crankbait a comfortable rod to use 9.5
Application Build with the right action and power for crankbaits and other reaction baits 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Good Action and Power L Not as soft as fiberglass
J Alconite guides  
J Ergonomic cork handle  
J Great construction  

Conclusion: When you want a piece of gear for a specific application, it has to be just right.  It can't be slightly larger, heavier, longer..etc.  For crankbait fishing some Anglers prefer fiberglass over graphite fishing rods because they are more flexible, forgiving, and durable.  St. Croix has developed a premium rod that contains quality components at an affordable price that is flexible, durable, sensitive, responsive, and it's fabricated using their SCIII graphite because of the higher strain rate.  So next time you're out looking for a crankbait rod, you may want to consider one of St. Croix's Avid Crankbait series graphite rods.









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