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Rod Review

 

An Understated Victory for St. Croix Rods (continued)

 

Power: The other benefit of an extra-fast tapered rod is that reassuring power you get when you do decide to set. My hook up ratio with this stick was excellent and while there's only so much control you can wield on a fish when using a medium powered rod with a 6lb leader, my battles were all very fun and rarely in doubt. The VTS73MXF has a nice, smooth power curve perfectly suited for light line applications and more.


Fig 1 : The chart above illustrates the deflection characteristics of our St. Croix Victory VTS73MXF against the historical averages of similarly powered rods we've tested over the past twenty years

Design & Ergonomics: When it comes to ergonomics with a spinning rod, for me, it's less about balance and weight and more about two or three specific items: Orientation of the reel seat, shape and size of the foregrip, type of bait keeper.


Nothing fancy here, just super clean execution of that transition between cork and blank

Regarding the reel seat, I've found my preference for the hood, or reel seat locking mechanism to be on the back side of the rod rather than the front. Flipping this orientation on a spinning rod places that lock-nut away from where you typically hold the combo while fishing and thus avoids any problems of accidentally loosening the nut while fishing.


My preferred spinning rod grip configuration

The foregrip can be long or short, but I want it to be tapered toward the blank not only smoothing that transition in your grip, but that decreased diameter is ultimately more comfortable to grasp. Lastly, I prefer an open ended hook keeper on my spinning rods because I'm usually fishing a drop shot, ned rig, or some other strange finesse application with soft plastics and that open ended hook keeper is more versatile.


We too often take for granted the work that goes into threadwork like this

The VTS73MXF checks two of those three preferences for me. The hook keeper is the only thing I'm not crazy about. It is a closed loop hook keeper that works fine for any open hook baits, but isn't great with drop shot techniques where I prefer to stow the weight to prevent it from swinging around and tangling my other rods when the combo is not in use. However, this keeper was fine during my trips with the combo because I was fishing the Ned instead of a drop shot.

Lab Results for St. Croix Victory VTS73MXF

Model
Avg RoD
Taper
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
St. Croix Victory VTS73MXF
2.63
Fast
3.6
12.5
0.24
What the Finesse Avg
2.94
--
3.9
7.3
0.15

The actual weight and balance numbers for the VTS73MXF are mixed. It weighs in at a very light three point six ounces (3.6oz) but because the reel seat is so far back on the blank (9.5" handle length) the build is very unbalanced. Again, this rarely concerns me with spinning gear because spinning reels are typically heavier than their low profile casting counterparts and more importantly, I'm always holding my spinning combos in front of the reel seat allowing the reel itself to act as a true counterweight. This is not the case with casting gear.


Eight guides total plus the tip top

Price & Applications: The VTS73MXF retails for $190 and while I used it primarily as a stick for fishing the Ned Rig, it's quite suitable for any bottom contact application you might choose to employ within its line and lure rating.


There are a handful of rod manufacturers who I feel I can depend upon for consistency through their lineups and St. Croix is among them

I find the blank a little fast for horizontal bait presentations, but because it has a nice, soft tip and is only medium powered, I'm sure it'd be fine in those applications as well. Lower powered rods are always more versatile.

Ratings:

St. Croix Victory VTS73MXF Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Typical clean, precise build from St. Croix 9
Performance Very good taper and sensitivity 8
Price Thanks to modest components, quite affordable - especially considering the US build 8
Features Not a stick that will overwhelm you with components, but the blank is a solid value 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Checked two of the three boxes for me 7.5
Application As versatile a medium powered spinning rod as you could want 8

Total Score

8.0
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
+ Clean, precise build - Nit picking here but I'd prefer an open ended hook keeper
+ Nice tip  
+ Smooth power curve  
+ Good Sensitivity  

Conclusion: With all the options in fishing rod products and the ensuing number of manufacturers, sometimes, you just want to fish a product you know you can rely upon.

There are a handful of rod manufacturers who I feel I can depend upon in these situations and St. Croix is among them. Their builds are always clean and precise and their rod ratings, tapers, and powers are super consistent throughout all their lineups.


The VTS73MXF is an understated winner

The St. Croix Victory VTS73MXF is a refined rod that focuses on what is important. This isn't a rod that is chock full of extra cosmetics or components, it is a highly focused tool with a mission. Introduced in 2021 to fill that gap between Avid and Legend Tournament, if the VTS73MXF is any indication, Victory is an understated winner.

 

Looking for a St. Croix Victory Spinning Rod?

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