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St. Croix's 2012 Legend Tournament Bass Rod Review
Spending over 40 years in the jewelry business, I appreciate quality, fine workmanship, attention to details and a superb finish. Evidently, St. Croix has that same appreciation because the Legend Tournament Bass exhibit all those attributes. Plus, they are made right here in the good ole' USA. YES!
St. Croix Rods, founded in 1948, is headquartered in Park Falls, Wisconsin. All their premium quality rods are made in Park Falls while their mid-priced series rods are manufactured in a state of the arts factory in Mexico. However, even the mid-priced rods are stilled designed and engineered in Park Falls.
St. Croix re-engineered their Legend Tournament (LT) rod series for 2012 so I had to get my hands on one to see how it could have been improved. I compared my 2011 model to the new 2012 model.
The color scheme did not change. It's still the rich royal blue with navy wrapping accented with gold thread and lettering.
The real seat did change for 2012. Fugi's DPS one piece (exposed blank on the bottom) reel seat was changed to Fugi's new SK2 ultra sensitive and light weight split reel seat which incorporates two additional machined-aluminum trim pieces.
I will admit the new style just does not seem as comfortable but some that’s partially old dog...new tricks. I hold the rod in the conventional manner, with the reel seat trigger between my ring finger and little finger. This give rod blank contact to the ring finger and is extremely comfortable. Holding the new style in the same manner places the rod blank contact at the middle finger. Since one’s middle finger is larger and the space between the trim pieces is restricted, it just does not feel as comfortable. However, what I discovered, after fishing the new design for several weeks was a real eye opener to me, and probably something the designers did not even consider with the new design. At least, I have not seen it referenced in any of my reading.
Let me explain. When holding a rod in the usual manner, one’s middle finger is the fulcrum (balance) point because it is directly under the reel. Since it is the balance point, the rod rocks back and forth on the middle finger, never loosing contact. It’s one’s ring finger that touches the rod blank on the previous Fugi DPS style. So think about the action. Since the ring finger is behind the fulcrum point, all rod tip pressure pulls the rod blank away from your finger, reducing sensitivity.
With Fugi’s new SK2 split reel seat, the blank is now siting directly on the middle finger. When pressure is applied to the rod tip, it just pivots on the middle finger with no loss of sensitivity. This is the same rational for spinning rigs being so sensitive. Doubt this rational? Experiment for yourself and you will understand
I don't know if someone actually figured this out for the new 2012 split reel seat design or if they were only tried to reduce weight, but it really works. Now I am waiting for the designers to make it as comfortable as the previous style by contouring the split to conform more to the larger size of one’s middle finger.
The cork quality is still the finest available. However, the shape on the cork leading to the reel seat is different. The old shape was a gradual thickening up to the reel seat. The new 2012 style thickens in the middle and tappers back down at the reel seat, since its diameter is a little smaller. This only affects cosmetics and personal taste, as far as I can tell.
There is a major difference in the guide sizes and guide placement on the 2012 models. St. Croix changed to the Fugi's new lower profile and angled forward Fuji's K Series Tangle-Free Concept Guides with Alconite rings and polished frames. These guides are promoted as being ideal for super braid, mono and fluorocarbon lines because the sloped frame and ring “shed” tangles before they become a problem. This concept may help reduce loops around the guides with braided line, but it does not cure the problem. Line wrapping around the guides is a line and angling issue so guide construction can only reduce the problem, not fix it.
Notice that the tips are different sizes
The new style eyes are smaller and lean forward.
I do like the smaller size eyes and the additio of guides graduating closer together towards the rod tip. I think it helps keep the line close to the blank and centered the entire rod length, which increases sensitivity, accuracy and fighting performance. Of course, none of these advancements would be effective if St Croix did not put such emphasis on perfect guide alignment.
You can see that the eye spacing is smaller, adding eyes.
For several years, St Croix has had engineers sitting right beside the rod designer, culminating in such breakthroughs as St. Croix’s exclusive Integrated Poly Curve and Advanced Reinforcing Technology. These technologies were tremendous advancement in rod blank construction. Now, according to St. Croix, they have incorporated a new development for their 2012 high performance rod blanks, Nano Silica by 3M.
The 3M Company, the global leader in adhesive technology, recently introduced a new breakthrough resin that uses nano-sized (ultra-microscopic) spheres of silica as a homogeneous, non-abrasive filler between the carbon fibers of a graphite rod blank, which results in a much stronger, more sensitive finished product. St. Croix named their formulation of this new resin NSi (Nano Silica).
From what I have read, the “nano-silica” particles in 3M’s Matrix Resin are uniformly distributed and densely packed in the resin that binds the individual graphite fibers, which reinforces them during compression when the rod is flexed. This significantly increases the fibers’ compression strength by resisting micro-buckling – for improved hoop and flex strength of the blank. The result is a 30% (or more) stronger blank without any change in the weight, action or power of the finished rod.
The nano-silica filler also improves the resin’s adhesive bond between the carbon fibers, which increases the internal shear strength of the rod blank while further improving the flex strength. Almost twice as hard as conventional resins when fully cured, tests reveal that rods manufactured with 3M’s new Matrix Resin show both an increase in modulus, for improved sensitivity, and a significant increase in fracture resistance and overall blank toughness. All without an increase in weight or a change in the rod’s action or power.
I'm impressed with what St. Croix has done with their Legend Tournament Bass series rods for 2012. But, I was impressed with their previous model, as well. I fished the new 2012 Shaky Head rod as a drop-shot for several weeks to really put it to the test for sensitivity. It preformed wonderfully. With the extra fast action coupled and the split reel seat, I could detect the very slightest touch, bump and bite. When the bass did take it, there was no doubt about the medium power's ability to set the hook firmly. Pin point casting is a breeze and the flex and rebound responsiveness, which keeps the fish hooked, was never in question...not on smaller or bigger bass.
So, the only reason this perfectionist would not give a perfect 10 to this new rod? The slight awkward feel of the new style split reel seat. I sure that's the old dog having to learn something new.
Jan 1, 2013 at 11:57 AM