Product Review: St. Croix Legend Ultra Series Fly Rods - Global FlyFisher

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Reviewed by Steven B. Schweitzer

Reviewing The St. Croix Legend Ultra Series

GFF Rating
Aesthetics: 5
Workmanship: 4
Quality: 5
Castability: 6
Value: 6
Combined rating: 5
 

St. Croix Website

I first got my chance to cast this rod series from a friend I met while fishing the West Fork of the Kickapoo River in Wisconsin, USA.  Admittidly, the looks of the rod first garnered my attention foremost.  The forest green no-gloss blank sheathed in a Wisconsin-grown birds-eye maple reel seat would make most rod flingers look twice at this new rising star.

As I first casted a 9' 4wt. rod on the lawn. I noticed it loaded rapidly and took line from the pile on the ground with authority.  I was impressed.  I have previously owned two St. Croix Rods (a steelheader rod and a small 5 wt.) and have not been overly impressed with the castability of either.  In fact I sold them both.  But this rod, however, deserved a second chance.

I admired the rod so much that I stopped by a local outfitter store and bought one.

Since then, I have fished that rod 25+ hours and have landed well over 100 bass and bluegill.  It casts heavy, wind-resistant cork poppers...on a 9-foot leader...0X tippet...into the wind...with no trouble.  Likewise, it casts small dry flies nearly as delicately as my 7' 3 wt. It is without question, my favorite warmwater rod.  And that being said after only 25+ hours of use.

The rod comes with a matching green Cordura-covered rod tube/case.  A few nice touches...the end of the rod tube zips open, no cap to loose and St. Croix outdid themselves by embroidering their logo on the case, not just heat-stamping or silk-screeining it on.  A nice touch.  The rod tube also has another nice feature: an integrated sleeve/rod sock.  No more rod sock to pull out and shove back in.  The rod tube has one built-in.  Those folks at St. Croix are thinking.

rod_label.jpg (5808 bytes)

The rod is made with St. Croix's high-modulus SC IV graphite. The fast action of this rod series is attributable to the advanced compound taper designs that deliver crisp actions while still affording a soft tip.  The reelseat is of anodized uplocking aluminum.  It boasts a non-glare titanium finish and Wisconsin-grown, bird's-eye maple inserts. I can be the first to attest to the benefit of a titanium coated reelseat as I tightened my reel on the rod too tight, making it impossible to take off by hand.  I grabbed a pair of pliers and wrapped the reelseat with a leather strap for protection.  As I unloosened the reelseat, I slipped and scratched the aluminum with my tool...or so I thought.  No a nick was found thanks to a very durable finish.

The line guides are titanium-plated single-foot fly guides by Pacific Bay®.  I am a personal fan of single foot line guides mostly because of the aethstetic nature.  Add a fixed-loop hook-keeper to complete the hardware.

The finish on the reelseat leaves abit to be desired, but if you prefer a satin finish over gorgeous wood, you're in luck.  Given that the reelseat is of birds-eye maple, a glossy mirror-like finish would have been more desirable to showcase the wood grain itself.  I have since then refinished the reelseat on my to a glossy oil-based finish to my liking.

Finally, after scrutenizing the rod craftsmanship, I found only a slight imperfection in one of the wraps where a bubble had settled in the epoxy.   It is too immaterial to worry about further.

If you enjoy a fast-action rod like I do, you'll be sure to find this series a hidden gem in the sea of production flyrods.  Throw in an unconditional life-time warranty and a sticker from $250 USD and you've got a showcase rod at layman's prices.

This rod series gets a 5 out of 6 on the GFF scale.  


User comments
GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·globalflyfisher.com  Link
Submitted November 8th 2012

David,

Usually all parts of a rod are the same length, but of course there might be variations.

Missing a bit of the tip does sound like the rod has been broken. I personally have two rods that have tip sections, which are ˝-1 inch shorter than the other sections, but I know why: I broke off the tips! I fell with one rod and the other one hit a lamp or pipe in a room where I was waving it around to "test" it.
All I did was move the top guide from the broken off part to the remaining part, and I must say that both rods are equally good and the difference - if any - is so subtle that I can't feel it.

I have no idea whether your rod has been broken or not, but that could be a possibility.

But if the rod feels good and casts and fishes as it should, I wouldn't worry about it.

Martin


From: David LIM · psldave·at·gmail.com  Link
Submitted November 8th 2012

Need Help:
Just bought a St Croix legend Ultra fly rod 9 ft 6 wt 4 pc.
Found the last 2 top sections have different length. The tip section is about 0.25 iches shorter.
Is it normal?
Thanks for your reply.


From: mathieu uchino · theloaddjuggler·at·yahoo.com.au  Link
Submitted October 3rd 2012

Bit of a shame these have been discontinued- I felt as though the build quality showed up a lot of the $700 flagship rods. I have a 6wt Sw and it ticks off all of the boxes of a high end saltwater rod. I still can't get over the flor grade cork....


From: Larry Brew · lawrencebrew·at·msn.com  Link
Submitted January 7th 2012

Just bought one too and hope to be as equally satisfied and impressed. Thanks for the review



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