St Croix Legend Gold Ice Series Rod Review

     For the past few seasons I have been panfishing with the St Croix Legend Gold Ice rods exclusively.  I have really enjoyed the rods due to their durability, handle design, and unbelievable sensitivity.  Factor in that they're made in the USA and I had found the perfect rod.  Then last year the Legend Gold I had been using was knocked down a notch and rebranded as the Legend Silver Ice rod.  When St Croix released the new Legend Gold Series in 2014 I decided I had to have one.  I just had to know if it was actually any better than the original or if it was just progress for the sake of progress.
The original Legend Gold Ice rod with Fishing 13 Black Betty Reel.
     So I thought it would make sense to take a look at the original and what I liked about that rod.  When I first made the decision to purchase the Legend Gold Ice rod it was because I specialize in shallow water panfish.  With this in mind I wanted an ultra light model because it's sensitivity would greatly increase my ability to detect those subtle bites.  I also needed a shorter length because even though I don't own an ice shanty a lot of my buddies do.  Keeping this stuff in mind I purchased the 24 inch or specifically the LIR24UL.  The going rate at the time was $60.00 MSRP and all my buddies thought I was nuts when I showed up with it on the ice.

     This rod featured:

  • Precision tapered carbon blank
  • Pac Bay Minima Guides
  • Comfortable up locking reel seat with cork trim
  • Super Finesse High Tension Stainless Steel Strike Indicator 
     The first feature listed is in mind, kind of a gimme.  St Croix is known the world over for their incredible rod blanks.  They go to great lengths to control the quality of their blanks, so the fact that they chose a carbon blank for their flagship ice rod just makes since.  The use of Pac Bay guides also speaks of a top of the line model.  They hold up well and protect the light lines associated with panfishing.  The reel seat works well and looks trick!  It holds the reel securely and fits great in the hand even when wearing gloves.  What sets this rod apart from its competitors is the strike indicator system. This system was designed by the great ice fisherman Greg "The Prowler" Wilczynski.  It was developed for competing in international ice fishing competitions at the highest level.  You can adjust the sensitivity of the strike indicator (spring) by sliding it forward or backwards (use 2 hands).  Regardless of the jig or spoon your using the strike indicator can be set to the perfect tipping point to help you detect the slightest of bites.
The new Legend Gold Ice rod with Fishing 13 Black Betty reel.
     This brings us to the new Legend Gold Ice rod.  Released in 2014 with a new handle design it claimed to be even more sensitive than the original.  It also came with a heftier price tag at $90.00 MSRP.  I again bought the 24 inch ultra light for the reasons listed above model number LGR24UL.  Looking at the listed features you'll quickly see that other than the new reel seat it's essentially the same rod.

     The rod features:

  • Precision tapered carbon blank 
  • Pac Bay Minima Guides
  • Super Finesse High Tension Stainless Steel Strike Indicator
  • Innovative Neoprene Skin Handle with Fuji SK2 reel seat
     The new reel seat does look nice and the neoprene skin is reminiscent of the Rage series of rods. This gives the rod a nice technical look.  Kind of like the difference between a hunting shotgun and a tactical shotgun.  Both work on the same principals, one just looks a hell of a lot cooler.  The new handle is also a bit longer and the locking nut is easier to adjust when wearing gloves.  These are small things, but I believe they are worth mentioning.
The larger reel seat knob is easier to adjust with cold hands.
     So how does the rod perform on the ice?  Well to be entirely honest damn near flawlessly.  It's sensitively is off the charts even when you compare it to other ultra light favorites.  The fit and feel are like an extension of your hand and the reel seat and guides have held up very well over the last few seasons.  The Legend Gold series is billed as the best and it certainly lives up to the hype.  You will be hard pressed to find a better rod anywhere that is even near the same level quality.
     The real question is whether or not it's worth purchasing the new Legend Gold at $90.00 when the old Legend Gold (now Legend Silver) can be had for $60.00.  In my opinion, no it's not worth the extra money.  The Legend Silver is more rod than most ice anglers will ever need.  In fact, I don't fish at a level that gets any where near the capabilities of the rod.  Unless your a tournament angler fishing at the highest levels of competition I just can't in good conscience justify the purchase of this rod to anybody.  That said, I have one and absolutely love it!  You can check them out at www.StCroixRods.com and decide for yourself.
     Tight Lines.


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