Bill Crandall is a 50/50 fisherman. He spends about half his time chasing fluke, weakfish and bluefish, and the other half of the time he’s throwing worms, crawdads and crankbaits for largemouth bass. In the salt he fishes most of the time around Great Egg Harbor, where he lives, and occasionally the Connecticut coast on vacation. His sweetwater bass fishing is divided between Jersey’s big northern impoundments and small ponds local to his home.
Fluke and largemouth bass are his two favorite fish. “The way a bass picks up a soft-plastic worm, salamander or crawdad is very similar to how fluke picks up a Gulp! bait where I fish in shallow water. I like the way they tap at a bait, and the way you have to work them for a nano-second to get a good hook set. Bass have the extra advantage sporting-wise to sometimes make quite a surface show, but fluke fight pretty well too if you use light tackle.” That’s what got Bill to try one of St. Croix’s Legend Glass rods late last summer. “One big problem with fluke fishing if you use a rod that’s too stiff is that you can lose them anytime during the fight if they get to shaking their heads, and it only gets worse when you’re trying to net them. I fish alone in a small aluminum boat and many fluke come to the net easily, others are big enough to be a problem. A violent head shake while sliding them toward the net when they’re on, or just below the surface can cause a lost fish.”
Bill wanted a rod that was light in weight and with an action that was less stiff than the all-graphite rods he was previously using. “I found the Legend Glass and it felt pretty good in the tackle shop. I bought the LGC610MM, a 6-foot, 10-inch stick that has a sensitive tip and the lower section bends nicely to cushion those aggressive head shakes from fluke and also from weakfish. I bought it primarily for largemouth bass and I think I land more fish because of this rod’s action. I hook most bass inside the mouth, but in spring and fall when they don’t bite so hard, many are hooked at the edge of the lip and a hard head shake can lose the fish, just like what happens with fluke.”
So, in a fishing world dominated by graphite fishing rods, some anglers are discovering that the best tool for the technique might be a fiberglass rod. On the BASS circuit, glass rods have become an important part of the rod arsenals used by some pro fishermen. According to Jason Brunner, St. Croix’s director of engineering, the Legend Glass rods use a linear S-Glass material with a strategic taper that is based on a parabolic action. Jason said, “I call these slower action rods, meaning a higher percentage of the deflection load transfers towards the butt section of the rod. Basically it takes less power to force them to bend towards the handle.”
Something very important to both bass and fluke fishermen is the rod’s unique action that cushions the strike without losing any hook-setting ability. Brunner said, “If a fish feels tension too soon, there is a higher chance it will spit the crankbait before you get a good hookset.” Same thing happens with fluke fishing when a very stiff rod can literally take the bait away from the fish before it’s had a chance to taste it and decide to eat it.
So, the moderate action allows a more controlled hookset. The Legend Glass blank’s design offers a light, rugged rod with a sensitive tip. Be aware that these aren’t “pastafazoo” fiberglass rods of yesteryear with spaghetti-like actions. They’re designed with the latest tooling and technology, are extremely lightweight, cast like a dream and fight fish – freshwater or saltwater – with authority.
Many largemouth bass and back-bay anglers will find that the softer action makes casting with a conventional rod so much easier with fewer backlashes. These softer rods eliminate the snappy acceleration at the start of the cast that for some anglers causes annoying backlashes.
Crandall also likes the split grip cork handle and the overall slightly shorter handle length. “I wade fish a lot along the edges of ponds and the short handle makes casting easy and comfortable.” There are three other casting rods in the St. Croix Legend Glass series in lengths from 7-foot 2-inches to 7-foot 11-inches, all with moderate actions and capable of handling lines from 8- to 25-pound test, depending on the specific rod.