Joe Bucher knows the stuff of which fishing legends are made. The renown multi-species fishing expert from Eagle River, Wisconsin is a National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame Legendary Angler who targets everything from panfish, bass, walleye and muskies in freshwater to redfish, snook and sea trout on the salty side. Host of the Fishing with Joe Bucher show, now in its 31st year, he’s been a St. Croix pro-staffer for over two decades.
“It takes years on the water and a willingness to build on experience to excel at this game,” says Bucher, “but you also need to constantly incorporate new information and suggestions from other experts in the field. It takes a lot of problem solving, too, and I’m not just talking about fishing personalities achieving legend status,” he says. “Tackle can be legendary, too.”
Case in point is St. Croix’s evolving Legend family of freshwater and saltwater rods. Any rod containing the Legend moniker is a pinnacle performer in the St. Croix lineup, handcrafted in the USA and incorporating the finest materials, components and technologies available in a St. Croix fishing rod.
“These are rods that really live up to their namesake,” says Bucher, referring to St. Croix’s Legend Tournament, Legend Elite, Legend X, Legend Xtreme, Legend Xtreme Inshore, Legend Surf, and Legend Glass series rods – the very Best of the Best Rods on Earth®. “From the second you first lay that grip in your palm and feel the weight spread evenly across your fingertips you just know they’ve been designed to help anglers catch more fish.”
Depending on which Legend you choose, these rods are handcrafted with St. Croix’s proprietary SCIV, SCV and SCVI carbon or St. Croix’s 100% Linear S-Glass to ensure you receive elite-level sensitivity, strength and lightweight performance. Integrated Poly Curve® (IPC®) tooling eliminates all transitional points in the rod blanks for smoother action and even more strength while further improving sensitivity. Advanced Reinforcing Technology™ (ART™) uses an exotic carbon fiber material that adds a further magnitude (10X) of strength with virtually no increase in blank diameter or weight. Use of a Fortified Resin System (FRS) combines a fortified super resin with computer operated curing ovens that provide improved temperature and time management through all stages of the curing cycle, while Taper Enhancement Technology (TET), a process perfected by St. Croix that begins with precision-cut curved-blank patterns made possible by a state-of-the-art computerized pattern cutting machine, also aids in pushing the limits of Legend blanks into the hyper-performance category.
“All that is well and fine,” says Bucher, “but I think the overriding point is that St. Croix uses all this cutting-edge technology while also incorporating suggestions and insights from a top-shelf pro staff that’s on the water daily when it comes to putting their rods together. From using the most sensitive composites and glass in their blanks, to superior guide trains, designing handles that increase the transmission of the bite through the rod blank, to the parabolic curve of each stick, the research, development and willingness to incorporate feedback from the trenches really sharpened the capabilities of each and every Legend series rod.”
The result, believes Bucher, is the most sensitive, powerful, responsive and durable set of top-end fishing rods on the market with seven distinct Legend families to cover a wide range of species and techniques.
“If you’re looking to budget your money for a rod or two that will let you feel the slightest strike, fish across the widest set of variables, and cover the greatest range of species and techniques, St. Croix’s Legend rods are where you begin and end your search,” says Bucher.
Although Bucher uses rods from every Legend series, he does have a few favorites. Due to the incredible sensitivity derived from its SCV/SCVI blank, carbon fiber guides and Gen-2 Xtreme-Skin handle, The Legend Xtreme 7’ medium/fast (#XFS70MF) spinning rod is his first choice for any type of finesse fishing, especially lightweight jigging.
“I’ve caught everything from panfish and bass to seatrout, snook and 30-pound redfish on this Legend Xtreme and companion saltwater Legend Xtreme Inshore model – and it’s never been overmatched,” he states. “The real wow factor with this rod is that you can actually feel fish pick up a jig on a slack line. That alone sets it apart from all others. Just today, I was fishing on a wide-open Florida bay. I was battling the wind and current, and trying to hit my spot lock, when I popped my jig off the bottom. Somehow, I sensed a slight bump in my slack line. A huge, speckled trout had inhaled my jig.”
Of course, Bucher also has a reputation for decking monster muskies, and for that application he says the Legend Tournament Musky Downsizer 7’10” medium/fast (#LMD710MF) entry, which he helped design, can’t be beat. This rod doubles as a lunker bass stick and musky downsizer in his arsenal, allowing him to fish large lures for bigmouths and smaller musky-class lures to absolutely dominate both species.
“Pick it up and it feels light like a bass rod,” say Bucher, “but put it to the test with an angry musky and it has surprising power and backbone. This rod offers the perfect combination of length, strength, and that all-important sensitivity. I’ve caught more big muskies on this one rod than most anglers catch in a lifetime.”
The Legend Xtreme series features six freshwater casting and five freshwater spinning models. Legend Xtreme Inshore includes three spinning and one casting model. These apex rods feature SCV & SCVI carbon, IPC, ART, FRS, TET, Daiwa AGS Carbon Fiber Guides, and 2nd Generation Xtreme-Skin Handles.
The broad Legend Tournament Series is an angler favorite. There are Legend Tournament models optimized for almost any bass, walleye, musky, and inshore-fishing application. These blanks are crafted from SCIV high-modulus high-strain carbon, feature IPC, ART and FRS technologies and feature both split-grips and full-cork handles, depending on the model and application.