St. Croix hits the kokanee market with the Premier PC76LM rod.
The 7-foot, 6-inch PC76LM is a handsome trigger grip casting stick with a very interesting action that some kokanee anglers are sure to appreciate. Though made of graphite, the rod handles very much like one made of fiberglass, which will protect light leaders and help keep hooks from tearing out of the mouths of landlocked sockeye salmon.
- SCII graphite construction
- Ultra-hard SiC tip top
- Premium-grade cork handle
- Batson Forecast hard aluminum oxide-guides
On the water test
From the first time you pick up the Premier PC76LM, it screams “KOKANEE!!!!” It’s got a nice long cork handle perfect for stuffing into tube style rod holders on downriggers and a super soft action. The stick is rated for 2- to 10-pound line though it is slow enough that you could probably run 2-pound on it (10 seems a bit heavy, however).
On the other hand, I’m always on the hunt for a rod that will also enable me to backtroll small plugs on rivers for trout, and this one looked like it might just be able to double dip.
My first trial run took place on Lake Berryessa, one of California’s better producers of 18- to 20-inch kokanee salmon. I quickly set up on a popular spot, got my line in the water and dropped the ball down. When clipped into the downrigger release, the rod arced over beautifully and its parabolic action helped keep me from popping the line out of the clip on the way down…something I’m pretty skilled at!
That same super soft action, however, made it a bit of a pain to get my line to release from the clip when I got bit. After several hard yanks, the line cleared and I got to fight my first koke with the Premier PC76LM. From a keeping the fish from pulling loose standpoint, the rod preformed very well. It bends so much, though, that i had no leverage on the fish and I feel the softness actually made it harder to feel what the fish was doing…
As you can see here, the blank starts bending just after the second guide…
I had no trouble landing a limit of fat kokanee on the rod and ended up only losing 1 out of 7 hooked, which is a pretty nice batting average when it comes to kokes.
The next day, I hopped into my pontoon boat and tried backtrolling a No. 50 Hot Shot for trout on a local river. During that experiment, I found the rod’s action entirely too soft. With just the pressure of a small plug working in the current, the stick nearly doubled in half, making it extremely hard to read how my lure was working. Granted, the rod wasn’t designed for this purpose, so I really can’t knock it for not being a mini Hot Shotter.
So, getting back to the kokanee angle…The St. Croix Premier PC76LM is a light, durable and classy-looking rod that has its merits in the world of landlocked salmon fishing. Overall, it is a very nice rod but I think it’s just a little too soft to be considered the perfect koke outfit and I’d like to see St. Croix give it a little faster action. But for those of you who are into rods that really go “bendo,” this may be the one for you.