John Popplewell’s normal shore fishing involves slinging baits but he is not adverse to picking up a lure particularly when he gets his hands on a quality rod like the custom built St Leger Renegade reviewed here.
St Leger rods are all custom made to the highest standard possible to create some of the finest fishing rods on the UK market. They value performance, and the final touch that only a custom made rod can attain and are built to your own personal preferences. I guess if you are like me, the personal touch makes a fishing rod yours and yours alone and results in tackle that stands out from the off-the-shelf rods.
I admit I am truly passionate about my angling and if I can make it better by using a tailor built rod then I will always jump at the chance.
St Leger Rods source the best quality blanks available from America and the guides, winch fittings incorporate the latest technology and no expense is spared on building materials. Coupled with these quality materials the attention to detail in the build and finish produces a top of the range lure rod.
The Renegade is a 7ft spinning rod, which has been designed for the most discerning angler. I took this rod to the roughest terrain in North Wales to put it through its paces. The first thing that I noticed was the lightness of this rod, it actually felt like I was holding a feather.
There are half a dozen blank finishes available ranging from the natural slate through to sparkling silver.
As my rod was ringed for a fixed spool I attached a 3000 size fixed spool reel loaded with 10lb line and tested lures from 7-28g as recommended by Gavin St Leger. I found that all those weights cast well and after a few casts I opted for a mid-range 20g lure which proved a happy medium. This weight resulted in the US designed blank loading up and produced smooth, easy casts, even a one handed cast occasioned decent distances.
Casting or multiplier versions of the rods are also available with suitable ring spacing.
The fast tip worked a dream and letting the lure drop to the sea bed and then bouncing along the bottom I could feel every movement as it worked its way over the rocks and crevices. This spinning rod was very user friendly and actually felt like an extension of my arm and even after a lengthy period of use I was still ready for more action.
The American Tackle Microwave guides used on the shore version of the rod are very interesting; the bottom one is actually two guides that are attached together with the smaller guide a matter of a few millimetres in front of the bigger one. This helps to stop the billowing effect that fixed spool reels have with the line between the first guide and reel, and I must say it works to great effect and makes for a smoother longer cast.
The kayak version of the Renegade uses light weight Pac Bay guides as an alternative.
All the rods are fitted with EVA moulded grips and this foam material is dense, very durable and fits the hand grip very well making for a comfortable fishing experience. Gavin can supply the Renegade with cork grips for those who prefer a more traditional feel to their rods.
The reel sea is the American Tackle AERO comfort finish with its ergonomic design for added leverage and fatigue-free comfort.
One Piece Blank
Although common in the States and among our freshwater brethren a one-piece blank is seldom seen on our shores. The lack of a central spigot in this 7ft blank brings out the best in the fast tip rod and yet is still easy to transport to venues, the one-piece blank makes for an unhindered cast with a true crisp action.
St Leger Rods test every rod before it is actually built, so each rod is an individual to the angler who will be using it and this helps give the ultimate performance suited to that particular angler.
They offer a range of rod colours plus guide whippings and some very intricate weavings to match your boat, clothing, the team you support or just your favourite colours scheme.
These rods are ideal for kayak anglers with the fast tip 7ft Renegade proving a hit. Make no bones about it this rod can take the pressure of some of the bigger fish that we see around our coast and would be quite happy fishing abroad for anything from bonefish to heavyweight tarpon if the optional spigot version was obtained for travel.
If you would rather build your own rod, Gavin runs regular classes where, with personal tuition, you can learn rod building techniques and finish course with your own hand-finished rod.
- Model Tested: Renegade Micro Spint
- Action: Medium – Heavy, Fast
- Handle: EVA.
- Reel Seat: Aero
- Guides: Microwave for shore work or Minima for the kayak angler
Minima rings will withstand more abrasion from fishing line than a ceramic ring will and far greater impact abuse that comes with general boat fishing