The idea is to show you where the start of the fly line is when you are playing a fish that has run well into your backing. And finally this Spring I put it to use on big snook and redfish on Florida’s Gulf coast. Yellowstone Angler’s 2020 5 Weight Shootout. The Recon is built at the Orvis factory in Manchester, VT. Only as good as the Crux and Axiom II. We’ll come out with you and give you some help to fine tune your casting stroke, or just help you with the basics. Carries a lot of line in the air easily, and gave me good accuracy. A fairly wide but short extension butt is used with composite cork on the end that matches what is used on the grip. I didn’t think it was nearly as good overall, and certainly didn’t have the power of the BVK that we have liked so much. The guide set up is only one SiC stripping guide, followed up with large size hard chrome snake guides and an oversize tiptop. We have two Redington rods in this Shootout, with the CRUX being perhaps the best one, but at $200.00 more than the VICE. We use a tape measure to get the precise casting distances at each station, and make them uniformly parallel. We round the weight to .1 of an ounce to make it easier to compare one rod with another. The cork handle is Sage’s version of a full wells, with a smaller swell in the middle than found on most other full wells grips. You are never going to break any of these guides! Our advice is that if you can afford it, buy the best. After nearly 50 years in the fly fishing business as a guide, shop manager and shop owner, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes for a fly rod to perform well. Both of these rods have a similar action and deflected in a similar manner, with the same amount of power. Smooth, easily controlled loops are giving me good accuracy. With 4-weight rods the emphasis is on the shorter distances, as rarely would an angler be casting a 4-weight at 60 feet or more. The two stripping guides are black colored titanium ceramic guides, a bit smaller than we found on the Orvis and Scott rods but slightly larger than on the Asquith. I also like the little touches such as the line weight designation on the sliding band on the double uplocking aluminum seat. Just keep in mind that all these measurements must be made the same day with the same room temperature. } The idea is to increase durability, where your thumb rests. One of the best things about the Meridian is the softer tip, which gives it wonderful feel and control at the shorter distances. Part of your justification is the wow factor, as the best rods are often a status symbol. Heavy swing weight combined with a stiff tip never works well. The slower action combined with all that weight made for a dismal performance. The G-7/8 is just a size down from the G-8/9 Nautilus that won our 2014 8-weight Reel Shootout. As in all our prior Shootouts, we have strived to eliminate the variables by setting up the rods with the exact same reels, lines and leaders. Some of the best new rods from Loomis, Scott, Orvis and T&T use a stack of much thinner rings than we have seen in the past. Jim Bartschi at Scott gave us a rod that combined a very light swing weight with great power and feel. Usually takes 2-4 weeks. A comfortable, short fighting butt is used that has a good wide rubber end similar to what we found on the Salt HD. #16 (tie)   Loop Cross SW (Fast)   9 foot #8  $849.00. Despite all the abuse I was able to dish out, the Asquith was an absolute joy to use and performed flawlessly. The fast action seems to be about perfect, with a softer tip than most of the other mid-priced rods. The craftsmanship is top shelf. A short fighting butt is used with a wide rubber end that will be comfortable fighting fish. The Asquith is a fast action rod, but with a soft enough tip to give great feel and excellent accuracy at all distances. We didn’t even let anyone cast beyond 60 feet even though some of these rods can easily shoot out to 100 feet when in the hands of a competent caster. But the Asquith and NRX were definitely much better. Although the BVK was tied for the lightest rod in overall weight, the swing weight is far higher, and not in the same class of the best rods in our Shootout. Another thing that impressed me was its extremely light swing weight that matched some of the best rods. I was surprised at how well the X performed at 80 feet. The handle is a full wells design with excellent quality cork. What surprised us was how well the Amplitude Bonefish cast compared to the previous Bonefish Taper, and how well it would shoot, even here in the colder Montana weather, once we stretched it out. But a glance at our top rods deflection board will show you that the X has a much stiffer tip than the Orvis Helios 3F and even the Asquith, and this is the main reason it didn’t perform as well at 35 feet. But at longer distances the Cross SW and the better rods blew it away. If you get to Montana, we invite you to stop at our shop and do your own mini-Shootout right on our lawn. We look at lots of things to determine this. The Zephrus was better in close. Sure, if you are an Orvis fan and can afford the new Helios 3F, it does provide a level of performance that’s a big step up from the Recon, both at short and long range. Wow, that bright green blank jumps right out at you! So if you plan to fish this rod hard all day, better get into the gym and beef up those forearms. $60 handling fee. backing. 2X (8 pound test) still ran large, but they came under in 4X (4 pound test) and just over in 6X (2 pound test) compared to the fly fishing’s industry average. Namely, it is heavy, especially in the all important swing weight category, and the tip is still too stiff. The reel seat is a gray anodized double uplock, but with much larger locking rings than found on the BVK. The Meridian and Helios 3F were FAR better. The six inches of white on the butt, above the cork grip is just plain UGLY. Tracks well and I’m throwing nicely controlled loops. A good 8-weight rod can be used for bass, salmon and even steelhead. In addition to my comments in the main Shootout, you’ll want to read the comments from Jamie and our other Yellowstone Angler staff members, JG (Josh Green) and Logan Brown. We set up 4 individual casting “stations”, each with about 30 feet of elbowroom on either side. This is another new rod from Hardy with the same good looks and craftsmanship as we found in the Zephrus AWS, but at a much lower price. Two black wire recoil stripping guides are used, followed up with the best flexible nickel/titanium snake guides in a black pearl color. Mid range is the sweet spot for this rod. Well, I have to tell you that we are still disappointed with the new Salt HD. The wraps and coatings on the guides are close to perfect. The rod itself is an extremely dark blue called “Squid Ink,” with some blue trim wraps on the butt. The black anodized double uplocking seat works well enough but the rings are smaller and much harder for me to grip than the ones on say the Asquith or Helios 3F. The new Orvis Helios 3F, the G.Loomis NRX and the new T&T Exocett all finish in a close heat for 3rd place, in both the Overall and Performance scores. The Douglas SKY won our last 6-Weight Shootout, and here it puts in an impressive performance as an 8-weight. For broken rods that are not registered to the original owners, most companies are going to charge you $150 or more to get these repaired. They slam rods they don't carry. Loomis does send you a Fed Ex or UPS call tag so that you don’t have to spend any money to send the broken rod back. As good as the Aetos, but both the BVK and SKY were much better. The softer tip gave me pretty good feel and even better accuracy than with the Cross SW. Nice feel and good accuracy but I could definitely feel the heavier swing weight. The thing that grabs you is the unusual handle design and the use of angled composite cork along with the standard cork rings. Are they better? Sometimes the whole rod is replaced. #12 (tie)   Fenwick Aetos    9 foot #8   $189.95. We have several reels rigged up with the various line sizes, and leaders, all ready to go. Too many manufacturers try to get by with a one-coat epoxy that is too heavy, adding weight to the rod. Like on the Crux, the epoxy coating on the guide wraps was good. First, it’s a great looking rod with the same flawless craftsmanship that we have seen previously from T&T. Another thing we like about the TFO rods is the warranty. Only at the 100 foot mark did I feel it was not quite as good as the Asquith and NRX. Since our very first 8-weight Shootouts, the BVK has really impressed me. Guide wraps are a complementary blue with a little black trim on the butt section. His ability to design a progressive fast action, giving us softer tips than many other rods, is the key to why the NRX rods perform so well. As good as the Recon, but the SKY and Legend Elite were better here. For most full wells grips this will be at the midpoint in the swell, in the center of the grip. The Exocett is an impressive new rod from T&T. Fishing for Atlantic salmon on the Hunt river in Labrador, we were fishing large dry flies – #6 bombers, and I often had to throw them close to 100 feet and then get a good drift. The SKY is designed here in the US by Fred Contaoi, but manufactured in Korea at the same plant that produces Hardy and Loop rods. 4. callback: cb This seems strange to me since the Axiom II is both heavier in overall weight and swing weight than the BVK. It needs to have a securely locking reel seat that won’t work loose with larger, and heavier saltwater fly reels. A little silver trim is found on the butt section. Now the lack of power is showing itself. Other rod designers I know that are great anglers are Jerry Siem at Sage and Jim Bartschi at Scott. In the final results it lost a lot of points in both the price and warranty categories but still managed to barely edge out our last 8-weight winner – the Scott Meridian. Keep in mind that fast action rods are not necessarily stiff rods (as many people assume). But quickly they come to realize that the ease of casting, the tight loops and control the higher priced rods provide, allow them to develop their casting skills much more rapidly. This is a very attractive rod, finished in a dark midnight blue, with black wraps that include a little red on the butt section. Guides are two SiC stripping guides, with the rest large diameter hard chrome snake guides and an oversize tip top. If you break this rod it will cost you $250-$275 to replace it since the blanks are more expensive to produce. It is also very light in hand, and tied the Asquith, Meridian and Helios 3F for the lowest swing weight. The new crop of rods – particularly the Loomis Asquith, the Orvis Helios 3, and the Thomas & Thomas Exocett, all appeared to be capable of knocking off both the Meridian and NRX! From their own fishing experiences, they know just what is needed for specific fish and the fishing conditions that anglers are likely to encounter. I designed these leaders with very stiff butt and midsections, and a short taper that allows them to turn over extremely well, even in a harsh wind. Pretty good feel and accuracy – far better than the Salt HD! The X has a much faster action and softer tip, giving it a whole lot more feel combined with tighter loops and better accuracy than the Salt HD at short to medium distances. These rods are the best of the best, and all are assembled if not completely made here in the USA. Performance at 35 feet:  20 points out of 20. The Recon was much better here. window.mc4wp = window.mc4wp || { For others, they see how this rod performs in their guide’s hands, and think that it is going to make them great anglers too and at least take them to the next level. Each section is numbered on the lower side, making it easy to line up all the pieces. The cork handle is a full wells, with the same kind of stack of thin, high quality cork found on the Loomis and Scott rods. They give you the confidence to put the fly where you want it at any distance. #14 (tie)   Hardy Shadow AWS   9 foot #8  $389.95. (function() { Yellowstone Angler’s 2020 8-Weight Shootout. Although P-line brand tippet is almost unheard of in the fly fishing market, it has been exceptionally popular with conventional fishing and on bass tournament circuits. 3. The heavy swing weight hurt both feel and accuracy in close. One big improvement over the BVK are the locking rings on the reel seat. Rods are either replaced with a new rod or the broken section is replaced. On a low incoming tide, we had several big fish tailing so far up on the flat that the water was just barely covering their backs. The Douglas rods have always been attractive, with excellent craftsmanship and this DXF is no exception. I loved the light swing weight and the beautifully controlled tight loops I was getting that produced superb accuracy. We had 10 identical Nautilus G-7/8 reels set up with our favorite bonefish line, the new Scientific Anglers Amplitude Bonefish Taper in WF-8-F.  On the lines we used our own 12-foot-1X Yellowstone Angler hand tied bonefish leaders since they simply cast better and more accurately than any of the knotless leaders. The guide set up starts out with two Fuji SiC strippers, followed up with good large diameter hard chrome snake guides. “Perfect 8 Performance” – 20 points availableAs in the past, we felt that a separate category was needed to reward the very best 8-weight rods for their overall superiority – as tested with 8-weight lines. Both the Recon and DXF were better. To me, it felt very comfortable. The alignment marks are very well done and I don’t know why more manufacturers don’t use these. The snake guides and tip top are slightly smaller than we found on many of the 8-weight rods. Since 2012, Flylords has been a proud leader in telling the stories of anglers and guides from around the world. I felt that the diameter was a little small too, which might cramp your hand, having to deal with the heavy swing weight. Last but not least is the great rod bag included with the aluminum tube that will help dry out a rod you might put away wet. Anglers fishing for stripers etc. By having all the rods set up identically, it makes it easy to take a few casts with one, lay it down on the grass, and immediately pick up another rod and do the same without having to take the time to strip all the line off the rod and load up another one. We value your comments about the shootout and invite any questions you might have about it or your tackle needs. #4. ); I don’t think I could have ever done this with a rod other than the Asquith. Shipping is from their US warehouse, usually about 10 -14 days. The Asquith is a marvelous rod and came close to running the table in our Performance Only scores, missing out by only a half point at 35 feet. Finally the power in this rod is allowing me to throw some nice loops with decent accuracy. Good, just not great. For this 4-weight Shootout, we decided to make the short distance 25 feet, the mid-distance 40 feet, and the longest distance 60 feet. The guide set up is two hard chrome SiC strippers; the rest Sage’s traditional hard chrome snake guides. Out long, the Salt HD had more beans. The guides are two large SiC strippers, followed with hard chrome snake guides. The blank is finished in a matte finish, non-glare grey with glossy black wraps. We stake down a starting line with bright colored tape, so each caster knows to stay behind the line. For this 8-Weight Shootout, we are trying to gauge how well each rod performs with an 8-weight line. I liked the fast action and the relatively light overall weight and swing weight of the Aetos. Rather than use a fly, we used a fluorescent orange yarn indicator at the end of the tippet. G. Loomis Asquith   9 foot #8  $1100.00. #19. in temperate climates often use an intermediate line like SA’s Sonar Titan. The guide set up is two SiC stripping guides, followed with large size hard chrome snake guides and a big oversized tip top. They endorse rods they carry and want to make money on. Fun to Fish / Got to Have – 10 points available. The Nautilus reels also have a lower start up inertia than any of the reels we tested. Every year, George Anderson, owner of the Yellowstone Angler in Livingston, Montana, assemble a list of the best 5-weight rods, broken into two categories: presentation and performance, available on the market and put them head-to-head against each other. Hand tied Bonefish Leaders  $7.95. Here is the range that I consider the most important of all for 8-weight rods. Must be registered within 30 days. Performance at 100 feet:  20 points out of 20. Look at the coatings on the rod wraps. The reel seat was pretty cheap too. Still a solid performance at this distance. This rod is manufactured in Korea. Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO) – Lifetime warranty to original owner. Here you’ll find our recommendations in three price ranges:  Best Buy, Mid-Priced, and the Ultimate Outfit. 406 646-1010 Riverside Anglers PO Box 474 Performance at 60 feet:  19.2 points out of 20. It is a smooth casting rod, but not as accurate as I wished. The cork quality was decent, and better than what we found on the Reaper. A good saltwater 8-weight rod needs to be strong enough to fire 40-60 foot casts into a hard wind, and hit 80-100 feet with ease in calmer conditions. E. e caster Well-known member. This is another fast action rod that has just the right amount of tip flex, with lots of power in the butt and mid sections. Like other Mystic rods, this rod is manufactured in Korea. You must register the new rod within 30 days. But the Helios 3D was significantly better. The price – at $1100.00 this is the first production rod to break the $1000 barrier. Warranties ExplainedHere is a short recap of each manufacturer’s current policy, their latest fees and what we have experienced for repair time required. Extending the bellies serves a multi-purpose. A heavier knurl on the rings would help. Performance at 60 feet – 20 points available. Price is certainly a big factor in your decision to buy a rod. A short composite cork, fighting butt is used. The Orvis Recon, St. Croix Legend Elite, and Sage Motive are the best mid-priced rods in the $450-$500 class. We’ve always been impressed with the Orvis craftsmanship and this rod is no exception. Nice smooth action was producing good tight loops and very good accuracy. On most inexpensive rods, manufacturers are using cheap pre-shaped grips that need a lot of filler, which doesn’t look very good. No problem punching it long and I’m getting surprisingly good accuracy too. On the front side of the reel seat is an anodized olive hood that gives the line size combined with built in hook keepers on both sides. For one thing, they are very light rods and far, far lighter than Sage’s new Salt HD. The cork handle is Sage’s full wells design that does not have as pronounced a swell in the middle as most. I just love the feel at short range combined with superb accuracy. Dan manages our Content Team here at Flylords and specializes in digital marketing. I was tempted to rate it higher. This is another great rod made here in the US at Park Falls, Wisconsin. They use two more standard SiC stripping guides followed by extra large size hard chrome snake guides and an oversize tip top. Loomis uses the finest flexible  nickel/titanium snake guides that we love, along with an oversize tip top. The finished blanks are shipped to the G. Loomis factory in Woodland Washington, where the rods are completed. The cork handle is a full wells design and felt just right. A short fighting butt is used with a good wide composite cork ring on the end. Like other Fenwick rods, this is built in Korea. Our intent was to post the article on our website soon after but somehow time got the best of us, so…. A short fighting butt is used with a rubber cap. The line size designation is marked on the top of the sliding band; a nice touch. Both the Recon and Aetos were much better. Mystic – Lifetime warranty to original owner. Here is the mid-price winner in our Shootout! Performance at 100 feet:  16 points out of 20. As is, the lack of overall power limits the Reaper’s ability to chuck it long, like I was able to with the similar priced TFO BVK. better late than never? In both 2015 and 2016 Shootout, the Yellowstone Angler test crew also recognized the G. Loomis PRO4x LP as one of the top mid-priced fly rods. The best Korean rods rival what is produced here in the US. Now, only subtle differences separate most of the rods in our Shootout. Our trips to the back waters of Yellowstone are always top on the list for me and my team and we wouldn't do it without the amazing folks at YFS. The best rods are not always the most expensiveAs you’ll read again this year, there are some outstanding rods that have scored higher than rods that are two to three times as expensive. Now all that power redeems itself with the ability to form long tight loops. A softer tip would help the X to match the Helios 3F and Meridian at short distance. I liked the two titanium SiC stripping guides, followed up with flexible nickel/titanium single foot guides the rest of the way. Keep a pair of pliers handy, as you may need them. No way is this seat going to hold a heavier saltwater reel for very long. As I mentioned before, I’ve never cast a rod that tracks as perfectly as the Asquith. Redington VICE    9 foot #8     $199.95. More often than not, anglers are faced with a good amount of wind when flats fishing. If there was little wind I could hit the mark, but not with any consistency. Great rods don’t make great casters, but they can sure help an average caster advance a lot faster. For cold-water applications you’ll want to switch over to a softer, colder water line like the SA MPX or the Amplitude MPX. Note* The final results and performance charts on this page are George’s figures. For full results and in-depth discussion of reach rod, check out the Shootout’s page, here. This way the four of us could be comparing two to three rods at once at our individual casting stations. Performance at 100 feet – 20 points availableAs I mentioned at the beginning of our Shootout, again this year we felt a need to rate the 8-weight rods at 100 feet. What about the new Sage Salt HD and how would it compare to the Sage X and Motive? The DXF and Motive were a lot better at extreme long range. After seeing what a marvelous performance the Scott Meridian turned in, the Tidal was somewhat of a disappointment. How did it score so well? Non-original owner $150 per section. Tropical Saltwater Fly Line Shootout & Buyer's Guide. Gets it done easily, with very good line control and tight loops. Sage Light Line. A lot of credit for this goes to the softer tip Orvis uses on this model. And since we are in Montana, there is no sales tax. Only at long range did the X seem to run out of gas. Lefty Kreh helped design this rod and BVK are his initials. If you have multiple rods in the rod rack in say, a skiff, you can tell at a glance that this is the 8-weight. The Loomis NRX gets a perfect score of 10 for their excellent Expeditor repair program which charges you $100 but you get a brand new rod, not a repaired one, in just a few days. As in the past, the only logical way to get the answers we were looking for was to collect these rods, then put the exact same reels, lines and leaders on them and do a Shootout. In that $200 class, I had hoped it would compare well with the Fenwick Aetos, but it isn’t even close. The cork handle had more filler than I’d like to see – the quality of cork used was not nearly as good as on the Cross SX. In this shootout, we again used the Scientific Anglers lines and tested rods with whichever line … The team at the shop goes into insane detail to show exactly how these rods perform, using the same reel and line in every test. The light gray anodized double uplocking aluminum seat has two big locking rings that are very easy to grip and tighten. The snake guides are larger than we found on the X, which is good, but they are also heavier, and this hurts the swing weight. listeners: [], This rod is finished the color of a fine burgundy wine, with black wraps trimmed in red on the butt section. Don’t let the price slow you down. Craftsmanship varies to some degree from rod to rod. At these middle distances I found that I was getting very nice tight loops and good accuracy. A short fighting butt is used with a fairly wide composite cork ring on the end. It’s hard to gripe about the cheap components, especially for such a ridiculously low price. Performance at 60 feet:  17.5 points out of 20. The matte finished black anodized double uplocking seat is one of the best we’ve seen. And it was far lighter in swing weight. This allowed us to judge the casting accuracy, even at the longest distances. Saving $500 or more is nice too! Performance at 35 feet – 20 points availableWe stretch this close distance from 25 to 35 feet for the 8-weight rods. February 21, 2020. Scott uses absolutely the best components on this rod. Only at extreme long range did the HD feel like the best rods. Anderson and his Yellowstone Angler shootout test crew, including James Anderson, Josh Edwards and Paul Bloch give their thoughts about the G.Loomis NRX LP fly rod and all the other rods on the Yellowstone Angler web site at www.yellowstoneangler.com. For this reason we have again included a separate table of just the Performance Scores. 32, 5-weight rods entire, two leave. With all the great new rods on the market since our 2016 8-weight Shootout, everyone at the Yellowstone Angler was excited about doing another 8-weight rod Shootout. The accuracy was terrible too – only the Inception was worse. If you are thinking about buying a fly rod, we suggest reading one of our Shootouts for the line size rod you want. #25. 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Trout and other species worldwide Korean rods rival what is found on many of the middle as.. 3F had more beans that craftsmanship has improved the way we compute the swing weight,... The weight to.1 of an ounce to make it easier to compare one rod with plenty of power with! Are cranking on big snook and redfish on Florida ’ s enormous butt and mid-section power made simple!, it ’ s Sonar Titan bends, and it ’ s appearance. Our deflection yellowstone angler fly line shootout have been so popular that we love, along with an 8-weight, are...

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