Manufacturers usually list the weight of their rods on their websites but we like to confirm this with our own “Official” Brecknell US postage scale. The one bright side of the Expeditor policy – you call Loomis, they charge your credit card and send you a brand new rod that you receive in a few days! Ones with a heavy swing weight feel like a club in your hand and they are not going to be pleasant to cast all day. If you cannot find or cast the rods that interest you, we are here to help. Decent balance and loop control, but the Recon and BVK were dramatically better. 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 Of course for salmon and steelhead double handed and switch rods have pretty much taken over, especially on larger rivers. 2. Only the NRX could match the Asquith at 80 feet. We were excited to see how the new Salt HD compared, especially with all the good press it has gotten. G. Loomis Asquith   9 foot #8  $1100.00. Brian: The components are not quite up to the Zephrus’ standards, but in line with the lower price. Rods are either replaced with a new rod or the broken section is replaced. A short fighting butt is used with a composite cork on the end, matching what is found on the handle. Both the X and the NRX were a lot better. Good, but the heavier swing weight hurt the feel I was getting. A short fighting butt is used with a fairly wide composite cork end. They include a FedEx call tag so it costs you nothing to send the broken rod back. They won’t break and are a lot lighter than hard chrome snake guides, which helps reduce the swing weight. 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. Another thing that impressed me was its extremely light swing weight that matched some of the best rods. G. Loomis NRX LP . Even though the HD is stiffer than the X, I didn’t feel it cast better until I was trying to hit 100 feet. Performance at 35 feet:  19.2 points out of 20. With comments from James Anderson, Josh Edwards, Logan Brown, and Paul Bloch. A little silver trim is found on the butt section. Extending the bellies serves a multi-purpose. The guide wraps are a complementary darker green with a glossy epoxy finish. Well, I have to tell you that we are still disappointed with the new Salt HD. The best are done with multiple coats of finish, rather than one thick coat. #20. The AWS is a fast action rod with a smooth action and excellent dampening. But maybe because it was not available. To get a 10, repair charges had to be $35 or less with a quick turn around time of less than two weeks. Our advice is that if you can afford it, buy the best. Since most manufacturers released the rods in mid-July at the ICAST show, we have gotten our hands on all the new ones, and have done a lot of casting and fishing with them. Under $400, the Douglas DXF and Hardy Shadow are neck and neck and terrific rods for the money. Like all Loomis rods, this is made in Woodland, Washington. And they also give you a FedEx call tag so that you can send the broken rod back for free. The grey anodized, double uplocking reel seat matches the color of the blank. For a rod that costs $950 Sage should be using the best Recoil nickel/titanium snake guides similar to the flexible and far lighter guides that Loomis and Scott use. This is a great looking rod, the blank finished in a deep midnight blue with matching blue wraps. Not going to happen for all but the very best casters. 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 best rods need to be able to cast very accurately and have the ability to make a delicate presentation that won’t spook wary fish. At these middle distances I found that I was getting very nice tight loops and good accuracy. 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. And the locking rings need to be easy to grip and tighten. Decent, but not nearly as good as the Cross SW or the DXF. Here’s the category that separates the men from the boys – the contenders from the pretenders. A short fighting butt with a large rubber cap is used that will be comfortable when you are cranking on big fish. This allowed everyone to cast comfortably, and eliminated line tangles. A lot of these didn’t make the cut! We have several reels rigged up with the various line sizes, and leaders, all ready to go. Scott does use the same great cork handle we see on the Meridian – a full wells design with a stack of thin, very high quality cork rings. Nothing can touch it, not even the NRX. Matches the Recon, but not in the same class as the best rods. If you want the best rod in performance, looks, and durability, plan on spending $800 or more. (function() { At 35 feet the combination of great feel and accuracy was matched only by the Orvis Helios 3F. The Expeditor service fee for the Asquith rods is $250.00 for ground or $275 for 2-day air. We are pleased to tell you that craftsmanship has improved steadily over the past ten years. A full wells design is used. In our last 8-weight Shootout the Sage Salt didn’t fare too well. This seems strange to me since the Axiom II is both heavier in overall weight and swing weight than the BVK. Here the Meridian and Exocett were noticeably better. Feels heavy in the tip and I’m struggling to get any decent accuracy. We have found that this is the key to getting good accuracy, especially at closer distances. The Fenwick Aetos, at under two hundred bucks, is an incredible bargain! Performance at 100 feet:   19 points out of 20. If from neglect or any other cause, you must use the Expeditor service, which charges your credit card $100 but you get a brand new rod in 3-4 days. Here’s our low price winner in the Shootout. We also had a revised version of the Douglas DXF that looked promising, and other new rods to test like the TFO Axiom II and the Redington CRUX and VICE. This is a stiff rod, and this hurt its performance at close range. This gives an angler more feel combined with an enormous amount of reserve power. Craftsmanship varies to some degree from rod to rod. Don’t let the price slow you down. The worst in our Shootout. 2018 8-Weight Shootout G. Loomis Asquith best fly rod comparison - Yellowstone Angler . The blank is finished in a matte finish, non-glare grey with glossy black wraps. This is easy – The least expensive rod gets the highest points. These leaders are all hand tied, and hand tested by us here at the shop. The Asquith tied three other rods with the lightest swing weight we measured. Because the Yellowstone test fails to do any of this, the shootout winds up validating that these guys don't live, breathe or much less understand, I mean really comprehend, true saltwater fly-fishing and the needs associated with it before they spout off with a Bonefishing opinion on a rod formed over a weekend at a lodge. To put more emphasis on performance, we double the points in both “performance” and “overall” calculations. Taper diagrams were created by measuring the diameter of each line every 6 inches until we were well into the running line. With over forty years of experience, I can usually get a pretty good idea of how a rod will perform, just flexing it in my hand. The lack of stiffness hurt at long range. Bottom line, in use this rod delivers. Introduced in 2012, along the 9-foot five weight, the G.Loomis NRX Lite Presentation fly rod line-up includes both 7-foot-6-inch and 8-foot-8-inch three weights, and a 9-foot four weight. These distances are longer than those we rate rods in our other Shootouts, as we find that most people that employ 8-weight rods, use them in the salt – often for bonefish, snook and redfish, where the average casts are 35 to 60 feet. A short fighting butt is used with a wide rubber end that will be comfortable fighting fish. Getting out of the skiff to wade was not an option as the marl here was so soft that one step out of the skiff and you would sink in up to your crotch. I especially like the handle shape, putting the swell slightly ahead of the middle of the grip. The Nautilus reels also have a lower start up inertia than any of the reels we tested. Bonefish lines have limited application. Still pretty bad. A short extension butt is used. This is a fast action rod with plenty of power. Click here for specific details. 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. The first few feet of the tip is textured for the ultimate in flotation, then it goes to a smooth line for the remainder of the belly. The quality of the cork itself was excellent. The quality of the cork in the handle is a big factor too. Could be done, but required a huge amount of effort. The guides are two SiC strippers, but smaller than what we found on the Crux. Doesn’t seem to have enough power to carry the same tight loops as the BVK or Motive. Scott Meridian  9 foot #8   $865.00. Performance at 100 feet:   18.7 points out of 20. Steve Rajeff fine-tunes all the Asquith designs, and then Shimano builds the blanks in Japan. Both the Meridian and Exocett were giving me tighter loops and better accuracy. I’d still answer a firm no to this, but the reality is that they get better every year. Yes the BVK at $279.95 is marginally better, but you’ll have to spend another $30 to get a hard case. Some rods that perform well at shorter distances just run out of gas at extreme long range or when you have to drill a bonefish fly fifty feet into a 25 mph headwind. But in my own experience this is an extremely tough rod and I seriously doubt that anyone is going to break an Asquith while fishing. We used a digital micrometer, which is the only way to get an accurate reading. You’ll have to make that decision. Namely, it is heavy, especially in the all important swing weight category, and the tip is still too stiff. A green graphite spacer is used with a handy yellow line showing where to insert the reel seat. If the Inception had a softer tip like the Reaper, it would have done a lot better – especially at the shorter distances. Surprisingly, as good as the Recon in close. Performance at 35 feet:  17 points out of 20. Performance categories – right out to 100 feet. in temperate climates often use an intermediate line like SA’s Sonar Titan. The handle is a full wells, but one with very little swell in the middle – somewhat like the handle design on the Sage rods. The TFO BVK is our best performing inexpensive rod at $279.95 while the Fenwick Aetos is the best buy at just $189.95. 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. Only as good as the Crux and Axiom II. This is another great rod made here in the US at Park Falls, Wisconsin. Forms nice loops but the X was more accurate and much more pleasant to cast. We feel it is very important to have expert anglers and casters provide their comments since knowledge of rod design, flex patterns and components is so important. It’s light in overall weight and swing weight – coming in just behind the Sage X and Recon. Jump to Latest Follow ... Just showing fly casters in action casting at moving red fish in benign conditions. A contrasting composite cork ring is used at the top of the grip. It can throw tiny dries, all types of nymphs, and even streamers. The snake guides and tip top are slightly smaller than we found on many of the 8-weight rods. I had high expectations for the Cross SW when I first flexed it in my hand, and I’m still surprised to see how far down the Shootout it finished. After seeing what a marvelous performance the Scott Meridian turned in, the Tidal was somewhat of a disappointment. Using our postal scale, that produces meaningful and believable results. Check out the Thomas and Thomas rods or Scott rods if you want to see wraps and finish that are just about perfect. If you buy any one of the top dozen rods in this shootout, we are confident that you will be delighted. Bonefish can be very spooky in slick water when there is little wind, and I’m often trying to sneak in at very close range to tailing fish, even down on my knees casting to the fish that may be only 15-20 feet away. Equal to the Meridian, Helios 3F and Exocett here with only the Asquith and NRX better. I found it very comfortable. The SKY certainly has plenty of power and now it helps produce nice loops and good accuracy, matching the Helios 3F and even the Meridian. Broken sections are replaced. examines it. Rather than use a fly, we used a fluorescent orange yarn indicator at the end of the tippet. The winner of our 2016 8-weight Shootout very nearly pulled it off again this year and is still a fantastic rod. This is still one of the best casting rods I’ve used, and is especially impressive at mid to long range. Wow, that bright green blank jumps right out at you! It often takes a little time for the rod to “settle down” from all this movement so we do this procedure 4-6 times and then take the average weight we are getting from the scale. 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 are just trying to call it like we see it, in an unbiased manner. The Exocett is an impressive new rod from T&T. December 6, 2019. Another thing we like about the TFO rods is the warranty. At first I scored it a 19 since the accuracy was as good as the Exocett, but I was working a lot harder to make this distance. With our combined input, I’m confident that we can come up with the perfect rod or outfit that best fits your needs. 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. This one is a full wells design, but with a variety of beautiful contrasting cork rings top and bottom. Mystic Reaper    9 foot #8     $279.00. Performance at 100 feet:  18 points out of 20. Nice and smooth, but I couldn’t match the accuracy I was getting with other inexpensive rods like the BVK or Aetos. There is no question that this is a marvelous rod at short to medium distances where it took perfect scores. better late than never? Performance at 60 feet:  20 points out of 20. Other excellent new rods include the Douglas SKY (that won our last 6-weight Shootout), the Sage Salt HD, the Hardy Zephrus AWS, and the Loop Cross SW rods. This new line has the S.A. Tropi-Core technology – a stiff coating and stiff core, perfect for warmer climates. The rings locked up well, but were a little harder to grip than on the best rods. Different rod, faster than the BVK, is heavier than the less expensive.. Grips this will be comfortable when you wiggle the club head to Meridian! The S.A. 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