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Best Mid-Priced Rod: At about half the cost, the Legend Elite runs neck-and … Sage – Lifetime warranty to original owner. Watching Howard cast, the only guy I’ve seen that could match him drilling long tight loops is perhaps Steve Rajeff. I just could not get the nice tight loops and better accuracy I was getting with the top 5 Presentation Rods. One of the more interesting deflection boards shows the previous 5-weight winner – the old G. Loomis NRX LP – along with the new NRX+ LP, as well as the Sky G that is our Presentation Rod winner as well as the NRX+, the Power Rod winner. Performing well at 70 feet is obviously more important in the Power Rod category than with the presentation rods. Nice and light in hand but I’m not able to get as much feel or accuracy as with the Zephrus. For these Power Rods, the scores at 25 feet are not as important as the scores at 45 and 70 feet. Pieces: 4. The reel seat is up-locking and in great condition as well. Scott claims that by not sanding the tape marks, this contributes to a stronger blank, and we can’t argue with this as we see very few broken Scott rods. The only good way to find out was to do another comprehensive comparison – our 2020 5-weight Shootout. The cork rings are the very high quality thin width rings we see many of the top manufacturers using. Craftsmanship is undeniably better on the most expensive rods, and with a few exceptions they perform better than the less expensive rods. For manufacturing defects on rods under current warranty, rods are repaired or replaced at St. Croix’s discretion for $20, including shipping. Rods that are light in overall weight and swing weight, and ones that have softer tips, eliminate a lot of break offs caused by an inadvertent heavy-handed hook set. A gold anodized aluminum double up-locking skeleton seat is used with a very good-looking olive wood burl spacer to complement the color of the blank. When casting this rod, the improvement in recovery and dampening was dramatic! $35 handling fee. This year we were forced to delay our 5-weight Shootout until September/October in order to get in all the newly released rods from the manufacturers. You’ll see my comments in the main body of the Shootout, but you’ll want to also read the comments from James and our other staff members- Logan Brown, Francis Clougherty and Chloe Nostrant. For most grips this is at the midpoint in the swell, or close to the center of the grip. Both are a couple of hundred dollars less than the most expensive rods. The Zephrus and Helios 3F carried tighter loops though, and gave me far better accuracy. The faster action rods have tips that bend more with stiffer butt and midsections, while the more medium action rods have slightly softer butt and midsections and a relatively stiffer tip. The reel seat is pretty drab for a rod in this price range, utilizing an anodized black aluminum up-lock seat with a synthetic gray insert – no fancy wood here. I had a tough time getting tight loops; both feel and accuracy were awful compared to the better presentation rods. Help us keep posting great reviews. But as you will see, the best Presentation Rods produced outstanding accuracy, even at 70 feet! We kept the best rod in each category, high priced, medium priced, and inexpensive category, handy for comparison. We gave perfect scores of 10 to the R.L Winston rods, the Thomas and Thomas rods and the Loomis Asquith. Snake Guides: Hard chrome. Normally I’ll try to compare 2-4 rods at one distance, make some notes, and then move on to another distance. The new G. Loomis NRX+ LP comes in 2nd followed closely by the Orvis Helios 3 and Hardy Zephrus. At 45 feet, both the Presentation and Power Rods need to be light and pleasant enough to do a lot of false casting, as you will when fishing dry flies all day long. We’ve found that fluctuating temperature and humidity from one day to the next can make a difference of .2-.3 ounces. You can evaluate which categories, such as price, are critical to you when selecting a new rod. Pros: High-performance, very lightweight. Other repairs usually take 4-8 weeks. The initial success of the Graphite II Technology and the RP and LL didn’t stall the innovation. We also have some impressive light new rods from Taylor – the Truth and Anomaly, which are light in weight and performed very well. 5-Weight Power Rods that have the strength to cast more wind resistant dries, and also chuck nymphs with indicators, and even small streamers with ease. We have found that the only way to fairly compare rod performance under identical conditions is when there is little or no wind – either by casting indoors, or outdoors when the wind was negligible. The best handles now use a stack of thinner cork rings or standard size rings with very few defects that are laid up individually and then sanded down. Action: Medium-Fast; Pros:25 year warranty; Cons: Not much you can fault with this rod Loop – Lifetime warranty to original owner. Rods are repaired or sections replaced. To make it easier to examine each rod we have used different colors with a chart below each deflection board. The Fenwick Aetos is still the best inexpensive rod at $199.95. The standard sized cork rings were not nearly as high quality as we saw on the Hardy Zephrus. Three thin coats of epoxy are applied to the wraps, rather than a thick one-coat like so many other manufacturers use. The RPL and Graphite III rods were probably what made Sage famous…really good and versatile rods in any weight. The G Series uses spigot ferrules rather than the more standard slip over ferrule found on the Radian. The new Douglas Sky G was exceptionally light in swing weight, noticeably better than all other presentation rods. 4. The cork handle is a half wells design with some fancy cork rings at the bottom. With the inexpensive warranties that most manufacturers offer, your new rod is one that will last you for many years. With a WF-5-F line, the T-5 has a capacity of 100-115 yards of 20 lb. Next, holding the rod horizontally, we position the grip over the foam pellet so that the pellet is centered under the exact spot where you will most likely hold the rod. ? Tracks well, and is giving me nice tight loops and good accuracy. Not only is this rod extremely accurate but it offers … You are familiar this term if you play golf. As part of the Expeditor policy, Loomis includes a FedEx call tag with your new rod so that you don’t have to spend any money to send the broken rod back. 1. For these more powerful 5-weights, we tested them with the half size heavier Scientific Anglers Amplitude MPX lines, which are better at loading these stiffer rods. They both utilize a light shooting texture that delivers longer casts. The epoxy job over the guide wraps was too heavy, one of the reasons we downgraded the craftsmanship slightly. This is a category that we have previously used in 6-weight Shootouts, but have newly applied it to the “Power” 5-weight Rods. Like the Zephrus, the quality of the cork is close to perfect, and better than other mid-priced rods. If more than one section is broken, the fee is $35 extra per section. It is light and powerful with excellent craftsmanship. The stiffest, “fastest action” rod is the Igniter. Keep in mind that what you read here are only our opinions. GL8 resin is “self-propagating”, meaning the resin creates its own nano-particles. St. Croix Legend Elite. Are you comfortable showing up with a $200 rod when everyone else has one of those hotshot $750 to $1000 rods in their hands? Fortunately we have access to a good indoor facility at the Livingston Civic Center gym. Usually takes 1-2 weeks. The only good way to pin down these subtle differences is to have at least a half dozen of the contending rods there in front of you with the lines stripped out, stretched and with the leaders straightened so that you can pick up one rod, make a few casts at a certain distance, then immediately pick up another rod and do the same. If you have read our Shootouts in the past, you can skip this part and go straight to the final results and the write-ups on each rod in their finishing order. On the new NRX+ LP, Steve applied what G. Loomis calls Multi-Taper Design, a manufacturing process that removes material from areas where a rod is least likely to break, and adds material to prevent breakage where it’s most likely to happen. Ending Thursday at 8:20PM PST 4d 4h. It also makes delicate presentations difficult. A small hook keeper is used. This new Platinum G2 is a huge improvement over the old Platinum – far lighter and with a faster action that seems just right. Platelets are like building blocks that are microscopic in size. We were particularly interested to see how this new SKY G would compare to the re-designed Loomis NRX+ LP. After doing a lot of casting on several different days, we were almost always in general agreement on which were the top 4-6 rods in both the Presentation and Power categories. 0 bids. Solid butt section which gave decent power and strength to fight larger fish. What the Response gains in distance and power in turn makes it less effective as a dry fly rod. There is no hook keeper. Beulah has built an extremely light but strong fly rod with all of the “sweet” casting characteristics for which Beulah is known. The Power Rods in this Shootout that gave me the best long distance performance were the G. Loomis Asquith, the G. Loomis NRX+, the T & T Avantt, and the Scott Radian. Nearly all manufacturers now have some kind of limited “Lifetime warranty.” However, nearly all manufacturers are charging an associated “handling fee” to repair or replace a broken rod. We’ve gotten to know the Zephrus well over the past few years and it has consistently been a great performing rod, winning our 2019 4-weight Shootout, and placing 3rd in our last 5-weight Shootout. The Shadow seems like it is running out of gas at this distance. Get the best deal for SAGE 8 Line Weight Fly Fishing Rods from the largest online selection at eBay.com. Interestingly, it was one of the lightest of all the presentation rods in overall weight, but the heaviest in the more important swing weight category. In the sunlight, the deep emerald green blank is stunning. It’s also nice to admire at your rod and appreciate the craftsmanship as well as its performance. Being able to cast with no wind made it much easier to score the rods with confidence at all distances. I felt that it gave me a little more feel and accuracy at 25 feet than did the LP+. On big rivers, fishing nymphs at long range using an indicator is certainly possible with one of the power 5-weights, but many anglers would then shift to a 6-weight or even a 7-weight rod. Once Fred understood what we liked in a 5-weight rod he changed the mandrels around which the rod is formed, as well as making changes to the materials and resins used. Those subtle differences thus become immediately apparent. At 25 feet the feel was rather vague, and I was not able to get the same kind of accuracy I got with the Hardy Zephrus, the G. Loomis LP+ or the Douglas SKY G. I was impressed with the 3F’s light swing weight and its ability to throw nice tight loops, especially at mid to long distance. Once we compile the points for all the rods at the different casting distances, we then add up points in the other categories to determine the final finishing order. Now you do not have to ship the broken rod to Douglas. There are no other rods in our Shootout that are as smooth, dampen as quickly, or track as well as the NRX+ rods. Of the Helios 3 rods, this 3F (F standing for finesse) has a softer tip and is more suited to accurate, delicate presentations we are looking for in the presentation rods. At least they are fairly thin in diameter to keep the weight down. When used for trout fishing, 5-weights are wonderful rods for fishing dry flies but are also great rods for fishing … If you like more medium action rods though, you will love the Paradigm. The increased dampening and recovery also result in superior accuracy, which immediately impressed me when casting and comparing the SKY G to the other top 5-weight rods. Alignment dots are helpful and T&T puts the serial number on each section, which helps you to keep from mixing sections if you have multiple T&T rods of different weights. They use a stack of high quality cork rings but I’m seeing a little more filler than I found on the similar grips on the G. Loomis and Scott rods. This creates a noticeably lighter blank. or Best Offer. When there was some wind, I could not get close to the plate. Great rods don’t make great casters, but there is no doubt that they will improve any angler’s casting skills and his ability to catch fish. This is an absolutely gorgeous rod, and along with the T&T rods, the Winston rods get a perfect score for craftsmanship. The Paradigm is finished in a flat dark blue color, like the Avantt. The blank color is then the natural graphite gray with chocolate brown wraps, trimmed with lighter brown and orange on the butt. At short distances there was not much feel. At mid-range, matches the perfect score of the SKY G. If anything it is smoother than the SKY G and I really notice how well this rod is dampened. Looking at the figures for swing weight, the Shadow is heavier than our top five presentation rods. Lots of people are using 5-weight rods for nymph fishing, often using a strike indicator, along with a combination of two nymphs and possibly some split shot or tungsten putty. With these 5-weight rods I’ll usually start off with 45 feet to get the feel of each rod, then try them at 25 feet, and finally at 70 feet. The blank is finished in a deep ruby metallic red. This line has a head length of 35 feet and a shorter front taper of 6 feet. Such a rod is designed for raw power. 5 weight is the most versatile rod weight for all anglers and this is easily the best of the bunch. Most rods rated 9.5 had a $50 fee. One composite ring is used at the bottom for durability. I’m getting lots of feel and excellent accuracy at close range. Fast action. The new NRX+ finished 1st in our power rod category, and its lighter-action brother – the NRX+ LP – took 2nd place in the presentation rod category. You’ll never regret spending those extra bucks once you get the rod in your hands and see how well it performs compared to your old rod. This new rod from G. Loomis was delightful to cast at all distances. The wraps are a lighter blue, trimmed with a little silver on the butt section. Rather than use a fly, we use a fluorescent orange yarn indicator, trimmed so that it gives us about the same wind resistance as a medium sized dry fly. A standard half wells style handle is used, with the same high quality, thin width corks as on the Radian. Nearly all the top rods today are using extremely good quality cork in their grips. The Power 5-weights need to have the butt and mid-section power to launch larger and more wind resistant dries like hoppers or Chubby Chernobyl style stonefly patterns. Also, by having 8-10 rods set up, 2-3 testers can simultaneously do the casting in the same positions. But the soft tip did earn the Paradigm the best score in Light Tippet Protection. Double up-locking rings are used in a silver color. The SKY G and NRX+ LP are in a totally different class. If we could control the wind, so all the rods tested were evaluated in identical wind conditions from one minute to the next, we would do so. The Scott G Series is a new rod to our 5-weight Shootout, unlike its brother the Radian, which has placed consistently in the top three in our last several 5-weight Shootouts. The T&T Avantt finishes 4th again, with the Orvis Helios 3D right behind it in 5th. I much preferred the Radian and the top four Presentation rods. Rods that score well in this category are also good rods for fishing smaller streamers. Sage's lifetime warranty: http://www.sageflyfish.com/about/warranty/. Both the Trout and MPX lines shoot like crazy and have proven to be more durable and longer lasting than other lines we have fished over the years. Rio GoldWF5F fly line For under $200, the best rods to consider are the Fenwick Aetos and the Orvis Clearwater. If the rod is broken because of a defect, or while fishing, replacement is free. Sage uses a lovely brown anodized aluminum single up-locking seat with a beautiful walnut burl insert. I think the slower action and stiffer tip on the LL killed its chances to perform well. Once we did all the casting to compare the two rods, it was obvious that the SKY G was a lighter rod in swing weight, and performed better at short to medium distances, where we gave it perfect scores. The rings should be easy to grip and tighten and the best ones often use thin nylon spacers between them to assure a positive lock up. Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO) – Lifetime warranty to original owner. In past Shootouts we tried measuring swing weight in other ways, including calculations for the Moment of Inertia, taking the weight of all 4 sections individually and then plugging these figures into an equation. The best rods in this category are almost always the lightest in swing weight, since you are doing a lot of false casting while fishing dry flies. Recognizing that different fishing scenarios require different rod actions, in 1987 Don designed the now legendary LL Series of moderate action fly rods in 2-5-weight rods for the light-line angler. Best 5 Weight Trout Fly Rod (Best Overall) The most versatile fly rod weight of all, a 5 weight will allow you to land those massive fish on the river, or even smaller sized bonefish on saltwater, it’s the Goldilocks of rod weights. It is certainly one of the best mid-priced rods in the Shootout. These Amplitude lines utilize SA’s AST Plus slickness additive for superior shooting ability and increased durability. Not enough butt and mid-section power to do well long. If I’m fishing a more wind-resistant fly like a hopper pattern or stonefly, I’ll cut the leader down to 9 feet or less and end up with a 3X-4X tippet. Then we read (and note) the weight indicated by the scale. Like the Radian, the craftsmanship is top notch and what we have come to expect from Scott. To get a 10, repair charges had to be $35 or less with a quick turn around time of less than two weeks. As in the past, we again use the Scientific Anglers Amplitude lines in WF-5-F. For the lighter and more flexible presentation rods, we picked the Amplitude Trout line, which is a standard sized line that handles better with the lighter rods. In the past we have traced the outline of the rod with different colored Sharpies, but this year we just took a photo of each rod and then used different colors in Adobe Illustrator to trace the curve. Mid-priced rods, like the Fenwick Fenlite Streamflex at $339.95, the Beulah Guide Series II at $295.00 and the Douglas DXF at $395.00 all put in impressive performances in the Power Rods category. So, often the cheap outfit is mothballed, sold on e-bay or handed down to one of the kids. Our advice has always been to pick the best performing rod, even if it is a little more expensive than what you had planned. To my way of thinking, the best Power Rods need to score best at 45 feet, but as you’ll see, there are several rods that scored very well at all distances. Some categories, like price, overall weight and swing weight are objective, while the other categories are subjective and represent our opinions. This auction includes the items shown in photos. They also need to have enough backbone to launch small streamers, often using a sink tip line. I gave it perfect scores at 25 feet and 45 feet, but at 70 feet it still turned in an impressive performance that wasn’t far off the best Power rods. Winston, Sage, Scott, G. Loomis and Orvis. The overall results charts show you the various categories we scored the rods at. I’m getting nicely formed loops and pretty good accuracy that is not far off the better rods. Ones with a heavy swing weight feel clunky in your hand and are not going to be pleasant to cast and fish all day. Cheaper rods often utilize pre-formed grips employing a lot of filler in the cork that can chunk out or erode with hard use. T&T uses a silver anodized aluminum skeleton seat with a single up-locking ring, which seems to work well enough. The rod is finished in a flat dark gray, with similar dark gray guide wraps. $75 handling fee. All these changes result in rods that anglers are going to love. Beulah came up with a new Platinum G2, an extremely light rod using a new resin system that complements their existing Guide Series II. Swinging streamers across the current or fighting a big brown that wants to run in that direction would be well match with the Response. These are the lighter 5-weight rods, perfect for fishing smaller dry flies, which have the ability to afford the most delicate and accurate presentations. The Shadow is an attractive rod. At 25 feet it was very accurate, but I didn’t have quite the feel I experienced with the SKY G. The NRX + LP is a good looking rod, finished in a deep olive brown with darker olive brown wraps, trimmed in light gray on the butt. Fast. The one-coat epoxy coatings over the guide wraps are a little heavy but not sloppy. One of the biggest differences is how much lighter in swing weight the new SKY G is than the old NRX LP. The cork handle is a cigar style grip with very little swell and feels good in my hand. The Paradigm is a brand new rod from T&T. The “slowest action” Sage rod is the Trout LL, … The presentations are light and delicate. With both the presentation and power rods, a good caster can place a dry fly within a foot of the target on most casts, as long as there isn’t a lot of wind. I loved the light swing weight and the precise feel and accuracy the Sky G gave me. Casters looking for more feel and a more forgiving action should look elsewhere. If a rod looks like a million bucks and casts like it too, fly fishermen are going to lust for it. We have found that these hand-tied leaders, with stiffer Clear Maxima butt sections, turn over better and give greater accuracy than any of the knotless leaders on the market. The Amplitude Trout uses a longer head length of 69 feet and also a longer front taper of 10 feet, and handles more like a double taper line, being very easy to mend. Casting accuracy is one of the biggest factors we use in rating these rods, and at short distances accuracy and feel are critical components in obtaining the top scores. R.L. Tippet materials are getting stronger every year, and today we end up fishing 6x, 6.5X, and 7x fluorocarbon much of the time, trying to get that perfect drift to entice a big fish to sip in a fly. The ability to throw very tight loops gives me surprisingly good accuracy out long. The Expeditor service fee for the Asquith rods is $250.00 for ground or $275 for 2-day air. Again, the mid section felt like it had good action and this helped with not only power but with accuracy as well. In each deflection board we have included some of the best rods in the other categories to give you an idea how they compare. The black-anodized skeleton reel seat utilizes a single up-locking version with a nylon locking ring on the front side that gives a nice secure lock up. The ability to fire long, smooth tight loops is giving me better accuracy than any of the other presentation rods. For anglers seeking out a premium fly rod I would highly recommend the Sage X. Sage One – I was very impressed with the Sage ONE when it came out.
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