window.mc4wp = window.mc4wp || { $35 handling fee. Plenty of guts to throw long, with very good loop control and amazing accuracy. Warranties ExplainedHere is a short recap of each manufacturer’s current policy, their latest fees and what we have experienced for repair time required. Don’t let the price slow you down. Not Tested Loop Stability Presentation (Dry fly) Beginner (easy loading) Fly Line … Good, not great. 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. Broken sections are replaced. I also love the rod sock that Douglas designed – one that will allow a rod that is put away wet to dry quickly. Once I have the fly line back on the reel, then I feel comfortable putting a lot more pressure on the fish to land it. The heavy swing weight and stiffness in the tip hurt a lot in close. The Asquith’s enormous butt and mid-section power made it easy to manhandle 8-17 lb. 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. Decent, but not nearly as good as the Cross SW or the DXF. Herewith are the results of our 2018 8-weight Shootout. We looked at all the warranty policies in detail as some have changed slightly and we have awarded scores emphasizing the lowest repair charges and the quickest repair turn around. In situations like this, keeping the rod low to the water while you are casting will help. Of course for salmon and steelhead double handed and switch rods have pretty much taken over, especially on larger rivers. I’m sure a lot of this has to do with the lower modulus graphite used in the Tidal. But the Asquith and NRX were definitely much better. Nice feel and good accuracy but I could definitely feel the heavier swing weight. For the past thirty years I’ve enjoyed fishing for bonefish, permit and tarpon throughout Florida, the Gulf coast and the Caribbean. This is a test that anyone can duplicate. And for the extra $60 they also now give you a hard case like all the other manufacturers. I found it very comfortable. Read more in the press release below. 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. Surprisingly, the X gave me tighter loops and was more accurate at long range. A stack of thin cork rings is used as on the Asquith, to produce the best quality grip we’ve seen. Usually takes 1-2 weeks. You know all about this term if you play golf. 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. The Nautilus G-7/8 is our reel of choice on any 8-weight rod, especially when you need the ultimate in performance to handle sizzling fast bonefish runs or the bulldog like power of a big Louisiana redfish. 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. Performance at 60 feet:  19.2 points out of 20. Sage Light Line. The only way I was going to catch any of these fish was to make a cast close to 100 feet and get the fly and leader to turn over. The fast action seems just right, and there is nothing in our Shootout that has this kind of performance at a price below $300.00. A short fighting butt is used with a rubber cap. For this reason we downgraded the Asquith to a 7. Still pretty bad. This is a fast action rod and as you can see on our deflection board, the flex pattern is similar to the Asquith, just a little softer and with not quite as fast a tip. Here’s our low price winner in the Shootout. Keep in mind that fast action rods are not necessarily stiff rods (as many people assume). micron backing you’ll have capacity for 170 yards, all without overloading the reel. Only the Asquith was better, and the NRX was definitely better than the Meridian and Helios at extreme long range. 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. By George Anderson / Yellowstone Angler. Guides are not quite the quality we found on the SKY but still very good. I guess the thinking at Orvis is that this would help the rod jump off the rack when people walked into a fly shop, but I think all this white is a mistake, especially for a company that has given us such great looking rods in the past. The Recon is built at the Orvis factory in Manchester, VT. The bottom ring also has a nylon spacer attached that helps to maintain a positive lock up on your reel. Both the Recon and DXF were better. Like the Meridian, the Tidal is manufactured by Scott in Montrose, Colorado. 5. This rod has lots of power on tap but I’m working a lot harder than with the NRX or Asquith. Must be registered within 30 days. Over the past fifty years, it has become very apparent to me that the best rod designers are guys that are also great anglers. For this reason we have again included a separate table of just the Performance Scores. These make a dramatic difference in reducing swing weight on the tip sections of a rod. 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. A short fighting butt with a wide composite cork butt cap is used. Both the BVK and Aetos felt better. The matte finished black anodized double uplocking seat is one of the best we’ve seen. E. e caster Well-known member. I did though find something odd in their description of the fly line: "This 100-foot line utilizes a 40-foot head (including tapers in a WF-8-F) and a 60-foot belly." The Meridian is a handsome rod with some of the finest craftsmanship we’ve seen. Beulah has impressed us with great looking rods and very good craftsmanship and their Opal is another good example. A fairly wide but short extension butt is used with composite cork on the end that matches what is used on the grip. Guides are two SiC stripping guides, with the rest large diameter hard chrome snake guides and an oversize tip top. Usually takes 2-4 weeks. The Exocett is T&T’s best all around 8-weight, designed especially for saltwater anglers. Of course once we reeled up the lines on the reels we had to stretch them out again before more casting was done. Unfortunately that was the only category it did well in. Even though the HD is stiffer than the X, I didn’t feel it cast better until I was trying to hit 100 feet. -. #1. Sometimes the whole rod is replaced. 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. 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. This seems strange to me since the Axiom II is both heavier in overall weight and swing weight than the BVK. 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. The color of the blank is a dark olive, with complementary olive wraps. 2. The quality of the cork itself was excellent. The blank color on the 3F is a flat gray with slightly darker gray wraps, which was all pretty bland to me, and certainly not nearly as attractive as blue Helios 2 rods. 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. If you are having problems with any of these rods loading well at short distances, don’t be afraid to go up to a 9 weight line or at least try one before settling in on which line to use. I didn’t feel this rod has enough power to hit the longest distance with any consistency. A short fighting butt is used with a wide rubber end that will be comfortable fighting fish. 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. And the locking rings need to be easy to grip and tighten. We were anxious to see how the latest new rods would stack up against our top 2016 Shootout rods like the Scott Meridian and Loomis NRX. 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. The quality of the cork is OK but not nearly as good as the best rods. The components are downgraded somewhat from the Meridian, but that is to be expected with a rod that costs $400 less. We tried the Helios 3D but decided that the 3F was the better rod based on how much better it was at short and mid-range distances. This rod has a medium action and was the heaviest rod in our Shootout, in both overall and swing weights. I liked the two titanium SiC stripping guides, followed up with flexible nickel/titanium single foot guides the rest of the way. The Aetos was FAR lighter in hand, and scored much better at all but the longest distance. Performance at 35 feet:  18 points out of 20. A light texture on the shooting line allows the line to shoot like crazy. It didn’t have quite the power of the new Salt HD, but the only distance where it faltered was at 100 feet. I especially like the grayish/green non-glare matte finish. But remember it is going to also cost you $15 or more to ship the rod in for repair or have your dealer do it for you. With comments from James Anderson, Josh Edwards, Logan Brown, and Paul Bloch. (Or maybe that’s the whole point)…. The Recon was much better here. A short fighting butt is used with a fairly wide composite cork end. Up to that point, I had never seen any one back hand cast at that distance accurately from the front of a skiff and I doubt I will see it again. After seeing what a marvelous performance the Scott Meridian turned in, the Tidal was somewhat of a disappointment. Performance at 35 feet:  19.2 points out of 20. Just OK and not very much feel. Alignment dots are used on all sections. Performance at 100 feet:  16 points out of 20. Performance at 35 feet – 20 points availableWe stretch this close distance from 25 to 35 feet for the 8-weight rods. If you happen to be looking for an 8-weight, we hope that this Shootout has been informative. The cork handle is a Rajeff full wells design, slightly larger at the front where you grip it than behind the swell. #25. Reel seats should have good solid locking systems to hold larger saltwater reels without working loose. We would then strip it into loose coils at our feet while casting the rods. Some rods, especially the ones with softer tips, will give an angler much more feel and the ability to consistently put the fly just where you want it, and do it delicately. First, we zero out the scale with a small foam pellet in the center of the scale, which we will use for a fulcrum on which we will rest the grip of the rod. However on some rods like the Scott Meridian, where the swell is slightly forward of dead center, we move the fulcrum to that point. I had trouble getting any accuracy at all and had almost no feel whatsoever. Shimano will tell you that the secret to building such an incredible rod is the new Loomis/Shimano Spiral-X technology. Rods are repaired, not replaced. Only as good as the Crux and Axiom II. Yes the BVK at $279.95 is marginally better, but you’ll have to spend another $30 to get a hard case. Only the Asquith and NRX were better. Performance at 80 feet – 20 points availableAny good 8-weight rod needs to be able to hit 80 feet easily. 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. Like all Loomis rods, this is made in Woodland, Washington. Here is the range that I consider the most important of all for 8-weight rods. At short distance, only the Scott Meridian and the Orvis Helios 3F performed slightly better, giving me a little more feel but no better accuracy. Mystic – Lifetime warranty to original owner. The Recon was better and much lighter in hand. Like the other SKY rods, this is a good-looking rod. They have a slightly forward angle that allows line to shoot more easily. 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