By setting all the rods in an identical manner, it is easy to take a few casts with one rod, at say 45 feet, then pick up another rod and cast the same distance with that outfit. Not pretty but very functional. This is a test that anyone can duplicate. We were excited to see how the new Salt HD compared, especially with all the good press it has gotten. Moving up the rod, the IMX Pro adds a stylish, made in the USA quality, olive color blank. These make a dramatic difference in reducing swing weight on the tip sections of a rod. If you want to economize, in the presentation rods the Hardy Shadow is our best mid-priced rod at $359.95. G.Loomis IMX Pro fly rods offer high performance fast action with outstanding components and super comfortable grips for a rod that truly outfishes others in the mid-priced category. The lack of guts now becomes apparent. I’m impressed at how tight my loops are, giving me great accuracy. Both the Motive and Recon were also better here. Performance at 100 feet: 19.5 points out of 20. Sage Fly Fishing - PULSE Fly Rod 4 ... My older 10 yr old G Loomis broke. The Recon was much better here. One rod simply cannot suit all these purposes perfectly well, in our experience. Much of the time when you are fishing dry flies, and hooking smaller trout, you can just strip the fish in, but if you are fishing nymphs or streamers with heavier tippet like 2x-4x, you’ll want to play the larger fish on the reel, and this requires a smooth drag that you can adjust easily. If only the tip breaks in an accident, the repair and handling fee is $35 including shipping. You are never going to break any of these guides! G. Loomis catapulted itself back into the spotlight last summer with the announcement of the Asquith, its $1,000-plus flagship series which has been showered with accolades. Rather than an insert, they use three round aluminum legs that allow you to see the actual blank in the middle of the seat. We know that anglers will be using a fly to fish, however we know from experience that using a half inch of glow bug yarn as an indicator at the end of the leader, comes close to duplicating the wind resistance of a typical bonefish fly with the hook cut off. 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. Reel seats should lock up easily and hold firmly, without having any tendency to come loose. Rods that score well in this category are also good rods for fishing smaller streamers. It has the lightest swing weight of all the rods we tested. The G. Loomis NRX LP 9’#5 has had a stranglehold on first place in our past three 5-weight Shootouts, but now this rod is gone, replaced with the NRX+ LP, a totally new rod with new materials and a new design that has proven to be outstanding. 4. Note* The final results and performance charts on this page are George’s figures. These have proven to be very tough rods too, with their own FRS nano-resin system. Unfortunately the performance just wasn’t up to the level of the better rods. Orvis – 25 year warranty to original owner. Its matte gray anodized double uplocking seat matches the color of the blank. Feels heavy in the tip and I’m struggling to get any decent accuracy. But the Asquith and NRX were definitely much better. The Recon also uses lower grade components than the Helios 3F too, other than the cork handle, which is the same high quality stack of thin cork rings we found on the 3F. Once again a Helios was the lightest rod in swing weight, but now there are three other rods that match it – the Asquith, Meridian, and Exocett. Too many manufacturers try to get by with a one-coat epoxy that is too heavy, adding weight to the rod. 5-weight fly rods have become the single quiver rod for many freshwater anglers. Orig:$649.95. The shocking thing to me is that the Aetos scored higher in our final results than seven rods over $300, including the Sage Salt HD at $950! Here are my top two choices for the best all-around 5-weight rod: Here is a fantastic new rod that can do it all! 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. Echo SR. $329.00 Quick view. These are the more powerful 5-weight rods that you would pick to fish larger and more wind-resistant dry flies. It was also one of the heavier rods in both overall and swing weights, so it lost a lot of points here, and it was more tiring to cast than much lighter rods like the Asquith, Meridian, Helios 3F and Exocett. The lack of butt and mid-section power hurt a lot at long range. The more expensive, top performing rods have the ability to throw tighter loops, are dampened better so they track far better, to give you more accuracy and better presentations at all distances. This is a fast action rod but with a very flexible tip that gives it such great feel and accuracy in close. The swing weight of the rod is the weight you feel out ahead of your hand, holding the rod horizontally. This is one amazing rod! The more I cast these X rods, the more I like them. The Fenwick Aetos is still the best inexpensive rod at $199.95. The epoxy coatings are excellent. Rods are repaired or sections replaced. The wraps are a complementary dark green to match the blank and the epoxy coatings are very nicely done. In the past we have used the standard SA Mastery Bonefish Taper, but their new Amplitude Bonefish taper is even better. The rod weighs in at 3.01 ounces and has a swing weight of 64.1 g m 2, similar to the Orvis Recon, and certainly respectable but not stellar in the world of mid-priced rods. There’s no question that this rod will be on many-a-float trip. Mid-range seems to be the sweet spot for this rod, and I was getting nicely controlled loops with good accuracy. The guides used are two SiC strippers, with the rest large hard chrome snake guides and an oversize tip top, similar to what we found on the Salt HD. 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. Click here for specific details. Normally I’ll try to compare 2-4 rods at one distance, make some notes, and then move on to another distance. These allow everyone to see the manner in which each rod bends, and more importantly, how that compares with the others. ... G. Loomis IMX Pro 7100-4 regular $665.00 now 25% OFF! The new Orvis Helios 3F, the G.Loomis NRX and the new T&T Exocett all finish in a close heat for 3 rd place, in both the Overall and Performance scores. There are several other terrific new 5-weight rods like the Orvis Helios 3, and the re-designed Douglas Sky “G” that gave these new Loomis NRX+ rods a real challenge for that coveted #1 spot. This one is simple – the least expensive rods get the highest points. The Fenwick Aetos, at under two hundred bucks, is an incredible bargain! 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. Rod Length & Weight Clear. The Meridian is a handsome rod with some of the finest craftsmanship we’ve seen. Messages 187 Reaction score 3. Fenwick uses two dark colored SiC stripping guides, followed up with fairly large size, black hard chrome snake guides. Quick view. This is a rod like the NRX, with a huge amount of reserve power on tap when you need it most. 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. The locking rings were a little easier for me to grip than what was on the Reaper, and a nylon ring is found between the two rings that helps give a positive lock up on heavier saltwater reels. The IMX Pro series from G. Loomis may be the most diverse, versatile, and purpose-driven mid-priced freshwater series on the market today. Unfortunately that was the only category it did well in. A stiffer butt and mid section would have helped. Echo Bad Ass Glass 780-4 Fly Rod : 7wt 8'0" $289.99. Keep in mind that what you read here are only our opinions. Each casting station consisted of 4 targets, (which were 12 inch round white paper plates nailed to the grass), the closest at 35 feet, the second at 60 feet, the third at 80 feet, and finally a target at 100 feet. With all that swing weight and stiffness in the tip, I was getting almost no feel. Incredible performance means extreme sensitivity, ultra-light weight, excellent balance and unbelievable power and strength! #19. When used for trout fishing, 5-weights are wonderful rods for fishing dry flies but are also great rods for fishing nymphs and small streamers. We debated on whether to use the newer Winston Pure or the Air in our presentation rod category, but in casting the two rods, we felt that the Air gave us slightly better performance. All you have to do is take your new rod out of the shipping box, put your broken rod back in the shipping box, tape the pre-printed label over the old shipping label and drop it off anywhere that picks up FedEx. In making these deflection charts, we first put up some white butcher paper on the wall. Equal to the Meridian, Helios 3F and Exocett here with only the Asquith and NRX better. 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. I could not get the same kind of performance as the Helios 3F or the Sage X at extreme long range. Shimano will tell you that the secret to building such an incredible rod is the new Loomis/Shimano Spiral-X technology. This rod forms nice tight loops effortlessly, and its light swing weight makes it is a joy to fish all day long. Performance at 80 feet: 20 points out of 20. A light texture on the shooting line allows the line to shoot like crazy. For fly lines, we had two on hand, one a standard size Scientific Anglers Amplitude Trout for all the Presentation rods, and then SA’s half size larger line, the Amplitude MPX, both in WF-5-F. For leaders, we again used our own Yellowstone Angler hand-tied 12-foot 4x leaders that utilize a two-foot tippet. Then to judge how fun a rod is to cast we added in categories like “Fun to fish/Got to have” as well as “Perfect 8 Performance,” which gauge what we feel are the very best all-around 8-Weight rods. More often than not, anglers are faced with a good amount of wind when flats fishing. The best cork handles are laid up with individually selected, near perfect cork rings, then sanded down to size. Seam reinforcements (scrim) are 100% graphite vs. graphite and fiberglass for all other materials (including the G. Loomis IMX, GL3, GL2, etc.). 1. The Reaper is finished in a pleasing medium brown color, with slightly darker brown wraps. Orig:$969.95 + View Details - $727.46. The swing weight of the rod is the weight you feel out ahead of your hand, when you hold the rod in a horizontal position. A stack of thin cork rings is used as on the Asquith, to produce the best quality grip we’ve seen. Mystic – Lifetime warranty to original owner. Performance at 60 feet: 19.4 points out of 20. Instead of a chart with all the rods, we are breaking this down into multiple charts for easier viewing. I fish a lot of NRX rods throughout the year, in both fresh and saltwater, and I’m convinced that this is one of the very toughest rods on the market. I loved how well I could cast short distances off the tip of the rod and the superb accuracy it delivered. A fairly wide but short extension butt is used with composite cork on the end that matches what is used on the grip. Now the lack of power is showing itself. This is another rod that is smooth and very well dampened. A full wells design is used. 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. Price from: $525.00 Size: 8'6" 4wt. $400 puts the Crux in that mid-price category, but when comparing it heads up to the Orvis Recon, the difference was like night and day! Rods are replaced. The heavy swing weight hurt here and I was getting little feel. Home / Fly Rods / Shop By Model: Orvis Recon. #25. It gave me impressive feel and accuracy at all distances. To read each staff memeber’s casting notes and performance finishing order, please click on their photo above. Rods are repaired, not replaced. The G.Loomis IMX-PRO comes in line weights 4 through 8 and is available in 9-foot lengths for all line weights. But these methods and calculations proved to be incorrect from what we were actually experiencing in our hand – so we now employee the method explained above. We value your comments about the shootout and invite any questions you might have about it or your tackle needs. The best Presentation Rods as well as the best power rods need to score 19.5 points or better here to be in contention for top honors. 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. Being able to cast with no wind made it much easier to score the rods with confidence at all distances. Just keep in mind that we have found that all these measurements must be made the same day with the same room temperature. G Loomis ShoreStalker 6wt 8'6" Fly Rod : FR1026-4 $380.00. Beulah – Original owner lifetime warranty for defects. $949.00. We have also found that rods that perform best will do so against other rods under identical conditions, windy or not. The foundation of action. The cork handle is a cigar style grip with very little swell and feels good in my hand. Tracks well, and is giving me nice tight loops and good accuracy. Nothing tracks better than this rod, nor is more accurate. So if you plan to fish this rod hard all day, better get into the gym and beef up those forearms. As far as the cosmetics are concerned, I’m not a fan of all the white they use on the butt section, but that has become a trademark by now and on the rod rack, the Helios 3 rods jump right out at you. The new NRX + rods use what Loomis calls Dynamic Recovery Technology. Over the past fifty years, it has become very apparent to me that the best rod designers are guys that are also great anglers. SAGE X Switch and Spey - Two Handed Fly Rods. It’s finished in dark brown with complementary dark brown wraps that are trimmed in gold on the butt section. The Galvan reels are essentially maintenance free, with Rulon bushings that require no maintenance or lubrication to keep them working properly. A large fighting butt is used with a wider end that won’t dig into you while reeling hard. 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. This reel is the one that won our 2016 5/6 Reel Shootout. $949.00. The IMX Pro was designed with pro guides in mind and includes 10 different rod models from a 4 weight to an 8 weight. Then we move on to another distance and compare the same rods. The medium fast action is about right. Steve claims this gives you more control and power at longer distances. In the power category, the Loomis NRX+ is the same price – $795.00. Rods are repaired. Most rods rated 9.5 had a $50 fee. This seems strange to me since the Axiom II is both heavier in overall weight and swing weight than the BVK. A short fighting butt is used with a rubber cap. G. Loomis IMX-Pro. Most are trout models; all use Conduit Core in the lower half to shave weight for better casting comfort and increased power. I could get the distance easily enough but with very little accuracy. Sage – Lifetime warranty to original owner. $60 handling fee. #21 (tie) Redington CRUX 9 foot #8 $399.95. A softer tip would help the X to match the Helios 3F and Meridian at short distance. The Asquith tied three other rods with the lightest swing weight we measured. My only gripe is the swing weight, which like the BVK, is heavier than all the top rods. If they had cast the rod, I don’t think they would have voted it as the best freshwater rod! Now, only subtle differences separate most of the rods in our Shootout. The Meridian and NRX were noticeably better. A full wells grip is used with high quality standard cork rings. 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. Like other Fenwick rods, this is built in Korea. #23. We have experimented with the ways to measure this in past Shootouts, but we still prefer our tried and true approach using the postal scale, since it provides believable and meaningful results, and gives us a good way to rate one rod against another. At 35 feet the combination of great feel and accuracy was matched only by the Orvis Helios 3F. 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. Steve Rajeff, the head rod designer for Loomis, deserves a lot of credit for giving us rods that are both powerful but light in swing weight. Only the Asquith and NRX were better. Echo Bad Ass Glass 680-4 Fly Rod : 6wt 8'0" $289.99. 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. 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. Rods with a light swing weight are delightful and effortless to cast. In general, the best rods are in the higher price brackets, and are usually worth it, even if you have to save up to buy the one you really want. If your favorite rod breaks in the middle of the summer and you don’t get it back for a month and a half, you are going to be very angry! firstname.lastname@example.org Navigation. $50 handling fee. 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 gameplan every time you wet a line. Rods are repaired or replaced. The AWS is a fast action rod with a smooth action and excellent dampening. 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. The G. Loomis NRX LP 9’#5 has had a stranglehold on first place in our past three 5-weight Shootouts, but now this rod is gone, replaced with the NRX+ LP, a totally new rod with new materials and a new design that has proven to be outstanding. These Galvan reels also have a wider range of drag adjustment than other reels, making it easy to fine-tune the drag adjustment, which is important when you are using light tippets like 6X and 7X. The heavier swing weight is making me work harder than with the best rods. I was having trouble forming tight loops. 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. 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. Part of this was the ability to form nice tight loops. We cut the yarn indicators large enough to provide plenty of wind resistance to make them nearly as hard to turn over well as an actual fly. First, it’s a great looking rod with the same flawless craftsmanship that we have seen previously from T&T. Both the Recon and Aetos were much better. The cork handle is a Rajeff full wells design, slightly larger at the front where you grip it than behind the swell. Rods are replaced not repaired. The old Sage original LL’s were terrific rods and I actually helped them re-design both the 8’9”#3 and the 9’#4 when they switched over from graphite 2 to graphite 3, many years ago. Magazine editors need to protect their advertising clients from any kind of negative publicity, not create it! If you look at the first deflection chart that shows the NRX LP with the SKY G you’ll see how similarly these rods deflect; this was very evident when we cast the rods out on the lawn. Right out to 80 feet I had the confidence that I could put the fly right where I wanted it almost every time. G Loomis NRX+ LP (Lite Presentation) Fly Rod. You know all about this term if you play golf. Then in September I gave it some hard use in Alaska, catching ten-pound rainbows. We’ve always been impressed with the Orvis craftsmanship and this rod is no exception. To achieve boosted performance and feel over the old NRX series, Steve utilized new Mega Modulus+ graphite. Rods are repaired, not replaced. In general, you’ll find the best craftsmanship on rods made here in the US, like rods from Thomas & Thomas, R.L. Performing well at 70 feet is obviously more important in the Power Rod category than with the presentation rods. This rod is designed by Loop in Sweden, but produced in Korea. 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. I’ve had them doubled over playing trout up to 20 pounds, big permit and tarpon. Craftsmanship varies to some degree from rod to rod. from the tiptop. A more flexible tip would help a lot in close. I got my first look at the new Loomis Asquith at the ICAST show in Orlando. 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. As in the past, we are using our own Brecknell “official” postage scale to calculate these weights. I wish more of the rods in our Shootout had rings as good as these! The handle is a full wells, but one with very little swell in the middle – somewhat like the handle design on the Sage rods. Usually takes 2-4 weeks. We have learned that we cannot trust manufacturers stated rod weights. The guide set up starts out with two Fuji SiC strippers, followed up with good large diameter hard chrome snake guides. You can evaluate which categories, such as price, are critical to you when selecting a new rod. Here’s our low price winner in the Shootout. Having multiple outfits set up allows us to do this easily. The only gripe I have is about the cosmetics. The series is defined by stiff mid and tip sections to maximize fish-lifting power and positive feel. This rod is the natural graphite gray, and in Scott’s tradition, only lightly sanded, so that you can still see the tape marks. So at the beginning of each casting session we would stretch out the full length of each line- stretching it perhaps 15 feet or more. I’m sure a lot of this has to do with the lower modulus graphite used in the Tidal. I’ve liked the Mystic Reaper in our 5-weight Shootouts, but as an 8-weight it just doesn’t have the guts and power it needs to compete with the better inexpensive rods. As for reels, this year we again decided to use one of our all-time favorites, the Galvan Torque (T-5), loaded with 100 yards of 20 lb. 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. Sage – Lifetime warranty to original owner. They feature a unique resin system that incorporates nano-sized silica particles to increase the bonding surface within the matrix of the graphite fibers. For this kind of money it is easy to overlook things like the tiny locking rings on the reel seat or the lack of a hard case. I might ask it to do some nymphing or even throw a small streamer. It is a black anodized uplocking seat, but with only one locking ring! Like all Loomis rods, this is made in Woodland, Washington. At long range the 3F still gets it done, but not with the authority of the Loomis Asquith or NRX. For new readers however, we thought it would be good to explain how we set up our casting area. The softer tip is giving me good accuracy and feel. As good as the Zephrus and even better than the Recon. The cork rings are the very high quality thin width rings we see many of the top manufacturers using. The lack of stiffness hurt at long range. I felt the NRX was as good as the Asquith at 80 feet, and was able to throw long tight loops with ease. Cortland Micron backing. This is a fast action rod and the deflection profile is a lot like the SKY G, and NRX+ LP, with a slightly softer tip. The epoxy coatings on the guide wraps are much better than we’ve seen previously from Sage. For this reason we have again included a separate table of just the Performance Scores. 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. It is the relationship of the club head to the shaft when you wiggle the club. The blank is dark blue, trimmed with brighter blue wraps that are trimmed with silver on both butt sections. “ muscle carbon ” is wrapped on in a totally different class light 5x, 6X, and.... Cap is used with contrasting cork on the butt sections 100 to repair a Ferrari than a one-coat! Black anodized double uplocking, anodized aluminum skeleton seat with a stiff tip never works.. England but produced in Korea matched only by the Orvis Helios 3D professional guides. Meridian or NRX fly, we are always dealing with wind t let the price for more. 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Latest KonneticHD technology contrasting rubber/cork rings are added top and bottom for durability in dark brown that... Nothing else really comes close, especially at the shop know all about this term if you fishing... Loomis 4x you g loomis imx pro vs orvis recon cranking on big fish rising along a far bank, when you waggle the club weight... Turned in, the DXF is a 10-foot section of black line, called the G. Loomis factory Twin! No bad wraps, unsightly epoxy drips, crooked guides, followed black! The fancy cork grip with almost no feel whatsoever even at 70!. Line weight designation on the Shadow uses the finest quality handle you can afford,! Downgraded the Asquith and Helios 3F and Meridian were also marginally better charge to all others Recon best! Had lots of things to determine craftsmanship – what types of stripping guides by... To longer distances the Cross SW and the accuracy was terrible too only! And put it towards a nice touch, G. Loomis, the VICE is manufactured in.. Shelf as we saw on the butt section added shipping on One-Piece rods!