We realize many anglers will rarely cast this far, however the 100-foot mark is important because it helps us judge the power of each fly rod. This fall the weather was more cooperative than usual here in Montana, so we decided to do the Shootout here, rather than in Florida. A little wiggle helps you to feel this. One thing that continues to amaze me is the level of perfection of T&T’s guide wraps and coatings. The Sage X and Douglas Sky were slightly better here. This rod forms nice tight loops effortlessly, and its light swing weight makes it is a joy to fish all day long. For guides, Hardy uses two standard SiC stripping guides followed up with dark hard chrome one -foot guides, but these are not the good flexible ones we found on the Zephrus. For uplocking rings, Douglas uses one wider ring, followed up with a narrower, but larger in diameter ring at the bottom that proved easy to grip. Here is the range that I consider the most important of all for 8-weight rods. Performance at 60 feet – 20 points available. I liked the fast action and the relatively light overall weight and swing weight of the Aetos. The Asquith makes a convincing statement as the best performing rod in our Performance Scores with nearly a perfect score of 119.5 out of 120.0, besting the second place Scott Meridian’s score by 1.7 points. The best cork handles are laid up with individually selected, near perfect cork rings, then sanded down to size. Here is TFO’s latest offering that is supposed to be a big step up from the BVK. The components are downgraded somewhat from the Meridian, but that is to be expected with a rod that costs $400 less. The single-foot guides used on the Shadow were a little small too, especially for saltwater use. These are the rods that you pick up, and make just one cast and you know they are something special. Our intent was to post the article on our website soon after but somehow time got the best of us, so…. Rods with a light swing weight are pleasant and effortless to cast. Our pick for best WF-8-F Bonefish Fly Line: Scientific Angler’s Amplitude Bonefish. Performance at 100 feet: 17 points out of 20. 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. Performance at 100 feet: 16 points out of 20. They charge your credit card $100 but then ship you a brand new rod in 2-3 days! The rod itself is an extremely dark blue called “Squid Ink,” with some blue trim wraps on the butt. Scott – Lifetime warranty to original owner, $50 handling fee. better late than never? The softer tip gave me pretty good feel and even better accuracy than with the Cross SW. It didn’t have quite the power of the new Salt HD, but the only distance where it faltered was at 100 feet. Feels heavy in the tip and I’m struggling to get any decent accuracy. Mystic – Lifetime warranty to original owner. The Spiral-X technology is far different from the way conventional graphite rods are built. And for the extra $60 they also now give you a hard case like all the other manufacturers. Shorter distances are the sweet spot for this rod. At the back end of this Amplitude line is a 10-foot section of black line, called a sighter. Usually takes 2-4 weeks. They endorse rods they carry and want to make money on. callback: cb Both the SKY and Legend Elite were slightly better. #16 (tie) Scott Tidal 9 foot #8 $495.00. #10 Douglas SKY 9 foot #8 $695.00. Craftsmanship varies to some degree from rod to rod. Keeping it Apples to Apples –An effort to eliminate the variables. Over the past fifty years, it has become very apparent to me that the best rod designers are guys that are also great anglers. event : evt, I loved the easy to grip rings that made it simple to lock down a heavier saltwater reel. Let me relate this story from our 2016 Shootout again: “A few years ago I was fishing in Cuba for bonefish in the Jardines de la Reina, where there are a lot of soft shallow flats. I’m sure the key is a multi step process rather than a one-coat finish. This will be a very pleasant rod to cast and fish all day. Fly rods get better and better every year. A contrasting composite cork ring is used at the top of the grip. Shimano has developed a special graphite tape, called infinity tape, which is wrapped on the mandrel on a 45-degree axis. Unfortunately that was the only category it did well in. Since our very first 8-weight Shootouts, the BVK has really impressed me. Its matte gray anodized double uplocking seat matches the color of the blank. Good casters that can double haul well can hit 100 feet with a lot of these rods. } Look at the coatings on the rod wraps. Although about the same weight as the Salt HD, the Motive has a slightly faster action, and cast better for me at short to medium distances. And once you’ve picked out the perfect rod, stay and enjoy a few days on the water with one of our top guides. } Just keep in mind that all these measurements must be made the same day with the same room temperature. It tied the Sage X and BVK for the lightest overall weight, and the swing weight is extremely light too, only a half a point behind the winners. A large fighting butt is used with a wider end that won’t dig into you while reeling hard. The only gripe I have is about the cosmetics. The most talked about and least understood part of fly fishing equipment is fly lines. The feel I was getting at short distance was good, but the accuracy was not quite as good as the Asquith, or the Meridian and Helios 3F. Doesn’t seem to have enough power to carry the same tight loops as the BVK or Motive. If you look at all the rods that scored 19.5 or better here, you won’t go wrong with any of them. And he should know with all his fly-casting distance and accuracy championships won over the years. We use a tape measure to get the precise casting distances at each station, and make them uniformly parallel. At long range the 3F still gets it done, but not with the authority of the Loomis Asquith or NRX. Overall weight is one factor, but the swing weight is far more important. Wow, that bright green blank jumps right out at you! Loomis uses the finest flexible nickel/titanium snake guides that we love, along with an oversize tip top. This is a classy looking rod. Yellowstone Angler’s 2020 8-Weight Shootout. Performance at 100 feet: 19.5 points out of 20. Yes the BVK at $279.95 is marginally better, but you’ll have to spend another $30 to get a hard case. Orvis – 25 year warranty to original owner. 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. Yes there are cheaper and more expensive reels, but you won’t find one that is better. Remember that it will cost you an additional $15 or more to send your rod in unless you are using the Loomis Expeditor program. They are light in weight, yet have a totally sealed drag system that utilizes four sets of ball bearings and a carbon fiber disc drag that provides very smooth and strong resistance, with a wide amount of adjustment. Nice and smooth here and tracks well. 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. The top scoring rods are easy to cast off the tip of the rod with very little effort. Both the X and the NRX were a lot better. Many trout fishing casts are under 30 feet and 60 feet is about as far as you would ever actually cast in a real life fishing scenario. My only gripe is the swing weight, which like the BVK, is heavier than all the top rods. Our goal is simple: inspire the next generation to get outdoors and hit the water! Sometimes the whole rod is replaced. I did like the line size designation on the sliding band of the reel seat. It does have a softer tip than the BVK so its performance in close was slightly better. 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. Nowhere near the pop and zing I was getting with the Meridian. The cork handle is Sage’s full wells design that does not have as pronounced a swell in the middle as most. Beulah has impressed us with great looking rods and very good craftsmanship and their Opal is another good example. For this 8-Weight Shootout, we are trying to gauge how well each rod performs with an 8-weight line. The rings are quite large in diameter and easy to grip. The Salt HD is manufactured at the Sage plant on Bainbridge Island, WA. Shorter to medium distances are the sweet spot for the Aetos, where it forms nice controllable tight loops with good accuracy. 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. Like the BVK, alignment dots are used. listeners: , Plenty of power and good line control. Consider bringing along a pair of cheap vice grip pliers, as you may need them! We stand by our methodology however, and by far most of the anglers that take the time to give us their feedback on these Shootouts agree with our findings. Use this link to go to our Favorite Fly Rod Outfits. The X was in a tie with the Recon and BVK for the lightest overall weight and only a half point from matching the winners in swing weight. Sage Light Line. Will they make you a better angler? G. Loomis NRX LP . The BVK was far better. It often left me shaking my head. This is a bad ass looking rod, almost black at first glance, finished in deep dark green they call “Black Spruce.” Similar colored wraps are used that are trimmed with a little silver on the butt section. We set up 4 individual casting “stations”, each with about 30 feet of elbowroom on either side. 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. 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. If you want the best rod in performance, looks, and durability, plan on spending $800 or more. Only the Asquith and Helios 3F felt slightly better at mid-range. Broken sections are replaced. Please. It was designed under the premise of an extended belly. They have a slightly forward angle that allows line to shoot more easily. 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. This killed the performance in close. To our way of thinking, the very best guides for saltwater 8-weight rods are the nickel/titanium unbreakable snake guides that are fairly large in diameter to allow line tangles to pass through. This is one amazing rod! (click on each shop guy’s name to read their opinions as well). We have experiment with this over several Shootouts and prefer the tried and true approach. Warranties ExplainedHere is a short recap of each manufacturer’s current policy, their latest fees and what we have experienced for repair time required. Must be registered within 30 days. 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