These are the more powerful 5-weight rods that you would pick to fish larger and more wind-resistant dry flies. Looking back at past specs from the NRX LP, the new NRX+ LP is slightly lighter in overall weight but substantially lighter in swing weight. The swing weight of the rod is the weight you feel out ahead of your hand, holding the rod horizontally. The quality is top shelf as we’ve found on other high-end Orvis rods. Better than the Scott G and Winston Air. 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. Larger yarn indicators with more wind resistance can really throw off the scoring. I’d gladly trade off the delicacy for more accuracy. The same is pretty much true of the power rods, where three rods scored 19.5 or better at 25 feet. Frankly, it’s starting to feel like the term ‘handcrafted’ is being thrown around a little loosely these days. Getting your leader and fly to turn over in a 20 mph wind with big attractor dries, requires a rod that is capable of giving you extremely tight loops. They also posses the backbone and power to handle multiple nymph rigs with indicators, which require a lot of mending. 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. It is at the bottom of our presentation rods for a reason – it is not a pleasant rod to cast, and the performance at all distances were not good. Free, Fast Shipping on all orders over $50 and select items to US Postal addresses. One-year warranty on hardware and guides. Once the grip of the rod is placed precisely on the foam pellet, with the rod in a horizontal position, we apply pressure, by pressing down with a fingernail to the very end of the reel seat. Cortland Micron backing. The new NRX+ rods are the smoothest and best-dampened rods we’ve ever cast. Cheaper rods often utilize pre-formed grips employing a lot of filler in the cork that can chunk out or erode with hard use. We got the idea for this category years ago from the Car and Driver automobile Shootouts. A Power 5-weight rod needs to be versatile; often you will be doing some dry fly fishing as well as nymph fishing during the same day. The wraps are a complementary dark green to match the blank and the epoxy coatings are very nicely done. 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. The lighter Zephrus uses Sintrix 440, while the Shadow uses the lower modulus (and heavier) Sintrix 220. The only gripe I have is with the epoxy coatings over the wraps, which are a little heavy. The Aetos is another good-looking rod, finished in a deep midnight blue with brown wraps that include some nice silver trim wraps on the butt section. FLY LINE RECOMMENDATIONS a handy guide to help you get the most from your rod. We recommend a true-to-weight line for all series and models At short range I like to cast off the tip of the rod, using mostly my wrist and very little arm movement to power the tip of the rod through the stroke. I was given the opportunity by Douglas Outdoors to try out a new SKY 905-4 and hit the water with it as soon as I got it. But we were all impressed at how well the SKY G performed at 70 feet as well. A $50 handling fee includes $35 per broken section plus a $15 shipping fee inside the continental US. Winston – Lifetime warranty to original owner. We have found the rods that seem to do both of these tasks well are nearly always faster action rods. Then, maintaining tight loops on your backcast, especially at the longer distances, was very difficult and we would usually give it up and hope for a better day. This is one incredible rod! Howard’s knowledge about what a rod needs to do to cast well is evident in the Hardy Zephrus. 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. One of the biggest variables – the Livingston wind! Short to mid-distances are the sweet spot for this rod. The stiffer tip is not giving me any feel and the accuracy is terrible. Scott introduced the first G rods in 1976, and changed fly fishing by creating the first 9’ 4 weight fly rod. There are several types of stripping guides, but the best seem to be the titanium frame, SIC style guides. Scott F Series Fly Rod Review - Model by Model Casting Evaluation 3. Leaders are extremely important in obtaining accuracy, particularly ones that will turn over well at short distances with very little fly line in the air, especially at 25 feet. 3. You must register the new rod within 30 days. 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. A black anodized aluminum double up-locking reel seat is used, with an attractive piece of dark burled wood for the insert. Everyone else uses far less fancy anodized aluminum. 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. The wraps are a lighter blue, trimmed with a little silver on the butt section. $25 handling fee. As in the past, we are using our own Brecknell “official” postage scale to calculate these weights. Also in the Presentation group, the amazing Fenwick Aetos at $199.95 placed above the $800-$975 rods from Scott, Winston and Sage! There is no hook keeper. But we are seeing some terrific rods in both performance and craftsmanship coming from Korea. The heavy swing weight hurt here and I was getting little feel. In each deflection board we have included some of the best rods in the other categories to give you an idea how they compare. One of the biggest differences is how much lighter in swing weight the new SKY G is than the old NRX LP. The amazing new Douglas Sky G wins in both Overall and Performance Only categories! The lighter, standard size fly line, like the Scientific Anglers Amplitude Trout, is the fly line we picked for these Presentation Rods, while the half size heavier Amplitude MPX is a better match for the more powerful Power 5-weights. When casting this rod, the improvement in recovery and dampening was dramatic! Attractive wood insert spacers that are finished well add to the aesthetic value of any rod. The Shadow is an attractive rod. Crowsnest Cafe and Fly Shop is where I got my Douglas Sky 6 wt from, great people to deal with. Then, a new Douglas This makes it easier to justify buying the best performing rod. If only the tip breaks in an accident, the repair and handling fee is $35 including shipping. A brown composite wood insert is used that complements the guide wrap color. Sage introduced their new Trout LL, which won the award for the best Freshwater Fly rod at the 2019 ICAST show. The best ones work very well for nymph fishing and have the power to cast even small sized streamers. Many anglers use them only for fishing dry flies, while others use them primarily for nymph fishing, often with an indicator, two nymphs and even some weight like split shot. I don’t think people voting at IFTD ever cast this rod. High Performance, Pure Fun. Another perfect performance at mid-distance. It gave me a wonderful sense of feel, especially at short distances. 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. Often only subtle differences separate one rod from another. Scott – Lifetime warranty to original owner, $50 handling fee. 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. Kootenay Fly Shop in Fernie has full line of Douglas rods. Where would all these exciting new rods fall in when compared to some of our old proven standbys that have placed highly, like the Scott Radian, and the Hardy Zephrus? I’m convinced the key to catching more trout and especially larger trout, is casting accuracy. I have given you my choices for the best Presentation 5-weight Rod and the best Power 5-weight Rod, but at the end of the day I know that anglers want an answer as to what are my choices would be for the best all-around 5-weight rods. Anglers have loved the performance it provides at a nice price. 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. G. Loomis – Lifetime warranty to original owner. Here is another very attractive rod that you’ll be proud to show off to your fishing friends. The Aetos has been our most popular inexpensive fly rod in the 4-5-6 line sizes. 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. $25 handling fee on current rods. Still pretty good and better than all the rest of the presentation rods. The Hardy Shadow, at $359.95 was our best mid-priced rod in the Presentation group. Fenwick came up with a new and very light rod, their Fenlite Streamflex, to complement their outstanding, inexpensive Aetos. The cork rings are the very high quality thin width rings we see many of the top manufacturers using. 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. The biggest story in the componentry of the Sky G is the rod's blank structure. In addition to alignment dots on the ferrules, one of the nicer things Scott added to this rod are fish length wraps, marked at both 12 and 20 inches. Rods with a light swing weight are delightful and effortless to cast. First, we zero out the scale with a small foam packing-pellet in the center of the scale, which we will use for a fulcrum on which to rest the grip of the rod. The Orvis Helios 3F is another terrific rod from Orvis that we had not been able to test in our previous 5-weight Shootout. The Paradigm is finished in a flat dark blue color, like the Avantt. Then we position the rod at approximately a 45 degree angle and use a lead weight of 3.9 oz., hung from the tip of the rod to show how the rod flexes. Knowing the new NRX+ is even tougher than the old one is very good news. Not enough butt and mid-section power to do well long. Conversely, an 11' to 12' rod feels right at home on smaller coastal rivers in the west, and the majority of Great Lakes tributaries... Once you've decided the correct length, the line size should be dictated by two factors. All graphite rods are wrapped in tape before being baked in an oven, but then most other manufacturers sand off the tape marks and end up with a totally smooth blank. Feel was decent but not as good as the best rods. The Art & Business of Making Games. 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. 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. 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. 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. Taylor – Lifetime warranty to original owner. Nice and light in hand but I’m not able to get as much feel or accuracy as with the Zephrus. The new Douglas Sky G was exceptionally light in swing weight, noticeably better than all other presentation rods. The perfect line: S.A. Amplitude Trout in WF-5-F. I’m getting lots of feel and superb accuracy in close – better than any of the other presentation rods. They also need to have enough backbone to launch small streamers, often using a sink tip line. Good, just not great. Anglers that are primarily indicator nymph fishing are better off with a slightly longer 5-weight like a 9 ½ or 10 footer, or even jumping up to a 6-weight rod in the same lengths. But the Paradigm didn’t perform nearly as well, mainly because of its much slower action. We also introduced the world to the hollow internal ferrule - the most sophisticated way to connect multi-piece fly rods in a smooth and seamless fashion. 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. Rods with softer tips help you reduce break-offs like these. 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. Good feel and accuracy in close despite a heavier swing weight than the Zephrus. Now you do not have to ship the broken rod to Douglas. Usually takes 2-4 weeks. This is another rod that is smooth and very well dampened. I love the lightness of this rod but a softer tip would have given me better accuracy in close. 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. Those subtle differences thus become immediately apparent. Definitely one of the best Presentation Rods at long range, and even better for me than the Helios 3D! Nearly all the top rods today are using extremely good quality cork in their grips. Beulah has given us a lovely new rod that is incredibly light – the lightest rod in this Shootout in overall weight combined with a very light swing weight. For others, seeing how a rod performs in an expert caster’s hands convinces them it would make them great anglers as well, or at least take them to the next level. However, if all rods are measured on the same day, the relative numbers will be consistent. Along this journey, we’ve developed a way of doing things that we call The Scott Difference. One rod simply cannot suit all these purposes perfectly well, in our experience. 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