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. The best 5-weight rods need to have excellent loop control and the ability to throw very tight loops, especially if you have some wind to contend with. Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO) – Lifetime warranty to original owner. They are light but very durable. The idea here is to measure the swing weight at the middle of where your palm is likely to sit on the grip. 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. Now, the lack of power and backbone hurts. This rod uses spigot ferrules, rather than the slipover ferrule design found on most rods including the Scott Radian. He and Chloe are also responsible for many of the great photographs you’ll find in our Shootouts. The rings are easy to grip and lock up securely. To make it easier to examine each rod we have used different colors with a chart below each deflection board. The slightly shorter 8’8” Scott G series is a far different rod than the fast action, 9 foot Radian. Not enough butt and mid-section power to do well long. One-year warranty on hardware and guides. This makes it easier to justify buying the best performing rod. 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 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. Click on any rod to see the full write up. $60 handling fee. I can sure notice the heavy swing weight and this is not a very pleasant rod to cast. The cosmetics and components of this rod are similar to its shorter brother. The new Sage LL and the Winston Air were disappointing and finished at the bottom of the pack. Next, holding the rod in a 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 with your hand. 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. With 4-weight rods the emphasis is on the shorter distances, as rarely would an angler be casting a 4-weight at 60 feet or more. Everyone else uses far less fancy anodized aluminum. It was even a little sloppy on the tip sections. One rod simply cannot suit all these purposes perfectly well, in our experience. We set out three sets of paper plates as targets, with plenty of distance between each casting line so that no one was getting tangled up. We think that the best are the flexible nickel/titanium single foot and snake guides, but these are much more expensive than the heaver, hard chrome versions. In addition to being a test caster and editor, he’s responsible for some of the photos and putting all of this on line. The rods rated 9.5 rods had a $50 fee. For Helios 3, new Recon (2020) and the new Clearwater rods, Orvis has introduced a new section replacement program with a 5-business day turnaround. Yes, the craftsmanship is not quite as good as the other presentation rods, but what can you expect for under two hundred bucks? The blank is olive green with matching olive wraps that are trimmed in gold on the two lower sections. I don’t think people voting at IFTD ever cast this rod. With a WF-5-F line, the T-5 has a capacity of 100-115 yards of 20 lb. To read their comments, simply click on the blue bar under each person’s photo. Now I’m getting a respectable performance that matches the Zone and DXF. One of the biggest variables – the Livingston wind! Other repairs usually take 4-8 weeks. Nice and smooth. A little better here but the DXF still puts it to shame. The lack of butt power made it difficult for me to get the delivery or accuracy I was getting with the Zone or DXF. 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 reel seat is a black anodized aluminum uplocking seat, with one locking ring that was easy to grip and tighten. The good-looking reel seat is silver anodized single up-lock design with a nylon locking ring that provided a secure lock-up. The rods with more backbone and the ability to mend line well get the best scores here. A black anodized double uplocking seat is used with an attractive wood burl insert. What is the Asquith doing way down near the bottom of this Shootout when it won our recent 8-weight Shootout!? There are matching burgundy wraps on the guides, and the epoxy coatings were very well done. Like the Zephrus, the quality of the cork is close to perfect, and better than other mid-priced rods. Slower action rods with a heavy swing weight are not much fun to cast and as you’ll see the performance figures for this rod are dismal. Hardy – Lifetime warranty to original owner. Here it matches the NRX LP and the Recon. This is an absolutely gorgeous rod, and along with the T&T rods, the Winston rods get a perfect score for craftsmanship. Close. I much preferred the Radian and the top four Presentation rods. #6. I’m convinced the key to catching more trout and especially larger trout, is casting accuracy. It gave me impressive feel and accuracy at all distances. Better than the Scott G and Winston Air. One thing that you’ll see is that the rod manufacturers today are giving us rods that do not differ that much in flex. Alignment dots are placed at the ferrules, which is handy. One SiC style stripping guide is used as well as a hook keeper. The uplocking skeleton seat is anodized in a dark gray to complement the blank with a beautiful piece of black ash burl for the insert. Broken sections are replaced. This is a light rod in swing weight – almost as good as the Zephrus. It also has a relatively stiff tip when compared to the winners. There are lots of ways to break a fish off on light tippet, but the rods that score high in this category are going to give you a far better chance of landing a big fish. 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. Even though most anglers using 5-weight rods are going to be fishing in that 20-50 foot range primarily, the best rods need to be capable of reaching out to 70 feet easily, and with good accuracy. When I first started casting this rod I was sure it would be close to the top of the presentation rods but it was simply not as accurate as the SKY G or NRX+ LP in close and seemed to run out of gas at long range. This is a fast action rod, a tiny bit stiffer and a tad slower in action than the Helios 3F, but still a very good casting rod. It tracked well and the accuracy was good – better than the Imperial at long range. and they examine it. When you read everyone’s comments on the Zephrus, you will see that we all agreed that this is a very special rod, for a variety of reasons. This rod gave me better control and accuracy at long range than any other rod in our Shootout. Being able to cast with no wind made it much easier to score the rods with confidence at all distances. 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. The color of the blank is an olive green that Orvis calls “shadow green.” The wraps are brown and the epoxy coatings are OK but a little heavy and not nearly as well done as on the 3F. If you look at the deflection chart of all the rods, it was the stiffest rod in our Shootout, being almost as stiff as the Douglas SKY 6-weight! The handle is a half wells western style grip with contrasting dark composite cork rings at both the bottom and top. We make a note of which was the best line with the write up on each rod. The ability to throw very tight loops gives me surprisingly good accuracy out long. Sage MOD    8’6”   #4       $850.00. And the Fenwick Aetos, that finished at 11th, higher than the middle of the pack, is only $179.95! For 100' casts?? 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. I just could not get the nice tight loops and better accuracy I was getting with the top 5 Presentation Rods. Tracks beautifully with nice tight loops that are giving me great accuracy. The H3F rated slightly higher over all, but the Asquith had a lot more butt and mid-section power to blast out long casts. The Power Rods are often more versatile 5-weights, and the best have the guts and ability to mend line well when you are fishing indicator rigs, comprised of a wind resistant indicator, two nymphs and even a split shot or two. Call us at 406-222-7130, or e-mail us at [email protected] and we can discuss your needs and wants. Performance at 25 feet:  16.5 points out of 20. Here is a recap of each manufacturer’s current policy, their latest fees and what we have experienced for repair time required. Better as I get more line in the air, but still not nearly as good as the NRX LP or the DXF. The Shadow and Pure were far better. The rest of the guides are the finest, flexible, titanium Recoil single-foot guides that you will never break. I was getting far better presentations and accuracy with both the Hardy Zephrus and Winston Pure. This can be a huge help if you have multiple rods and the sections get mixed up. Now the lack of butt power becomes evident and it is hard for me to get any decent accuracy. One SiC stripping guide is used and the rest are the best nickel/titanium and flexible snake guides in a gray color which complement the blank. A rod’s ability to make delicate and accurate presentations with small flies and long leaders is the key to scoring well here. I don’t have the feel I can place the fly just where I want it, as I can with the Zephrus. Hardy ZEPHRUS ULTRALITE 8’9” #4   $679.95. 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. Having multiple outfits set up allows us to do this easily. ← The Pure puts in an impressive performance, especially at the shorter distances, and finishes in 2nd place in both the overall and performance results. Little feel, and the slower action kills any accuracy. It also sits dead last in our Fun to Fish category. The craftsmanship is excellent and as with the Zephrus, Howard Croston has given us a rod with a nice fast action that performs best at close to medium distances. The epoxy coatings on the guide wraps are much better than we’ve seen previously from Sage. The swing weight of the rod is the weight you feel out ahead of your hand, holding the rod horizontally. The wraps are done in a dark brown with some silver trim on the butt section as well as in the center of each guide foot wrap, that look nice. The stiff tip and heavy swing weight both contributed to a lack of feel and accuracy in close. Posted by 1 year ago. Nice and delicate but the tip felt too slow to give me really good accuracy as I was getting with the top four rods. The guide set is perfect, starting with one of the new CERECOIL stripping guides that use a nickel Titanium frame and a Zerconia ring insert designed so that it cannot come out of the frame, even as the frame flexes. The blank is finished in a deep ruby metallic red. I was hitting the plate almost every time. You must register the new rod within 30 days. Performance at 25 feet:  17.5 points out of 20. For broken rods that are not registered to the original owners, some companies are going to charge you $150 or more for repairs. This makes it easier to justify buying the best performing rod. Although the overall weight was an amazingly light 2.3 oz, the swing weight was a fairly heavy 8.0 oz – about equal to the Scott G series. 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. We have found that the new 5-weight rods are getting better and better each year. But superior craftsmanship commands a much higher price! We also kept on hand for a quick comparison what we felt was the #1 rod in each performance category – the Douglas Sky in the presentation rods and the Loomis NRX+ in the power rods. We have found that the only good way to pin down these subtle differences is to have at least a half dozen of the contending rods with the line stripped out and sitting there in front of you on the lawn, so that you can take a few casts with one rod, lay it down and pick up another rod, and make a few casts at the same distance, make some notes and then move on to another rod or the next distance. If you buy this rod, you need to put a WF-5-F line on it. 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