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#21 (tie)   Beulah Opal    9 foot #8    $620.00

Beulah Opal saltwater fly rod
Beulah Opal saltwater fly rod
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George’s Notes:

Beulah has impressed us with great looking rods and very good craftsmanship and their Opal is another good example. Unfortunately the performance just wasn’t up to the level of the better rods.  I think one thing that hurt is that the Opal is one of the heaviest rods in our Shootout.  It just didn’t have the punch and power of other rods like the BVK or any of the other good mid-priced rods like the Recon and Motive.  This rod has a more moderate than fast action.  It is a smooth casting rod, but not as accurate as I wished.

The thing that first caught my eye is this rod’s snazzy appearance, and especially the fancy cork grip.  The blank color is pleasing blue/gray with complementary wraps.  The butt has some darker blue wraps trimmed in silver.  All very tasteful.  Beulah is famous for their fancy cork handles. This one is a full wells design, but with a variety of beautiful contrasting cork rings top and bottom.  A gray anodized double uplocking seat is used that matches the color of the blank.  The rings are quite large in diameter and easy to grip.  The lower ring utilizes a nylon insert that allows a very positive lock up on the reel.  The short fighting butt has another good, wide contrasting cork on the end.  This rod is designed here in the US by Beulah but manufactured in Korea. 

Performance at 35 feet:  18.5 points out of 20

Good, just not great. Smooth enough, but not as accurate as the Recon or SKY.

Performance at 60 feet:  18.5 points out of 20

The weight in hand is heavier than I like.  I’m not able to get the same tight loops or accuracy I’m getting with the Recon or BVK. 

Performance at 80 feet:  19 points out of 20

Nice and smooth here and tracks well.  Matches the Recon, but not in the same class as the best rods.

Performance at 100 feet:  18 points out of 20

It was tough for me to hit the longest distance.  More power would help here.

16. (tie) Beulah Opal 9’#8 4pc $620

Beulah Opal Saltwater fly rod
Beulah Opal Saltwater fly rod
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James’ Notes: 

Beulah has always impressed us with sharp-looking rods, and the Opal is no exception.  I love the blue and gray-toned thread wraps over the blue blank.  The different colored cork accents also make this rod look classy.    

Performance-wise, the Beulah Opal does best around 60 feet.  At this distance everything feels right.  To give it more feel in close, I think the Opal’s tip needs to be a little softer.  To perform better at 80-100 feet the Opal needs a little more butt and mid-section power.  All and all, still a great rod at a reasonable price.

1st impressions:  Sharp looking rod.  Comfortable grip. Smooth casting but lacks power at long range.

Performance at 35 feet: 18 points out of 20

Feels very smooth and fun to cast, however the slower tip isn’t allowing me to be very accurate.

Performance at 60 feet: 19.5 points out of 20

At mid-range, the Opal feels very well balanced, with smooth power and excellent accuracy.  I’d say 60 feet is definitely this rod’s sweet spot. 

Performance at 80 feet: 18.5 points out of 20

Another fine performance at 80 feet.  Accuracy was not quite as good as the top rods but satisfactory nevertheless.  Not bad!

Performance at 100 feet: 17.5 points out of 20

Doable, but you have to shoot a lot of line, as the Opal doesn’t want to carry much line in the air. Getting the Opal to cast 100 feet is tough. 

#13. (tie)  Beulah Opal    $620.00

Beulah Opal Saltwater fly rod
Beulah Opal Saltwater fly rod
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Logan’s Notes:

The Beulah Opal is one of the prettiest rods in the Shootout.  Its metallic blue finish, the wraps on the guides, and the cork are all top notch.   It is a more of a medium action rod that I liked best at mid-range. 

Performance at 35 feet: 18.5 out of 20

The Beulah Opal had good feel but wasn’t as accurate for me as other mid-priced rods like as the Orvis Recon or Hardy Shadow.

Performance at 60 feet: 19 out of 20

I really enjoyed the Opal at 60 feet.  It was incredibly smooth when my timing was good. 

Performance at 80 feet: 18.5 out of 20

It was tougher for the Beulah Opal to make accurate casts at 80 feet.  When my timing was absolutely spot on I loved this rod, but when it was a little off, I had trouble hitting the mark.

5. (tie)  Beulah Opal   58/60    $620.00

Beulah Opal Saltwater fly rod
Beulah Opal Saltwater fly rod
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JG’s Notes:

The Opal was a big surprise for me.  I love the way that Beulah rods look but often find them to be a little underpowered, at least for my taste.  I did like the smooth action, and especially the feel I was got.  The Opal performed great in close and surprised me with its ability to cast well at both mid to long range.  I felt a faster action would help increase line speed and accuracy at the longer distances.

Performance at 35 feet:  20

The Opal was one of my favorite rods for casting in close, where it delivered both great feel and accuracy. It’s a little heavy in my hand but at short-range I had a blast casting this rod and hardly noticed its heft.

Performance at 60 feet:  19

The Opal would get top scores here if it were just a little lighter.  I still loved the rod’s action, its feel, and got great accuracy from it.  The weight was more noticeable here than when casting in close.

Performance at 80 feet:  19

For a rod that casts so well at 35 ft., I was really surprised to find that it did a great job at 80 ft. as well.  The Opal definitely flexes more than many of the rods in our test.  But the medium action still gave me plenty of power, making it easy to hit 80 ft.  It was fairly accurate, not the absolute best, but it was far from the worst rod I tested.  If it were lighter I would have given the Opal a 19.5 at both 60 and 80 ft. 

Performance at 100 feet:

I was able to get the Opal to hit 100 feet, no problem.  Accuracy was not as good as some of the other rods, but it wasn’t bad.  A faster action would give the rod the oomph it needs to perform better at the long distances, however it would kill what makes this rod sweet everywhere else.