#14 (tie) Douglas DXF 9 foot #8 $395.00
In our last 8-weight Shootout, the DXF didn’t perform so well and ended up next to last. This year the DXF is a much different rod, with far better performance. Douglas’ head rod designer, Fred Contaoi did a heck of a job reworking this rod and got the action just right. This is a fast action rod like the SKY, with the same slightly softer tip. The only thing that bothers me now is the heavy swing weight compared to the best rods here. This also hurt the feel somewhat, especially in close.
The Douglas rods have always been attractive, with excellent craftsmanship and this DXF is no exception. I especially like the grayish/green non-glare matte finish. The guide wraps are a complementary darker green with a glossy epoxy finish. The high quality cork handle is a full wells design and feels just right. A grayish/green anodized double uplocking reel seat is used, with the color complementing the blank perfectly. This is a classy looking rod. 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. A nylon face on the final ring provides an excellent lock-up on heavier reels. A short fighting butt with a wide composite cork butt cap is used. Guides are not quite the quality we found on the SKY but still very good. They use two more standard SiC stripping guides followed by extra large size hard chrome snake guides and an oversize tip top. Line tangles are going to fly through these big guides! Last but not least is the great rod bag included with the aluminum tube that will help dry out a rod you might put away wet. The Douglas rods are designed here in the US but manufactured in Korea.
Performance at 35 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
The heavy swing weight hurt both feel and accuracy in close. Both the BVK and Aetos felt better.
Performance at 60 feet: 19 points out of 20
Now I’m getting nice tight loops and good performance. The heavier swing weight is making me work harder than with the best rods.
Performance at 80 feet: 19 points out of 20
Smooth, easily controlled loops are giving me good accuracy. Both the SKY and Legend Elite were slightly better.
Performance at 100 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
At first I scored it a 19 since the accuracy was as good as the Exocett, but I was working a lot harder to make this distance.
14. (tie) Douglas DXF 9’#8 4pc $395
The DXF has always been one of our favorite mid-priced 9’ 5 and 6-weight rods. But I think the 9’ 8-weight needs a little whittling. The DXF 8-weight has great power, but this comes at the price of heavy swing weight. To be a great all-around rod I think the tip needs to become a little softer/faster, and the swing weight needs to become a little lighter. I’m confident that Douglas’ head rod designer Fred Contaoi will tweak the DXF into perfection. He is a great angler and one of the hardest working rod designers out there. Douglas has impressed us before by making running changes in the 9’ 6 and 7-weight SKY models. My crystal ball says Fred won’t sleep until the DXF and SKY 8-weights are on top of the podium.
All that being said, remember this rod only costs $395, and it beats many rods costing much more. There is still great value in the DXF, especially if you are looking for a less expensive rod that works extremely well on windy days, with the ability to cast long distances.
1st impressions: Massive guides. Grip is a little on the thick side. Feels more like the Douglas SKY this year. It seems to me the line sounds louder going through these big guides than on other rods?
Performance at 35 feet: 17 points out of 20
This rod is very accurate but I found it difficult to make a softer presentation. It is noticeably tip heavy and doesn’t have much feel while casting in close quarters.
Performance at 60 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
Excellent accuracy, however, the DXF feels stiff and heavy in the tip compared to the top rods. But no question – it is a powerhouse. If you were looking for an 8-weight that is closer to a 9-weight this would be a good choice.
Performance at 80 feet: 19 points out of 20
Wow. I was pleasantly surprised by the DXF at 80 feet and beyond. Now the heavier swing weight is less of an issue and the DXF feels like it has some serious pep.
Performance at 100 feet: 19.5 points out of 20
Hmm… this might be my second favorite rod for the long bomb award, just behind the Asquith. With little threat of throwing a tailing loop, you can really punch it hard with this rod.
#21. Douglas DXF $395.00
The Douglas DXF is one rod all of us at the shop have liked. It has proven to be one of the best mid-priced rods at all weights. I was a little disappointed with the 8-weight, however. One thing I didn’t like about it was that the snake guides are really too big. They are too big, and too heavy to my way of thinking. This rod worked better at the longer distances than it did in close.
Performance at 35 feet: 17 out of 20
The DXF wasn’t my favorite rod at 35 feet. It lacked feel, and it felt heavier in hand than other rods.
Performance at 60 feet: 18 out of 20
The Douglas DXF was much better at 60 feet. It tracked very well and had decent accuracy.
Performance at 80 feet: 18 out of 20
At 80 feet the DXF was good, but it wasn’t anything special. I made good casts but tended to get tailing loops when I powered the longer casts.
5. (tie) Douglas DXF 58/60 $395.00
I’m a huge fan of the Douglas DXF. This is another great rod from Douglas that has the ability to achieve beautiful smooth casts, especially at the middle distances. This rod has more of a medium fast action than the faster SKY. This makes it a great freshwater 8-weight for throwing streamers, or a great salt 8-weight for people who may not prefer the fastest actions. The grip is a little large for me, and the snake guides seem big, which hurts the swing weight. Overall the performance is great, especially considering the price tag of $395.00
Performance at 35 feet: 18.5
The DXF is a little heavy and has too stiff of a tip to get top marks at the short-range targets. My casts were just a bit splashy but the accuracy was excellent.
Performance at 60 feet: 20
I think that 60 ft. is the perfect distance for the DXF. I thought that the weight is less noticeable here than at closer distances. It was extremely accurate, and casting the DFX at mid-range distances was a breeze. Delivery was great as I could smoke the fly in rapidly if it was windy, or gently lay one down if it was calm.
Performance at 80 feet: 19.5
Once I start to air the DXF out a little bit I can feel its weight come back and I was working harder. I was still able to control the rod well, and it was giving me great accuracy and presentation. Wind was no issue with the DXF, with its ability to throw tight accurate loops.
Performance at 100 feet:
I found that it wasn’t too hard to get 100 ft. from the DXF. I wasn’t as accurate as with some rods, but I’d say the DXF was mid pack for 100 ft. casts, and would be a lot better if it were lighter.