#10 Douglas SKY 9 foot #8 $695.00
The Douglas SKY won our last 6-Weight Shootout, and here it puts in an impressive performance as an 8-weight. There are a lot of things to like about this rod – the appearance, the craftsmanship, the components, the performance, the warranty, and the price. I love the fast action that has very good butt and mid-section power, combined with a slightly softer tip. This produced an impressive performance at all distances. The SKY is designed here in the US by Fred Contaoi, but manufactured in Korea at the same plant that produces Hardy and Loop rods.
My only gripe is the swing weight, which like the BVK, is heavier than all the top rods. Like the other SKY rods, this is a good-looking rod. The blank is finished in a matte finish, non-glare grey with glossy black wraps. A comfortable full wells handle is used with contrasting composite cork rings at top and bottom. The grey anodized, double uplocking reel seat matches the color of the blank. I found the rings easy to grip and tighten, and an additional thin nylon ring at the top of each ring provided a secure lock up on the heavier saltwater reels. A fairly wide but short extension butt is used with composite cork on the end that matches what is used on the grip. Douglas is one of the only manufacturers using the new Fuji Torzite guides as stripping guides. They have a slightly forward angle that allows line to shoot more easily. The rest of the guides are the good flexible nickel/titanium one-foot guides with an oversize tiptop. This whole guide set-up works great, and allowed the line to shoot like crazy. I also love the rod sock that Douglas designed – one that will allow a rod that is put away wet to dry quickly.
The Douglas warranty rated one of the very best. For $35, broken sections are replaced and the turn around time is two weeks or less.
Performance at 35 feet: 19 points out of 20
Good, but the heavier swing weight hurt the feel I was getting.
Performance at 60 feet: 19.2 points out of 20
I’m working harder than with the Meridian or NRX to get the same kind of accuracy.
Performance at 80 feet: 19.5 points out of 20
The SKY certainly has plenty of power and now it helps produce nice loops and good accuracy, matching the Helios 3F and even the Meridian.
Performance at 100 feet: 19 points out of 20
A strong performance here, with lots of power on tap. As good as the BVK and Exocett and slightly better than the Helios 3F.
14. (tie) Douglas SKY 9’#8 4pc $695
After seeing the 9’ 6-weight Douglas SKY sweep the competition in our 2016 6-weight Shootout, (and knowing how much George loves the 9’ 7-weight version) we were all expecting a podium finish for the 8-weight SKY. Unfortunately, it was just a little too heavy and stiff in the tip to take top honors this go around.
When head rod designer Fred Contaoi heard where the SKY placed in this 8-weight Shootout he was disappointed but determined more than ever to tweak the SKY into a true winner. When lastly heard, he was in South Korea, working the factory to develop prototypes for an improved 8-weight SKY. We are looking forward to the results. Nevertheless, the current SKY really didn’t do that badly, especially when casting longer distances.
1st impressions: Interesting angle on Fuji Torzite shooting guides. Nice grip, similar to Meridian and Loop Cross SW.
Performance at 35 feet: 18 points out of 20
Very accurate, however, the SKY feels stiffer and heavier than the top rods when casting in close.
Performance at 60 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
Now we’re talking! Plenty of extra power – I think the sweet spot for this rod may even be past 60 feet, (70-75 feet). Like the Loop Cross SW, the SKY takes a little more effort to get going but then there is nothing stopping it.
Performance at 80 feet: 19 points out of 20
This rod has a ton of balls. I was hitting near the plate almost every cast. Tempting to give the SKY a 19.5-20 score, but the best rods were just lighter in hand and a little more effortless to cast.
Performance at 100 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
Strangely enough I could hit the 100’ mark better with the DXF. Still, a solid performer. With a little tweaking (making the tip lighter and faster) I expect the SKY to perform better at all distances.
#9. (tie) Douglas SKY $695.00
The Douglas SKY is another great 8-weight rod. It had a lot of power but not an overly stiff tip. Closer distances are the sweet spots for the SKY. At long distance it still had plenty of power, but I saw more inaccuracy than with other rods. It wasn’t the lightest rod by any means, but it wasn’t heavy either, and the weight didn’t bother me.
Performance at 35 feet: 19.5 out of 20
The Douglas SKY was a very good rod in close. It had good feel to make delicate presentations, and was also very accurate. The SKY was one of my top rods at 35 feet.
Performance at 60 feet: 19 out of 20
The SKY was still very accurate at 60 feet. I got more tailing loops when I poured the power to this rod, something I didn’t see with rods like the G. Loomis Asquith or the Scott Meridian.
Performance at 80 feet: 18.5 out of 20
This is where I was struggled with the SKY. I could hit the distance easily enough, but I didn’t feel it was nearly as accurate as the Thomas & Thomas Exocett or the Asquith.
2. Douglas SKY 59.5/60 $695.00
The SKY lineup of rods from Douglas Outdoors has been one of my favorites since they started to produce them a few years ago. I like these rods because they have a great amount of power but also are competent at short range, making them extremely versatile. The craftsmanship is excellent, as are the components. The 8-weight is of a kind with the other SKY rods, and quickly came through as one of my top picks, particularly considering that it still has a sub $700.00 price tag.
Performance at 35 feet: 19.5
The SKY doesn’t have the most feel at 35 ft., but being a stiffer rod this is expected. I think that the lack of weight in the hand really helps with presentation in close gaining some of the ground it lost because of stiffness. The SKY has a lot of power, but I was getting great accuracy. I docked it only slightly because the presentation was not as good as some.
Performance at 60 feet: 20
I have a note in my write up that says, “really F-in windy for this test but still niiiiice”. That pretty much sums it up. I liked the SKY a lot at this distance; wind or no wind and I could still easily hit the target. The rod gave me great feel and power, making my timing and delivery super easy when the wind was up. Once it calmed, casting this rod was that much better.
Performance at 80 feet: 20
I liked the SKY a lot at 80 ft. I gave it top marks here and would say that of all the rods this was my favorite for making casts past 70-80 ft., along with the Asquith and NRX. Line speed is way up and the SKY nearly has the power to pick up the entire 80 ft. of line and recast it, something I couldn’t do as well with any other rod.
Performance at 100 feet:
When I was reaching out at long distance, I noticed how well this rod loves to shoot line. I think I over-cast the target with this rod more than any other until I got the feel for it. That said, 100 ft. was easy to hit. Even in light wind I was able to consistently cast with acceptable accuracy.