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#20.   TFO Axiom II     9 foot #8     $339.95 

TFO Axiom II saltwater fly rod
TFO Axiom II saltwater fly rod

George’s Notes: 

Here is TFO’s latest offering that is supposed to be a big step up from the BVK.  I didn’t think it was nearly as good overall, and certainly didn’t have the power of the BVK that we have liked so much.  It does have a softer tip than the BVK so its performance in close was slightly better.  The Axiom II is slightly softer overall than the BVK, and does not have nearly as much punch and power to throw long. This seems strange to me since the Axiom II is both heavier in overall weight and swing weight than the BVK.  One big improvement over the BVK are the locking rings on the reel seat.  And for the extra $60 they also now give you a hard case like all the other manufacturers.

The color of the blank is a dark olive, with complementary olive wraps.  Like the BVK, alignment dots are used.  The cork handle is a full wells design, and the quality of the cork is excellent – better than the BVK.  A contrasting composite cork ring is used at the top of the grip.  The reel seat is a gray anodized double uplock, but with much larger locking rings than found on the BVK.  The bottom ring also has a nylon spacer attached that helps to maintain a positive lock up on your reel.  A green graphite spacer is used with a handy yellow line showing where to insert the reel seat.  A short composite cork, fighting butt is used.  The guides are two large SiC strippers, followed with hard chrome snake guides.   Like other TFO rods, the Axiom II is manufactured in Korea.

Performance at 35 feet:  19.2 points out of 20

The softer tip gave me better feel and accuracy than the BVK.  As good as the Zephrus and even better than the Recon.

Performance at 60 feet:  18.5 points out of 20

Doesn’t fire the line with the authority of the BVK, and my loops were not as tight.  Both the Motive and Recon were also better here.

Performance at 80 feet:  18 points out of 20

Not so hot at the longest distances.  Doesn’t seem to have enough power to carry the same tight loops as the BVK or Motive.

Performance at 100 feet:  17 points out of 20

I didn’t feel this rod has enough power to hit the longest distance with any consistency.  The BVK was far better.

20. (tie) TFO Axiom II 9’#8 4pc $339.95

TFO Axiom II
TFO Axiom II

James’ Notes:

TFO’s new Axiom II rod is pretty good, but I still think the BVK is a better rod with better feel and equal power.  One thing the TFO Axiom offers over other rods is a much thinner grip, which could be more comfortable (and easier) for anglers with smaller hands to get a more powerful grip.   Like the BVK the Axiom is very light in overall weight but has a much heavier swing weight.

At least TFO gives you a hard case with the Axiom II, unlike the BVK.

1st impressions:  Thinner but comfortable grip that might be nice for anglers with smaller hands. BVK still seems like the better all-around 8-weight.

Performance at 35 feet: 17.5 points out of 20

Very accurate but very little feedback or feel. Pleasant enough, but the edge in close goes to the Fenwick Aetos, Hardy Shadow, Mystic Reaper, and TFO BVK.

Performance at 60 feet: 18 points out of 20

Feeling much better, with more line in the air. But feels heavier than the BVK in terms of swing weight. The BVK also gave me better performance at mid-range.  The skinny grip feels a little odd.

Performance at 80 feet: 17 points out of 20

A solid performance, but I still liked the feel and power of the BVK better.

Performance at 100 feet: 18 points out of 20

Ha, now I’m confused as it feels the Axiom II seems to throw better than the BVK when you really have to punch it!  But neither could come close to matching the DXF at extreme long range. 

#18. (tie)  TFO Axiom II    $339.95

TFO Axiom II
TFO Axiom II

Logan’s Notes: 

The TFO Axiom II is a new rod from TFO and I liked most everything about it.  And the best part is it comes with a case!!!  It could not match the BVK at longer distances, but it had a lot of feel and was a pleasure to cast at 35 and 60 feet.  The shorter distances proved to be the sweet spot for this rod.  

Performance at 35 feet: 19 out of 20

The TFO Axiom II was great at 35 feet.  It had the perfect amount of feel to make good delicate presentations, and it did so with authority. 

Performance at 60 feet: 18 out of 20

At 60 feet the Axiom II was very smooth.  It didn’t have the same reserve power and accuracy as the BVK though, at this distance.

Performance at 80 feet: 17 out of 20

Longer casts to 80 feet or more were a struggle for the Axiom II, mainly due to its lack of power.   My accuracy was all over the place, and not good.

22. (tie) TFO Axiom II   54/60    $339.95

TFO Axiom II
TFO Axiom II saltwater fly rod

JG’s Notes:

This new rod from TFO is a nice step up from their last new rod we tested, the Impact.  The first thing you’ll notice is that this TFO comes with a hard case, something that, until now, TFO has left out of all of their rod sales.  As far as performance goes, I think it needs a little work, but it has a good softer tip on it that makes short-range casting pleasant.  If the mid section were softened up just a tad I think it would be just the change needed to really move this rod up the list.  Overall I felt that the BVK was much better.

Performance at 35 feet: 18

I liked the Axiom II most at the short-range target: it has a good tip for casting in close.  The weight of the rod and of lack feedback that it gives the caster make it hard to get perfect accuracy.

Performance at 60 feet:  18

I had better accuracy at 60 ft. thanks to having more line out of the rod, getting it to load better.  The feel is still not great and its lack of power becomes evident.  

Performance at 80 feet:  18

Going past 60 with the Axiom II is doable, but I found that I was working a lot harder than with many of the other rods.  The accuracy was not so hot either. There are better rods in this Shootout for long shots.

Performance at 100 feet:

100 feet was not going to happen with the Axiom II.