We like the looks of this new Mystic rod and the craftsmanship is better than we found on the Reaper X, but the price is a lot higher also. When I first picked the rod up, the overall weight was good but then when I wiggled the rod in my hand, I could see that the swing weight was heavier than almost all of the other 4-weight rods. In fact the JXP had one of the heaviest swing weights in our Shootout, tied with the IMX Pro and Clearwater.
Like many of the other 9-foot rods in our Shootout, it was at a disadvantage in weight to the shorter 8 and 8 ½ foot rods. The JXP is also very stiff. 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 heavy swing weight and stiffness made it impossible for the JXP to compete with the best mid-priced rods like the Orvis Recon, or Hardy Shadow. If you buy this rod, you need to put a WF-5-F line on it. Then it will cast and perform much better. This rod has a medium fast action with tons of power in the butt and mid-section, which allowed it to perform pretty well at the longest distance.
The color of the blank is a natural graphite gray, and only lightly sanded so you can still see the tape marks, much like the Scott rods. 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 epoxy coatings on the guides were good for the most part but a little too heavy on some guides.
I liked the full wells cork handle better than the odd grip on the Reaper X. The quality of the cork was much better too, but still not in the class of what we found on the Recon or Shadow. The single uplocking seat is gray anodized aluminum, and doesn’t use a spacer, but does have some trick looking cutouts on each side. The wide single ring was easy to grip and tighten.
Guides start with a hook keeper on the butt, and then two SiC stripping guides, followed with hard chrome snake guides that are large in diameter but thankfully use smaller diameter wire. An oversize tip-top is fitted to match the large guides.
The perfect line: SA Amplitude MPX WF-5-F. (However we tested the rod with the WF-4-F Infinity.)
George’s casting notes:
Performance at 25 feet: 18.0 points out of 20
It was hard for me to get any feel or accuracy with such a stiff rod and a light line. I could really notice the heavy swing weight in my hand.
Performance at 40 feet: 18.0 points out of 20
Still not so good with very little feel or accuracy. It would be so much better with a WF-5-F. Equal to the IMX Pro but that’s about it. The DXF and Imperial were much better.
Performance at 60 feet: 8.5 points out of 10
Better at the longest distances, much like the stiff IMX Pro. Now I’m getting a respectable performance that matches the Zone and DXF.
I was surprised to see the JXP finish so low since the Mystic rods have done well in past Shootouts. The main reason the scores were so low is that the JXP is way too stiff. If you take a look at our deflection board, the JXP 9’#4 flexes more like a super stiff 5-weight or 6-weight rod! Its heavy swing weight didn’t help. The fast action was fine, but the stiffness hurt its scores at close and medium distances.
If you are prepared to spend around $500 on a new 4-weight, my advice is to go with the Orvis Recon, which is a much nicer rod at $429, and performs as well as many of the top rods.
Feels like a 9’#6-weight. Much heavier (and stiffer) than Mystic Reaper X. Lightly sanded blank, the large full wells grip seems too big for a 4-weight. The reel seat looks cheap but works well. Two stripping guides unnecessary for a 4-weight rod, large chrome snake guides.
Performance at 25 feet: 16.5 points out of 20
Almost no feel, (other than heavy and clunky). Accuracy suffered too.
Performance at 40 feet: 16.8 points out of 20
Getting better but still heavy and far too stiff a tip for a good 4-weight.
Performance at 60 feet: 7 points out of 10
Again feeling better, but the Reaper X is way lighter and feels much better. This rod does have a ton of power but requires a 5.5 or 6 weight line to perform well.
Logan’s Comments: 42 out of 50
The Mystic JXP was one of the heavier and stiffer rods in the shootout. This hurt its overall performance in many categories. It was one of my worst rods at 25 feet, but it was much better at 60 feet. I think that a heavier line, like a 5-weight, would have made this rod perform a lot better. I did like the overall appearance of the JXP. The lightly sanded finish was a classy touch and the maroon wraps complemented the blank nicely.
Performance at 25 feet: 16.5 out of 20
This was the JXP’s worst distance. It is too stiff for delicate presentations and gave very little light tippet protection.
Performance at 40 feet: 17.5 out of 20
The performance of the JXP was much better at 45 feet than 25. I was forming tight loops but it still felt too stiff compared to the rest of the rods we tested.
Performance at 60 feet: 8 out of 10
60 feet was the best distance for the Mystic JXP.
Like a lot of the 9 foot rods in this Shootout, the JXP felt heavy and cumbersome when compared with some of the lighter, more nimble 8 and 8 ½ foot rods. This is a stiff and powerful rod. Too much power for a good 4-weight.
I did like the craftsmanship more than what I found on the Reaper X, but this is a very stiff rod and does not perform well in close.
Performance at 25 feet: 16.5/20
Heavy in the hand, and not nearly as accurate or delicate as the better rods.
Performance at 40 feet: 17/20
Like many rods in this Shootout the JXP seemed to preform best for me at this midrange distance. It lacked a bit of touch and feel I was getting with the lighter rods.
Performance at 60 feet: 8/10
I was getting better accuracy and performance at long distance.
Overall I felt the JXP was far too stiff and clunky to be an effective 4-weight rod. With the stiffness of the rod, I would be worried about light tippet protection, finesse, and presentation.
Performance at 25 feet: 15 out of 20
This distance was hard since I was getting hardly any feel in the rod. The tip was far too stiff to present the leader nicely.
Performance at 40 feet: 15.5 out of 20
At 40 feet things got a little better, but the rod still felt unbalanced and heavy.
Performance at 60 feet: 6 out of 10
I felt like I had little control with the rod at this distance. Between the heavy weight and overly stiff action, I felt like this rod had no response or touch at all.