5 Weight shootout winners

Logan Brown's Comments

Logan Brown

 

Blue - New Rods Tested

Red - Moved Down in Performance

Green - Moved Up in Performance

 

 

 

 

 

 

1)    G. Loomis NRX-LP - - 59.5 - - 20 - - 20 - - 19.5

2)    Scott Radian - - 59 - - 19.5 - - 19.5 - - 20

3)    Orvis Helios II - - 58.5 - - 19.5 - - 19.5 - - 19.5

4)    Hardy Zephrus - - 57 - - 19 - - 19 - - 19

5)    Tom Morgan Rod smiths - - 56.5 - - 20 - - 19 - - 17.5

6)    Hardy Wraith - - 56 - - 17 - - 18 - - 20

6)    G. Loomis Pro 4x-LP - - 56 - - 19 - - 19 - - 18

7)    Scott G2 - - 55 - - 20 - - 18 - - 17

7)    Loop Opti-Stream - - 55 - - 18.5 - - 18.5 - - 18

8) RL Winston BIIIX - - 54.5 - - 18.5 - - 18 - - 18

9) RL Winston BIII Plus - - 54 - - 17.5 - - 18.5 - - 18

10) St. Croix Legend Elite - - 53.5 - - 18.5 - - 18.5 - - 16.5

11) Thomas & Thomas Spire - - 53 - - 16 - - 18 - - 19

12) Orvis Recon - - 52 - - 17 - - 18 - - 17

12) Sage MOD - - 52 - - 18 - - 17 - - 17

12) Fenwick Aetos - - 52 - - 17.5 - - 17.5 - - 17

12) Mystic Reaper - - 52 - - 18 - - 18 - - 16

12) Douglas DXF - - 52 - - 17 - - 18 - - 17

12) Echo Base - - 52 - - 17 - - 18 - - 17

13) Echo 3 - - 51.5 - - 16 - - 18 - - 17.5

14) Sage Bolt - - 51 - - 17.5 - - 17 - - 16.5

14) Fenwick HMG - - 51 - - 16.5 - - 17.5 - - 17

14) Beulah Guide Series II - - 51 - - 18 - - 17.5 - - 15.5

14) Limit Creek - - 51 - - 17 - - 17 - - 17

14) Composite Developments XLS-II - - 51 - - 17 - - 17 - - 17

14) TFO BVK - - 51 - - 15.5 - - 17.5 - - 18

15) Redington Hydrogen - - 50 - - 17 - - 17 - - 16

16) Carbon Pro River Ridge - - 49.5 - - 17.5 - - 16 - - 16

17)  Beulah Platinum - - 48 - - 17 - - 16 - - 15

18) Redington Vapen Black - - 47 - - 15 - - 16 - - 16

 

 

The 2016 Shootout was a surprise for a number of reasons.  The first being that we had just done a five-weight shootout in 2015.  With the amount of new rods being released, George wanted to see how they stacked up.  The other surprising thing about the shootout is that for me, none of the new rods came close to the top rod, the G. Loomis NRX-LP.


I was also surprised that some of the rods I had tested last year jumped up or down in performance.  This can be attributed to a number of different factors.  The first and most obvious, was that with new rods being introduced some were bound to change position.  Another factor may have been environment.  Last year all the rods were tested indoors.  This year we did the test outdoors with a slight breeze (5-10 mph).  I feel as though this helps you judge a rod better because you can see how it will perform in an actual fishing environment.  Some rods, the breeze hurt performance (Loop Opti Stream) but others I believe helped performance (Scott Radian).

 

Overall I prefer rods that have a powerful butt section and a soft tip.  There were exceptions to this however.  I really enjoyed the Hardy Wraith, which was one of the faster action rods in the test.  I also love the Scott G2, which is a much slower, softer rod. Both of these rods finished in my top ten as different as they were.

The results of my shootout may not apply to everyone.  Everyone who participated in the shootout has a different cast, fishing style and prefers different things.  This is also true when talking about all anglers.  Everyone is different.  I do believe every angler can find a winner in this list.

 

 

Logan Browns Performance Only

 


 

1.     G. Loomis NRX-LP

G.Loomis NRX LP

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Again?!?!?!?!  Yes, the NRX-LP is still my favorite 5-weight.  Everything about it was great, and is still great.

Logan's casting notes: 59.5 out of 60 

Performance at 25 feet: 20 points out of 20

The G. Loomis NRX-LP is perfect in close.  I was hitting the plate almost every time.  Even when I was off, I was off in the same place (wind).  The soft tip gives me just what I'm looking for at close distances.

Performance at 45 feet: 20 points out of 20

If this rod had a sweet spot it would be 45 feet.  This rod is still the only rod I gave perfect 20’s for 25 and 45 feet, simply because it is so accurate.

Performance at 70 feet: 19.5 points out of 20

This rod felt very solid at these longer distances.  There were few rods that felt good at 70 feet and the NRX-LP was one of them.

 

 

2.     Scott Radian

Scott Radian

buy now

The Scott Radian jumped up for me this year.  Not sure if it’s because we were casting in a breeze, or the fact that the Zenith - last year’s #2 was not in the shootout.  The appearance of the Radian is still my favorite of the shootout.  I really like the un-sanded graphite, the subtle orange wraps, and the elegant reel seat. 

Logan's casting notes: 59 out of 60 

Performance at 25 feet: 19.5 points out of 20

The Scott Radian was very good in close.  Not a perfect 20 like the G. Loomis NRX-LP, but still very accurate. 

Performance at 45 feet: 19.5 points out of 20

This is where the Scott Radian's smoothness really kicked in.  At 45’ the Radian was accurate and tracked incredibly well.  The Radian powered through the breeze and was extremely accurate.

Performance at 70 feet: 20 points out of 20

The Scott Radian was consistent all over the board.  In close, mid-rage, and at distance.  The Radian's strong backbone supplies it with ample power to cast at long rage with accuracy.

 

 

 

3.     Orvis Helios 2 -Tip Flex

Orvis Helios II - Tip Flex

buy now

The Orvis Helios 2 -tip flex is a great all around rod.  The blank color is pleasing to the eye and the reel seat is nice.  What I really liked about this rod however was the feel in the tip.  It wasn’t very soft but had a nice flex that proved to really increase its performance in close and would be an excellent dry fly rod.  Craftsmanship and quality were both top notch.

Logan's casting notes: 58.5 out of 60 

Performance at 25 feet: 19.5 points out of 20

The Orvis Helios 2 -tip flex was near perfect in close.  I would really like this rod fishing dry flies from a boat.

Performance at 45 feet: 19.5 points out of 20

The Orvis Helios 2 -tip flex was really consistent at 45 feet.  The tracking wasn’t nearly as consistent as it was at 25 feet, but I don’t think this would be an issue while fishing. 

Performance at 70 feet: 19.5 points out of 20

At this distance the Orvis Helios 2 -tip flex wasn’t as accurate as others.  It did have a good backbone though, and it didn’t struggle getting it there.  I would probably not be doing this distance very often.

 

4.     Hardy Zephrus

Hardy Zephrus

buy now

The Hardy Zephrus is hot of the press!!  After casting a prototype of this rod a few months back I was excited to see how it performed in the shootout.  I was very impressed when I first cast the Zephrus, and I am again very impressed today.  I still prefer the Hardy Zenith, which is now discontinued, but the Zephrus comes close.  The one thing I did notice about the Zephrus was that the cork felt slightly oversized.

Logan's casting notes: 57 out of 60 

Performance at 25 feet: 19 points out of 20

The Hardy Zephrus is really good in close.  Super accurate and smooth.  The Hardy Zephrus had a good tip flex which helped it in close, unlike the new Hardy Wraith which is much stiffer.

Performance at 45 feet: 19 points out of 20

The Hardy Zephrus is a solid all around rod.  It was very powerful with a nice soft tip.  I was very accurate with this rod casting it at 45 feet.  At this distance I give the edge to the Scott Radian however.

Performance at 70 feet: 19 points out of 20

The Zephrus was extremely consistent at all distances.  If you are an angler who finds yourself in all types of water the Zephrus will be a great all-around rod for you.

 

 

5.     Tom Morgan Rod Smiths

Tom Morgan Rodsmiths 4 pc

buy now

Tom Morgan’s new 4 piece rod is nothing short of amazing.  Everything you’d expect from a Tom Morgan rod.  The absolute finest quality in the world and the attention to detail is second to none.  Aside from its craftsmanship, the Tom Morgan also performs at an extremely high level.  Probably the best dry fly rod ever made Tom Morgan, this rod was an absolute pleasure to fish between 25-45 feet.

Logan's casting notes: 56.5 out of 60 

Performance at 25 feet: 20 points out of 20

The Tom Morgan scored a perfect 20 out of 20 at this distance.  "Wow" is the only word to describe it.  It was hitting dead center of the plate without even trying.  

Performance at 45 feet: 19 points out of 20

At 45 feet the Tom Morgan was also casting beautifully.  It was accurate, easy to cast, and simply fun to cast a rod this smooth at mid-distances.

Performance at 70 feet: 17.5 points out of 20

Tom Morgan’s rods should not be cast at this distance.  If you have to make a 70 ft. cast with a Morgan Rod you should find a different approach. 

 

 

6.   (tie)  Hardy Wraith

Hardy Wraith

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The Wraith is another brand new rod from Hardy.  A much stiffer action rod than the Zephrus, the Wraith still performed well and was amazingly accurate.  I typically prefer a rod with a softer tip, but something about the Wraith made me want to cast it again, and again.  That being said, I liked the Hardy Wraith best at medium and longer distances, rather than in close.  This rod reminded me of the popular Sage One, but even nicer!!  It had just the right amount of tip flex without sacrificing its faster action.

Logan's casting notes: 56 out of 60 

Performance at 25 feet: 17 points out of 20

The Hardy Wraith was not the best rod at 25 feet.  It needed a softer tip flex to be great at in close.  This rod is powerhouse, so a soft tip is not really its intention. 

Performance at 45 feet: 18 points out of 20

The Hardy Wraith was performing much better with more line peeled out.  It was powerful and extremely accurate. 

Performance at 70 feet: 20 points out of 20

The Hardy Wraith was the absolute best at 70 feet.  I think I actually hit the plate!!!

 

 

6.   (tie)   G. Loomis Pro4x-LP

g.Loomis Pro4x

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The G. Loomis Pro4x-LP is a winner!!  I really like the look, color and overall feel.  It’s not as light as the G. Loomis NRX-LP and I don’t like the stripping guides as much as the NRX-LP.  For the price I don’t think this rod can be beat.
 

Logan's casting notes: 56 out of 60 

Performance at 25 feet: 19 points out of 20

The G. Loomis Pro4x-LP was really good at this distance.  I think the slight breeze hurt its performance but it is still a great rod.  It went where you wanted it to go nearly every time.  The soft tip would make this a great dry fly rod.

Performance at 45 feet: 19 points out of 20

This is where I thought the G. Loomis Pro4x-LP really shined.  It felt so good at this distance for an inexpensive rod.  This would be a great rod for someone who comes out west for only a couple times a year and can’t justify spending $800 on a rod.

Performance at 70 feet: 18 points out of 20

This rod had an incredible amount of power behind it.  Not as consistent or as powerful as the Hardy Wraith or Scott Radian but still very smooth.

 

 

 

7.     Scott G2

Scott G2

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The Scott G2 is one of my favorite rods.  The G2 will probably never win the shootout because of its long distance performance but this should not take away from its greatness.  A soft tip makes the G2 incredible at close distance.  I really like the look of Scott’s un-sanded rods like the Radian.  I would love to take this rod to a small spring creek on a windless day and watch it present dries with precision.  Lyle says, “smoooooooooooooth!!”

Logan's casting notes: 55.5 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 20 points out of 20

The Scott G2 is meant to be fished at close distances.  The G. Loomis and the Tom Morgan are the only other rods that scored a perfect 20 at 25 feet.

Performance at 45 feet: 18 points out of 20

This rod performed much better this year than last at 45 feet.  I was very impressed this year at the smoothness of the G2.  It was cutting through the light breeze like any of the top rods.

Performance at 70 feet: 17 points out of 20

I did not like the Scott G2 for longer casts.  I don’t think this is the intention for this rod though.

 

 

 

 

7.     Loop Opti Stream

loop Opti Stream

buy now

The Loop Opti Stream is a solid mid-priced rod.  It’s got a great look and it's super light.  I think the slight breeze hurt the Opti Streams performance.  This is one rod I highly recommend, especially for the price.

Logan's casting notes: 55 out of 60 

Performance at 25 feet: 18.5 points out of 20

The Loop Opti Stream was very good in close.  This was my favorite distance to cast this rod, because it is very light and balanced.  The Loop Opti Stream would be an excellent dry fly rod.

Performance at 45 feet: 18.5 points out of 20

This rod also performed well at 45 feet.  Good accuracy and very good feel.

Performance at 70 feet: 18 points out of 20

This is where performance went down for the Loop Opti Stream.  It was still getting it out there, but I had to work a little harder to make accurate casts near the plate. 

 

 

 

8.  R.L. Winston BIIIx

Winston BIIIX

buy now

I'm excited to “re-test” the R.L. Winston BIIIx.  Last year this rod finished very low on my list and I did not rate it the same this year.  It was performing very well this year, and actually was very smooth in a slight breeze.  Overall I enjoyed the BIIIx much better this year.

Logan's casting notes: 54.5 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 18.5 points out of 20

In close is where you would want to fish this rod.  It was exceptionally smooth and had the classic Winston feel that I love. 

Performance at 45 feet: 18 points out of 20

This rod was handling this distance despite the slight breeze very well.  I was impressed.   I was “feeling it” with this rod at this distance.

Performance at 70 feet: 18 points out of 20

Not really doing it for me at this distance.  For me, the R.L. Winston BIIIx topped out at 60 feet.

 

 

9.  R.L. Winston BIII Plus

R.L. Winston BIII Plus

buy now

The BIII Plus is Winston’s newest rod.  It was one of the heaviest rods in the shootout but it had an impressive amount of power behind it.  Its oversized guides are unnecessary for trout fishing.  The BIII Plus would be a great smallmouth and lighter warm water rod!!!

Logan's casting notes: 54 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 17.5 points out of 20

The R.L. Winston BIII Plus is the polar opposite of the BIIIx.  I don’t think this is a bad thing, just not good for in-close presentations.

Performance at 45 feet: 18.5 points out of 20

This rod was best at this distance.  It had a good balance of power and never felt “over gunned.”  The BIII Plus was very accurate at this distance. 

Performance at 70 feet: 18 points out of 20

I was surprised to see the Winston BIII Plus do better at 45 feet than 70 feet.  I think if the weight of the rod was decreased and the action to stay the same it would help the BIII Plus. 

 

 

 

10.  St. Croix Legend Elite

St. Croix Legend Elite

buy now

The St. Croix Legend Elite is a classic trout rod.  You certainly don’t hear bad things about this rod.  Everyone who fishes it swears by it.  I know this rod is an amazing 8-weight in the saltwater version.  I really like the look of the Legend Elite, it has a nice green color, beautiful reel seat and the cork is exceptional.  

Logan's casting notes: 53.5 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 18.5 points out of 20

For me, the Legend Elite was not great at 25 feet.  It was slightly inconsistent but had a good feel in the hand. 

Performance at 45 feet: 18.5 points out of 20

I was still noticing the Legend Elites inconsistencies at 45 feet.  I just could not get an accurate reading on the St. Croix Legend Elite compared to the very best rods.

Performance at 70 feet: 16.5 points out of 20

This rod had good power to make these casts.  I was not accurate, but I am never really accurate at 70 feet. 

 

 

 

11.  Thomas & Thomas Spire

Thomas and Thomas Spire

buy now

Thomas & Thomas’ new rod, the “Spire,” had one of the most interesting actions in the entire shootout.  It was very powerful and surprisingly accurate at 45 feet.  I can definitely say I’ve never felt anything quite like the Spire but I was casting it well.  The rod has a classic look and is very well built, something to be expected from T&T.  If you have not cast this rod get it in your hands, I think you will be surprised.

Logan's casting notes: 53 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 16 points out of 20

The Thomas & Thomas Spire were not that great in close.  It has slightly too stiff of tip which hurt its performance scores.

Performance at 45 feet: 18 points out of 20

At 45 feet is where the Spire got interesting.  Whoa!? I hit the plate dead center.  Whoa!? I did it again????  It was accurate for sure and fun to cast.

Performance at 70 feet: 19 points out of 20

This is where the Thomas & Thomas really shined.  I was getting it to lie out perfectly at 70 feet.  I think I actually hit the plate a couple times!!! 

 

 

12.  Orvis Recon

Orvis Recon

buy now

The Orvis Recon has now been out for about a year or so.  Overall I really like the Recon.  It has a very nice look and the color was a nice subtle “metallic olive.”  The Recon has a good balance and didn’t feel tip heavy.  I still like the Orvis Helios 2 -tip flex better, but the Recon is still a very nice rod for the money.  If I had to choose, I would go Helios 2 for dries and wade fishing and the Recon for nymphs and boat fishing.

Logan's casting notes: 52 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 17 points out of 20

The Orvis Recon was good but I think the tip might be slightly too stiff for it to perform better at close distances.

Performance at 45 feet: 18 points out of 20

The Recon was performing much better at 45 feet.  It tracked nicely and was consistently accurate.  This rod loaded very well at this distance.

Performance at 70 feet: 17 points out of 20

The Recon had good power and tracking at 70 feet.  I still liked this rod at 45 feet the best.

 

 

12.  Sage Mod

Sage MOD

buy now

The Sage MOD is “your new favorite trout rod” according to Sage.  Sage claims a “moderate action” which I found to be true.  The MOD's softer mid-sections made casting this rod easy to load, and you could get your timing down perfect.  The softer mid-section is not my favorite action though, and would prefer an all-around trout rod to possess a bit more power.

Logan's casting notes: 52 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 18 points out of 20

The Sage MOD is good at close distances.  I could lay it out and drop the fly in like a feather.  This would be a good spring creek rod.

Performance at 45 feet: 17 points out of 20

The more line you cast on the Sage MOD, the more you notice its mid-flex action.  For me, a mid-flex rod is slightly inconsistent at longer distances.  I did notice I was missing the plate here and there, but I also hit the plate on a number of occasions. 

Performance at 70 feet: 17 points out of 20

The Sage MOD was not the best at 70 feet and longer distances. 

 

 

 

12.  Fenwick Aetos

Fenwick Aetos

buy now

The Fenwick Aetos was introduced last year and has already been a big hit (and the top seller at our shop for inexpensive rods).  It is the best rod for under $200 bucks, period.  If you need a backup rod, are just getting into fishing, or a guide looking for a couple of rods the Aetos is worth a cast.

Logan's casting notes: 52 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 17.5 points out of 20

The Fenwick Aetos performed very well at this distance.  The rod had very good balance and feels light in the hand.   But I know from experience the Aetos has slightly too stiff of tip for the most delicate presentations, and trying to cast it under bushes “in the spot” is difficult.

Performance at 45 feet: 17.5 points out of 20

The Aetos was still casting very smoothly at 45 feet.  I like the overall flex pattern of this rod and the power is solid.

Performance at 70 feet: 17 points out of 20

The Fenwick Aetos got it there but lacked some power compared to the best rods.  It was still smooth at this distance and didn’t feel shaky.

 

 

 

12.  Mystic Reaper

Mystic Reaper

buy now

The Mystic Reaper is one rod I’ve really liked since it was introduced.  The Reaper looks like a classic trout rod.   Great dry fly rod.

Logan's casting notes: 52 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 18 points out of 20

The Mystic Reaper has a nice feel in close.  This rod is a great dry fly rod.  I’ve fished the Reaper outside of the shootout and I know that this is where it performs the best.

Performance at 45 feet: 18 points out of 20

At 45 feet the Reaper was still performing very good.  This rod has a softer tip but I didn’t feel like this hindered its mid-distance power.  Great hopper rod. 

Performance at 70 feet: 16 points out of 20

The Reaper got it there but it took a few tries... 


 

 

12.  Douglas DXF

Douglas DXF

buy now

The DXF is back in the shootout and is still as good as it was in 2015.  I actually liked it better this year.  It was performing very well in the breeze.  Great feel and look.  Nothing overly fancy about this rod but a price we can all live with for solid performance. 

Logan's casting notes: 52 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 17 points out of 20

I hated this rod last year at in close, but not this year.  It was presenting the fly much better.  I was consistent and hitting the plate on occasion.  The Douglas DXF is better at medium distances like 35-45 feet.

Performance at 45 feet: 18 points out of 20

The Douglas DXF was much better at 45 feet.  I would fish this rod with confidence at this distance.  The DXF showed a vast improvement at 45 feet over 25 feet.

Performance at 70 feet: 17 points out of 20

The DXF could get it there but I wasn’t casting this rod as accurately as the best rods.

 

 

 

12.  Echo Base

Echo Base

buy now

The Echo Base is a good rod, even before you look at the price tag.  Once you look at $89.95, it becomes an amazing rod.  Not trying to be anything its not, the Echo Base is the rod to get if you’ve never fly fished.  Fly fishing can be an intimidating sport to get into and I love how Echo is making an effort to make it available to everyone.  Being a shop employee I see a lot of people turned off by the high prices and general “elitist attitudes” associated with the sport.  It will be fun getting these same people into a rod they can learn on, and watch a hopper disappear into a big brown's mouth.  

 Logan's casting notes: 52 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 17 points out of 20

The Echo Base was a solid all around rod.  Good in close and good at distance.  Perfect action for what this rod is trying to achieve.

Performance at 45 feet: 18 points out of 20

At 45 feet the Echo Base was still performing great.  I liked this rod a million times better than the Echo Boost that we tested last year.  Great work Echo!!

Performance at 70 feet: 17 points out of 20        

The Echo Base could get it there.  I think you could really grow with this rod and learn to cast it at any distance.

 

 

 

13.  Echo 3

echo 3

buy now

The Echo 3 is a good all-around five weight, with emphasis on nymphing and streamers.  In any situation the Echo 3 could get it done.  It has a stiffer action, which helped its performance at mid-range distances but hurts its performance in close.  Echo has one of the best philosophies in the sport, no B.S.  The Echo 3 is a solid choice for fans of faster actions.

Logan's casting notes: 51.5 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 16 points out of 20

The stiffer tip of the Echo 3 caused it to struggle at closer distances.  It was making accurate casts but it really lacked the feel it needed to make it a great rod at 25 feet.

Performance at 45 feet: 18 points out of 20

At 45 feet the Echo 3 was performing much better.  Its faster action was helping it make accurate and consistent casts.

Performance at 70 feet: 17.5 points out of 20

At 70 feet the Echo 3 was one of the better performing mid-range priced rods.  If you fished in a place where the majority of your casts were 40 feet and up, the Echo 3 would be an excellent choice.

 

14.  Sage Bolt

Sage BOLT

buy now

The Sage Bolt is another new rod from Sage.  I wasn’t crazy about this rod.  I think there are a lot better rods for the price.  Not crazy about the color either.  It wasn’t a bad rod by any means, but nothing seemed to stand out to me (other than the color).

Logan's casting notes: 51 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 17.5 points out of 20

The Sage Bolt was actually decent at 25 feet.  Good tracking and I was making accurate casts with the Bolt. 

Performance at 45 feet: 17 points out of 20

At 45 feet the Sage Bolt was good, just not great.  The Bolt had good tracking and accurate some of the time.  Still nothing to write home about.

Performance at 70 feet: 16.5 points out of 20

The Sage Bolt couldn’t really get it done for me at 70 feet.

 

 

14.  Fenwick HMG

Fenwick HMG

buy now

The Fenwick HMG reminded me a lot of its counterpart, the Aetos.  It was a faster action rod that felt good in the hand and had a low price tag.  Not good for in close distances but had good power and was very good at 45 feet.

Logan's casting notes: 51 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 16.5 points out of 20

The Fenwick HMG struggled at 25 feet.  Not a soft enough tip to to match the quality presentations of the best rods.

Performance at 45 feet: 17.5 points out of 20

The HMG was a lot better at 45 feet.  I really like the action of this rod at medium distances.  Good power and tracking was good. 

Performance at 70 feet: 17 points out of 20

The HMG was getting it out there.  Not quite enough power for 70 feet, it was much better at 50-60 feet.

 

 

14.  Beulah Guide Series II

Beulah Guide series II

buy now

The Beulah Guide Series II is a smooth casting dry fly rod.  Good classic trout look complete with a good looking finish.  I really liked the overall appearance of the Guide Series II.  Not the best rod for power, but really good for in close presentations. 

Logan's casting notes: 51 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 18 points out of 20

The Guide Series II was very smooth at this distance.  Tracking was exceptional and the accuracy was spot on.  No complaints at this distance, was hitting the plate with solid consistency.

Performance at 45 feet: 17.5 points out of 20

The Beulah Guide series II was also very smooth at 45 feet.  At 25 and 45 feet this rod was very similar.  Smooth casts and the tracking was excellent.

Performance at 70 feet: 15.5 points out of 20

I wouldn’t recommend casting this rod at 70 feet.  I wouldn’t be overly concerned with this fact because I rarely make these long distance casts when fishing for trout.

 


14.  Limit Creek

Limit Creek

buy now

The Limit Creek was a surprisingly good rod.  I had never heard of this company before but I enjoyed the action of this rod.  It was an 8’6” rod (the only one in our shootout), which accounted for the light weight and feel in hand.

Logan's casting notes: 51 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 17 points out of 20

The Limit Creek was good all across the board but nothing overly special.  Pretty much the same rod at all distances.

Performance at 45 feet: 17 points out of 20

At 45 feet the Limit Creek was still performing well.  The Limit Creek was very easy to load the line.

Performance at 70 feet: 17 points out of 20

Laid a few casts out with this rod and actually made it to 70 feet.  Accuracy wasn't nearly as good as the top rods.

 

 

14.  Composite Developments XLS-II

CD Composit XLS II

buy now

The Composite Developments XLS-II is a rod that has been around for a while now, just not in the U.S.  It is a New Zealand Rod and had a very pleasant action.  I did not care for the reel seat and the slightly oversized grip however.  Good rod, but like a lot of rods that finished near the bottom, it was not much was doing it for me.

Logan's casting notes: 51 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 17 points out of 20

The XLS-II was a good all-around rod.  It performed well at all distances.  This rod had a good recovery time.  If you increased your line speed this rod performed better.

Performance at 45 feet: 17 points out of 20

This rod was pretty much casting the same at all distances.  I liked, but didn’t love it.

Performance at 70 feet: 17 points out of 20

Again, the XLS-II was good.  It got it out there with consistency.

 

 

 

14.  TFO BVK

TFO BVK

buy now

The TFO BVK is one of my favorite 7 & 8-weight rods, however I can’t say the same for the 5-weight.  This rod is very stiff in action.  This really hurt its performance at 25 feet.  The BVK 4-weight would might have done better in this shootout.  This rod would make a killer guide rod due to the fact that TFO has one of the best warranty policies in the industry and it would be a "get 'er done" nymph rod. 

Logan's casting notes: 51 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 15.5 points out of 20

The TFO BVK is  far too stiff for 25 feet.  Not making accurate casts with our yarn indicator, I’d imagine it does not present midge dries very well either.

Performance at 45 feet: 17.5 points out of 20

The BVK was a lot better at 45 feet than at 25 feet.  Good accuracy at this distance.  The more line you cast the better the TFO BVK performs.

Performance at 70 feet: 18 points out of 20

The TFO BVK performed best at 70 feet.  If you like making distance casts the BVK is a winner.

 

 

 

15.  Redington Hydrogen

Redington Hydrogen

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The two rods from Redington did not have a good showing for me.  The Hydrogen was the better of the two.  It was super light in the hand and was pleasant to cast for that reason.  Still, I was not crazy about the action of this rod, with more of a mid flex rather than a tip flex.

Logan's casting notes: 50 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 17 points out of 20

The Redington Hydrogen was probably best in close.  You can really feel the line and manipulate it due to the low weight of the Hydrogen.

Performance at 45 feet: 17 points out of 20

The Hydrogen performed similarly at 45 feet as it performed at 25 feet.  The Hydrogen has decent tracking and was light in the hand.

Performance at 70 feet: 16 points out of 20

The Redington Hydrogen was not getting it done for me.  It needed a little more power.

 

 

 

16.  Carbon Pro River Ridge

Carbon Pro River Ridge Plus

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The Carbon Pro River Ridge was one rod I was not impressed with.  I had never heard of this company and after doing a little research I still have never heard of this company.  Maybe give Carbon Pro a few years to get things up and running before investing your coin in this one. 

Logan's casting notes: 49.5 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 17.5 points out of 20

Decent performance in close.  The “mystery rod” is making accurate casts and I think for dries and small streams this rod would be fun to fish.

Performance at 45 feet: 16 points out of 20

The Carbon Pro River Ridge is not as good at distances.  Showing signs of weakness at 45 feet and in a breeze, I had to score it lower than the best rods.  

Performance at 70 feet: 16 points out of 20

Couldn’t really cast it 70 feet.  I did get it to the plate one time so I couldn’t give it 15 out of 20.

 

 

 

17.  Beulah Platinum

Beulah Platinum

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The Beulah Platinum is an in-close dry fly rod, much like the Beulah Guide Series II with a more medium action.  I thought the balance of the Guide Series II was better than the Platinum.  The Platinum felt slightly tip heavy, (with it's softer tip).  I like this rod in a 4-weight much more than a 5-weight.  I think the slight breeze hurt the Platinum’s performance scores.

Logan's casting notes: 48 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 17 points out of 20

I really enjoyed the Beulah Platinum at 25 feet.  The Platinum would be an excellent spring creek rod.

Performance at 45 feet: 16 points out of 20

At 45 feet the Beulah Platinum was starting to feel clumsy.  I think its has too soft of an action for longer distances.

Performance at 70 feet: 15 points out of 20

The power just wasn’t there for me when trying to cast the Beulah Platinum at 70 feet.  Any breeze threw this rod off at longer distances.

 

 

18.  Redington Vapen Black

Redington Vapen

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I didn’t care for the Redington Vapen's action or weight.  It was especially heavy in the hand and had a “mushy” mid-section like the MOD.  Not a good action to have, especially with the extra weight.  I really did like the grip on this rod however.   It’s like the golf “Winn grip" of fly fishing...

Logan's casting notes: 47 out of 60

Performance at 25 feet: 15 points out of 20

The Redington Vapen Black was not so good at 25 feet.  Its parabolic action was hurting its performance at all distances, especially in tight.

Performance at 45 feet: 16 points out of 20

The Vapen Black performed pretty much the same at 45 feet as it performed at 25 feet.  Doable, but not great.

Performance at 70 feet: 16 points out of 20

At 70 feet the Vapen Black was performing about as I expected to.  I had to work too hard to get one cast to lie out at 70 feet...