#8 Fenwick Aetos 9 foot #8 $189.95
Before our Shootout if you told me that the Aetos at under two hundred bucks would score within a half point overall with the Sage Salt I would have told you that you were nuts. But now this is reality! It’s not that the Sage is so bad, it is more the fact that the Aetos is so good. Originally derived from the Hardy Gray’s rods, the Aetos has a very nice fast action, is nice and light in overall weight and had consistently good scores across the board in performance. The Fenwick Aetos IS the winner for our best inexpensive rod in our Shootout. Yeah, the BVK is better, but it is going to cost you another hundred bucks at $280 and you’ll have to pay another $30 to get a decent hard case.
The Aetos is an attractive rod finished in a deep midnight blue with black wraps. They are using a full wells pre-formed grip and the quality of the cork is pretty crappy but what do you expect for such a pittance? The reel seat is nothing of beauty either, but it is certainly functional. A plain double uplock anodized seat with a short fighting butt is used. The stripping guides are pretty weird looking SiC’s but they will get the job done. The rest are large diameter black chrome snake guides that look good.
George’s casting notes:
Performance at 35 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
Good, but nothing more. And not much feel when I was comparing it with the Recon.
Performance at 60 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
Not even close to the BVK! It felt mushy compared to the crisp feeling of the BVK. Swing weight was fairly heavy too.
Performance at 80 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
Again the BVK was a lot better at long range but the Aetos is certainly acceptable and turns in a pretty solid performance for a cheap rod.
Performance at 100 feet: 18 points out of 20
Yes, the Aetos will throw long, but you’ll have to work for it and not have much wind to deal with.
#7 Fenwick Aetos 9’#8 $189.95 74/80
Looking through my notes my first scribble is a quote from one of the other casters, “I tell you what that Aetos kicks ass!” I couldn’t agree more.
If you can’t afford a $500 rod, then this is the rod for you. Like the 5-weight Aetos, the 8-weight performs exceptionally well, especially when you consider its inexpensive price. Props to Pure Fishing for not charging an arm and a leg for this rod.
Performance at 35 feet: 19 points out of 20 On the plate nearly every time. This rod feels much more like a $500+ rod to me. Amazing feel and loop control for your dollar.
Performance at 60 feet: 19 points out of 20 Excellent line control, accuracy, and feel. This is by far my favorite inexpensive rod in the test.
Performance at 80 feet: 18 points out of 20 Bombs away! This rod is ripping them in there with ease. I wish accuracy was a little better.
Hit the Hun? 18 points out of 20 No problem, the Aetos delivered the goods.
Capt. Jamie Allen:
#11 (tie) Fenwick Aetos
All 3 of these rods (Fenwick Aetos, Fenwick HMG and Redingston Predator) are very reasonably priced, (HMG $159, Ateos $189, Predator $279) and they cast surprising well. None felt overly light in the hand, but none were too clunky either. The hardware was just OK. The salt water might take its toll so be sure to clean these rods up properly after each trip.
Capt. Skip Zink:
#9 (tie) Fenwick AETOS 55/60
Super value in a fly rod. Good looks, Mid-flex, good feel and power. Tight loops.