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Old 01-03-2011, 08:23 AM
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Default Re: Hardy Zenith wins Yellowstone Angler shootout!

Originally Posted by FrankB2 View Post
I enjoy reading these shootout thingies. It's good that more rods were included in this review, and the nymph rig test was interesting as well. While George Anderson said that the Zenith was the clear winner, the other guys had some high praise for the Z-Axis and BIIIX (and other rods). George gave the Z-Axis 18 out of 20 at 25 feet, but Justin and James gave it 20 out of 20, saying the Z-Axis is what a rod should feel like at 25 feet. Alot of people have expressed their feeling that a rod as stiff as the Z-Axis wouldn't work well in close, even if they've never cast one before.

I'll look this up, but in case I can't find the info can you tell me where the Hardy Zenith is made? Is this going to put Hardy on the map in USA now (based on feedback you've received)? Are there other Hardy rods we should give attention to?

Problems with this Shootout:
-Anderson states that the St. Croix Imperial is made in the USA. Wrong. It's made in Mexico, and St. Croix makes that quite clear on thier website.

-Anderson states that Sage uses the finest cork, but I've seen some really awful cork on Sage Z-Axis and ZXL rods. It's sort of a hit or miss deal with the many specimens of these Sage rods I've seen. Some have fine cork, and others have been spackled with so much wood filler that it's hard to look at.

-Still using GPX line to test rods, while acknowledging (this time around) that a true 5wt would work better on some of the rods reviewed. Anderson does say that they were looking for an all-around 5wt, and I suppose he felt the GPX would toss nymph rigs better. Still.....

-Anderson states that Tom Morgan "makes less than 100 " rods each year. Tom Morgan doesn't make any rods, and I wish that people would give Gerri Carlson the credit she deserves for building these rods. Anderson says the Morgan rods are a "10+" in terms of craftmanship, so it would be nice to acknowledge the craftsman....
The Hardy rods are designed and engineered in England. They have a serious graphite rod design lab at Alnwick, which probably employs more people then than the reel building side in Alnwick. They also do a lot of graphite technology for the Aerospace industry there. The rods are built in S. Korea. The real difference at Hardy is that Howard Croston (the real deal) who is not only an excellent fisherman and exceptional caster (I don't mean just distance-I mean the technical presentation stuff) is designing the actions much like Winston when they had Druckman. Andy Mills is doing the same thing at Hardy on the SW side.

---------- Post added at 09:23 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:09 AM ----------

Originally Posted by FrankB2 View Post
Hi Jackster,
At least he had high praise for the Winston this time around. I read Anderson's review again, and find myself scratching my head over what he considers a good all around 5wt. He says that good rods like the Sage ZXL weren't included because they do better in close. Regarding casting out to 70 feet with a 5wt, one of the reviewers said that you'd have a hard time setting a hook at that distance, and that it would be easier to walk 40 feet closer to the fish. I noted immediately that there is a "BUY" button under each rod in the review (except for the Scott, Orvis, T&T, and Loop). I live in Pennsylvania, and prefer an 8'6" 4wt rod for most of my fishing. How a Western rod shootout relates to my fishing situation isn't quite clear, but it does seem to simplify matters for Anderson.

I think this relates to the general comments about GPX line too. The same thing would apply if you were using a Cortland Western Drifter line (1/2 size heavier).

I get what he's doing, his shop is Yellowstone Angler after all not Ausauble or Spruce Creek Angler. While we in the East look at Trout rods and think 8'-4 weights and Sulphers, in the West they look at Trout rods and think 9-5 weights and double fly indicator rigs.

But I think that's one of the keys to this test. I love my Winston WT 8 1/2 5 weight (it is after all the staff of Moses) and the I revere the TMF. But I've been playing around with the 8-4 Zenith a bit this fall, and it does things that are unimaginable with those rods. Does that mean those aren't great rods for fishing the more intimate quarters of most Eastern streams? Of course not. What it does mean is the game has changed. Now a guy can buy a 9-5 and fish our small rivers, because they still maintain the feel and control at close and mid distances of great eastern trout rod, but when he gets on the Delaware and the Caney Fork or some other Eastern Tailwater he won't be under-gunned if he has to throw a big Wooly Bugger or a Hex on the Muskegon.

The key with the line thing is most of the power rods still felt under lined even with the 5 1/2 in close! The Zenith didn't, but it still could knock off the power rods at distance. For years I've always felt that many rod and line makers were making great products to impress beginners in parking lots, and most parking lots don't have trout. But now there is a rod that will go toe to toe in the parking lot and is comfortable on the Trout stream. That is a big deal.
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