Re: New Yellowstone Angler 8 Weight Shootout Discussion
I believe a blind test would be interesting as well. Less expensive rods have meandered their way up the charts of a few shootouts. The St. Croix Legend Elite is $300 less than the Loomis NRX and Orvis Helios that it beat out in the 5 weight shootout. The Winston Passport was another rod at $199 that beat the Orvis Helios and Sage TCX at $700, as well as a few other rods in the $300 to $500 range. Unfortunately no test will ever be blind. Even if a blind test were done, you would still have differences with respect to line weight and taper.
I do like these shootouts; however, because they offer feedback that is more detailed than other sources like some of the fly magazines. It is clear that this shootout will reveal opinions. George doesn't mind verbalizing his thoughts. It is simply a few individuals constructive criticism at its best. Take it or leave it, usually there are useful bits of information, even if some biases are present.
I will be interested in learning what separates the top four rods in the shootout. I imagine the top three might consist of the Loomis NRX, Sage Xi3, and Hardy ProAxis in any order. The fourth place rod could consist of a Loomis GLX series rod or St. Croix Legend Elite.
The dark horse in the whole shootout now depends on whether or not Yellowstone Angler had a chance to test the new Sage One 8 weight rod. The last 5 weight shootout was released in conjunction with the new Hardy Sintrix rods, and I’m sure the shop had a ton of calls after the Zenith came in first place. The buzz would continue if the Sage One is everything that the publicity is making it out to be. I imagine that if they test the rod it will fall slightly behind the Xi3, and possibly in the top 4 overall. If the new Sage One were to beat the Xi3, it would eliminate the need to purchase the Xi3, and that’s where the bias comes in. But what does bias really matter when it costs $700 either way?
For me personally, the shootout provides a few bits of useful information about the characteristics of each rod in a specific price range. I will look forward to reading it, providing my own constructive criticism, and then finding a local shop where I can test my casting stroke with a few of the top contenders in order to dream about finding the cash to purchase the one that is best for me. If I find that I like the Xi3 better than the Loomis or Hardy, then I'll be extremely happy, since I will only have to wait a few months to a year before Sage determines that the Xi3 is old and releases an Xi4 along with a new Sage "One/Two, Axis/XP". Then I can get the Xi3 for 30-40% off!!!!!