Re: New Yellowstone Angler 8 Weight Shootout Discussion
The Native Run is substantially unchanged from the original GLX rods of years ago…a testemony to how good thoes rods were then that they should still be a contender today. All the rods in front of it in the rartings of the “20ll 8-Weight Shootout” are new designs/technologies. Plus Anderson says many complementary things about the Native Run but suggests that its bias is more freshwater than the Shootouts stated flats fishing bias. Still, like many an earlier rod model, a fine fishing rod.
I personally take these laborious rod comparisons more seriously than as entertainment. Having orchastrated some compartive rod – line - match – up evaluations with my friends on a smaller more informal scale, I recognize the enormous effort that goes into such a test. I do not sell fishing tackle, I merely fish with it with and strive to eschew brand favoritisim, but I do not detect objectionable commercial bias from Mr. Anderson despite his stocking many of these included brands.
It happens that my own saltwater fly fishing includes flats fishing for bonefish and stripped bass with #8 rod. The combination of performance characteristics I seek are very well represented by the parameters of this shootout, enhancing its relevance for me. After visiting the Somerset Fly Fishing Show last January and casting most of the new rod series, my wife and I ordered two new 8-weight rods which, perhaps not coincidently, both finished in the top tier of Andersons test. We rarely fish the same rods because of differences in our size and casting technique. This brings up my “side-bar” to this Shootout: Some of the rods in this comparison are easy and intuative to cast and will yield their performance to most capable casters while others (in my opinion) require more advanced skills to extract substantial portions of their capabilities as the angler transitions off the tip to the mid and into the stiff butt section of the taper. Further, and this is necessarily outside of the parameters of this comparison, many of these rods can be tuned to supperior performance by switching to alternative fly lines. Anderson alludes to this but must keep an apples-to-apples perspective. Though the selected SA Mastery Bonefish Taper is a favorite of mine and a great line, after lawn casting both of our new rods with several lines from differing manufacturers, both rods were optimized by a tropical taper other than the seminal SA Bonefish! Some rods I test with various lines cast them all fine with perhaps one or two giving a special edge while others are more tempermental and feel very different with alternative fly lines. And many fast actioned rods today are happiest when over-lined a bit. There are many half-size heavier lines on the market today but you have to read the fine print to determaine which they are. The RIO Tarpon is a fine bonefish line in a heavy 8-weight, SA’s Magnum Saltwater and Wulff’s Bermuda Triangle also are over standard weight. I would like to see such lines labeled as W8.5F as an aid to the fly line shopping consumer and would also appreciate the makers offering great designs like the SA and RIO Bonefish in half size increments to assist in the fine tuning process of modern fly rods. But I am tangenting too far afield now except to state the obvious: Shootouts like this, and no one does them better than George Anderson, are valuable and should be applauded by all anglers to whom this data is applicable. Read it carefully and then go to a show or shop and cast some of these rods side-by-side, short, medium and long and pick the one best suited to you and you will aquire something that will enhance your angling experience for seasons to come.