Re: For Bonefish, Bass and surf 8wt rod
Only having cast the H2#8 indoors at the Somerset Show it is impossible for me to "compare" it with any other rod. Is is only when you get a few rods together, preferably with a couple of buddies, that their individual virtues become clear. The NRX is designed by World Champion caster, Steve Rajeff, to be a zero-compromise, ultimate flats rod. It incorporates all the design DNA that G.Loomis is such a rich repository of along with the newest 3M nano silica matrix system. This rod has all the blood and guts of Crosscurrent GLX but much more refinement and a tip compliant enough to execute and feel in close shots...important when a bone appears out of the glare 30' in front of you. I love my ONE #5, also the product of a great designer, Jerry Siem, and advanced carbon technology but NRX is very special in the big gun sizes. My initial positive impression of H2 must await me getting some time on the water with it before I can formulate a real opinion.
I must make a point about bonefish reels even though we are in the rod forum (a little leniency please). Unlike trout fishing where the rod is paramount and the reels responsibilities are largely to store the line handsomely, saltwater in general and bonefishing in particular engage the performance characteristics of the reel. Yes, with big wild trout on the Missouri or Delaware you fight your fish off the reel but even then you have a drag setting to protect fine tippets not put the brakes on a fish screaming toward the mangroves on a 12 pound tippet. The bonefish rod must present a fly with impeccable accuracy and fast, even in stiff wind, as unlike a compliant trout that will hold its lie sipping mayflies until you hook or spook it, bonefish are constantly moving and you have ONE CAST to present your fly perfectly. Sure, if the fish don't blow up you may have two or three shots with each yielding rapidly diminishing potential for the fish to eat. So the rod is critical in the presentation phase but once the fish takes your fly it is the reels turn. You do not hold your rod high in the Orvis position unless you are trying to clear mangrove shoots, you hardly raise it higher than your shoulder, it is the reel's smooth but stout and fade-free drag that you fight the fish off of. This is why, when you visit a hard-core bonefish camp and study the rod rack you are struck immediately with how many Abels and Tibors there are. Sure, in recent years sealed drag systems have begun to gain acceptance and I am finding more Hatch and Nautilus NVs, including my own, mounted on the dominant Sage and Loomis rods.
Grasp two concepts; a common 5 or 6 pound Bahamian bonefish accelerating across a shin deep flat towards the cover of mangroves at the edge with rooster tails of water glinting off your evaporating line, oops, backing is nothing like you ever experience trout fishing and, where this occurs is a sea scape rich in gnarly mangrove, razor like coral, abrasive marle, toothy barracuda and toothier sharks. Lines are easily damaged even lost, cut by coral and scraped by barnacle-clad mangrove roots, fine aggregate marle finds it way into you boots, reel and reel seat and must be washed out along with the densest salt deposits every day. There are NO FLY SHOPS, the only tackle you have is what you bring and you didn't drive there; you fly on two or three airplanes to a foreign country with your passport. Though, for test purposes, I have caught bonefish on modest rods and reels with no problem, I have also seen ostensibly good tackle blow up...the best bonefish specialty tackle is a small investment compared to the cost of getting there and being there. And you get to use it again when you return for, once you pursue bonefish in Andros, you are going to want to come back.