I'm looking at treating myself to a post christmas gift this year. I have been using a Sage 10wt tcr rod for pike/muskie to throw larger flies and poppers. I'm looking at getting another 10wt that is lighter and maybe a little slower to help break up the day, and to help my shoulder out a little. I would probably keep my TCR for floating line and the other rod more for sinking and larger flies. I'm currently looking at Orvis Helios, Sage TCX, and Diver Dan suggested a Winston BIIx. Where I'm at, and with the weather outside I don't really have an opportunity to try them out. Has anyone tried these 3 rods, which rods are suggested. I fish everything from a 00wt sage txl to my tcr. I can adapt my casting to the actions. I'm concerned about weight, durability, and shooting line out to get a large 12" fly in front of a Muskies face.
My only concern is that you said your shoulder needs a break. You might be able to adjust your casting stroke to any rod, but that adjustment could lead to injury. I was speaking to a veteran angler who also happens to work at an Orvis shop. She told me a customer came in convinced that he wanted a particular flex Helios, but after casting a couple, he took a flex that was entirely different.
With the weather you're facing, I can only suggest that you take advantage of the generous return policy offered by Orvis, Cabelas, and any other dealer. Find an indoor space like a high school gymnasium, and cast away. It's not the same as fishing, but you'll get a better idea.
P.S. I'll be 50 in a few years, and despite being in pretty good shape, things begin to hurt. Shoulders and knees are tops on the list.
I am not sure where you are at, but January and February are months for sportsmen's shows and fly fishing shows. If one is within an acceptible driving distance, why not visit one of these shows? The two that I know of are:
Sorry. I can't comment on the Orvis Helios 10 weight. I'm not sure if I casted the 10 weight Winston BIIx.
The new 10 weight Sage TCX felt like a more refined version of the Sage TCR. It felt lighter. When I casted it, I thought that I was casting a nine weight, but it had the same umpff of a 10 weight. I casted a some different lines with it, too. It could handle anything from the standard 10 weight (325 grain) line to 30 foot T-14 (420 grains) shooting head. I'm sure that it could handle more line mass.
The line that I am getting positive feedback from California Delta striper anglers on the 10 weight TCX is the Rio Outbound Short. It is an integrated shooting head that is available in different float/sink configurations. In a 10 weight, the Outbound Short weights 425 grains. It can toss large 5/0 flies with ease.
I 2nd MP's suggestion to wait until you can try them at one of the shows.
Since casting my 5 wt Helios seems effortless, I thought that the Helios would be my rod of choice in an 8 wt. After spending some time playing with the 8 wt; however, I found that it actually seems too light for my casting style. The 8 wt Helios actually took more effort than the Xi2 and several others (TCX wasn't out at that time) - again - for my casting style. Also, some people love the BIIx's in all wts. I love it in wts below 5, but do not like the noodle feeling of the tip in higher wts. FWIW, my 6 wt streamer rod is a TCX - a great rod, but definitely the most difficult of all of my rods with which to hit a target (but surprisingly very sensitive for telling the difference b/w bites, bumps on the bottom, etc..)
Anyway, it is worth the wait to try casting them b/c your casting style may be different than those who reply here. If you can't cast them on water, take one of your 12" flies, cut off the hook so it doesn't catch on the floor/grass, soak the fly in water for the extra weight, and then spend a lot of time casting them so you can see what they feel like after you've been casting for a while.........and have fun! I think testing rods is part of the fun of getting a new one!
You may want to consider the Winston BII-MX instead of the BII-X. Unless you like soft tips the BII-X would not be my choice in the weights you are looking at.
I would agree. If ever a 10 weight had the floating line "only" description it's the B IIx. I owned one and it wouldn't handle the heads an 8 weight Scott STS would handle. I even had trouble throwing intermediates with it. I suspect although I haven't cast it, that the B II-MX would handle heads just fine. For the record, in most cases rods on the light / fast end of the spectrum in the weight department don't seem to like heads as well as medium light / medium fast rods do. I would look also look at the Sage Xi3 and the Hardy Zane Rods. With a little slower rod (not slow) you can slow down your stroke just a bit and shoot heads better.
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I just found out there is a flyshop about 40min from my house. I'm going to head over there to try casting some of the rods. I'm definitely going to be looking at the b2mx and the TCX. I found someone that will build me a new tcx with the handles the way I like and recoil guides for 600.00. But I would like to test cast one before I decide if I want it or not.