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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 04-04-2012, 09:42 PM
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Default Re: George Anderson's "4-Weight Shootout"

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Originally Posted by sweetandsalt View Post
True unbiased objectivity is illusive, no doubt. Anderson's Shootouts can be criticized on many levels by any of us but I am inclined to appreciate the wealth of relevant data he distills here. There are attractive, well built in America rods that he sells that he has said negative things about...the Winston BIIx (& I have one) is an awful, hingy in the middle uselessly mushy rod, really horribly designed...Anderson refers to that while praising its designed by external committee replacement.
Perhaps Anderson likes rods that need that 1/2 weight up-size in line weight that will make a BIIx (I have 4+ BIIx's) an aweful, hingy in the middle uselessly mushy rod, horribly designed. The BIIx works best with a true-weight line and in the hands of a caster who can adjust their stroke to make the most of a rod that isn't your typical, one-dimensional rod that only works at distance (unless overlined) and if horsed and yanked to wake it up.

Why has no one answered the question of if a fly rod is true-to-weight if it needs to be uplined to work properly?

---------- Post added at 08:42 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:32 PM ----------

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Originally Posted by burk48237 View Post

The real reality of this is twofold. First some companies probably don't want to submit unmarked prototypes, if they even have them. There aren't many around. I casted a few of the Sintrex prototypes with Hardy but most of them were in the hands of the field testers and designers. Usually even the pre-production rods have the production reel seats and fittings because these things effect performance, and a lot of times they give off who the builder is.
No where did I mention prototype rods. Most major manufacturers offer their production rods in blank form. If appointed identically these blanks will tell which rod delivers the best performance using certain parameters much along the same lines as the Yellowstone tests. If each blank were given a lightweight paint job the variable of blank color would be negated and we would end up with a test of pure, unbiased fuctionability. To judge prettiness all one has to do is compare production models.
Oh, and the rod would HAVE to be tested with the line weight they are marketed at.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:58 PM
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Default Re: George Anderson's "4-Weight Shootout"

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Originally Posted by chi flyfisher View Post
Enjoyable read but was sorry my favorite 4 wt. didn't make the cut for analysis - the ZXL 486-4. Any 4 weight shoot out has to include a ZXL!!! It just has to

Cheers,
Mike.
Exactly!!! I used one this afternoon to cast foam bugs, EHC's, and Wooly Buggers into a ferocious wind. No problems at all, and Anderson has been ignoring the ZXL for too long. After seeing that the ZXL was excluded, I didn't bother reading any further.....
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:26 AM
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Default Re: George Anderson's "4-Weight Shootout"

Jackster, Every rod I own I test-cast with a variety of lines for fine tuning purposes. Some cast most fine a few are more tempermental. In the case of the floopy BIIx #4, The best match I have found for it is the 4-weight SA Trout, even the RIO Gold (with its longer head and rear taper) is too much line for this weak in the knees product. You may like any rod you wish but, as objectivly as I can fairly phrase it, this 8 1/2'/#4 was badly designed and in need of replacemnet. Recall that the venerable Winston, once sold by Morgan and Bracket, has had two quality rod designers depart after short tenure and, for some years now, has been relaying on thier lovely green color and older, Tom Morgan devised, tapers. Thier foray into modern, lighter and slightly quicker rods has been hit or miss.

Andersons commentary about the great generation of contemporary rod designers is right on. We fly fishing consumers might benifit from following the work of these designers rather than brands.
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Old 04-05-2012, 09:43 AM
 
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Default Re: George Anderson's "4-Weight Shootout"

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Originally Posted by Jackster View Post

No where did I mention prototype rods. Most major manufacturers offer their production rods in blank form. If appointed identically these blanks will tell which rod delivers the best performance using certain parameters much along the same lines as the Yellowstone tests. If each blank were given a lightweight paint job the variable of blank color would be negated and we would end up with a test of pure, unbiased fuctionability. To judge prettiness all one has to do is compare production models.
Oh, and the rod would HAVE to be tested with the line weight they are marketed at.
A few issues with a proposed "blind" test

1) Your initial premise is false, about sixty percent of the Rod manufacturers offer blanks, plus availability on new rod blanks is tough for all the players in this business. Orvis, Echo, Loomis, and Hardy don't offer blanks

2) Components are critical in a rods performance. Wether it's guide placement, type of guides, or balance and feel of the handle chosen, if you didn't use the original manufacturers components you wouldn't be testing their rod. You move the placement of a couple of guides a couple of inches the rod will cast radically different. And not only are they critical, good components are expensive. For some rods the handle and guides may cost more than the blank. If you were to use generic components you would put the better makers at a huge disadvantage, because this is huge part of the difference between a good rod and a great rod.

3) How can you test for quality of workmanship when the rod is built from blanks and assembled at your shop? And workmanship quality is one of the huge differences between good rods and great rods.

4) As far true to line size, as long as Anderson's is open about the line used, I have no problem with it. There are times and conditions (Bass bugging, streamers, hex) where I like a half size heavier line on a rod. I understand perfectly why guides in Yellowstone would prefer rods that performed better with 1/2 sized up rods when throwing big weighted nymphs on double indicator rigs out of a boat with novice casters. If you read the tests, you can see that some rods performed better in close with true to size lines, if you fish the holy water with dries that's the rod for you.

One other note on line size. There is one line maker on the market that I don't believe makes any true to size lines. And consumers love their lines! And another one that builds a line specifically for a specialty seven weight and the line is a nine weight line. Consumers like to line up a size in rods wether they'll admit it or even know it. It wouldn't surprise me at all if that rod that you think is casting great with a true sized line is in reality matching up a line size heavier. About the only true to line size graphite rods on the premium market are the Winston WT's and there isn't enough demand for them to be production any more.

What you are asking Anderson's to do is a "blank"
test not a "rod test".
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:46 PM
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Default Re: George Anderson's "4-Weight Shootout"

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Originally Posted by burk48237 View Post
A few issues with a proposed "blind" test

1) Your initial premise is false, about sixty percent of the Rod manufacturers offer blanks, plus availability on new rod blanks is tough for all the players in this business. Orvis, Echo, Loomis, and Hardy don't offer blanks

2) Components are critical in a rods performance. Wether it's guide placement, type of guides, or balance and feel of the handle chosen, if you didn't use the original manufacturers components you wouldn't be testing their rod. You move the placement of a couple of guides a couple of inches the rod will cast radically different. And not only are they critical, good components are expensive. For some rods the handle and guides may cost more than the blank. If you were to use generic components you would put the better makers at a huge disadvantage, because this is huge part of the difference between a good rod and a great rod.

3) How can you test for quality of workmanship when the rod is built from blanks and assembled at your shop? And workmanship quality is one of the huge differences between good rods and great rods.

4) As far true to line size, as long as Anderson's is open about the line used, I have no problem with it. There are times and conditions (Bass bugging, streamers, hex) where I like a half size heavier line on a rod. I understand perfectly why guides in Yellowstone would prefer rods that performed better with 1/2 sized up rods when throwing big weighted nymphs on double indicator rigs out of a boat with novice casters. If you read the tests, you can see that some rods performed better in close with true to size lines, if you fish the holy water with dries that's the rod for you.

One other note on line size. There is one line maker on the market that I don't believe makes any true to size lines. And consumers love their lines! And another one that builds a line specifically for a specialty seven weight and the line is a nine weight line. Consumers like to line up a size in rods wether they'll admit it or even know it. It wouldn't surprise me at all if that rod that you think is casting great with a true sized line is in reality matching up a line size heavier. About the only true to line size graphite rods on the premium market are the Winston WT's and there isn't enough demand for them to be production any more.

What you are asking Anderson's to do is a "blank"
test not a "rod test".
Orvis sells blanks, I think they only sell "blems" though, but they do...

I have a question for you, do you think that line companies began making their lines "heavier" to aid in loading rods which were made "heavier" or do you think rod companies began making rods "heavier" to better suit the "heavier" lines?

I do agree, simply testing various companies blanks would be a moot point as components and their placement are a very critical part of rod design...
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: George Anderson's "4-Weight Shootout"

I think blind testing with a completely objective group would not be required at all. Any good/advanced casters can detect differences in castability and performance without being biased toward any particular brand or model fly rod. Given that I think the important issue would be find those people who have no connection to, and whom at the same time have nothing to gain or lose by being perfectly objective. As objective as Yellowstone claim to be the fact remains that they carry and sell all the tested models and have a huge stake in the game (money and sales). Its obvious they have a goal and the goal is to sell rods. The only key to a completely objective survey is to have a group of people not worried about stepping on a few toes for the sake of honesty. Now how to find these people is another story all together. Even bloggers and guides with nothing to sell dont want to step on toes or alienate business insiders. Hmmmmm....I'll do it!!
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:46 PM
 
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Default Re: George Anderson's "4-Weight Shootout"

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Originally Posted by kwb View Post
Orvis sells blanks, I think they only sell "blems" though, but they do...

I have a question for you, do you think that line companies began making their lines "heavier" to aid in loading rods which were made "heavier" or do you think rod companies began making rods "heavier" to better suit the "heavier" lines?

I do agree, simply testing various companies blanks would be a moot point as components and their placement are a very critical part of rod design...

I don't know if the cart came before the horse or not. But appearently many consumers like it that way. I suspect its because when the rush to make faster high modulus graphites hit the market many average customers discovered they loaded better with heavier lines. They would cast true to line size if your timing was real good.

I remembered when a reviewer years ago was bragging that their rod could handle two lines heavier. I had a Sage RP 5 weight that would cast bass bugs, but could never put a dry down soft if your life depended on it. Great hopper rod, terrible with olives and tricos. They would cast great in the parking lot, and beginners eyes light up when they can throw 70 feet with mediocre technique. The problem is, most DNR's don't stock trout in parking lots.

This was the time in my life when I became a Winston guy (at least on trout rods). We use to call the 8 1/2 5 weight WT the staff of Moses, it's still a great rod. And I must admit until the Zeniths hit, I pretty much assumed that high performance in the wind with lifting power meant lousy presentation. There are certainly a few of the Zeniths that defy that rule no question.
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:28 AM
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Default Re: George Anderson's "4-Weight Shootout"

Avoiding the "chicken or egg" the more relevant question is; is a great fishing rod less so because it casts best with a heavier or lighter line than it is designated for? In one important way it is a flaw, for how is the consumer to know what the optimal line is? Many of us do not have the resources to experiment with multiple "#4" lines on a given rod to fine tune its performance. Lets say you do...I do because it is important to me and my experience has informed me of the substantial difference the correctly matched line makes.



Both the rod and line makers could help us: 1. We need a new AFFTMA line weight designation system including 1/2 weights so a GPX or RIO Grande would be labeled a WF4.5F weight...OK, Burk, a 4.75 might be more accurate but lets keep it reasonable. Also, line makers and marketeers could, some do, provide accurate taper diagrams with grain weight data for the first 30' of line to help informed fly fishers compare apples to apples. 2. Rod makers, through their customer service representatives, could provide the information regarding the specific line(s) employed in developing a given rod model and make recommendations on rod-line match ups. Perhaps this is a bit more difficult because most rod makers do not make or market their own lines. I have acquired rods I encountered difficulty getting a good match up with and have been helped by the rod maker to try a brand or model that would not have occurred to me. Like many of us, there are line design criteria I favor. I prefer an extended head length with a long, attenuated rear taper for loop stability and in air and on water mending. A clunky, conventional, old school weight forward like GPX would never be on my radar had not a rod maker told me it was his choice in designing the rod in question. The rod went from being a mutt to a champ with this change in line.



Therefore, it is my opinion that from a fishing and casting perspective, we should not denigrate a rod for benefiting from incremental over or under-lining. If it is a great casting and fishing rod whose only flaw is that it is temperamental about what line is strung through its guides how is it any less a great fishing rod?



On a separate matter; in this rod forum the most frequent advise given when someone posts a question about which rod in a given category is best is; "go to a fly shop and cast them side-by-side yourself." Therefore, in a sense, we are encouraging each of us to do what Anderson is doing, just on a smaller scale and within the boundaries of our own casting skills.
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:47 AM
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Default Re: George Anderson's "4-Weight Shootout"

Quote:
Originally Posted by burk48237 View Post
A few issues with a proposed "blind" test

1) Your initial premise is false, about sixty percent of the Rod manufacturers offer blanks, plus availability on new rod blanks is tough for all the players in this business. Orvis, Echo, Loomis, and Hardy don't offer blanks
Not an insurmountable problem. Just test those who offer a blank (There are indeed plenty of them) and ask the manufacturers to submit a blank just for the test. In the worst case, scrape the hardware off a production rod and build to suit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by burk48237 View Post
2) Components are critical in a rods performance. Wether it's guide placement, type of guides, or balance and feel of the handle chosen, if you didn't use the original manufacturers components you wouldn't be testing their rod. You move the placement of a couple of guides a couple of inches the rod will cast radically different. And not only are they critical, good components are expensive. For some rods the handle and guides may cost more than the blank. If you were to use generic components you would put the better makers at a huge disadvantage, because this is huge part of the difference between a good rod and a great rod.
Don't be silly... really. There are lists that supply where guide placement should be, both generic and those supplied by good blank manufacturers. In any case,one can simply use the same spacing taken off of production models.
What options have we in reels seats, Aluminum, wood or graphite, nickel silver? Not at all a huge variable when it gets down to it. Use a close approximation of what the manufacturer uses on their production models them paint them for all I care. Again, not an insurmountrable problem As for as guides, what's your preference, snake or single foot? All rods have one or the other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by burk48237 View Post
3) How can you test for quality of workmanship when the rod is built from blanks and assembled at your shop? And workmanship quality is one of the huge differences between good rods and great rods.
As I said, look at the production rods in any fly shop that carries them. Easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by burk48237 View Post
4) As far true to line size, as long as Anderson's is open about the line used, I have no problem with it. There are times and conditions (Bass bugging, streamers, hex) where I like a half size heavier line on a rod. I understand perfectly why guides in Yellowstone would prefer rods that performed better with 1/2 sized up rods when throwing big weighted nymphs on double indicator rigs out of a boat with novice casters. If you read the tests, you can see that some rods performed better in close with true to size lines, if you fish the holy water with dries that's the rod for you.
Ive fished the Holy Water since Rusty and I were kids. Instead of relying on crutch lines I simply used the weight rod appropriate to the task. At one time it was Uncle Joe's old Paul Youngs, then some plastic rods that lead up to old Loomis GLX's and some green, hingy, whimpy, girly-man sticks. 6 weights worked well for me at night tossing fuzzy, #10 dries and helped control the fish before they headed for timber.

Quote:
Originally Posted by burk48237 View Post
What you are asking Anderson's to do is a "blank"
test not a "rod test".
I'm not asking Anderson to do anything. I'm asking anyone to do as close to a blind test as they can. With so many rod wrappers out there and more getting into it every day we should not lack for builders who are considering building on popular blanks anyhow. We just have to agree that they will build within certain parameters set by the manufacturers such as materials used and guide placement.

I love these discussions. For whatever reason talks like this are becoming very rare on bulletin boards. Great fun when fishing isn't in the cards.

As for the 4 weight BIIX. I know of 3, maybe 4 people who bought the 4 weight, 8.5" BIIx after casting mine. These are seasoned fly fisherman who know what they like and have the skills to know the difference.
I noticed how some very popular rod manufacturers seem to have caught the bug and now sell offerings on more than how far they can cast but how much feel they have at all distances near and far. The folks at R. L. Winston must be very flattered indeed. Winston hit a home run with the BIIx series despite some grumpy old bamboo guys leaving the fold.

Last edited by Jackster; 04-06-2012 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:49 AM
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Default Re: George Anderson's "4-Weight Shootout"

Those "grumpy old bamboo guys (who left) the fold" have a nice new "Sweetgrass" rod shop in Twin just a couple blocks from where old Winston used to be. Same friendly, welcoming, history-laden environment too. Not long after their departure, Winston's last plastic rod designer, Sam Druckman, left to join them and has recently begun his own company, Freestone Rods. Leaving aside a brand/price blind test which, as an aside, was once done internally some seasons back by a well known Vermont rod maker, go try your green 8 1/2/#4 on the same lawn as the Zenith Shootout winner. Cast near, medium and far, compare loop formation and stability (absence of waves and kinks) watch the tip of the rod for bounce (recovery) while casting and strive to settle your yarn fly down delicately. Add one of your old G.Loomis GLX rods of this same size, it was/is a winner too just in 2 pieces of course.


A comparison of like sized rods need not be blind, just open minded as you will discover if you make this comparison yourself and include your knowledgeable fishing buddies to join in the fun. I predict, as a non-brand loyalist and having made this identical comparrison on Silver Creek last season, that you are really going to enjoy this little Zenith.

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by sweetandsalt; 04-06-2012 at 11:13 AM.
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