This Shootout needed more time and editing no doubt. To my bud, db Cooper's, point above; the Loop and Zenith as well as a 3rd rod a several rankings down are fabricated in Korea by J.S.Co., they, however, do not share mandrel, taper or material technology. This is a top flight rod shop that has been making some high performance, well crafted rods for years including the old Albright EXS which still would blow the cork off a bunch of rods in this test. The Artisan, though it shares technology with Zenith, is built at Hardy's shop in Britain from the blank up (hence its lofty price tag). It is a beauty but in my side by side casting of it next to Zenith, I preferred Zenith's taper which is more progressive while Artisan has a stiffer tip but softer upper mid section, parabolic anyone? As "Perfect 5-Weights", I would have rated the handsome Circa and lovely Tom Morgan somewhere below the Clutch as they are highly specialized, shorter length and shorter casting rods.
Regarding Sage ONE I quote; "Good, but not great. Heads up, the NRX LP, the Zenith, Orvis Helios 2 and the Hardy Zenith were a lot better. The One does have good power at long range but it seems too parabolic in action to me to really let you jam the power in precisely. It just needs a quicker, more flexible tip." Lets see, the Zenith as well as the Hardy Zenith were better and it needs a quicker, softer tip. Huuh? I own this rod as well as the Zenith and the Hardy Zenith (sorry, couldn't help myself) and I fish the Zenith when I wand a sweet, softer tipped #5 for doing lots of enjoyable casting and I select ONE when I want the most responsive, quickest recovering tip for the ultimate in technical presentation. They compliment one another very nicely but, hey, this is my subjective opinion. Oh, and I fish a straight #5 line on both of them not a 5.5 and certainly no 6.
This could be great news for Scott. Because if you give the Scott A4 the 3 additional points it would’ve gotten if they’d gotten the price correct at under $400.00. Then the A4’s final score is 127.
Which pulls it out of a three way tie for 13th. place and moves it up to 10th. place ( the Scott A4 makes the top 10 ! ) , dropping the Sage One to 11th. place !
Now that really would be news!
I noticed that about the Scott A4 when I read the shootout.
Once he realizes the error, will Anderson have the integrity to give the cheapest Scott 10th place and put it ahead of the Sage One?
Reality is that the point system is a farce to give an illusion of objectivity. These shootouts are simply opinions of a few casters. It gives readers somewhat of a reference, but I wouldn't judge any rod simply based on an opinion.
Fly rod "performance" in virtually unquantifiable. It isn't like a car test where an experienced driver can flog it around a race track for lap times.
Loving the St. Croix legend elite placing top 5 yet again! What a sleeper! What a better price than the other sticks. I bought an elite 6wt to add to my quiver already having a 4&5 the other day from a shop and the shop employee was like "sure you want to go with this rod"? As if to suggest the elite is an inferior rod compared to $200-$300 higher priced rods. I said "yep...this is the rod I enjoy and my casting stroke enjoys and it just fishes well for me". Nuff said.
Location: Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border
Re: 2013 5-Weight Shootout
Originally Posted by bpeter
Being Swedish, it's interesting to read that they prefer the Loop Opti Stream to the much more expensive Loop Cross S1 (not tested). "Nano-technology" is not everything.
I thought they would find the Opti Stream slightly underlined (historically said to be more of a 5˝ wt, not that I have tried it myself).
Welcome to the forum. Not being Swedish, I find it interesting myself. I also find it interesting that the much touted One, did not even make the list. May explain why next to brand new ones are for sale all the time.
Something that does not get pointed out much, the guy that does these has some biases. For instance, drags in his reel shootout. If he had included drags, a Ross would have won, and to his credit, admitted it. He does the same with the rods. I would not take his results to seriously.
Here are a few, random thoughts regarding the 2013 Shootout.
Try as I might, I can't warm up to the Korean built rods that Anderson and his crew tout so much. Most cast fairly well, but they don't have the feel or soul of the best American made rods. The Hardy Zenith, with a retail over $600 isn't that much better than the Korean rods that retail for around $300. And certainly is not in the same class as the Sage, Winston, and G. Loomis products (including the fine Tom Morgan and CF Burkheimer rods).
I do like the Beulah Platinum rods a lot, and I think that they offer a tremendous value. But it has never been clear to me where they are made.
To rate the Sage Circa higher than the Sage One... Really? The Circa is a ton of fun to cast, but, IMO, is a highly specialized, small dry fly rod for short distance and delicate presentations, and not good for anything else. The One on the other hand, is a lot more versatile, maybe not the best for fishing tiny midges on spring creeks, but that is what a #3 or #4 wt rod is for anyway.
Not including the G. Loomis Streamdance, Whispercreek, and std. NRX, #5's in this shootout is also interesting. All are outstanding performers in their own right, just in different ways. AND The original GLX is still better than nearly any other 5 weight on the market.
I am not a huge Winston fan, but the BIIIx and GVX are way better rods than any of the Echo, Ross, and Hardy/Greys offerings.
St. Croix rods are just kind of vanilla to me, not bad, but they are very similar in feel and performance to the Korean stuff. I certainly don't regard their product as highly as I do the Sage, Winston, and G. Loomis stuff.
The lack of respect for the excellent C.F. Burkheimer rods is really uncalled for. Those rods are super smooth, and are a joy to cast and to fish with and they are excellent works of art and craftsmanship. My only criticism of the Burkie rods is the shape of the handle and the lack of a hook keeper on the trout sized rods - and that is just a matter of taste, not quality.
I like the fact that the Yellowstone Angler put together this shootout, as it gets people talking, and comparing fly fishing gear. But, don't take it as gospel. These guys were obviously looking for a specific range of talents that they consider important in a #5 weight rod. But, almost every fisherman has preferences of their own that may differ from the Livingston boys. And that is OK. But, at least we are all talking about it.
While I've been fly fishing for a few years, I still consider myself a bit of beginner with a lot to learn. So please take my comments with that understanding.
I agree with many of the comments in this thread. I have to say that I killed myself looking for real reviews/comparisons of fly rods so I could make a better decision about what rod/s I wanted to buy. Even with the shortcomings, the Yellowstone Angler Shootouts are the best I've been able to find. And YES, they should go back through and fix the spelling, etc.
I will also say that I actually bought a pair of St Croixs from them, an Imperial and Legend Elite. I'm supposed to receive them tomorrow. They were really nice to talk to on the phone (spoke with James and Paul) and gave me a much better deal than Bass Pro, Cabelas or any other place I could find on line. There was also no tax or shipping cost. They even said I could return them if I didn't like the rods (as long as no damage was done and I paid return shipping which seemed fair). I'll check the rods tomorrow to make sure they are the current versions, in good shape, etc. If not, I'll be sure to report back here.
If someone has other sites that offer good reviews/comparisons, I would really like to know. I did catch the link to the Texas shootout.
I think that George gives the rods a pretty good test.
I was at his shop a few years ago, talked to him, looked at the rods that he was testing then, looked at the measurements, calculations, etc. Outside of the fact that he advises GLoomis, I think he's pretty neutral in his testing.
Having said, that, the 5 wts. that I fish most of the time are my Sage Z-Axis (a previous winner) and my Hardy Zenith (also a previous winner). So, although I'm not a fan of the NRX and I really don't think that the 5 wt. Sage One is a superstar rod, I do concur with most of what George has to say in his Shoot-Outs, most of the time.
But, there is no substitute for casting the rods that you're considering; preferably on the water, and making a decision based on what feels best for you.
In the 3 wt. class, my Tom Morgan Rodsmith, 7'9" is my prize rod. Tom just builds beautiful rods.
I don't give a poop if other people like the rods I fish. Only thing that matters is how much I like them. Once I had a rod and I could not cast the thing worth a dang. Sold it back to the guy who wished he had not sold it to me and he was the happiest guy on the water. It's all interesting to read though, so it has entertainment value. I have owned several of the rods in the test and they were all just fine.