You are going to have to personally test cast them yourself, with the same line on each to get a meaningful comparison.
For me, I would get a TCX in an eight wt and would get a 12 in the Xi3 lined with an 11 wt line - and in fact, that's what I do. But that is me, not you.
The xi3 12 wt. weighs only 1/16th oz more than the 11 wt (if my memory is correct.) I did try the sintrix pro 12 lined with an old Rio tarpon taper 12 wt (as well as an xi3, 12 wt lined with the same), and found both too mushy for that line the way I like to cast it. My heavy old RPLX 12cast that line much better for me than either of the above. That old rod now is usually lined with a billfish line (winters) - as it will handle a lot of weight in the air.
The 8 TCX is a real casting stick - and, for me, the biggest jump in rod technology I've experienced in fifty four or five years of throwing flies. The xi3 feels like it has more strength in the handle than the TCX (probably why the TCX is only is made to a 10 wt). I have not tested the TCX on anything but bones and redfish under 10 lbs, so do not know how it handles when stressed by deep fish - that really shouldn't be fished for with an 8 wt. anyhow.
So I would buy and spool the line you want to fish, then take it to a shop and test it on the rods you are interested in. That is the only way to get a meaningful comparison.
PS: I like the extended handle/foregrip too- the latter not available on the new Sages. It makes handling big tarpon much easier.
I own a Hardy ProAxis in the 9 foot 8 weight configuration. Before I bought it, I test cast it up against the Sage Xi3 and the Scott S4S. All three have their own quirks that differentiate themselves. I won't tell you why I preferred the ProAxis since you should test cast them to find out which one works for you. Bernie, Phil, and Rick have all three rods at their shop. You may want to visit.
I will tell you that the ProAxis is a great fishing stick. I have used mine for Steelhead, Largemouth Bass, and Striped Bass. It can cast a variety of payloads from long belly floating lines with sparse steelhead flies to heavy shooting heads with 3/0 Clouser Minnows. I have muscled LMB out of weedbeds. I have yanked some large stripers out from underneath the boat on the American and the Sac. It will be my main stick at Christmas Island next October.
I cannot say much about the 11 weights since I have not cast them. When it comes to rods 8 and up, I usually fish evens.
I have the xi3 in 8, 10, and 12. All three rods are rigged with rio outbound shorts in the same size as the rods. Use the 12 for big tarpon...it's a cannon.
Use the 10 for permit and tarpon...also a cannon and will handle 90% of your tarpon. I got the eight weight specifically cause my BVK kept breaking. I fish it for bones, reds, and stripers. Much tougher than the BVK. Casts great with the wf8f..but when I put on a sink tip or intermediate line it's tough to cast. If everything s right it's a cannon...if not it dumps the line.
On all these rods....IMHO....you need to be an aggressive caster. Double haul like mad and they cast a country mile. Now for an easy casting 8 weight..the BVK can't be beat.
Now for the 11 weight.......the 10 will do almost everything the 11 will do and be a lot pleasanter on the body.I'd get a 10 without question.
When it comes to rods 8 and up, I usually fish evens.
Me too, Dennis. It seems that you get a more even graduation of weights ( at least with the rods I've test cast) going 8, 10, 12 than you do going 7, 9, 11.
Look at the overall rod weights of 11's and 12's, Sintrix and Sage, and you see virtually a featherweight difference between 11's and 12's in particular. I have three 12 weights and no 11 weight, even though I was going to buy an 11 for my daughter (to keep down here for her) - and maybe even use myself on ocassion. But I decided against it given the way the 12 handled the 11 wt lines I planned to use.
Originally Posted by Bob
On all these rods....IMHO....you need to be an aggressive caster.
Yup, Bob. If you need more than an 8 wt you are usually fishing for larger fish in breezy (if you're lucky) conditions. It ain't like trout fishing in a beaver pond or small river.
Rather than matching the line to the rod, I've come to the conclusion it makes more sense to match the rod to the line.
I have not fished a Xi3 but I had an 8 WT Xi and have a 8 WT Xi2, which have been my go to rods for years.
I have used them to wide variety of water and species; Alaska and CA for salmon and steelhead, CA surf for stripers, halibut and perch, Belize, Mexico and Venezuela for bone fish and jacks, Florida and Louisiana for reds and drum, Greenland for arctic char, Thailand and Vietnam for pacu, snakehead, pacific tarpon and Mekong cats. I have never been disappointed with them.
They are very adaptable rod; they can chuck heavy shooting head and make nice presentations.
I cast the 8wt Xi3 and Hardy 8wt Proaxis back to back on a guided flyfishing trip.
The Xi3 can chunk a line a long way for sure. Does this well into a wind too. But for me difficult to load and control on the all so prevalent shorter casts. Just too fast for this work for my style.
The ProAxis is in same price range and did much better across the spectrum of casting distances. I did not have to be as quick to load on short casts and thus was able to place the fly more accurately.
But as others have said in this price point do try these rods out first.
The amount of info on here is not even funny Great stuff guys and thanks for your time!
I personally like fast action rods. Example in spey rods I'm a big fan of the TCX rods and I do have quite a few different rods. I let friends cast some of the rods and they dont really like the fast action that these rods provide. But anyways I did get to mingle with some Xi3 rods and will say I can see myself using them with no problem. But just wanted opinions from others towards these rods. And I see they can handle fish with no problem at all!
But I will take my time and see if I can get to cast some of the rods at local shops and see what they feel like with some line on them. Then try some of the Hardy rods and see how they work. I would have to agree with everyone that said try the rods first then go from there.
I have a 6 wt and a 9 wt Xi3, and they are powerful sticks. I just got back from the Gulf Coast of Florida, and I used a Rio Outbound Short tropical line on my 9 wt. I was very pleased with the way that line matched to the rod.
It's amazing when you find a line that matches so well with the action of a particular rod. Since the 8 and 9 weights are not too much different, I thought I would opine.
When you get your 8 wt, check out the Outbound Short lines. They have the weight really moved to the front of the line, and the running line is quite thin. You can shoot your entire line easily when you need a long cast. It is an effortless endeavor, and an absolute joy to fish with.
The Xi3 can really put the wood to the fish as well. I highly recommend those rods.