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Thread: Upgrade or more of the same: ZXL to BIIIX

  1. #1

    Default Upgrade or more of the same: ZXL to BIIIX

    Now that my rod collection has grown I am considering upgrading my 905 Sage ZXL to a more "all-around" fly rod. I know "all-around" means different things to different folks so I'll set the stage. I bought the ZXL when I was taking alot of road trips where we were hitting rivers during the prime dry fly period and the ZXL was the logical choice as it's an excellent dry fly 5 wt. These days the ZXL is a backup to my 489 Circa when the hatch is on. I have also expanded my season and locations and find myself running into more and more nymphing and terrestrial fishing.

    I had a chance to cast a BIIIX and it fit my casting stroke oh so nicely. I found myself casting farther, more accurately, and with less effort. I know the BIIIX excels at dries, and it is not a big bug or windy day rod, but would it be an upgrade over the ZXL as far as covering more situations?
    Last edited by fireroad; 08-02-2013 at 02:00 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Upgrade or more of the same: ZXL to BIIIX

    My personal opinion is they're more similar than they are different. If you're looking for something to replace your ZXL and fill the same niche, that might be a good choice. If your goal is to add diversity to your quiver, then I'd consider different options, perhaps something such as a faster action rod or even a more moderate action, in say a 6 or 7wt.

    By the way, I own a 486, have cast the 490 ZXL and those are both very capable rods (especially in hands other than mine) and enjoyable rods to fish.
    ~*~Leave only your footprints~*~

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Upgrade or more of the same: ZXL to BIIIX

    I think Sage should have kept the ZXL line they are awesome rods. I have tried to find the 905 or 865 5 weight on e bay or secondary market to go with my 864. I buy your five weight if you really think the Winston would be better. The Circa is good in its application but it is no way as versatile as the ZXL.

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Upgrade or more of the same: ZXL to BIIIX

    I 'll echo what Jaybo said - I fish a 486-4 & 690-4 ZXL combo and after going through many rods, still grab this set when I leave for a trip. I am not saying that I will never be seduced into buying a Circa or perhaps the new Scott Radian in the future, but for now the ZXL's work very well for dry fly, dry-dropper, nymphing & smaller streamers (sz6-10 w the 6wt)

    Another data point - I recently acquired (thru family) an older Sage 490-4 LL & was comparing it to the ZXL 486-4....what a difference. I can now understand why the LL's are regarded so highly as dry fly rods.

  7. #5

    Default Re: Upgrade or more of the same: ZXL to BIIIX

    Agree with Jaybo - check out the Hardy Zenith for a more all-around rod.
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  8. #6
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    Default Re: Upgrade or more of the same: ZXL to BIIIX

    two rods I think would suit you nicely are the g.loomis GLX streamdance 905 or 865, or the loop opt-stream 905 or 865. Both of these rods have an exceptionally soft tip for delicate dry fly presentations and solid butt section power for handling streamers and nymphs. Apparently the streamdance has the thinnest diameter tip of any rod per-lineweight, and the action is such that it is incredibly easy on the wrist. This may be the reason RED'S fly shop advertises it as the best rod for people with tendonitis or other muscle related aches. I've had the privaledge of fishing the GLX hard for a week and was amazed at the ease of casting and raw performance for under $700, this rod is a favorite among guides. May be something to think about and try for yourself before buying. Good luck.

  9. #7

    Default Re: Upgrade or more of the same: ZXL to BIIIX

    Quote Originally Posted by jaybo41 View Post
    My personal opinion is they're more similar than they are different. If you're looking for something to replace your ZXL and fill the same niche, that might be a good choice. If your goal is to add diversity to your quiver, then I'd consider different options, perhaps something such as a faster action rod or even a more moderate action, in say a 6 or 7wt.
    That's what I was afraid of, and the other folks here all agree with you. I was really, really hoping the BIIIX was the ZXL with a little more "omph". A good 6 wt in either 9' or 9'6" is really my next purchase. I would ideally like two have 2 2-rods sets to fish: a 383 SPL and the 905 ZXL (or whatever I replace it with) for smaller water and the 489 Circa and a 696 (TBD) for bigger water and windy days.

    Quote Originally Posted by jastrout View Post
    I buy your five weight if you really think the Winston would be better. The Circa is good in its application but it is no way as versatile as the ZXL.
    I'll let you know what I decide. A 4 wt Circa may not be as versatile as the 4wt ZXL, but it is oh so much fun to fish!

    Quote Originally Posted by mysticm View Post
    I 'll echo what Jaybo said - I fish a 486-4 & 690-4 ZXL combo and after going through many rods, still grab this set when I leave for a trip. I am not saying that I will never be seduced into buying a Circa or perhaps the new Scott Radian in the future, but for now the ZXL's work very well for dry fly, dry-dropper, nymphing & smaller streamers (sz6-10 w the 6wt)
    I wish at times I got the ZXl in a 6wt, I have heard nothing but good things about them.

    Quote Originally Posted by thenewlushlife View Post
    two rods I think would suit you nicely are the g.loomis GLX streamdance 905 or 865... I've had the privaledge of fishing the GLX hard for a week and was amazed at the ease of casting and raw performance for under $700, this rod is a favorite among guides. May be something to think about and try for yourself before buying. Good luck.
    I have considered the Streamdance, the only problem is I can't find anyone near me who stocks them.

    Before I tried the BIIIx I did cast a GVX. I actually went in specifically to try a GVX and had no intention of casting a B3x. It was certainly nice, but I didn't feel it was any better or more versatile then a ZXL for me. When I picked up the B3x and cast it on the lawn I was impressed immediately by how smooth and easy it was to cast. What really impressed me was how much easier it was to get some distance with versus my ZXL.

    The ZXL is a very impressive rod, and I would love to see Sage bring it back with the Konnetic technology.

  10. #8

    Default Re: Upgrade or more of the same: ZXL to BIIIX

    Quite frankly there are too many outstanding sticks available. I toyed with the " Want " of six weight rod for streamers and heavier nymphs but reality is neither is my usual style so for Central Pa a stronger five would be used more often. See my post about the Scott Radian as I briefly casted it and will revisit after this weekend at the Hardy Cup in New York. Since it is sponsored by Hardy I plan to talk to Jim Murphy and cast the Zenith . Aesthetically the Scott looks like custom built and to my eyes is prettier rod. Yeah as if trout cares but dropping $800 plus I sure do.The Radian is very unique in combo power and finesse .I too heard the ZXL 6 ii very sweet spot in that lineup and saw one on e bay leave for $400. Again there are many options but limited opportunities for most of us to cast the sticks .

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  12. #9
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    Default Re: Upgrade or more of the same: ZXL to BIIIX

    Old news (that I am sure you have considered) but what you are describing is a Z-Axis. I am always a day late and a dollar short but I think the technology in the ZXL and Z-Axis is as good as it gets and adjusting one's stroke from one to the other is effortless for me. They are so different yet familiar in hand when you switch them up.

    I have the ZXL in 486, 690 Z-Axis and 890 Xi2 and I can transition between them depending on conditions etc. without having to reinvent my cast.

    A 590 Z-Axis and your Circa would cover an awful lot of water and you could stick with a brand you like. There is some available for a good price in fly shops up here but I don't know about your area.

    It may not be the latest and greatest but I have not been convinced it isn't great. I may infact grab a 586 or 590 Z-Axis myself before they are gone for good.
    Last edited by furnacefella; 07-31-2013 at 10:30 PM.

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  14. Default Re: Upgrade or more of the same: ZXL to BIIIX

    I think the BIIIx would be perfect because you've tried it and like it. It will certainly have more reserve power than a ZXL, so therefore more versatile. In terms of build - I don't think you can get much better than Winston.

    Someone mentioned the Zenith. If you like the ZXL and the Winston, I'm guessing you like a full flex and relatively slower action. I tried a Zenith a couple of weeks ago and boy - compared to my Winston's (GVX's, BIIt's, WT's) - it was like a poker. I know others love it, but maybe those guys like a faster rod.

    I had a 8'9" 5wt Circa and it's a nice rod - a very nice rod... almost Winston-like - but it won't give you the versatility you're after.

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