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Thread: Saltwater comparison help NRX vs Proaxis vs Xi3

  1. Default Saltwater comparison help NRX vs Proaxis vs Xi3

    Hi all. I'm in the market for a new saltwater rod for a trip to Belize in March. I'm an intermediate caster but working hard to improve and would like either a new 8wt or an 11wt - going to have to choose one or the other unless I can figure out how to sneak each into the house.

    I currently own a Scott S4s 9wt which I like but think it could be a bit more powerful/faster. I recently cast a G. Loomis NRX Pro-1 for redfish (after breaking the tip on my Scott) in SC and thought it was great though the 1-pc. construction may have had a lot to do with it. My salt rods are going to have to be 4pc.

    Right now I'm trying to decide between a Sage Xi3 (or would the new Method be better?), the NRX, the Hardy Proaxis-X and on the value end a TFO BVK (I could get one of each). My opportunities for casting these saltwater sticks are pretty limited here in Minneapolis so any opinions/advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Saltwater comparison help NRX vs Proaxis vs Xi3

    I little more info on the type of saltwater fishing you are doing would be helpful. Shore bound or out of a boat makes a big difference in my choose of rods. I like really fast rods for the surf as the fish seem to be always breaking about 20' further than i can cast so distance is required. If am am boat fishing i like a little slower action because 90' cast are not needed. I use 9 wt rods almost always in the salt unless i am chasing small fish like flounder, croakers, or other smaller fish then i use mostly a 7 wt. I have a XI3 which i don't really care for but i know several guys that love them. My personal favorite for the surf is a 9wt TFO TICRX with a rio outbound intermediate line and my favorite boat rod is a Sage Fli in a 9wt i usually use a fast sink rio Line most of the time in the boat. I have never been to Belize and my info is based on the north east part of the US. I would think you will be fishing a lot of shallow flats in Belize so you will probably be using most a floating line which cast way different from sinking line. If you can cast before you buy and look for a rod that feels good with the type on line you will be using the most.
    I don't always fly fish but when I do I prefer salt water. Stay salty my freinds

  3. Default Re: Saltwater comparison help NRX vs Proaxis vs Xi3

    Thanks for the reply jimw. My saltwater fishing is going to be mainly annual trips to the Carribbean, targeting mainly bonefish, permit and tarpon on the flats (of course snook and others are welcome). I will also have the opportunity to fish some in the Carolinas where I would target redfish primarily. Almost all of this will be done from a skiff or wading. An 8wt would also be used for bass fishing and a 11wt would be used for musky here at home. Almost all of this would be shallow water fishing with a floating line. Again, thanks for the reply.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Saltwater comparison help NRX vs Proaxis vs Xi3

    I have fished permit in Belize, bonefish in the Bahamas and Florida and redfish in the Carolina Low Country. In 8-weight, I fish an NRX, Hardy Proaxis and a Scott S4s...and my wife has a BVK. I do not fish bonefish in Belize because too many of the reef flats there have live coral on them. Fishing Belize, I like to have an 8-weight rigged for bones from the boat, a #9 with a small crab fly and a #10 with a heavy crab. I carry a 12-weight for tarpon too but, yes, an #11 could do double duty for big permit flies and tarpon. I do not have one but those I trust tell me the Proaxis #11 is phenomenal and is on my list to try. You have an S4s #9 so that will be your small crab fly rod. I like my S4s #8 just fine but its smooth short to medium game comes at the expense of serious low end power. That the NRX and Poroaxis have in spades. NRX is a one rod does all on the flats winner. It has a surprisingly supple tip for sensitivity in close but recovers quickly to keep longer loops tight and never runs out of steam. Mounted with a Nautilus NV Giga 8 it might be my #1 bonefish rod. Proaxis is what I reach for though when the wind is kicking and I know I am going for distance. It is faster and a serious big gun. I have Hardy's own Fortuna X on it with an aggressive RIO tarpon 1/2 size heavy 8.5 line. I run an SA Textured Saltwater #8 on NRX but I intend to try the SA Bruce Chard line this Spring. The Scott loves the Airflo Ridge Tropic best. I have fished but do not own Sage's Xi3 and you can't go wrong with that but you need to check out Method too as do I. Something new and improved is constantly being introduced. The BVK is not at all in the league of these rods and for the flats, may be supplanted by TFO's own Mangrove.

    As anyone would tell you and I suspect you know, rods in this super high performance class must be tested side-by-side as each has its own distinct personality. You would not do badly with any of your fine choices.

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  6. Default Re: Saltwater comparison help NRX vs Proaxis vs Xi3

    Quote Originally Posted by sweetandsalt View Post

    As anyone would tell you and I suspect you know, rods in this super high performance class must be tested side-by-side as each has its own distinct personality. You would not do badly with any of your fine choices.
    Thanks for the great insight sweetandsalt. I've felt that I may be splitting hairs when it comes to the big 3 I mentioned. The TFO's are so tempting because one could get 3 rods for the price of 1 of the others. I've only got 1 fly shop locally (not including big sports stores) and they carry a pretty limited selection at this time of year (unless you're looking for an ice-fishing rig) so casting these guys side by side will be a challenge. I will, of course, cast all that I can before my big first trip in March and make a choice. If I get lucky the lodge may give me the chance to try them side by side. BTW I really liked the #8 NRX Pro1 I used for my first Redfish in Charleston last month. Great rod. Thanks for the in-depth opinion - really helpful.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Northeastern PA

    Default Re: Saltwater comparison help NRX vs Proaxis vs Xi3

    I tried out the Sage Method in a 5wt and felt it was really not suited for an all around trout rod, but left thinking the 8wt would prob be sick for bonefish. I'm looking to get an 8wt saltwater outfit some time year and have pretty much narrowed it down to the G Loomis NRX or Sage Method.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Saltwater comparison help NRX vs Proaxis vs Xi3

    I have cast the NRX and Xi3 in the 8wt versions with SA Mastery Series Titan Taper line

    With that particular line, I preferred the Xi3 hands down over the NRX. The Xi3 felt like it catapulted that line in a very smooth yet extremely crisp way. The NRX, on the other hand, felt like it started to waffle a bit on longer casts. Up to 70' was just fine. It was when I was trying to push that 80...90' mark that it just seemed to fall apart for me.
    Less likey, more green dots

  9. #8

    Default Re: Saltwater comparison help NRX vs Proaxis vs Xi3

    Brookfield, As we all know, the line makes an enormous difference. Titan Taper, intended for in close shots with huge flies as when fishing for pike or musky, is a very poor choice for flats fishing and not because it is designed for cooler temperatures. Its very short, blunt taper with virtually no rear taper would never work with a slightly softer tipped rod like NRX which requires a longer head and longer rear taper to generate the loop stability required for long accurate casts. the stiffer tipped and less line temperamental Xi3 might handle it better but not love it either (though it is a combo I have not tried and likely won't). SA textured Saltwater is an aggressive taper that will work with these rods and I intend to try SA's new Bruce Chard Grand Slam flats line on NRX and Proaxis too. RIO's Tarpon Taper is another line I like for both of these rods; even when not fishing tarpon. It is a fine bonefish line despite its name. NRX is happiest with a longer rear taper which the new Chard line has as its taper transitions are rather steep and it benefits from the decreasing line mass to stabilize its long, tight loops. I do look forward to sampling Method in flats sizes too...I always need another 9-weight.

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  11. #9

    Default Re: Saltwater comparison help NRX vs Proaxis vs Xi3

    Can't agree more that line choice makes ALL the difference. My observations, however, are completely based on what I had available to me at the time.

    We were fishing reds from a flats boat on Mosquito Lagoon in super windy conditions with spurts of torrential downpoor. Though the water was somewhat turned up, the fish were extremely spooky and difficult to see. You had to be 60' from them to see them - any further and it was next to impossible. The problem was getting that close generally led to them fleeing. So, because of that, most of the casting was at least 70' out and, for the most part, blind. As a result of that, dead on accuracy at a distance wasn't really too critical.

    With that said, I was very surprised at the Xi3's ability to deliver the Titan Taper - despite it's bullet taper - within a foot or so of my target from 70+.

    Would a line with smoother rear taper been more accurate? Definitely, but I would have had to carry more line in the air to do so which is a PITA on super windy days.

    I am sure that multiple lines would work great on both rods, but for the conditions I was in, the titan taper on the xi3 was the ticket.
    Less likey, more green dots

  12. #10

    Default Re: Saltwater comparison help NRX vs Proaxis vs Xi3

    A fantasy I will now never fulfill was to fish reds in Mosquito Lagoon while a Space Shuttle was blasting off. Check out the unusual specs for this SA Bruce Chard line.

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