Review of Guideline EPXe 13 foot 8/9 & Hardy MTX 7000 reel;

Ard

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One day on this outfit but I've been doing this long enough that it doesn't take a week to come to an opinion. The rod is not a disappointment, it is like a 13 foot version of my Hardy Swift Mk II 11 and 1/2 foot seven weight rod only better. That may sound like a weird way to describe a rods performance but I'm not as well versed at breaking down all the variances in rods. What I know from many seasons of fishing the Swift rod is that it casts better (for me) than an 1100 dollar 14 foot Sage X eight weight and I consider that something to take notice of. With that in mind please know that if I compare the Guideline rod to my old hardy that is a statement of high esteem nothing else.

This entire outfit weighs in at 15.4 ounces including the 552 grain Super Scandi with running line & backing. Before you move on think about that a few seconds, 15.4 ounces total weight for a 13 foot 8/9 that'll haul in a King Salmon soon as I locate one! Moving on here are some images of both rod and reel right after I brought it home.



A few facts to share: before I bought that reel I read some reviews on blogs that were less than 100% positive. Two things the reviewers complained on were the size of the reel spool handle and size of the drag knob. They also grossed over the first 5 index clicks on the drag as having little effect. I have a different take, the small handle and drag knob? How would you expect someone to make a 4 1/4 inch reel that will serve as a Spey reel that weighs 5.6 ounces with an oversized spool handle and drag knob? I have no problem with either and am quite sure the drag will handle fish from 16" rainbow trout to 35 pound salmon so we're good there too.



There you have a look at the miniscule drag knob that I can somehow manage with hands made for palming basketballs....... Notice how the orange and copper highlights on the reel just happen to match the accents on the rod? Trust me that played no small part in my choices when acquiring this set. That and the weight of both components, did I mention that this rod weighs in at 7.3 ounces? Now that's light for 13 feet of power I think and when you put the 2 together the balance of weight to casting power is sensational.

Finish on the rod matt black with copper trims.



Hardware is attractive and those shaped duel reel seat nuts are smooth as silk and lock down beautifully.



Super light guides and attractive shafts;



And I find these to be a nice touch if they are correct (alignment dots) and these appear to be correct.



Rod bag / sock is really substantial, a type of soft foam porous material designed to provide padding and promote drying of the rod even when bagged, nice!



Rod storage / transport tube is super duty and nicely done, I like the entire package.



Now about the use for an 8 hour day on the water. There are salmon being caught & released at the estuary as of yesterday (Tuesday June 2nd) but still no appreciable number up the river where there is current to fish in. I don't fish the estuaries in any of these rivers. As of yesterday I have not yet seen a salmon up any of the rivers I've been scouting but I can now reasonably expect this to change literally any day now based on what I know about estuary action. I'm still catching trout but they are by-catch and not being targeted.

Yesterdays conditions went from sunny from morning through 1 PM or so when clouds took the skies but no rain fell.





Couple of these guys about mid day then nothing.



This is one variation of my AK Assassin tube fly hanging in the current, when you have them swinging and use varied mends and twitches they are a very lively lure and they catch kings like dope.



I made a short video of the flies action but haven't uploaded to you tube yet.........

Back to the rod ............



The rod is also cut down to allow for the featherweight like feel, the front cork is 12 & 3/16 inch and the bottom cork about 4 and 1/4 inch. Took a moment to find where my top hand grip would land but once that was figured things went without a hitch. Guideline recommends you use a 465 - 510 grain Scandinavian head weight on this rod but I had zero trepidations loading the 553 grain Super Scandi custom cut from Steve Godshall's bench and it works like a charm. Casts of 70 to 80 feet when desired are effortless and I really mean that! Longer casts as with any rod I've ever used in single or 2 hand length take more focus and effort but if your game lies between 60 and 90 foot casting then this is a combo from heaven to use.

Oh I almost forgot, you know how you always find all those discussions about "Balance" when people talk rods & reels? Take a look at the picture below and remember that this entire outfit including the line is 15.4 ounces!



My index finger there is roughly 1/4 to 1/2 inch in front of the winding check of that rod, does that look like balance? That is approximately where I hve been trying to get every rod & reel combo I have owned since I got my Orvis Far & Fine in 1979 to balance. Honestly I don't even know what swing weight is but I don't think this outfit has a bad one of those either. I still don't know the difference between a single Spey and double Spey but am pretty sure I don't do them but I can tell you that I'm moving to Guideline rods!
 

dr d

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hi ard,

congrats to your new combi - interesting line! Steve did some mails with me

some years ago about a spey comp.-line --- very impressive and super-exact!!!


have fun and big kings.


thomas
 
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duker

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That's a sweet looking combo Ard. I'm looking forward to reading about your adventures with it.

I assume your Godshall Super Scandi is an integrated line? What's the head length on that?

Scott
 
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Ard

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That's a sweet looking combo Ard. I'm looking forward to reading about your adventures with it.

I assume your Godshall Super Scandi is an integrated line? What's the head length on that?

Scott
Hi Scott,

Here's a correction on the line specs, length is 40.5 feet of head - weight is 557 grains and yes the vinyl coated running line is fused right on the back of the head. I checked the packing slip for the stats. Curious that it is 3.5 foot shorter than others he has made me, I just became accustomed to 44 feet I guess. I use the same type line on a bunch of rods and have I believe 6 of them.

Prior to these lines I used what we commonly call the Mid Spey, 55 foot heads with long rear tapers. Those lines work fine but the front tapers are often too long and thin to carry my mini head leaders and I often ended up cutting them back by 5 to 7 feet. That of course leaves you with a 48 foot head but it carries weight better. In 2015 I took a bunch of rods down to Oregon with me to fish and one of those rods was a 15 foot Winston 7/8 that I had never paired the right line to. Steve of course has more reels loaded with lines than you can imagine and I left him with the rod. A few days later he called to tell me he had a line loaded on my own reel for me to take fishing. That line was one of these 44.5 foot Scandi heads with integrated runner. I was surprised that he would put such a short head on a 15 foot rod but he said that I needed to go cast it before developing any opinions on it. I did and it was incredible. The line is 44.5 foot and 600 grains and works like a charm.

Here's something to know about these lines, that orange line you see behind the head on the reel is a high floating vinyl clad .040 inch runner. It has enough body to allow you to mend the rear end of the head until you have shot more than 20 feet of it behind the head. Once you have 20 foot of the runner out your mends are essentially going into the orange line not the head. Being a line control aficionado I was able to quickly adjust to the shorter heads and unless I go to fish a huge river I use these Scandi lines from Steve.

Ah yes the adventures..... I've been out fishing 5 days already and have not seen a Salmon. Yeah I talk that jive about it don't matter, I just love going but seriously? Actually at least seeing a fish, knowing that there is at least one fish in the river where you are gives the day a little more focus. I already know how to cast so spending between 6 and 8 hours doing it without seeing the target species gets old.

I was going to go today but based on what I saw just 48 hours ago I got up at 4:00 AM - shut off the alarm and went back to bed. I don't know what it's like where you live and fish but here's the drill here when I go king fishing: get up no later than 4 AM - make a lunch and get waders on at home - pack truck and then haul boat behind truck for 40 miles one way. Once at launch area unbuckle the boat keeper straps - put in the plugs - load gear and lunch etc. - now drive boat about 300 yards to launch. After boat is in water park it and put down anchor - now walk back to your truck - drive truck up a very long hill and park it & trailer. Check to be sure nothing is forgotten - now walk back to your boat - weigh anchor and leave the launch area. Now enter a big river and drive about 5 miles downstream - turn right and drive 5 more miles up another river - you are hear. Now park and place anchor - assemble your rod and tie on a fly - go fishing.

To return home is just the reverse of that entire process and if you do this repeatedly without seeing a fish you start to become hesitant at 4 AM. Once the action starts and you have actually caught a couple fish and seen more yet it becomes very easy to spring from bed at 3:30 AM to get an even earlier start. After they are in the river system you have approximately 14 days to catch bright fish and I go fishing every day. If I can find a nice spot I often take my tent and just stay for a while. That's what going king fishing here is like.
 
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Lewis Chessman

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Hi, Ard. Delighted you're happy with the new rod and can still use your old Swift MkII reel, too! Though you may want to dye that backing to a Burnt Sienna to fully complement the whippings next close season. ;)
Truly, though, it does look good. Are the single legs Recoils?

I'm impressed with the 7.3 oz rod weight. I've not long finished a 12 ft #8 d-h on an unknown blank (eBay find) which, with 10 snakes, two strippers and a 'short Switch' grip (11" & 4.7"), weighs in at 7.5 oz. Light enough for me to single-hand overhead to get the head out, a dream to d-h overhead with. So, to have an extra foot of rod and turn the scales lighter still is damned good in my book. I have zero issues with shorter handles on 13 ft & below rods - why suffocate the blank's action with excess cork on the upper grip? And 4 1/2" on the lower grip sounds fine to me - even if you do have shovels for hands. ;)

Obviously, once the head is off the reel and on the water the point of balance will move up the rod a little but that's grand - we don't fish with the rod parallel to the river after all and I can't see that combo giving you any strain after a day's hard graft - unless you're catching too many monsters!

You don't mention the action at all. I appreciate such terms are somewhat personal but how would you describe it? Not only fast/med-fast/etc. but do you find it deep-loading? A sensitive tip or stiff-ish? And how good is the recovery? I guess you may want to wait until you have something big and feisty attached to the other end of the line to comment - hope that's very, very soon!

A wee point but you might want to use your Mod abilities to rectify the title - "An EPXe!??!" I thought! "Not heard of them before .... Ah!"

I hope you spend many happy hours together, tight lines or no. Cheers, J.

P.S. Can't believe you don't know your single Spey from your double! You jest, surely?
 

MCHammer

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Nice review, Ard. Makes me want their 7/8 for steelhead. I wish I was on standby for a flight up there, but maybe next year...
There doesn't appear to be a dealer for them in the U.S., according to their website. Did you get yours shipped from Guideline?
 
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duker

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Thanks Ard. I've been thinking about getting a Godshall line for a while now, and since I picked up a 8128-4 Burkie last fall I think it deserves one.

I know what you mean about not seeing fish. A buddy and I went out for the first time last weekend (we've still got ice on our lakes up here) looking for some whitefish--they show up this time of year when the suckers are spawning to scoop up the eggs. Lots of open water, got some nice casting practice in, but not a fish to be seen. We're going to try again this weekend. Hopefully it's not just casting practice, but I'll bring my 5 weight 12' two-hander and see if I can pick up any early season lake trout close to the surface in the cold water.

We won't be leaving at 4 am though--our fish aren't as far away as those kings of yours.

Scott
 
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fishing hobo

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Sharp looking outfit Ard, but I would say that as I am a fan of the LPXe SH rod. I hope you enjoy using that rod. I passed my CI exam when rain was bucketing down with the #6 LPXe so I am really fond of the rod.
 
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Ard

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Another full day Friday and I'm getting the rod dialed in well, still haven't caught a salmon on it but got another fine rainbow. Tomorrow is Sunday and the boat is cleaned and hitched, I always clean the boat after a day out because I'm superstitious about dirty boats..........
 
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