Even the Pro 4X was better than the Recon at mid range. Great new rods from the top manufacturers were the big news at ICAST. It throws long, elegant loops with tremendous feel and control. With larger wind-resistant hoppers, our guides are normally using a 9-foot 3X leader. A functional double uplocking reel seat and wood spacer combine with a full-wells cork grip for a quality bottom end to the IMX Pro. Fellows like Steve Rajeff (G. Loomis), Tom Morgan (Tom Morgan Rodsmiths), and Howard Croston (Hardy) are guys I’ve spent time fishing with on small streams, big rivers and in the salt. #14. But we have gotten a few comments that we don’t place enough emphasis on price in picking the best rods. The Helios 2 is also one of the lightest in swing weight, which is so important in a rod that you will be doing a lot of false casting with all day long, fishing dries like hoppers. Both rods are very different and good complements to each other. So if you are one of those anglers that weighs price more heavily, we have created a chart the rewards price roughly 40% and performance roughly 60%. The recoil stripping guides don’t bother me too much. They must be accurate, especially at the short to medium distances and be able to make delicate presentations when called for. The new MPX is a smooth line, which we prefer, and this year it is a two-colored line – the head is one color with the running line a different color. #13. And this goes for beginners too. #2. Performance at 30 feet:  19 points out of 20. Also check out the poison adrena 6'11 MH, extreme old or new style, GLX 852S, or Steez AGS Medium F. The guide set up is the best I’ve ever seen from Loomis. $35 handling fee. examines it. These are available if you want one but the cost is an extra $30.00. Performance at 50 feet:   19 points out of 20. Superb power and smoothness. A single uplocking ring is used. We felt that having a 6-weight Shootout that included only a dozen of what we feel are the very best rods on the market would make a lot of sense. Typically, a 6 weight is my choice for summer steelhead. Good, but the Sky and the other top four rods were markedly better with tighter loops and more zip. The Sage X was a disappointment for me. The Radian has performed very well in our 5-weight Shootouts, and this 6-weight is no exception. Not nearly the punch or power of the Sky or Asquith. Nice feel and good accuracy. We first got a look and a chance to cast the new Asquith rods at the ICAST show last July. Performance at 75 feet: 18 points out of 20. Does the rod load well enough in close, to give you the feel and accuracy you need with a short length of line and leader out of the guides? He’s now the boss at the Yellowstone Angler and is an integral part of all of our rod shootouts and tackle comparisons. Rods are either replaced with a new rod or the broken section is replaced. 4. The reel seat is a full-anodized aluminum double uplock seat with no insert, which is far better for fishing the salt. From what I’ve seen and experienced fishing this rod for Atlantic salmon, their 8-weight will be a serious contender to win our next 8-weight Shootout. Better than any other rod in the shootout with a perfect score here. It was the only rod together with the Sky to get a perfect score at 75 feet. 2. The handle is a Western style grip with excellent cork, and an uplocking aluminum seat with a single locking triangulated ring that is easy to grip and a green graphite insert. We’re looking for rods that can do it all, at any distance, with a 6-weight line. November 15, 2019. But most of these companies repair your rod, and don’t give you a brand new replacement. Then a foam-packing pellet is placed on the center of the scale, and the grip of the rod placed on this pellet while the rod is in a horizontal position with a fingernail holding only the butt cap of the rod. By doing this, we could easily determine the subtle differences among the rods and get a good feel for how each compared at the different distances. The softer tip gives it very good feel in close and the tight loops at mid and long distance are impressive. As a top-finger guy, I prefer the classic cigar-style grip on a 5 weight rod, but to each his/her own. To me, getting a broken rod back quickly is well worth the $100. This is a subjective test designed to help give you a guide to which rods you want to try or buy. The reel seat is somewhat unusual as it is open and you can see the blank itself. Echo – Lifetime warranty for original owner. When all four pieces were joined together, the rod flexed back and forth smoothly, thus indicating all the ferrules fit together perfectly. Performance at 50 feet:   20 points out of 20. When I pick up this rod I first notice the swing weight, which is one of the heaviest in our Shootout. The cork handle is a western style grip, but the quality of the cork is not so hot, with a lot of filler. But for the Asquith it will cost you $250, so we down graded this rod to a 7.5. He is a gifted photographer too, and all his superb photos really make our shootouts click. The New Zealand guys love this one. The reel seat is an elegant slotted uplocking seat with a bluish burl wood that complements the color of the rod. It can throw tiny dries, all types of nymphs, and even streamers. At short range I like to cast off the tip of the rod, using mostly my wrist and very little arm movement to power the tip of the rod through the stroke. Normal time 2-4 weeks. Ranging from a sneaky powerful 7-weight, all the way up to the tarpon lover's 12-weight, there isn't a fish on the flats or in the tidewater you can't handle. They are insanely light, unbelievably sensitive and stronger than you can imagine! The NRX six weight is another great G. Loomis rod. This … These are one of the most popular reels we sell here in our shop, and have proven to be extremely reliable. And all the best 6-weights will handle mid-sized streamers and sink tip lines with ease. Older rods not under warranty cost $120 or more. #1. Again matches the Zephrus and a good performance here but I felt that the Sky and the Cross SX threw tighter loops with better accuracy. The handle is a western style grip with a gorgeous burl wood spacer in a double ring, uplocking seat that is anodized green to match the blank. Good accuracy with the softer tip. Feels better than the Recon to me out long. The guides are two SiC strippers and the rest hard chrome snake guides with a hook keeper. Moving up the rod, the IMX Pro adds a stylish, made in the USA quality, olive color blank. Fishing streamers is a joy as these rods have the power to drive a long 10-15 foot sinking head with good sized streamers, right up to size 4 with ease. The Sky is a handsome rod too, with a flat gray, non-glare finish and black wraps. They have the power to pick up lots of line to make an immediate re-cast, as you often do while fishing out of a drift boat. #12. The Scott rods, the Loomis Asquith and the Winston Air get the 10’s for the best craftsmanship. Another perfect performance from the Sky at long range. The reel seat is striking, with an orange tint to the wood burl enclosed in the black skeleton uplocking seat. JG, (Josh Green) is our on-line sales and mail orders manager. The miniature fighting butt is a nice touch as well, which doesn’t get in your way while casting but comes in handy on big fish days or big number days. The G. Loomis NRX wasn’t getting it done for me at 75 feet quite like the Asquith or the Scott Meridian. G Loomis NRX 7 foot 1 medium heavy power fast action also known as the 853C JWR is the jig and worm casting rod from G Loomis. Great power on tap to reach out with ease. The Helios 2 was definitely better out long. This covers is made of heavy duty but light weight 450D water proof and UV-resistant soft nylon in BLACK color. If you are doing most of your fishing at shorter distances, like 20-40 feet, and you love to fish dry flies, you will love this rod. Usually takes 2-4 weeks. A good example of this in a mid-priced rod is the Douglas DXF at $349.95. Yes, for all you engineers this may not seem precisely accurate, but as a practical way to measure swing weight it works fine. The DXF was a lot better here. We are confident that you’ll find a rod here that is exactly what you are looking for in a 6-weight! At 50 feet you want a rod that will be light and smooth enough to do a lot of false casting, which you will do fishing dry flies like hoppers all day long. The locking rings have a thin nylon ring on top of them that allows a more secure lock-up than most standard rings. At 30 feet it had a terrific feel and the accuracy was superb. “Perfect 6-weight Performance”  20 points available. It is good at short and mid range, just not great. The handle is a western style grip, just the right size, and the cork that they use is as good or better than you will see on any rod. Great fly rods are not always the most expensive. $35 handling fee. Pretty good but no question the DXF was better. The warranty policy on this rod is both good and bad. Performance at 50 feet:  19.5 points out of 20. We don’t take the manufacturer’s word for stated weight. Winston 8’s because of the length of time it took for most repairs, especially during the busy summer months. The NRX seems equal in performance to the Asquith and Radian at mid-range, and better than the Sage X or Zephrus. Hardy – Lifetime warranty to original owner. Performance at 75 feet:   19.5 points out of 20. This year we again used the Ross Evolution LT #2 reels for our 6-weight shootout. (tie) G. Loomis NRX   9 foot 6-weight    $745.00. The Meridian uses two large SiC strippers and my favorite nickel/titanium flexible snake guides. The handle is a full wells similar to the Radian, with the swell more towards the top of the grip, forcing you to grip the rod with your hand higher on the grip. The reel seat is good looking gray anodized skeleton seat with double locking rings and a dark wood insert. Here is where this rod really shines. An exclusive, proprietary Skeletonized Reel Seat also keeps the angler’s finger truly in contact with the blank, while providing a sturdy, ergonomic base for the reel. Not quite as good as the Air, Sky, or Radian but certainly equal to the Zephrus. The best 6-weights must be delicate enough that you can fish dry flies very effectively on light tippets, right down to 5X and 6X. One thing we know about the Pro 4X rods is that they are tough as nails and very tough to break, much like their NRX rods. It was a workout too. Still good but out long the Sky is much better, as are both Loomis rods. The guides are one SiC stripper and the rest hard chrome snake guides. This is a heavy rod for a 5wt. Your credit card will be charged $100 but G. Loomis also send you a FedEx call tag so it won’t cost you a thing to return your broken rod. All the models I cast were terrific. TFO   BVK   9 foot 6-weight      $259.95. The heavy swing weight didn’t equate to much feel, however. #16. Loomis gets the perfect score of 10 for the NRX, as do Echo, and TFO, as these companies also send you back a brand new rod in just a few days, and the cost is only $35. I’m pleased that these manufactures think enough of my casting skills and knowledge to solicit my input as they develop their new designs. The wraps are a complementary dark green. But at mid and long distance it gave us the kind of performance that few other rods could touch. The guides are two wire recoil guides for strippers and the rest the excellent single foot, and flexible black finished nickel/titanium guides. But here it got shot down handily by the DXF that costs $100 less. Good and felt as good as many of the more expensive rods, and gave me some decent feel and accuracy. #7. We looked at all the warranty policies in detail as some have changed slightly. #11. Then in our 8-weight Shootouts, the distances are 35 feet, 60 feet, 80 feet and 100 feet. The NRX was Loomis' successor to the also wildly popular GLX, leaving it with big shoes to fill. We hope this shootout helps you do so. (tie)   Scott Meridian 9 foot 6-weight    #865.00. The accuracy is good also. Not quite as sweet as the 9’ #5 LP or the heavier models, but great nonetheless. We debated not including the Pro-4X into this Shootout as there are already two other Loomis rods, but this one gets in since it is another very good mid-priced rod to consider. Performance at 75 feet:   20 points out of 20. (tie)    Scott Radian   9 foot #6wt   $795.00. We have had many satisfied customers buy this rod over the past few years. Guides are two SiC strippers and the rest black hard chrome snake guides. The reel seat rings and band are placed at the bottom of the reel seat. This line is a half-size heavier than a normal Trout taper. The Recon is not all that good looking either – nothing like the handsome Helios 2. JG’s attention to detail helps tremendously as he is a great caster but more importantly also very in tune at feeling the subtle differences among rods. Manufactured in the USA, like all G.Loomis rods, the G.Loomis NRX Casting Rods provide anglers with the most dynamic, lightweight and sensitive rods G. Loomis has ever created. The NRX rods have proven to be the toughest rods we have ever sold, and very few get broken, although the Asquith may prove to be even more durable. It balances perfectly with standard weight reels enabling crisp and direct casting. Out long I liked this a lot better than the Sage X or Helios 2. In case you haven’t noticed, G. Loomis doesn’t mess around. Then there are a lot of other guys I know that are also great anglers like Jerry Siem at Sage, Jim Bartschi at Scott, Tim Rajeff at Echo, the late Jimmy Green, who gave us the first graphite rods from Fenwick, and of course Lefty Kreh who has worked with TFO to give us the BVK rods. Starting to run out of gas here. For nymph fishing, 6-weights work better for chucking a two-nymph combo, like a #8 weighted rubber legs, with a smaller tungsten bead head dropper. If you overpower the cast it tends to act up when you get some distance between you and the target, but dial it back and let the rod do the work and it really fires out smooth accurate casts. In the past we’ve seen manufacturers cut overall weight by reducing the weight of the butt section only. Another reason you’ll want good butt power and performance at long range is chucking steamers. We have played around with this over several shootouts and now we have gone back to my tried and true approach, using our digital postal scale. The Zephrus is not as light as the best rods in swing weight and when we put it on the deflection board we see that it is slightly slower in action than the best rods. The Zephrus seems to run out of gas at long range. So, if you want a 6-weight dry fly rod, this rod is wonderful. with a WF-6-F line and 100 yards of 20 lb. The G. Loomis NRX LP 9’#5 has had a stranglehold on first place in our past three 5-weight Shootouts, but now this rod is gone, replaced with the NRX+ LP, a totally new rod with new materials and a new design that has proven to be outstanding. The G. Loomis NRX, first announced in 2010, is one of the most heralded fly rods of all time. G. Loomis – Lifetime warranty to original owner. This is a soft rod, and that gives it superb feel and accuracy in close. There is no hook keeper as you’ll find on the Radian. This year there were only a couple of 7s. We refuse to test any private labeled rods from retail monsters like Cabelas, LL Bean, and Bass Pro Shops etc. But if you want the best, your credit card is going to take a hit for one of the higher numbers. #5. Surprisingly enough, they are often right. The DXF pulled this off again! All this swing weight and relatively stiff tip killed the shorter distance performance. Well, the Orvis warranty is now 25 years. Of all the guys at the shop he spends the most time on the Yellowstone and has the brown trout photos to prove it. The Orvis Recon has performed very well in our other shootouts and since this is another mid-priced rod, we wanted to include it in in our 6-weight Shootout. It is a dark olive color with darker olive wraps. This is a good-looking rod. Perfect timing provided perfect wind cutting loops. Douglas Sky  9 foot 6-weight   $695.00. $60 handling fee. We have been Scientific Anglers line fans for years and the new MPX line is a perfect choice for these 6-weight rods. This rod also has a short fighting butt that is helpful and only ¾ of an inch long so it doesn’t get in the way. In looking over the entire rod, I found no bad wraps, unsightly epoxy drips, crooked guides, or other sloppy areas. The Douglas DXF and even the inexpensive Fenwick Aetos were better. And it was always good to have what we felt was the top rod in the Shootout, like the Sky, on hand to make immediate heads up comparisons. I learned to fly fish when I was about 13, in New York’s Catskills, but I really fine-tuned my fishing on the South Platte River in Colorado. I wish more manufacturers would give us these. The handle is a Western style grip with excellent cork, and an uplocking aluminum seat with a single locking triangulated ring that is easy to grip and a green graphite insert. Again, not quite as good as the DXF. But these shootouts take us a lot of time, energy and effort. This was the model we tested. (tie)  Orvis Helios 2 (tip flex) 9 foot 6-weight $795.00. Nine rods didn’t make the cut for one reason or another, and we’re sorry if we didn’t include your favorite one. Both the Sky and Asquith were far better at long range. On these six-weight rods, I prefer this Western style cigar style grip to the full wells that works best on larger rods. A good six-weight rod is a perfect choice for many occasions, and is also the choice of many anglers going to places like New Zealand and Patagonia. The Radian is perhaps better suited to trout fishing for most people, but this new Meridian is lighter, and more powerful at long range. This rod is a lot better at longer range and feels very solid with tons, #10. This new Cross SX as well as the new Evotec Cast series are all new designs and good ones. You know about swing weight, if you play golf. It is the relationship of the club head to the shaft when you wiggle the club. This Loop Cross SX felt much like the Sky, even though the design is definitely Loop’s own. Usually takes 4-6 weeks. Over the past fifty years, it has become very apparent to me that the best rod designers are people that are also great anglers. The Pro4x did not feel heavy in my hand. The lightweight and flexible titanium single foot guides cut down on weight and give the NRX its great in hand feel. The lock up ring is large and very positive. Lighter is better here, but this factor is not nearly as important as swing weight. Orvis – 25 year warranty to original owner. For others, they see how this rod performs in their guide’s hands, and think that it is going to make them great anglers too and at least take them to the next level. If they do, you can take advantage of the Loomis Expeditor policy and get a brand new rod in just 3 days! And this is what we are doing for you in our Shootouts. I think if they made the six-weight in the LP version it would be the winner of this shootout. It is a full wells, but with not much of a swell at all in the middle of the grip, and slightly smaller in diameter than most. These help to reduce weight in the upper section and tip section of this rod. Then after moving to Montana in 1972, I learned a lot about casting from both Mel Krieger and Steve Rajeff, two of the best casters of all time. This 6-weight BVK has a much slower action than the 8-weight BVK, and this is one reason it does not perform as well. A beginner would far better off spending another $100 and stepping up to the Fenwick Aetos. This rod has a medium fast action and cast well at all distances. Are you comfortable showing up with a $200 rod when all your buddies have those hotshot $750-$1000 rods? The best 6-weight rods need to have enough power and backbone to throw long and cast streamers well and this is where the Air suffers. I must say that I’m not crazy about the cosmetics but many people like it. But what anglers really want to know is what are the best 6-weight rods, over three different price ranges. $60 handling fee. Your credit card will be charged $100 but G. Loomis also send you a FedEx call tag so it won’t cost you a thing to return your broken rod. With the more powerful 6-weight rods you can really punch your cast into a strong headwind of 15-20 mph. Finally, they ditched those wire recoil stripping guides and replace them with single, light Torzite style guide. Performance at 75 feet:  18 points out of 20. We hope to tackle some of these in the future, but we felt that a 6-weight shootout had more relevance as a great all around fly-fishing tool. Buttery smooth and able to form very nice loops without much effort on my part. Almost as good at mid-range as the Sky. The craftsmanship and finish are excellent. This is similar to the great Expeditor policy for the NRX rods where the price is only $100. Nice loop control with little effort. And a big part of accuracy is the feel you get through the handle that gives you the confidence to put the fly where you want it. Same day or next day shipping if they have the parts in stock, if not, usually takes 2 weeks. Here is one of our favorite 6-weights, the NRX. The locking rings on the reel seat are very small and difficult to tighten. With your support, we can continue to give you more shootouts and head to head comparisons on tackle and fishing equipment in the future. One chart gives you all ten of the expensive rods, and another chart shows the six mid-priced and inexpensive rods. A good strong butt and mid-section will help you mend line, especially if you are fishing at longer distances like 35-50 feet, using an indicator. All this contributed to somewhat of a lackluster performance. Loop has a new series of the Cross SX rods that proved to both light in swing weight and sweet to cast. Another rod that just did not perform well at long range. AK or HI shipping add $25. Douglas is a relatively new company, just a few years old now and not yet well known, but they are giving us some wonderful rods. Be sure to e-mail us your comments and any questions you have about the exact tackle you need for the fishing you are doing or tackle needs for a trip you are planning. This is simple – the least expensive rods get the highest points. The tip is soft enough that short casts are easy and accurate. Craftsmanship was very good but not equal to what we are seeing from Scott or the Asquith. Shipping is from their US warehouse, normally about 10 -14 days. This chart also shows the winning Sky profile. 3. Beautiful tight loops and wonderful feel and accuracy. Our testing procedures –keeping it apples to apples. 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