|Those of you who have given your email address to Yellowstone Angler, via purchase or otherwise, will shortly be receiving an email link to their 2018 8 weight Rod Shootout--a/k/a comparison. Or you can read it now here:|
As I have mentioned in posts earlier, I've had the opportunity to lend proofreading and minor editorial contributions to most of George and James' rod and reel shootouts for the last two years.
If nothing else, these shootouts afford the would be purchaser a single source to compare objective data about the 29 rods tested: weight, swing weight, price, warranty, tip deflection , etc.I don't think any other site has all this information in one place.
The subjective aspects of the tests, of course, (casting quality, aesthetics, etc), are what make, as they say, horse racing--you may agree, disagree or not care one way or another for their conclusions/ranking. However, the Shootout can afford a starting place to plan the next rod purchase--as the number of fly rod specific shops dwindle, as economic Darwinism culls the weakest from the herd/school, it has become nigh on to impossible to find a shop that sells more than 3 or 4 different brand rods, much less the 10 or more manufacturers whose 29 8 weights were tested. I know this is the case here in south Florida, and you'd think we'd have a plethora of options to see and test saltwater specific 8 weights--not so.
As the authors of the Shootout point out, rod manufacturing has come a long way in the last few years, with the wider use of resins and other constantly evolving composite technology. It's hard to find a badly made rod-at any price--but you can get a rod that's wrong for you-either because it affects your casting style negatively, costs more than its casting characteristics are worth to you, is too heavy, looks lousy, or whatever. As George and James, and most everyone on this Board will agree, the only way to find the right rod for your purposes, is to try it.And in that respect, I suggest, the Shootouts at least offer the reader the option to narrow down the selection, and to then go try the rod at a local shop-or, if there is no local shop, or if they don't have what you're interested in, to find a shop online that will let you test cast what you're interested in, by sending you the rod with a no questions asked return policy.
I am sure that a good number of readers will find many aspects of the Shootout, or indeed, the very concept of it, controversial, and I am certain many of those views will surface here. If past experience is any indication, this could be a lively discussion:)
And of course, everyone's welcome to address their comments, criticisms and observations to George and James directly at Yellowstone Angler. I know they welcome the input.