Earlier this month, George Anderson's Yellowstone Angler released the results of its "5 weight shootout", during which a long list of fly rod offerings from several different manufacturers are tested. The series has become popular with anglers, due to the extensive detail and analysis that goes into the shootout. Many anglers have also come to view it as an excellent resource for an objective view on what rods perform the best, a method of -- as Anderson puts it -- "cutting through the [marketing] hype" of rod manufacturers.
Rods from varying price points are tested and judged based on a series of objective and subjective categories. This year, top honors went to the G. Loomis NRX Light Presentation. Commenting on the rod and its designer, Steve Rajeff, Anderson said, "Steve is a master at building rods with nice progressively soft tips and this is one reason that G. Loomis has made some of our favorite rods over the years. Good strong butt and mid section power, but softer tips that allow for better feel, superb accuracy and delicate presentations."
The G. Loomis NRX Light Presentation retails for $755.
A surprise second place when to the comparatively inexpensive Loop Opti Stream, of which Anderson noted "It was everything you want in a great 5-weight – light, responsive, extremely good feel and it had just the right balance of power at every distance. This rod can do it all and do it just a little better than our last shootout winner, the Hardy Zenith." The Loop Opti Stream retails for $532.
Last year's winner, the Hardy Zenith, fell to a tie for third place with the $1,300+ Tom Morgan Rodsmiths' 5-weight offering. In all, 29 rods were tested and the results of those tests explained in detail. Visit the Yellowstone Angler's website to view the full 2013 5-weight shootout.