Their review of 20 different 5 weight graphite rods is incredibly thorough. (Though it does lack the comic touch of their wader videos.) Alright, alright, you say, but “best” is a subjective category. Fair point. That’s why they break it down into some objective and subjective categories, listed below.
The top four is filled with familiar names, but their review does point out that not all of these rods, sadly, are made in the USA. At least two are made entirely in Korea. And yet, they do make a great point here (quoting at length):
Great anglers design the best rods
After casting, fishing and testing thousands of rods over the past thirty five years, one thing has become very apparent to me – the world’s best rods have come from rod designers who were also great anglers.
These guys that know exactly how rods need to perform for whatever type of fishing they have been designed, and the little tweaks and design changes they need to make give us rods that approach perfection.
A lot of people come to mind and many I’ve known and fished with personally. Steve Rajeff at G. Loomis, Tom Morgan who has given us the Tom Morgan Rodsmith line but who was formerly the owner of Winston Rods, Jerry Siem at Sage, Lefty Kreh, who helped design the BVK series of rods for TFO, and Howard Croston, who is now the head of the design team at Hardy, who have given us the spectacular Zenith series of rods, is also a great angler, and one of the best anglers on England’s World Fly Fishing Team
Some of these great anglers are also the world’s finest competition casters. Steve Rajeff at G. Loomis has won more world casting championships than anyone in history, and as you’ll read below, his latest brilliant creation, the NRX Light Presentation 9 foot #5, gave this year’s competition a serious thumping.
With that said, onto the categories and the winners!
Price in US $ – 10 points available
Overall Weight – 10 points available
Swing Weight – 20 points available
Warranty – 10 points available
Craftsmanship – 10 points available
Fun to Fish/Got to Have – 10 points available
“Perfect 5 Performance” – 20 points available
Performance at 25 feet – 20 points available
Performance at 45 feet – 20 points available
Performance at 70 feet – 20 points available
The top four are:
#1. The G. Loomis NRX Light Presentation 9 foot #5
#2. The Loop Opti Stream 9 foot #5. Their high-tech Cross 1 didn’t make the cut.
#3. The new Hardy Artisan 9 foot #5 is a sweet, smooth rod and better than the Zenith for most anglers. But the price is high.
#4. Tom Morgan’s latest 8 ½ foot #5 Rodsmiths graphite rod with lighter guides was amazing and by far the best rod we tested at shorter distances.