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The Texas Fly Rod Challenge, Part 1 of 3, The Results Are Here at 2 Sergeants Fly Fishing!

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To say the least the Texas Fly Rod Challenge has been fun. When we, the guys at 2 Sergeants Fly Fishing were originally approached and asked if we would mind volunteering and coordinating this event we had no idea how big it was going to be, the Texas Fly Rod Challenge, believe it or don’t turned out to be huge! We had no idea it was going to take our lives over, become our full time jobs, we learned more than would have ever thought. We learned a lot about fly rods, casting, people, serving others and who would have guessed it but we learned a great deal about statistics.

Here is what took place, here is how the Texas Fly Rod Challenge rolled out. First, we had to make sure, right from the beginning we didn’t owe anything to anyone. We had to make sure we didn’t take anything from anyone or ask anyone for gear that might put us in a position to owe them something.

The goal was to honestly evaluate the fly rods we had or would soon have in a way that was above reproach. So, we started gathering rods. Many of the rods we own, others we borrowed from our buddies and then we borrowed some fly rods from fly shops around Austin, Texas. In the interest of complete transparency you should know we borrowed rods from Chris Jackson at the Action Angler, Tiffany at Gruene Outfitters, Jeff at Orvis Austin, Brent and Ashley at Reel Fly and Stacy Lynn at Sportsman’s Finest.

We ended up with so many rods, we could never have evaluated all those rods. So we decided to limit the test to only those rods we could buy from the shops and or manufacturer’s who supported, in whatever way, large or small, the Guadalupe River Chapter of Trout Unlimited and or TroutFest. TroutFest is the Guadalupe River Chapter of Trout Unlimited’s annual fundraiser and where we decided to hold the Texas Fly Rod Challenge. It seemed like the best place to hold our event and evaluate fly rods, after all, we had access to potentially 1,000 fly fishers over the three day weekend.

We then decided to break the rods up into three classes: premium class, rods that have a price of $400 – $800; mid priced class, rods that cost from $200 – $400 and then value priced rods, rods priced under $200. We only allowed or accepted evaluations from disinterested third parties. None of us here at 2 Sergeants Fly Fishing evaluated the rods, no manufacturers or their representatives were allowed to submit evaluations. We did not accept evaluations from any fly shop owners, managers or their employees. We basically did not accept evaluations from anyone who could jeopardize the credibility of our Texas Fly Rod Challenge.

Over one hundred people cast these rods. Then, once all of the evaluations were completed and organized we contacted the University of North Texas and asked them to help us tabulate the results. We wanted to make sure we were above reproach in this area also and if our test was going to be above reproach, transparent, just totally above board we did not even want to tabulate the results. So, under the direction of one of the finest Professors of Statistics we have ever been able to understand we ran the results of our fly rod evaluators findings through several statistical models, several statistical tests.

It is important to note, in our opinion it is very important to point out to you that we have not taken the price of the rod into account in these results. The testers did not know which rod they were casting, they did not know the price of the rod. During the testing process we put blue painters tape over all of the rods branding and identifiers. We made sure the test was blind so the testers were evaluating the rods performance on its merits alone. We also made sure all other factors were constant. We used RIO Products, RIO Gold, 5 weight line, RIO Leaders and all of our rods were equipped with Hatch Outdoors, Hatch 4 Plus Reels. The rods in the premium class have a manufacturers suggested retail price of $549 to $795.

We want to make sure all of the women and men who tested these rods, RIO Products, Hatch Outdoors, Action Angler, Gruene Outfitters, Orvis Austin, Reel Fly, Sportsman’s Finest and the rod manufacturers are properly acknowledged and know how much we appreciate their participation and support. In these evaluations someone comes in first and someone comes in last. The fact remains that rods are a personal decision and everyone has an opinion, really at this level there are no bad rods, they are all great.

But like we said in the previous paragraph there is a winner and that was the point of this challenge. There were a lot of people who casted these rods and gave of their time and some gave of their money to determine who the winner was, we all wanted to know the answer to the question, “If we assembled all of the best fly rods today and had a bunch of fly fishers cast these rods; I wonder which rod would come out on top?” The answer is the Hardy Zenith Fly Rod won the Texas Fly Rod Challenge. The official results are:

  1. Hardy Zenith Sintrix
  2. Orvis H2
  3. Mystic Maveryck
  4. Sage One
  5. Winston BIIIX
  6. Scott S4

We would like to congratulate Hardy on their rod and its contribution to our sport. Throughout the day and in all the participants and casters we spoke to the Hardy Zenith Rod constantly received the highest praise and evaluators scores. If you haven’t casted or fished with the Hardy Zenith 5 weight rod you certainly need to stop by your closest Hardy Dealer and try this rod.

If you have any follow-up questions, thoughts or observations post them here and we’ll answer them. Next week we are going to post the results for the mid priced class and then the value priced class. Thank again to all those who made the Texas Fly Rod Challenge such a huge success!

 

Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. [...] sure you read the previous post, just below this one, to completely understand what went into the Texas Fly Rod Challenge and to [...]

  2. [...] sure you read the two previous posts where our casters tested premium rods, those rods priced, generally, in the $600 – $800 range and our mid priced rod category [...]

  3. [...] Re: 2013 5-Weight Shootout To be honest…three of the top 5 rods are sporting J.S Co. blanks, but the loop is built on another taper. The other two…same rods. Only difference is a slight flex profile difference due to the fact that one uses single foot guides and the other uses snakes. Kind of makes you think about some of the **** we are sold in adds and marketing. Here is the other shootout i referenced The Texas Fly Rod Challenge, Part 1 of 3, The Results Are Here at 2 Sergeants Fly Fishing!*|*2Sergea… [...]

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The Rig, Our Ultimate Fly Fishing Rig. Our 2009 Go Anywhere, Fly Fish Anywhere, Jeep Rubicon, See Our List of Upgrades

Hatch Sticker on 2 Sergeants Jeep

At a recent Fly Fishing excursion a number of pictures were taken of what we call, “The Rig.” It started as a joke and stuck. Those pictures now are online in a lot of places and we started getting questions from the 2 Sergeants faithful. So, in an effort to answer all of those questions we’re listing the upgrades we’ve made to The Rig here. We’re going to forget some of the upgrades so we’ll update and keep posting sporadically as we think of stuff, find receipts and crawl underneath for a few pictures. If you have questions please reply …

How Would I Describe Redington’s New Link Fly Rod, Rise Reel & RIO Grand Line Combination? Sweet, Delicate, Fly Line Driving, Backbone!

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I’m talking about the new Redington Link 9′, 7 weight fly rod with the new Redington Glacial blue Rise Reel and RIO Products, RIO Grand Line. We all agree the Link Rod is incredibly good looking – this is the best looking, most aesthetically pleasing fly rod, reel, rod sock and rod tube on the market today! When the UPS man finally pulled up in front of my house (of course I was out front wandering around the yard hoping he would show up at any minute) my heart started to beat ever so slightly faster, if you’re a fly …

I Want to Fish with My Own Flies. How Do I Get Started Tying Flies? What is the Easiest Fly to Tie? What Fly Should I Learn to Tie First?

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Whew…..Great question.  Like anything else the question can be answered by asking, “How much do you want to spend?”  As we pondered this post and our subsequent advice we decided to approach the question and answer it the same we did at some point, sensibly.  We don’t need to be cheap but we do not want to spend anymore than necessary. Most aspiring tiers without reading this post will flail around the internet in search of answers. But here is post number one, our start, in what promises to be a series. So, what fly are we going to tie, …

Casting the New Orvis Helios 2, You Quickly Realize, “This Rod is Everything I Hoped it Would Be and More! Read Our Review of the Orvis Helios 2, 5-Weight, 9′ Tip Flex Fly Rod

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At some point we were making daily calls to the Dallas, Texas Orvis Store and Fishing Manager, Trey Mullen. Always patient, always kind, Trey took the calls and told us the Orvis Helios 2 was not in yet, telling us it would be in the store on November 14th or 15th. Our neurotic personalities would not leave it there, we felt better calling everyday, poor Trey. Well, today was the day. You know the feeling you got as a kid the very second your eyes opened on Christmas Day? Well, that is the feeling I got today when my phone …

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Review of StrikeIndicator.com