The Yellowstone Anglers have issued their famous 5wt shootout. It’s nothing like a holy Bible of fly rods, it’s not the final truth about what you should buy, or what you should like, or what will suit your casting stroke. But it is a seriously conducted test from knowledgeable people, and there will be something to learn from the test. If only by looking at the deflection curves. According to them, the top two rods in the market now are the Loomis NRX and the Scott Radian. I’ve spent an hour on the Seine with the Radian, and it’s a hell of a nice rod indeed. I don’t know the NRX 5wt, but the 8wt is easily the best 8wt I ever cast, so I’d say that, with all the grains of salt you want to add, those results do not look that random to me.
Here you will find the whole test, but it seems too many people are looking at it now so the server has bandwith issues I guess. If you’re impatient as I am, you can always have a look here at the results and the curves (the upper half of the six best rods, and all the tips*):
* To read something out of the tips, let’s say that the closer the tip is to the vertical, the faster the rod.