When I was in the market for a new 5-weight fly rod, I came across the 5-weight shoot out by the Yellowstone Angler. They also did an 8-weight shoot out which was very informative. Of course personal preference plays a large part in selecting a rod, but reviews like these can be tremendously helpful.
In 2012, the Yellowstone Angler did a 4-weight shoot out which is worth a look for sure.
Their top 5 rods were:
1. Hardy Zenith
2. Sage TXL-F
3. R.L. Winston BIIIx
3. Sage One
3. Beulah Platinum
I have the 1-weight version of the Sage TXL-F and I think the descriptions are right on, though the review was for a bigger rod. I used to own a TFO Finesse (15th place) in a 4-weight and again, found their results to be spot on.
Here it is. Print it. You’ll look official and busy, but it’s not work so it’s perfect.
2011 5-weight shoot out:
2011 8-weight shoot out: