The 2017 model year will likely go down as a great one for the fly rod industry. We were lucky enough to have 3 major rod releases from 3 of our favorite companies. The Asquith (yes, that’s what it’s really called) is Loomis contribution to the pile, and it makes fly rod history by being the first regular production rod to break $1000. Is it worth it? Asquith vs. NRX? Read on to find out.
This is our first of two reviews of the Asquith. Why two? Well, it’s at least as important of a trout rod as it is a flats rod. Also, sorry for the stock photos, we only had our demo for a few days and didn’t have time to photograph it.
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Loomis has always had great finish work, but not as good as Scott and Winston. The Asquith is no different. The one thing that might be of interest on the new rod is the size of the titanium guides - in particular, the stripping guides - which are even smaller than the NRX, which were already amongst the smallest saltwater guides on the market. Personally, I don't really care about this, as large guides have never saved a bonefish for me if my line was tangled, but some saltwater guys seem to see this as an important thing. The Asquith has a new engraved anodized reel seat. The rod also features a stronger high-performance graphite dark green blank that has increased power levels and makes casting in windy conditions easier. The blank gives way to a full wells grip made from premium cork.
One of the key features of the new Asquith is its weight. At 3.75 oz., it’s nearly half an ounce lighter than the NRX. BIG improvement! What’s better is that about half that weight comes from the top 3 sections making the swing weight drop considerably.
See distance points in the section on line selection.
As you might expect, accuracy on the new Asquith is really great. It is probably the best rod I’ve ever cast in close (with Tropical Punch) – easily better than the Scott Meridian or NRX. It’s also really good at middle distances. But, it’s not as good as the NRX at 80 feet. This rod isn't a distance champion. It doesn’t have enough horsepower to make longer casts accurately with a heavy-ish line. Is it going to beat out the Scott Meridian? Using Airflo Tropical Punch? No chance. Using Rio or SA Bonefish? Maybe.
I think we’re seeing a trend this year. The Sage X is softer than the Sage ONE. Now that we’ve tested them side-by-side, the Asquith is also unquestionably softer than the NRX. That said, when paired with lighter lines, it still has plenty of power. Being a Loomis, the rod also has the same great feedback you’d expect from a Rajeff design. The rod also has a quick line recovery speed and incredible reserve power. This is a perfect rod for all the flex and feedback lovers out there.
Now that I’ve told you about the flex, the more important question is how to line the rod. One of the things I loved about my 8-weight NRX was that I could pretty much pick any line in my bag and it would work well. Outbound Short to Rio Bonefish – I never had an issue. That’s not the case with the new Asquith.
As I mentioned earlier, I cast this with both Bruce Chard Tropical Punch and Rio Bonefish. The rod performs MUCH better with Rio Bonefish than with Tropical Punch. With Rio Bonefish, the rod is a cannon – easily making 100-foot casts. With Tropical Punch, 80 feet is difficult. So, for now, stick with lighter, less powerful tapers (Rio and SA Bonefish) on this rod. This is a rod designed to be fished with lighter lines. We’ll update you when we’ve tested more options.
Lifetime. Loomis has the best turnaround time in the biz.
So, the burning question is: Is the new G Loomis Asquith Fly Rod worth $1100? The bottom line is, only you can truly answer that question. When we compare it to the NRX, the Asquith is: