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.
If this review helped you decide on your next fly rod, help us by buying it here.
New and Notable
- “Spiral X” – I’m not a materials scientist, but here’s what Loomis says about it “Built on Shimano’s proprietary Spiral X platform, the Asquith boasts superb power transfer from tip to hand, quick recovery, and increased sensitivity.”
- Blank is built in Japan, then the rod is finished in WA – I see no issue with this, but this rod is no longer technically “Made in the USA”
- It has a pretty silly name
Fit and Finish
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 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 have had a different experience.
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 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’. 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.
Flex & Feel
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.
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’ casts. With Tropical Punch, 80’ is difficult. So, for now, stick with lighter, less powerful tapers (Rio and SA Bonefish) on this rod. 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 Asquith worth $1100? While only you can truly answer that question, when we compare it to the NRX, the Asquith is:
- Unquestionably a better salmon/steelhead rod.
- A better bonefish rod for better casters.
- Probably not a great rod for pike fisherman or Northeast striper guys who are looking to chuck big streamers.
- Excellent at short-to-mid distances (… where you really need it)
- Incredible accuracy in close
- A cannon with lighter lines
- WAY lighter than the NRX
- Really expensive
- Line sensitive
- Small stripping guides (maybe)