F vs XF

A specialized forum to discuss anything and everything about your favorite or not so favorite fishing rods.
Drakestar
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Re: F vs XF

Post by Drakestar » Mon Jun 27, 2022 4:07 pm

toddmc wrote:
Mon Jun 27, 2022 2:30 pm
Drakestar wrote:
Mon Jun 27, 2022 1:26 pm
I think I lost my appetite for XF tapers after fishing the NRX 852 for a while. It's an awesome rod, it's just limited in its application because it's XF. It does bottom contact well (except for dropshot, there's a reason the DSR models have a slower taper), but for moving baits the 852 is problematic.

I remember a time when I was throwing a Okashira head under a dock at Clear Lake - hadn't used the rod yet on that day and forgotten that I had tied on a 6lbs leader. Hooked into a fish right away and broke off on the hookset.

Now - in an ideal world my drag would have been loose enough to prevent the line from snapping, but that's part of the story: on XF rods, you have to be extra extra careful that everything is set up correctly.
  • A slower rod would have helped cushioning the hookset (the rod needs to be fast enough to drive the hook home, of course, but that's where light wire hooks come in).
  • A slower rod loads up better to help with casts, so your reel doesn't have to be dialed in as perfectly as it does on XF rods. And XF makes it harder to throw lighter baits.
  • A slower rod makes it harder for a fish to throw the hook, on an XFast rod you need to be even more careful than usual with head shakes.
The list goes on. XF rods are great for bottom contact and particularly for baits that make it hard to throw the hook (i.e. jigs with weed guards), and for hammering thick-wire hooks into the fish's mouth. They're good for long distance hooksets. But it makes the rods very specific and unforgiving. I used to think that was just part of the game, but I've since learned that going to a slower rod doesn't actually sacrifice hooksets etc. (unless it's a specific situation). Weedless tubes on Owner Phantom Heads? 852, those are thick hooks! Finesse jigs? 852, if I'm fishing them on such light tackle. But dropshots kinda suck on the XF 852 in my opinion, because if I set the hook too hard, the leader might break on me (and just loading up on the fish and let the DS hook drive itself? Yeah, I've lost fish that way...)

That 852 should be an awesome versatile bank fishing rod, but because it's XF I can't throw jerkbaits on it (I mean, I could, but no), and I have to be super careful throwing light-line moving baits or dropshots on it. So the 852 is really limited to single-hook bottom contact as far as I concerned. And because of that, I'd rather take a Steez 761MML or a Phenix K2 713/714 or Poison Glorious 6'10" M or Steez Universal Light with me. Those have more forgiving tapers that allow me to throw a wider range of baits.
You may already do this, but when you set your drag on your spinning outfits, grab your rod in your strong hand and pull the line out with the other with the rod loaded up. Your drag should start to slip slightly as you pull when the rod is fully loaded up. You should often hear the drag slip slightly on a long-range hookset with braid. Even though your drag slips, there is still plenty of power to get a fine wire hook to penetrate with a ML dropshot and braid to fluoro. I almost never break off fish on the hookset unless my line is on something sharp. Locked down spinning reel drags and braid to fluoro leader are a no-no if you are doing that. We used to have to lock down our finesse spinning reel drags with mono because you put so little pressure on a fish on a long-distance cast. Rich Tauber used to show this in his seminars. I use 2500 size Daiwa reels. I decrease my drag three clicks once I have moved a fish away from cover and it gets close to the boat. We have a lot of it on my home lakes. As soon as I land a good fish that required me to loosen my drag, I know that my drag needs to increase three clicks. This has always been a simple fool proof method for me.
Most XF rods are less forgiving as people have already said, but they are not all created equal. Many aren't really XF. Point Blank XF rods are more of a Fast taper. The couple of MHX High Mod XF tapers that I have are less forgiving. The good old Loomis MBR fast tapers are still the gold standard tapers for most styles of bottom contact fishing in my opinion. They are fast enough to get a good hookset in deep water, but cast well.
This definitely was user error on my part - I'm not trying to blame the rod for it. The drag should have been set the way you describe, and I'd still have gotten ~4lbs of hooksetting power (this was the casting model on an Aldebaran, but it doesn't really make a difference to spinning reels). It's just a story to illustrate how unforgiving an XF rod is, and how a slower rod might have fixed the issue for me. Ultimately it was a good reminder to always sanity check your reel on the day before fishing it.

I'm not on an anti-XF crusade, but I've cooled down on them. I even used to think XF was the mark of a truly high-end rod, which is obviously BS :)

zelmo
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Re: F vs XF

Post by zelmo » Tue Jun 28, 2022 5:03 am

Some great info here. Thank you.

I have a number of XF rods, one of which is the aforementioned NRX+ 852C. As I think about how I have them set up they are mostly on jigs and other bottom contact baits. I also use a lot of thin wire stuff with braid and a fluoro leader, so I will be sure to check drag more often since a few do have a 6# leader.

I typically have 20+ rods on the deck set up with different baits so versatility isn't important to me. While I may only use half of them on a given trip I just leave them on the jet boat between trips since it is stored in a garage. When I switch boats for deeper/bigger water I only take what I think I will use that day.

I started the thread to try to get a handle on the issue of needing to dial in the reel more accurately when using XF. I was curious what others are doing and the responses are appreciated.

toddmc
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Re: F vs XF

Post by toddmc » Tue Jun 28, 2022 12:11 pm

Drakestar wrote:
Mon Jun 27, 2022 4:07 pm
toddmc wrote:
Mon Jun 27, 2022 2:30 pm
Drakestar wrote:
Mon Jun 27, 2022 1:26 pm
I think I lost my appetite for XF tapers after fishing the NRX 852 for a while. It's an awesome rod, it's just limited in its application because it's XF. It does bottom contact well (except for dropshot, there's a reason the DSR models have a slower taper), but for moving baits the 852 is problematic.

I remember a time when I was throwing a Okashira head under a dock at Clear Lake - hadn't used the rod yet on that day and forgotten that I had tied on a 6lbs leader. Hooked into a fish right away and broke off on the hookset.

Now - in an ideal world my drag would have been loose enough to prevent the line from snapping, but that's part of the story: on XF rods, you have to be extra extra careful that everything is set up correctly.
  • A slower rod would have helped cushioning the hookset (the rod needs to be fast enough to drive the hook home, of course, but that's where light wire hooks come in).
  • A slower rod loads up better to help with casts, so your reel doesn't have to be dialed in as perfectly as it does on XF rods. And XF makes it harder to throw lighter baits.
  • A slower rod makes it harder for a fish to throw the hook, on an XFast rod you need to be even more careful than usual with head shakes.
The list goes on. XF rods are great for bottom contact and particularly for baits that make it hard to throw the hook (i.e. jigs with weed guards), and for hammering thick-wire hooks into the fish's mouth. They're good for long distance hooksets. But it makes the rods very specific and unforgiving. I used to think that was just part of the game, but I've since learned that going to a slower rod doesn't actually sacrifice hooksets etc. (unless it's a specific situation). Weedless tubes on Owner Phantom Heads? 852, those are thick hooks! Finesse jigs? 852, if I'm fishing them on such light tackle. But dropshots kinda suck on the XF 852 in my opinion, because if I set the hook too hard, the leader might break on me (and just loading up on the fish and let the DS hook drive itself? Yeah, I've lost fish that way...)

That 852 should be an awesome versatile bank fishing rod, but because it's XF I can't throw jerkbaits on it (I mean, I could, but no), and I have to be super careful throwing light-line moving baits or dropshots on it. So the 852 is really limited to single-hook bottom contact as far as I concerned. And because of that, I'd rather take a Steez 761MML or a Phenix K2 713/714 or Poison Glorious 6'10" M or Steez Universal Light with me. Those have more forgiving tapers that allow me to throw a wider range of baits.
You may already do this, but when you set your drag on your spinning outfits, grab your rod in your strong hand and pull the line out with the other with the rod loaded up. Your drag should start to slip slightly as you pull when the rod is fully loaded up. You should often hear the drag slip slightly on a long-range hookset with braid. Even though your drag slips, there is still plenty of power to get a fine wire hook to penetrate with a ML dropshot and braid to fluoro. I almost never break off fish on the hookset unless my line is on something sharp. Locked down spinning reel drags and braid to fluoro leader are a no-no if you are doing that. We used to have to lock down our finesse spinning reel drags with mono because you put so little pressure on a fish on a long-distance cast. Rich Tauber used to show this in his seminars. I use 2500 size Daiwa reels. I decrease my drag three clicks once I have moved a fish away from cover and it gets close to the boat. We have a lot of it on my home lakes. As soon as I land a good fish that required me to loosen my drag, I know that my drag needs to increase three clicks. This has always been a simple fool proof method for me.
Most XF rods are less forgiving as people have already said, but they are not all created equal. Many aren't really XF. Point Blank XF rods are more of a Fast taper. The couple of MHX High Mod XF tapers that I have are less forgiving. The good old Loomis MBR fast tapers are still the gold standard tapers for most styles of bottom contact fishing in my opinion. They are fast enough to get a good hookset in deep water, but cast well.
This definitely was user error on my part - I'm not trying to blame the rod for it. The drag should have been set the way you describe, and I'd still have gotten ~4lbs of hooksetting power (this was the casting model on an Aldebaran, but it doesn't really make a difference to spinning reels). It's just a story to illustrate how unforgiving an XF rod is, and how a slower rod might have fixed the issue for me. Ultimately it was a good reminder to always sanity check your reel on the day before fishing it.

I'm not on an anti-XF crusade, but I've cooled down on them. I even used to think XF was the mark of a truly high-end rod, which is obviously BS :)
Yes, I'm not hot on XF rods either. I think there was a little push there when they came out to make us believe that we needed them.

toddmc
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Re: F vs XF

Post by toddmc » Tue Jun 28, 2022 12:16 pm

zelmo wrote:
Tue Jun 28, 2022 5:03 am
Some great info here. Thank you.

I have a number of XF rods, one of which is the aforementioned NRX+ 852C. As I think about how I have them set up they are mostly on jigs and other bottom contact baits. I also use a lot of thin wire stuff with braid and a fluoro leader, so I will be sure to check drag more often since a few do have a 6# leader.

I typically have 20+ rods on the deck set up with different baits so versatility isn't important to me. While I may only use half of them on a given trip I just leave them on the jet boat between trips since it is stored in a garage. When I switch boats for deeper/bigger water I only take what I think I will use that day.

I started the thread to try to get a handle on the issue of needing to dial in the reel more accurately when using XF. I was curious what others are doing and the responses are appreciated.
There are definitely hazards associated with having a ton of rods in your boat. All it takes is one loosened drag because of rods bouncing against each other resulting in a missed fish giving us nightmares for life. :big grin: I purposely leave a rod organizer in my rod locker when I really need to take it out to hold more rods. I just can't get over the loosened drag syndrome and the greater chance of me hurting a rod or reel. :lol:

flipper502
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Re: F vs XF

Post by flipper502 » Tue Jun 28, 2022 1:27 pm

Incorporating XF tapers is a way to increase sensitivity in lower end budget rods. I ditched most of mine and have transitioned almost exclusively to more moderate tapers. I land so many more fish on these rods especially when working either end of the spectrum, be it flipping and swim baiting or light line finesse. If I need more power to move fish or set the hook on a long cast I'd rather go up in power than deal with a rod that is unforgiving and lose fish. XF rods for me were also more prone to breakage so many of mine were eventually retired in 2 pieces.

dragon1
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Re: F vs XF

Post by dragon1 » Tue Jun 28, 2022 3:22 pm

mark poulson wrote:
Mon Jun 27, 2022 2:49 pm
I used to think G.Loomis rods were softer tipped than their rating.

Since I've switched to braid with fluoro leader, I've gone away from XF rods altogether, and fish mostly med. heavy crankbait rods with parabolic bend for almost everything. I can set the hook on a jig at distance, cast almost any sized bass lure, and keep the fish buttoned to the boat. I can keep the rod loaded at the boat, so the fish can't make a last minute run and pull free.
Yeppers, braid and fused lines changed the game a ton with the application of blank tapers/powers and what lures/techs could be more effectively used with them.
"It is like a finger pointing away to the Moon...don't concentrate on the finger, or you will miss all of that heavenly glory."

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Thunderblack1984
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Re: F vs XF

Post by Thunderblack1984 » Wed Jun 29, 2022 1:16 pm

XF is a no go for me. Every rod I own is mod fast or fast. I would use with drop shot or single hook baits but still do not prefer it.

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