Hi Scott, I agree with you.
Carron and Daiwa are full on competition rods. I've now finally started to get around making the 18' Daiwa work for me. One needs to be smooth (especially in the beginning of the stroke) but still fast/sharp at the end of the stroke. And yes, it is addictive when you feel that you've gotten to the "stiff lever" part of the rod.
B&W Powerlite is so easy that it could be used in fishing. It loads so easily against its own inertia. But it is very (tip) heavy so during swing it could be very tiring.
rods would be nice fishing rods (were I to use an 18' for fishing), they are light, responsive and easy.
DTX is not as easy as the above - at least for me it wasn't. But, I only tried it with one line and I think now I will like it more. I need to try it with couple of different lines.
Partridge Ian Gordon fast action, not a distance rod. If it was lighter, I could see it in fishing situation, in my opinion it is just a tad over the treshold of too heavy.
Streamstix Salmonstix is probably only for fishing but it is so slow that I do not understand what it was designed for. I know that on some rivers in Norhern Norway some people practically don't cast, they just guide the line with the rod and they use long rods. Maybe it excels in that. I sold mine as it was absolutely terrible for distance.
Btw, I forgot two 18' rods that I've tried: Scott T2H
and Gatti FRM 1810-5. I don't think T2H
is commercially available and maybe it will never be, but it would be a nice fishing rod. Light and easy. A bit softer than CND
rods I would say. Gatti is a bit softer still. It is also quite light.
Of course it is difficult to make direct comparisons as I have not been able to compare side by side most of these. And of course all the above are just personal views and preferences.
There is also 18' Zpey competition rod out there but I haven't tried it. It looks a bit faster action than Carron and Daiwa, but that's only based on still photographs I took last year in Fagernes. I guess that within a month I will also try that Zpey. And B&W 18' Tournament Caster - based on numbers I have and comparing them to Daiwa, Carron and Powerlite, there's a big difference in the second part from the bottom (these all are 3+1 design). I guess it is a beast - or just totally different from all others, just like the 15' Tournament Caster is.
Regarding how easy it is to cast long - I would take 16'-17' rod if I were in a need to cast as far as possible as easy as possible in stillish conditions. The windier it gets, the shorter the rods I like to use, get too. The same happens with lines (and I go up in density). Even #10/11 or #11 15' rod in a hard constant wind with a floating mid-belly is terrible for me. I change to #9/10 12'6" and intermediate shooting head and the distances are not dropped much (average maybe goes up in really bad conditions) even thou the longest casts are a bit shorter. Of course, if floating line is the only option, floating shooting head suffers more in the wind than the intermediate. But the rod's aerial resistance is way smaller with a short rod.