The 8wt is awesome! I don't know what application you are going to use it for but it would be fantastic on smaller steelhead rivers with larger fish and casting larger flies. I found that cast's longer than 60' presentied an issue of complete control of your swing. I tend to find that with a lot of the "switch" length two handed rods though.
I will tell you what I know. The 12’6” 9 used to be a 9/10, but the gram window was 32 to 36 grams, about 495 to 555 grains. The gram window for the new series built from 3M material is the same. I can see why they dropped the “10” rating. The rod has excellent fit and finish, and the triangular profile reel seat is quite nifty. In terms of quality, my older Guideline LeCie has a more precise and secure feeling when the reel seat is tightened up on a reel foot. My one gripe is the diameter of the cork grip. Very nicely done, but quite big, too big for my medium-sized hands. The rod was designed to suit Andersson’s underhand casting style. It is a very powerful rod, rated MF, and casts with a very short casting stroke. So, if Scandinavian style casting is what you like to do, this is a dynamite rod. I have found that it does shorter casts way better than longer casts, and with the Scandinavian style heads it is a beautiful rod to use. If you watch Andersson’s video, you will notice that he seems to cast with little effort. That is the GASS rod. The price in Canada is over $1200.00...I had to convince myself that it was a good idea...took a while.
I used a 475 gr Skagit head on that Rod. I only had the rod for the weekend to give a try. I found the 475 to load the rod well. Goran suggest something around the 400 grain window for a scandi line. Call Loop USA for more details on the recommended lines that Goran has suggested for this Rod.
Shotgunner and I agree. I have found my Euro rods to be "over-rated"...the grain windows for my 9/10 rods put them in the 8/9 class for North American fly lines. Same for some fly lines. I am fishing several 10/11 rated lines from the UK and Scandinavia on a 9 wt rod. These are full lines, not shooting heads. You have to pay close attention to the grain window and the line weights. Not always easy...some line makers try to keep their numbers secret.
Per Buff's comment above--I agree. My GASS 9 wts are rated for 31-34 gram lines, which correspond to 478-510 grains in a scandal. More like an 8 wt. for sure. I imagine the Euro 8 wts. are more like a 7 in a typical Burkie or other American rods. I've always found the Euro rods are one weight down when compared to American rods. Not sure why the discrepancy.
A friend of mine fishes the 9wt you are talking about. I use the same shooting head on my 12'6" 7wt TCX.The GASS really doesn't feel like A 9wt. I have fished it and I love it, I really want one. Also my main stick last season was a Loop Multi 7wt, it's a low end rod, but it's by far my favorite.
I fish only LOOP rods for almost 5 years and all I can say is that Goran rods are in a class by themselves. I like my two Cross S1 rods (1207-4 and 1409-4) and use them allot but if i really want to feel a rod singing in my hand, i pick up the Goran 12609-4, first edition. I used it only with scandi lines (31g to 36g range) and I can say that I could never throw such smooth and tight loops with the Cross S1 rods I own or any other rods i have used so far. My only regret is that, when I had the opportunity to buy a Goran 1206-04(which is just as nice as the 9wt) at a very good price, I didn't do it.
As someone mentioned above, Goran rods are not the best tools for ultimate distance (Cross S1 is net superior), if distance is what you are looking for but they are among the best rods for accuracy in presentation.
I have no idea about the second edition of these rods, i can just assume they are sensibly lighter than the rod I own because I don't believe there was much room for improvement in the rod's action or aesthetics.
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