Being a complete fly fishing junkie, I continually find myself on the hunt for new equipment, flies, and techniques. Obviously, the chase and catching of the fish is the main reason I love fly fishing but the reading and learning part is a close second for me. So when the Douglas DXF came up for review I was excited to write about it as I had heard and read a lot about it on various platforms.
A little bit about the company that is Douglas Outdoors for this Douglas DXF review.
The Douglas Outdoors company isn’t a company that started small and grew to something great. They burst onto the scene in 2014 with one main goal, to produce quality outdoor gear at affordable prices. This legendary conservationist family teamed up with top industry professionals to design and produce some of the finest fishing equipment around. The companies main focus is performance and they don’t waste any time on cheap materials for the production of any fly rod or reels. Thought of and made by fly fishermen for fishermen their products come with high quality and regard. Through beautiful design and craftsmanship, they produce some high-performing gear that all anglers will love.
With Douglas Outdoors realizing the impact fishing has on us whether it’s a solo mind-clearing mission or an annual planned family trip, it’s all about making memories. Douglas Outdoors wants to be part of these special occasions and tries to match these memorable events with equally great equipment.
Douglas DXF Fly Rod
A mid-priced rod that doesn’t disappoint and pleases all its anglers, it actually recently won the best mid-priced rod George Anderson’s Yellowstone Angler award which is no small feat. Finished with the highest quality components the Douglas DXF has a taper/action tailored to perform in just about every freshwater and saltwater fly fishing can offer. Not having the best results in previous years shoot outs, Fred Contaoi has done a brilliant job redesigning the DXF fly rods performance.
The DXF fly rod delivers a super smooth, softer presentation especially in tight, short spaces and distances. With a heavier swing weight, the Douglas DXF can feel a bit sluggish after hours of casting but it has a great power that can turn over those bigger flies. Fred Contaoi will most certainly correct the swing weight issue in future builds, that I have no doubt about. With all that being said about the Douglas DXF, please remember this rod only costs $395, and it outperforms most rods that cost much more.
There is still great value in the Douglas DXF, especially if you are looking for a less expensive fly rod that will do the job on extremely windy days when those casts are tricky. With the great ability to punch that headwind with its stronger backbone and make long accurate casts, it’s a rod that shouldn’t be overlooked the next time you are in the market for a new rod.
See also our How To Cast A Fly Rod for an in-depth guide on fly rod casting.
The DXF rods will impress with their attention to detail, especially given their price tag. You may not be wowed by the components or the blanks build quality but, when you fish it, I bet you will be impressed. The two most popular weight choices in this series are the 5 weight and 8 weight. The Douglas DXF 9’5wt fits the classic do-it-all angler’s needs giving them great value for money and a certain crisp action they have come to expect from these mid priced 5wt rods.
It’s not the fastest 5 weight rod around, but the DXF has a crisp in-hand feel when throwing nymphs, dries, and even streamers. The rod has a softer tip which helps not to break off on really thin tippets like 7-8X when fighting fish in a field stream for instance.
Yes, a lot of this attributes to how you fight your fish but it is a great added quality that not many moderate to fast rods, similar to the DXF have. The softer tip also helps with the dry fly presentation, while it’s not a specifically designed dry fly rod it will suffice if you occasionally throw a dry or dry-dropper rig. Its action also assists in turning over those longer dry fly leaders that can be cumbersome when not handled correctly.
It is also fast enough to send tight loops a long way out but forgiving enough that novice casters won’t have to battle getting their lines out and within a reasonable distance to their target.
These matte green blanks might not be Douglas Outdoors’s flagship fly rods but they represent everything that the company can offer in the fishing world. The rod is considered moderate to fast and with high-modulus blanks and XMatrix carbon technology delivery a beautifully light rod blank that has an increased sensitivity to detect even the tiniest nibbles.
With the dialed-in taper/action blanks being rolled in Korea they match all mid-priced rods in its category even those that are produced locally in the USA.With the swing weight of these rods being the only real downfall, it’s not a massive turn-off.
It can only really be felt after a long day of casting heavy streamers but never felt in the lighter weights when fishing a small stream for instance. The balance of a heavier backbone to help play and fight large fish and soft tip preventing tippets from breaking is a common positive thread in other reviews. we could not agree more with this and find it a great additional quality that shouldn’t be overlooked and priced at $349 its one of the great mid priced rods that should be in every collection.
Available in weights 3 up to 12 they literally cover all freshwater and saltwater fishing conditions.
Cork and Reel Seat
The finishings of the DXF fly rods have a classic and regal feel to them. This will be enjoyed by the anglers that don’t want to look fancy but rather want a great performing rod. As Spencer Durrant says ‘nice cork grip with a gorgeous burled wood reel seat’ The rod has a double uplocking reel seat that promotes functionality and quality and gives the rod a great balance when loaded with the reel and fly line.
See also our post here on the Best Fly Line here.
The handle of the DXF is made with high-quality cork and features a reversed half wells grip. This style grip is very comfy, especially over extended periods of casting.
The matte green blank is complemented by the darker green thread wraps of the stripper guides and snake eye guides. This makes for a great protective quality during saltwater outings. The guides aren’t the quality that we are accustomed to like on the Sky rod, but they are still very good. Interestingly they have put two standard SiC stripping guides followed by extra-large hard chrome snake guides on the blank and an oversize tip top.
This has the advantage of getting the line in and out at good speeds with minimal friction, but the line tends to tangle as it flies through the guides. This can be problematic and annoying on occasion.
If you are looking for the best saltwater gears for beginners, see our full post on Saltwater Fly Fishing Gear for Beginners here.
- 4 piece DXF blank, matte green finish
- Anodized unlocking rings
- Burled wood reel seat
- SIC hard chrome stripper frames and snake guides
- Alignment dots for ease of build
- AAA cork grip reverse half wells
- Protective codura tube and sock
- Awarded “Best Mid Priced Rod” by George Anderson’s Yellowstone Angler in 5 and 6 weights
- Saltwater rods 6-10 weight
- Specialty nymphing in weights 3-4
- Lifetime Warranty on all Douglas DXF Rods
Whether you’re new to fishing and in the market for your first rod or just getting another to add to your collection. This is another great rod buy Douglas. The DXF has the ability to deliver accurate casts over short to medium distances which makes it an ideal rod for most. Being classed with a moderately fast action it is more a true medium if compared to the SKY. This gives the fisherman the versatility to cast everything from a dry to a streamer. Looking at the DXF as a whole I would say it’s a great all-around rod and at $395 it’s a great purchase when compared to other rods in its price range. Well done Douglas the DXF will make many an angler very happy landing fish after fish.