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Axiom II is a great rod for the money. Light weight, plus that warranty is unbeatable (for both). I have an 8wt and it’s great for throwing bass bugs, but I think they med-fast action will catch up with you if you’re trying to tarpon fish and cast long. It gets really mushy at distance.
 

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Yeah the axiom II is a medfast action. If you go the the axiom II-x, it’s a fast action. That’s personally one of my favorite rods. I don’t have any experience with the mangrove.
 

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I've used all three. The Axiom-II has the power to shot the line and is best with a medium casting stroke. The Mangrove is a great rod for short to mid distance, but lacks the backbone for the 70+ feet fasts with ease, especially in the wind. I really like the Mangrove if you were in the 30-70 feet distance, but it isn't as versatile as the Axiom-II. The Axiom-II-X would be the one I would buy. It's worth it. The tip flex is great for the shorter distances or you can bomb it down the line if you want to. The Axiom-II-X blank rebounds extremely easily. I'd check out the Orvis Recon as well. The new models use the Helios blanks.
 

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As a new fly caster, I'd suggest the Axiom II in 11wt. The IIx needs more power in your casting stroke than the II and won't be as forgiving for a new caster. None of them are particularly fun to bomb long casts all day but that's not what those rods are really designed for, rather, they are meant to cast big flies to big fish and put lots of pressure on them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Guys, I appreciate the help. The hard part is I don't know what my casting stroke will be like and whether or not I should try to 'grow into' the rod or like Jay suggested go with a med fast axiom II. It would be nice if I knew of a place nearby me that would let me demo a rod. I just don't know of any.
 

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Where are you at in SC? The AxiomIIX is slightly more forgiving for anglers, you can feel the rod load, and you don't have to haul as much to generate line speed. The Recon might not be as forgiving, but I think it's an easier rod to cast. Just look for local fly shops and give them a call. If you're set on buying a rod, they'll let you cast it first. Might not have a 12wt, but you could get the feel for the action. I'd cross the Mangrove off the list unless you're casting shorter distances. You can call TFO and chat too while seeing what they have to say.
 

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Guys, I appreciate the help. The hard part is I don't know what my casting stroke will be like and whether or not I should try to 'grow into' the rod or like Jay suggested go with a med fast axiom II. It would be nice if I knew of a place nearby me that would let me demo a rod. I just don't know of any.
I don't like the idea of trying "grow into" a rod. Tends to reinforce bad habits. Like trying to grow into a pair of shoes that are too big. Yes, you'll get there but in the interim, you'll be stumbling all over. Also, starting with an 11wt isn't the easiest to help learn your cast. My honest opinion is to try to cast as many of the rods you are interested in. You may love the way a certain rod casts and how it feels to you is what counts. Take note of the line that you are casting on each. Every rod has a line it works best with for the caster. I also would suggest taking casting lessons.
 

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Tarpon on fly in the Myrtle beach area? That’s something I really want to see. But yeah, BPS isn’t the best place to search for quality fly gear. To my knowledge the other TFO dealers in the area are either permanently closed or never have a good stock of rods.
 

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You'll be happy with either one. The whole "go into" thought doesn't build bad habits. You'll just get used to casting a current rod. Buy a solid rod that you can put in different scenarios, versus a cheap rod that will disappoint or break. Get the Axiom-II-X or the Recon and don't look back. Both are great rods that will tackle any fishing style. Orvis Hydros and Allen Kraken are two solid reels for sub $300 new. Drag is important. SA Tarpon taper is a great line.
 

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The behemoth body is cast and isn't super durable. The start up inertia on the drag is quite hard which puts a lot of pressure on the fly. With that said, it's probably the best sub $200 reel. You get much better quality with the Allen Kraken or Orvis Hydros. Machined aluminum, sealed drag, stopping power, smooth drag inertia. All things you'd want to fight a tarpon. Also, feel free to buy one used. The come up here and on Facebook fly gear quite often.
 
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