I have fished the XST saltwater fly rods for tarpon and snook, the species they were designed for. But recently I took a 10-weight XST four-piece rod to Alaska to fish for big king salmon. The wind howled, the rain poured and the kings were on the bite. I added the Cabela's SR-3 reel and threw the Mastery Wet Tip Express line in a 350-grain configuration. The Kanektok River was loaded with kings and hard-fighting chum salmon. We fished tidewater and upstream only a mile. We were after the hot, fresh, chromers. The XST rods showed no signs of backing down to the wind, heavy line and lead-eye flies. It was power casting to the max in 20 mph winds. The kings averaged around 25 pounds, with many going much larger. As we prefer to bank-fish for kings, at times we would have to apply serious pressure to keep fish in the pool in front of us because wading downriver was impossible due to snags. All in all, I landed close to 60 large salmon and the XST proved to be super durable and nice to cast, even in those conditions. And on the lodge rod rack, it was one of the most handsome.
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