Choosing the right TFO Fly Rod

Choosing the right fly rod is very important. I personally carry three fly rods when I hit the water – two for below surface fishing and one for dries. By having three rods in your arsenal, it reduces the need change patterns as much and allows you to fish the water in different capacities. I fish doubles on my two subsurface rods making for a total of five different flies rigged up and queued to cast. If the subsurface isn’t working but fish are jumping you can switch to top action without having to re-rig your gear, saving time that may have caused that fish to swim away before you finish switching to dries.
As part of our TFO series and to help you choose the right TFO rod we tested six different rods in a staff test. All rods were tested using a Redington Behemoth reel and Rio Gold line. We tagged on a 4x Rio Leader and a very large salmon fly in preparation for fishing the salmon fly hatch.
After the test we each had a separate rod that was our favorite from the six. When it comes to rods there is no truer phrase than “different strokes for different folks.” Personal rod selection is dependent on what you fish for the most and your casting ability. Are you a dry fly fisherman? Streamers? Nymphs? Do you fish for bass more than trout? These are the types of questions you should answer before selecting a new fly rod.

Below we list out the six rods we tested (in no particular order) with information needed to help you make your next fly rod purchase easier. Additional we included TFO's rating of each rod which includes: Presentation (involves accuracy and the manner in which the fly and leader land on the water) Distance (is how far it can cast) and Lifting (power is in regards to the fish fighting phase when a big fish dogs you in the depths) For the “Casting Challenge” we set up a bucket approximately 50 feet away and let loose toward it, wind was certainly a factor on a typical windy Columbia River Gorge day, but during the salmon fly hatch wind is typically always a factor…
Model tested: 5wt 9’ 4pc
The BVK is our best seller.
A little bit about this rod: The BVK is the TFO flagship rod, being they are out of Dallas TX it is clear that they are true to the bass fisherman and nothing shows that more than this rod. It is a stiff blank that needs a heavy line and big bug to really get this baby to flex. While we would consider it more of a bass rod it also excels extremely well for streamer fishing. In fact this rod is one of our go to rods when we want to fish a heavy sink tip or sinking line out on still water and rivers alike.

At a price point of $249.95 it is hard to say no to these rods, especially when your looking to do the things with it as mentioned above. Would this be our first choice as an all round trout rod? Probably not, however, as an all round bass rod absolutely, as a primary streamer rod you bet.

TFO Rates this Rod: Presentation: 6 Distance: 5 Lifting: 1
Casting Challenge: 7/10 casts in line with target
Cliff Notes: This is a great rod, however it is clear it is angled toward bass folks and excels at streamer fishing.
Model tested: 5wt 9’ 4pc
A little bit about this rod: This rod we found to be the sleeper out of the bunch. It casted well, and was fairly forgiving. In a world where fast action rules the fly fishing community finding a rod that feels like it was meant for the average fly fishermen is truly nice to see. It won't be the prettiest rod out there, and it sure isn't going to win any casting competition. However, at $169.95 it is surprising how accurate and smooth this rod is. I would feel just as comfortable throwing a size 22 trico on it and then turning around and casting a heavy nymphing setup.

This rod is a great all round trout rod for those looking for a secondary rod or just getting into the sport. If I had to pick one under $175 to take on a trout fishing trip with me this would be it hands down.

TFO Rates this Rod: Presentation: 5 Distance: 5 Lifting: 2
Casting Challenge: 7/10 casts in line with target
Cliff Notes: This is a great all around trout rod for the price no matter how you fish.

The Impact is one of our favorite rods!

Model tested: 5wt 9’ 4pc
A little bit about this rod:  The Impact is the creme de la creme of the TFO line. A fast action rod that to some of us was a tad more dry oriented, however, in the right hands this rod will do anything a trout bum can ask of it. At a price point of $324.95 this rod easily bets out many other brands of rods double of the price. Being that it is an fast action rod it may take a bit to get the exact load point, but once you do this thing will put just about any fly exactly where you want it too.

If you are looking for your fast action dry fly rod but don't want to drop $700 plus on it this rod is for you. Not only is it the nicest casting trout rod offered at TFO but it is one of the best looking. The composite cork handle matched with traditionally wrapped guides with a hint of lime green really set it apart. It is by far one of the easiest rods for us to spot on the rod rack.

TFO Rates this Rod: Presentation: 6 Distance: 5 Lifting: 2
Casting Challenge: 8/10 casts in line with target
Cliff Notes: This rod is great all around trout rod for the caster that knows what they are doing, and exceptional with dry fly fishing.
Model tested: 4wt 8’9 4pc
A little bit about this rod: Now if the Impact is the dry fly rod for the experienced fly fisherman the Finesse will be the go to dry fly rod for just about everyone else. It is smooth and forgiving and just about anyone should be able to throw 60 foot plus casts with this in no time (with the correct line match). Designed by Lefty Kreh and you can tell from the moment you pick it up, to the first fish you catch on it that this is a traditional styled rod.

The Finesse is a great dry fly rod!
It has a medium action blank that is incredibly smooth. Once you cast this rod you will realize how much you truly appreciated a medium action rod. At a price point of $199.95 this rod is great for those looking for a true dry fly rod, and makes a great primary rod for the dry fly fisherman without breaking the bank.

TFO Rates this Rod: Presentation: 8 Distance: 4 Lifting: NA
Casting Challenge: 7/10 casts in line with target (5wt line on 4wt rod took some adjustment)
Cliff Notes: Great rod for even the novice caster, fishes and casts dries exceptionally well.
Model tested: 4/5wt 7’6 3pc

A little bit about this rod:  For us millennials, glass rods are a thing we never grew up with. They are a foreign rod from the past that grandpa many have made us try fishing with but it was so heavy that you most likely ended up hating it. For those who grew up with glass (or the few millennial's out there that realized retro is where it is at) know that glass rods are incredibly forgiving, durable, but  heavy when compared to graphite rods.

The Finesse Glass is as smooth as it gets!
Well in recent years, that has changed quite a bit. Glass has been making a pretty big comeback. This rods bring a laid back approach to fly fishing, which is nice. Additionally the TFO Finesse Glass is fairly light when compared to other modern glass rods weighing in at roughly a half ounce lighter. This rod is great for those how want to kick back drink a 6 pack with your buddies and throw some dries at some lazy fish.  

TFO Rates this Rod: Presentation: 8 Distance: 4 Lifting: NA
Casting Challenge: 9/10 casts in line with target
Cliff Notes: A lighter modern glass rod, great for those looking to reminisce past fishing trips, or looking to go retro with their fly fishing.
Model tested: 5wt 9’ 4pc
A little bit about this rod:  Your momma always told you don't judge a book by its cover. Well your momma never got a hold of a Clouser rod. If there was one rod built to cast one fly it would be the Clouser rod with a Clouser Minnow on the end of it. Yes this rod is meant to be judged by its cover and it should as no surprise that the majority of these we sell are to saltwater guys. Now that we have have proved Mom wrong lets try and dive into this rod a bit more.

True it is more in liking to the BVK in that it is meant for bigger flies (streamers) but it also is a bit more subtle than the BVK. It has a touch of "finesse" to it that is not always there in a rod like this one. Sure it would make an excellent streamer rod, but it would also do well as throwing big dries and nymphing setups. It feels a bit stiff after first but the more you cast this rod the more you realize its true possibilities. If you heading to Montana where Terrestrials and Streamers are going to be fished frequently this rod is definitely up your alley.

TFO Rates this Rod: Presentation: 5 Distance: 5 Lifting: 2
Casting Challenge: 7/10 casts in line with target
Cliff Notes: Built for the saltwater game but has its place in the bass world or for the fisherman in the terrestrial and streamer world.

In Closing:

If you would like to find out more about any of these rods please don't hesitate to give us a call, or better yet stop by the showroom. We have demos of all the above mentioned rods plus many more readily available to be casted. Temple Fork Outfitters is a brand that we brought in as they fill a many niches that aren't fully met. To often we see rod manufacturers pump out fast action rods that are supposed to be the only rod you need to fish. They are marketed as the be all end all to fly fishing and often fall flat. While TFO doesn't carry that "one" rod they carry a wide selection of rods that are specifically designed to be fished the way YOU like to fish. So next time your in the market for a rod step back and take a moment to think about what you truly want out of that rod. Chances are Temple Fork has a rod for you at a price point much less than you were planning on spending.



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The Blog of Big Y Fly Co: Choosing the right TFO Fly Rod
Choosing the right TFO Fly Rod
The Blog of Big Y Fly Co
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