Outdoor Writers Association of America
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

July 24th, 2000

Hype or Not?

There is a new buzz word. If you haven't seen it or heard it you soon will. The new magic word is Titanium.

Those of you familiar with rod guides know there are titanium guides on rods . . .well on some at least. There are also spinning reel bails, spinnerbait wire, reel coatings and now even waders using the stuff.

Waders! What? Yes! FlyTech is coating the inside and outside of a line of their waders with a titanium mist. According to their spokesman, "We're using the insulative properties of titanium to keep heat inside the wader, and we've coated the outside to reflect the cold from outside the wader." (quoted in the current issue of Fishing Tackle Retailer)

Now it's hit fly rods. Lamiglass introduced titanium rods a couple of years ago, (1998) but they have changed how they use it. Their Ti 2000 series rods are a blend of high-modulus graphite for the tip section and the butt section made from a tube of 98% titanium, and 5% aluminum and vanadium. According to John Posey of Lamiglass, "With these rods you can feel every little nick and tick; the sensitivity is really remarkable." According to John the tube acts like a megaphone in your hand.

There's another titanium rod on the market. This one was made first with the titanium mesh inside the rod blank, but the customers kept asking where the titanium was, so according to ADG spokesman David Ahn, "we moved it to the outside where it can be seen."

Ahn also said they chose to use the titanium, (which is applied over an IM-8 graphite blank as a mesh of titanium wire, then sprayed with a finished vaporized titanium on the blank,) because it is very sensitive, has very good strength and flexibility. He also states, "The weight of the added metal is of no consequence because we can reduce the thickness and weight of the graphite cloth in the blank without sacrificing strength or durability." (Also quoted from the Fishing Tackle Retailer article.)

Neither JC nor I have seen or cast any of these titanium rods yet, there will be some at the Salt Lake Retail Dealers Show in September, and it should be interesting at least.

So what's titanium? It's the fourth most abundant metal in the world, found in sand - with the largest concentration of it being on Australian beaches. It is used in applications where light weight, strength and corrosion resistance are important. It's been used for years in space shuttles, eyewear, screws, bolts, and dental applications.

It seems to be gaining in popularity - and some products which have NO titanium in then at all are grabbing onto the hype - like using Titanium in their product name. As always, when making any purchase buyer beware! Don't hesitate to ask questions.

Is this the new wonder material which will revolutionize the fly fishing world? Will we have another whole generation of fly rods which are lighter, stronger, more responsive and fun to fish?

Or is the whole high-tech scene just more than fly fishermen want? Perhaps the increasing movement back to bamboo rods says more than any of the current fly rod manufacturers want to hear. I'd love to hear your opinion on this one. ~ LadyFisher

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