Product Reviews

Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO)TiCr Fly Rod Blanks
490-4P-9 foot, 4 weight and 890-4P-9 foot, 8 weight

by Capt. Barry Evans

If you haven't already heard, TFO will be marketing their blanks in the near future. I was able to get my hands on a couple of TiCr blanks (an 8 wt & 4wt) to build up.

The fit and finish of the blanks was very good and I was pleasantly surprised at how straight they were. Being the TiCr series, they were finished in a matte black color.

The factory specifications for the above blanks are as follows:

    490-4P- 9', 4 piece, 4 weight, 1.58 oz.,
    890-4P- 9', 4 piece, 8 weight, 2.22 oz.

    I already knew how well the factory built rods cast with standard snake guides, so I opted to use single foot snake guides (Recoil's, manufactured and distributed by REC) to see if this would improve the casting on the finished rods. I also decided to dress them up a little by using Burl cork grips, fighting butts, metallic thread and a fancier reel seat.

    4 weight

    The factory rod comes with two oversized stripping guides (a #16 and a #12). I felt these guides looked out of place on this little rod. After test casting the rod with different stripping guide combinations, I decided to use a #12 and a #10. It didn't seem to affect the way the rod cast (distance and/or accuracy) and in my opinion improved the aesthetics.

    Once the blank was wrapped and the epoxy finish cured for 12 hours I decided to do some comparison casting against a couple of other 4 weight rods I had built using blanks by other manufacturers. One of which was my favorite 4-weight rod. I was surprised at how well the TFO performed. I was able to achieve the same distance and accuracy with it that I had come to expect from my favorite rod. Maybe even a little bit more. I then loaded a 5 weight line on the reel to see how this little rod would do with the heavier line. No problem, it cast the 5 weight line almost as well as it handled the 4 weight.

    8 weight

    The factory rod comes with three oversized stripping guides. After test casting the blank with various stripping guide combinations I went with what TFO recommended (#20, #16 and a #12).

    After the rod was wrapped and the finish cured, I test cast it against a factory produced rod of the same model. Again, I was pleasantly surprised on how well the rod cast. I was able to achieve a little more distance on the rod I had just completed and there wasn't quite as much rebound in the tip section on a hard stop. I believe that this was due to the use of the single foot, Recoil guides as they weigh considerably less than the double footed snakes that the factory uses.

    Barrys 8 weight

    To sum it up, I think that TFO's entry into the rod blank market will be a real asset for those of us who prefer to assemble our own. I've built a lot of rods in the past and I can't think of another blank that gave me as much "bang for my buck." ~ Capt. Barry Evans

    About Capt. Barry Evans:

    Born and raised in South Florida and the Keys, Barry spent a lot of time fishing the local waters while growing up. He guided in South Florida 5 years then guided out of Key West for another 12 years. Barry built rods professionally for a number of years as well as tied flies commercially. He is a member and strong supporter of the CCA. An avid kayak fly fisherman in both the fresh water and the Texas coast, Barry is now retired and living in North Texas.

    Temple Fork Outfitters
    8115 Sovereign Row
    Dallas, Texas 75247
    Phone: (800)-638-9052

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