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.
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.
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
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.
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