Last week I received a belated Christmas present; from two Christmases ago!
It was a Tom Morgan 7'9" 3 wt. graphite rod and I can tell you, it was worth the wait. The rod casts like a dream; almost effortlessly in the 40-50' range with very good accuracy and great feedback coming through the blank on the casting stroke. I lawn cast it when it first arrived, then took it to one of our local stream for a little fishing. It has excellent feel with a fish on and has a lot of reserve backbone for a 3 wt. I fished a couple of dries (size 14's), a few nymphs (unweighted) and one of the Adams Buggers that I've just tied up recently (size 10). Everything cast out very well, even the heavier bugger.
Tonight I did a comparison with a couple of my favorite 3 wts.; a Diamondback 7'6" glass rod and a Sage 7'6" ZXL. Both of those rods have caught a lot of fish for me and since I fish mostly small streams, they've earned a special spot in my fishing heart.
But, it wasn't even close. Sometimes when you compare one rod to others, the things that you initially liked about it seem to fade away and you start focusing back on the things that you like about the rod that's in your hand. Not with this rod; comparison just makes it better. I think I'll have to go a long ways before I find a better 3 wt. in the under 8'0" size range.
Now if I can just avoid breaking it in on a rhodendron or worse up here on these overgrown freestone creeks.
Nice! I posted this a few months ago, but I read that Tom's wife has been
building the rods for quite some time. It would be nice to see her get more
credit for her efforts.....
FWIW, I've not been too happy with the delicacy of my ZXL rods lately. I
had been using GPX line on them, but switched to a SA Trout line on my
4wt this afternoon. Delicate in Spades! I was casting a #12 foam hopper,
and the line landed like to ol' gossamer feather. What do you like about the
new rod over the others?
I use Rio Gold line on all of my 3 wts. I think it loads the rod better than other lines that I've tried. Next to that, I like Cortland's peach 444 series. which also works well for me on 3 wts.
What I like about this rod is the way that it casts. It has a progressive feel to it; you can feel the rod load easily, so you can really tell what's going on with both the rod and the line as you go through the casting stroke. It also seems to unload at the end of the stroke with a little "snap" to it, which I like because that's what I'm trying to do to the blank anyway at the end of the casting stroke.
I false cast a lot; much more than most people. It's just the way that I fish; I like to cast. In this mode, I usually become aware of when I need to start concentrating on distance with the rod that I'm casting; when the rod is starting to reach it's natural limitations and when timing and hauling are starting to become the keys to greater distance. Both of the other rods have specific points where I know that this will happen. This rod gets me another 8-10' out there before I have to start doing that. And I like that a lot!
As far as fit and finish is concened, I don't think I've seen better on any rod, so that's a plus, too. But the real reason why I'm really "up" on this rod is it's castability.
I had talked to both Tom and Gerri several times during the building of my rod; they had questions about how I fished and where I fished, how to spell my name (it's on the rod), timing updates, etc. Tom still loves to talk about fly fishing. I had an inkling as to his medical situation and knew that Gerri was the one who was building the rod, but I didn't have the background that's in the Forbes article. I had ordered the rod after a trip to the Paradise Valley in MT. The outfit that we fished out of on that trip was George Anderson's Yellowstone Angler and it was George who put me onto the Tom Morgan rods. Just a few casts on the Yellowstone River behind George's shop had convinced me (I cast a 5 wt. there, but when I returned home, I quickly realized that a 5 wt. would be a lot more rod than I needed to fish the small freestone streams that abound in the Poconos). I talked to Tom about it. He was familiar with where I fished and suggested the 7'9" 3 wt.; saying that it was becoming his signature rod due to its sweetness.
He's now offering fiberglass blanks and I'm really thinking hard about getting one.
Pics to follow on my 7'9" 3 wt. once I get back home.
I wonder if Tom pesters Gerri while she's building. My grandmother had terrible
arthritis, and was in a wheelchair for as long as I could remember. I took
care of her on weekends, and she taught me to do all the things that her
hands could no longer do (including lighting her cigarettes ). I was cooking,
knitting, and crocheting by the time I was 13 . She wasn't a pest
about it, but it took a great deal of patience. Knitting sweaters on weekends
wasn't what all the other guys were doing, and I would much rather have been building rods. Oh well..........