I only saw these Targus rods once so I am sure the color you are describing is what I have a vague memory off...it is the "Pro" series rods then that bear the genes of EXS. Mojo, if you can exchange your store-branded rod for a "Pro" #4 or 5, though it may not be what you originally wanted, you will be much happier with your expenditure.
Since I had these rods before the Fly Shop did, I think I can comment.
I had the opportunity to cast both the Pro series and Light Touch series during Gary's evaluation and tweaking of the rod tapers. After test casting the rods, Gary got me the rods at wholesale shipped by Targus to him. So I had the rods before any of the fly shops.
I actually like the rods so much I orders a second set of rods after fishing the originals. I think that speaks to how much I liked these rods. So I have 2 of the each of the Pro rods from 4 wt to 9 wt and 2 of each of the Light touch from 3 to 5 wt.
Each rod in the series comes withy two identical tip sections, since the tip is the section of the rod that is broken most often. The photos below show the extra tip section. As of yet I have not broken any of the Pro or Light Touch rods.
I am a huge fan of the Light Touch rods. During development of the 8.5 ft 5 wt Light Touch rods, Gary told me that it was the best 8.5 ft 5 wt rod he had ever casted.
Here is Gary casting that very rod, an entire WF 5 wt line in his back yard.
Similar to its Targus sibling, the Albright EXS was a superior performing fly rod surpassing a number of its premium price-point, more famous brand named alternatives. Here, doing its part to hold up its end.
During development of the 8.5 ft 5 wt Light Touch rods, Gary told me that it was the best 8.5 ft 5 wt rod he had ever casted.
Oh geez, I should have just kept my mouth shut and let this old thread sleep. Now I will have to go out and buy that one too.
Incidentally, Gary is now very high on the Hardy Zenith rods. While I was at the Marlboro show, I also spent some time talking to Jim Murphy, the former head of Albright, who was working the Hardy booth. Jim said the EXS's were an evolution of the older Redington Nano Quartz rods, but with less stiff, more forgiving tapers. Those two series were the first attempt to put "nano" technology into mass production in the flyrod business. He said that the problem with the EXS series and the reason it was eventually discontinued was that they hadn't yet perfected the technique of distributing the nano material evenly throughout the blank, so quality was difficult to control. That problem was overcome in the latest generation of rods using 3M's latest "nano" technology, including Hardy's Zenith and ProAxis as well as offerings from several other competitors (although of course Murphy says Hardy has solved the problem better than anyone else). I didn't know about the Borger/EXS connection then, or I would have asked about that too. If the Borger Pro rods were a middle step between the EXS and the Zenith, I can see why Gary would now be recommending the Zenith rods.
So, I did it. I avoided a couple of nights out at Olive Garden and the movies, and bought one of the Fly Shop's remaining 8' 6" 5 wt LT's for $129 with the money I saved. And after about 5 minutes learning to let the rod rather than my shoulder do the work, I found myself casting 60+ feet without a strain. Thanks for mentioning it, silver creek!
The only downside is, now it's going to be a lot harder to maintain my lust for a new Hardy Zenith.
Moucheur, Does one or both of these Targus series of rods feature the Formica foil paint job similar to the previous Albright EXS rods ( but in bronze rather than green)? I have it on good authority that they are more-or-less the same rods from the same fine Korean rod shop as the discontinued Albrights which were very good rods.
Don't know why I didn't think of this before.
I was dusting off some of my tackle getting ready for spring, and looked at my Targuses next to my EXSes. Curiously, the Targus Pro and EXS rods are both made in Korea, but the Targus Light Touch rods are made in China.
This leads me to suspect that the Targus rods are probably not based on EXS blanks, in spite of the similar finish. Besides, as silver creek attests, Borger spent a lot of time helping Targus design their tapers. (In addition to the paint job there might be other similar features in the way the blanks were constructed, but even so, the Targus rods would not simply be rebranded EXSes.)
I have a feeling though that they, to a large extent, are. Like when Albright gave up on Korean-built Tempest reels, SeaLevel picked them up. The Targus guy took the opportunity to get the rights for a fully developed product and ran with it. I'm not saying Gary Borger didn't test or tweak tapers that (in the EXS/Pro Series) did not need much tweaking. The Chinese Light-Touch rods I know nothing about though.
I have the EXS in a 9x4, 9x5, and 10x6. I have the Targus Pro in a 9x8 and a 9x9. My Pros seem to have a lot more backbone than my EXSes, but I don't know whether it is because they are merely heavier-duty tools or because the are an entirely different design.
Clearly the saltwater versions would have more low down grunt; I still have an EXS #10 but my #9 succumbed to a boating issue bass fishing in RI and my beloved #8 was grabbed by the tip top by a "friend" landing a bonefish for me in Andros. I broke the #5 too bringing a big brown's head up for a guide to net him from a boat on the E.Br.of the Delaware but was able to obtain a replacement section form Albright. The 8 1/2'/#4 fortunately remains unscathed and the 12-weight's butt section is a decoration on my desk to remind me of an epic tarpon trip...it snapped on the first fish!...good thing I had my stout Diamondback. Brittleness aside, I loved these rods and still do fish the #4 and 5 but not regularly.