Just got back from the Somerset Fly Show. It was a pretty good show, the numbers of people seemed about the same, but they seemed to be more spendy. The Costa Rican trips we offer were pretty popular, and even sold a few trips to AK. The high light of the show was that I got to meet and talk with Ginny and Mike Pope of TFO rods. I don't think you could meet two nicer people!
They were there with a few new products including a new prototype rod. My TFO rep., Steve let me take the prototype out to cast. It is designed by "Flip" Pallot (spelling?) specifically for his type of fishing in Mangroves. The rod there was a 9 foot, 8wt, 4 piece. By weight it was very close to the BVK, in other words, very light. The taper profile was noticably different. It had a longer stiffer butt, and a softer tip. The butt ran a bit past the first stripper guide, and lent a very noticable strength when compared to the BVK, and was similar to the Clouser rod. The ending 2 feet was definitely softer than the BVK and the Clouser. The soft tip is designed as a "shock-absorber" for the vicious strike of mangrove species (Mike Pope's words). I cast it with what they had handy: one of their Prism Cast reels loaded with a standard WF8F saltwater line. The reel was definitely too heavy for the rod. I took it back and asked for a BVK III reel, and it was perfect for the rod.
I was looking for it as a Redfish rod, so when I took it out to cast, that's what type of casting I did. I wasn't willing to stand in the 20-ish deep line at the "pond", so I took it outside. Yeah, I know grass is not water, but it serves okay. The rod cast very smoothly, and I was able to throw 55-60 ft without hauling. The extra butt strength really shone when I tried fan cating it. I was easily able to pick up 50ft of line, and lay it back down in a nice tight loop. I was trying to simulate hitting a "pushing" Redfish, and having to make multiple casts as it passes. Usually my guide gets me closer than that, but why not push the limits when trying a rod out. I think a better caster could do even more with it, but alas....I am just me.
I think TFO has a winner here.
Oh, and they have a new series of luggage for Fishermen that were really sweet, and just like their rods, affordably priced.