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sweetandsalt 02-15-2013 10:00 AM

Clutch - New Fly Rod Company
 
We have been writing quite a bit in the Fly Rod Forum of late about where rods are built and by what kind of companies. While plying the isles of Somerset recently I came upon a both with a rod brand new to me; "CLUTCH - Tactical Fly Rods". Clutch Fly Rods | Home Chatting with the two young men at the both, I learned that they were from "trout central USA...Ohio". Long time fly fishers, one has a background in manufacturing and the other in art and they shared a passion to build the best fly rod possible. As I examined a rod, they quickly and eagerly pointed out that not only had they designed every bit of it but at was 100% American made. Then one looked at the other and turned to me and said, "well, except for the cork, its from Portugal...but we are planing on planting some cork trees in Ohio!" This company is one year old and has taken an unusual path. No, they don't have a comprehensive line from #3 to 12-weight; they design each rod's taper one at a time to optimally suite the specific type of fishing it is intended for. Thus far they have developed a 9'/#5 & 6 for fresh water, a 9'/#6, 8 & 9 for the salt, have a steelhead 10'/#7 and an 8 1/2'/#4 small stream rod almost ready. A #10 & 12 soon too. There multi-high modulus blanks are sanded flat grey with thread wraps of paler grey with black thread inlays, understatedly elegant. Fresh water reel seats are stabilized grey wood with "Clutch" subtly laser engraved upon its dorsal side. Quality components and materials all around at a price in the mid $600's.

Over the three day course of the Show I found myself out on the side lawn with these fellows as I introduced friends to them and cast several of their rods a number of times. Often we had rods from other makers out with us that, when a like line-weight was present, we wound up comparing. While outside with a Montauk friend and his newly acquired 9-weight, we cast it side by side with the Clutch. We all know that when we get a new rod we are biased toward our decision having been brilliant. We both agreed that the Clutch blew this more famous rod makers rod away. Powerful but communicative it flexed in all the right places, cast authoritatively both short and as long as you could handle! My friend rushed back inside to try and return his new rod and then went to the Clutch booth. The #6 was a stand-out as well.

So here is a small, dedicated and friendly company, designing and building by themselves, quality casting, good looking rods capable of going toe to toe and perhaps beyond established brands. It is my intent to have one in my quiver by the time buds turn green on the stream-side oaks.

troutnut4 02-15-2013 10:14 AM

Re: Clutch - New Fly Rod Company
 
It sounds like you are impressed with this builder. Enough to buy one. Have you cast any of the "Burkie" trout rods to this point. Does the Burkheimer fall in the same classification of builder? I hear some good things about Burkheimer, but then I hear good things about a number of rods. Their rods are not available here in Halifax. I like the idea of getting a custom made rod, rather then a mass produced one and Burkheimer has a number of options.

sweetandsalt 02-15-2013 10:41 AM

Re: Clutch - New Fly Rod Company
 
I don't own a Burkheimer but a friend of mine has several and I have traded off with him astream. Kerry Burkheimer was a protegee of the great Russ Peak so has been at his craft for a while. His workmanship is top drawer and the rods have an impressive customizable appearance. I believe he will modify tapers to your desire as well which I find a little odd as it is usually the designer's tapers that attract me to want to fish HIS rods. I could be wrong about this though and you might contact him through his web site. It is always a stretch to buy a rod that you can't cast comparatively so you might wait until, on a fishing trip, you could visit a shop that stocks a few of his rods. I am certain he must have a dealers list available.

jastrout 02-15-2013 11:42 AM

Re: Clutch - New Fly Rod Company
 
I visited their booth and never met two more passionate individuals. Great looking.g rods as I regret not taking them to casting pond but it was packed. Nice to hear such positive review .

cptxkirk 02-15-2013 01:14 PM

Clutch - New Fly Rod Company
 
I am a dealer for Clutch and Lee is a top notch dude! Their rods are amazing and I cannot wait to see them blow up! Everything you read about the rods comes to fruition as soon as you cast and fish their rods! Glad to see others are discovering them!

pegboy1 02-25-2013 11:38 PM

Re: Clutch - New Fly Rod Company
 
Looks like blanks from NFC "North Fork Composites". Just a hunch with the naked graphite look. Again tho, just a guess.

cptxkirk 02-25-2013 11:52 PM

Clutch - New Fly Rod Company
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by pegboy1 (Post 530996)
Looks like blanks from NFC "North Fork Composites". Just a hunch with the naked graphite look. Again tho, just a guess.

The graphite is rolled in house.

petee 02-26-2013 03:02 AM

Re: Clutch - New Fly Rod Company
 
So do they sell blanks or just finished rods? Selling blanks to custom builders is a good way to get their name out there. I am always looking for another option to offer customers. I take it they roll their own much like Mark Steffen Mike McFarland.

Pete

mojo 02-26-2013 05:11 AM

Re: Clutch - New Fly Rod Company
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by petee (Post 531028)
So do they sell blanks or just finished rods? Selling blanks to custom builders is a good way to get their name out there. I am always looking for another option to offer customers. I take it they roll their own much like Mark Steffen Mike McFarland.

Pete

See Post #7

sweetandsalt 02-26-2013 08:03 AM

Re: Clutch - New Fly Rod Company
 
I would not have written Clutch up for our forum were they a couple of nice guys wrapping somebody else's blanks. These men are really into designing tapers for the specific application a given rod length and line weight would be used for. This is why they are slow in releasing new models; there is no formulamatic process. They do, as I said, employ quality craftsmanship like a custom wrapper would do but the heart of any fly rod is the taper design in harmony with the materials and construction technique. I have no issue with a small company buying or even having blanks custom built from Gary Loomis's NFC or any other quality source but the appeal of Clutch is they are performing this seminal act themselves...and doing it with personality.


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