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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:04 am • # 1 
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Just wanted to share my opinions on a few 1 weight rods I've had the chance to recently play with.

I fished an Orvis Superfine Touch 761-4 for about 5 months last year and really grew to like the action. I'm relatively new to fly fishing. In the 6 months since I started fly fishing, I've owned 1 weight to 7 weight rods, fished in streams, rivers, disgusting ponds, protected bays and open surf. So, that's my background.

Through a confluence of unexpected events, I recently had the opportunity to lawn cast a Sage TXL-F 1710-4, Sage TXL 1710-3, and a TFO Finesse 691-4. All four rods were cast with WF1F Orvis Superfine Gen3 Wonderline which is a dual front taper (not to be confused with double taper), light presentation line.

Orvis SFT 761-4 - Slow, full flex action. The action really made me focus on smooth, gradual acceleration and an abrupt stop.
PROS: Once I learned not to muscle it, it became a dream to cast... a smooth extension of my hand with great loop control. Wispy light! After fishing it for a while, you'll forget that it's in your hand. Loads well with just a rod length of line out; just let the rod do the work- flex, recover, and fling line! Fun to fish! 8" trout are much more fun when you bring them in with a bend in the rod vs launching them into the trees. Beautiful craftsmanship. Unsanded finish, brown/orange thread wraps, gold anodized hardware, bird's eye maple spacer, quality rod sock, and LIGHT graphite tube. High pride of ownership. Rolex bling!
CONS: My lack of casting experience made it awkward to switch back and forth from other faster action rods. Trying to reach 40' from the shoreline of an alpine lake at 11,000' with a steady breeze + inexperienced caster + slower action rod = tailing loops galore.

Sage TXL-F 1710-4
PROS: Light, crisp, fast action. Easy to generate line speed and tight loops, but the rod still feels surprisingly light in the hand. Snub-nose, half wells grip is really compact and adds to the light feel of the rod. Tip seems supple. Rod recovers quickly and can generate relatively fast line speeds, but does not seem excessively stiff. Casting stroke is not much different than a 3 or 4 wt medium-fast rod. Seems easier to cast well and requires less focus on my part than the Orvis SFT. Stripping and line guides are noticeably smaller on the Sage compared to the Orvis and TFO. High quality construction. I really liked the bronze anodized aluminum reel hardware. If the Orvis is a Rolex, this Sage is an Omega.
CONS: 7'10" length is a bit long for low canopies. Rod tube is narrow and too short... really gotta roll the sock tight and it's still a pretty tight fit. MSRP $625! No alignment dots.

Sage TXL 1710-3

PROS: Very close in feeling to the TXL-F with some very subtle differences. Fast action, easy to generate line speed and tight loops. Light, but slightly stiffer feeling and not as light/crisp in the hand as the TXL-F. Very easy to just pick up and cast well like a 3 or 4 weight, medium fast rod. No adjustment in casting stroke needed. Really small stripping guide. Nice walnut reel seat spacer and handsome nickel silver hardware. High quality construction, but not as sexy as the TXL-F or luxurious as the Orvis SFT.
CONS: 7'10" length could get cumbersome in tight quarters. Not as compact as a 4 piece TXL-F if you backpack. No alignment dots.

TFO Finesse 691-4
PROS: Action is comparatively closer to the Sage TXL(-F) than the Orvis SFT. Easy to just pick up and cast well like a 3 or 4 weight, medium fast rod. Line speed is a bit slower than the Sage perhaps due to the loss of 13" and being a shorter lever. No problem throwing a variety of loop sizes. 30' casts are easy. 6'9" 4 piece construction is compact! Should be great for low canopies. Deep gray anodizing on the reel hardware is nice.
CONS: Where do I find a rod tube for a 6'9" 4-pc rod? Guides are large, but I'm not sure how much of a detriment this is to performance. Construction is what you would expect from a <$200 rod. Rosewood reel seat spacer just looks like grainless wood with a red-brown satin finish. Alignment dots are nice, but the one on the butt section is off. The reel seat is wide and allows a wide range of cant for the reel. I prefer reel seats that "auto" indexes the reel to center. Hook keeper is off dead center from the reel seat.

Despite the minor cosmetic shortfalls, the TFO is a great caster for the money. In my inexperienced hands, the Sage doesn't cast that much better than the TFO to warrant an extra $400 leaving my wallet. Although the previous generation TXL's can now be had at deep discounts, a new TFO is still costs significantly less, casts just as well in my hands, and was ultimately a better choice for me due to its shorter length.

The Orvis is a great choice for those looking for a smooth, full flex rod with high degree of craftsmanship. The Sage TXL-F is perfect for those who want a high quality rod that feels light, crisp, and fast to push the potential of 1 weight line. The Sage TXL is a good choice for someone who wants the performance of TXL-F at discount prices and doesn't mind the 3 piece construction.


Last edited by Waterborne on Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:20 am, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:00 am • # 2 
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Thank you for posting your findings. It is always interesting to read of others experiences.
Some of the little details like lack of alignment dots and shortness of rod tube are very helpful.
I have very recently ordered an Orvis Superfine Touch (3Wt) for many of the reasons you mention.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:48 am • # 3 
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Very good review. A few things stuck out to me as I have had experience with the TXL 1wt. and the SFT 1wt.

1. I really liked the SFT 761. you state, "Once I learned not to muscle it, it became a dream to cast... a smooth extension of my hand with great loop control." I completely agree with that. You also state that, "The action really made me focus on smooth, gradual acceleration and an abrupt stop." I would re-emphasize this as well. You hit the nail on the head.

2. As far as the TXL goes, I think you may have meant that it has a nice TEAK spacer...not walnut. I'm assuming you handled the stock factory TXL. I believe the TXL-F features the walnut spacer. For the most part I agree with your review of the TXL 1wt. For me though, the TXL 1wt. took a similar concentration (at first) as the SFT 761, but for different reasons. I found the TXL 1wt. to have a small window and little room for error. But if the user can find that niche, the rod can generate very high line speed and launch some tight loops.

I don't have personal experience with the TXL-F 1wt., but I did build a TXL-F 2wt. They are great rods. And I don't have any experience with the TFO 1wt. But I can say that the TXL 1wt. and SFT 1wt. are two great casting rods.

Great review. For only having 6 months under your belt you really did a good job picking up on the subtle nuances of each rod.

Colt


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:49 am • # 4 
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Oh yeah. Waterborne: Check out Landmark Rod and Tube Company out of Colorado regarding a tube for your 4pc. TFO 1wt. Ron is great to deal with and his prices are very reasonable. He makes great (affordable) rod building components as well. Otherwise REC does custom tubing also.

http://www.landmarkflyrodtubes.com/Tubes/aluminum.htm


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:39 am • # 5 
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I agree that the SFT 761-4 has guides too large for its line size and intended use(especially the stripper)--the previous two Superfine 1wts did too. Action preferences are personal, but more moderate action rods (like the SFT) offer some advantages to more experienced casters in making "trick" casts for difficult presentations to fish in low water and complex currents.

Orvis 2 inch graphite rod tubes are certainly lighter than aluminum, and their large diameter makes it easy to pack and unpack rods, but all that room to move around in (especially extra length) can result in damages when a tube is dropped or otherwise subjected to a fast ride followed by a sudden stop. I prefer tubes with a tight fit--my favorites are classic 1.5 inch aluminum with brass fittings (traditionally provided with bamboo rods and hard to find these days) and a very, very light 1.36 inch tube of some stiff, cross-linked plastic material with aluminum fittings that I recently discovered (from TUSA).

So long as the guides are small and the grip is slim, UL fly rods will fit in either one easily. The "standard" 1.63 inch aluminum tubes sold by Landmark, REC, and others are roomy enough for most light rods, even four and five piece ones--rods bags are supposed to be tightly rolled before insertion. Even with the TUSA 1.36 inch tube, my 802-4 built on an Orvis blank and wrapped in a CSE rod bag (considerably thicker and stiffer than the Orvis bag) fits easily.
CC


Last edited by Cross Creek on Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:52 am • # 6 
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Waterborne,
Great review and good information for those looking to get into a factory 1 wt. I think you did an admirable job in describing the pros and cons of each.

Les


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:32 am • # 7 
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Well done Waterborne!

As far as the tight tube issue with the TXL's, it is indeed a bit of a squeeze to get the rod in there, that said, for the same reasons CC had replied, I appreciate the tight fitting tubes on all 3 of my TXL's. When I spend that kind of money for a rod, I want to be sure that it is well protected in transit and in storage, I think those tubes do exactly what they should and as such, better than most.

Impressive that you can pick out the small differences being only 6 months in... When I had been fly fishing for 6 months, I was still trying to get the line to simply go in the direction I wanted. That was many years ago. Good job on the writeup!


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:54 pm • # 8 
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Great review!!! I have experience with all three rods and , like Colt said, you hit the nail on the head. Thank you and everyone commenting for great thread. :)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:49 pm • # 9 
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If there’s one important thing that I took away from my informal, unscientific, totally biased comparison, it’s that NONE of these four rods (or any of the 11 different fly rods I’ve owned or casted) are complete, unfishable dogs. They all cast a fly line well, but they do it with different personalities and physical characteristics.

As a new FF looking for info on certain rods and reading a lot of reviews on various websites, I found it interesting and alarming how one person could love a particular rod while another person thinks that the same rod would make a better dip stick for their car. Taking these reviews into consideration could really sway one’s purchasing decision if purchasing blind.

I don’t think there is a “better” rod of the bunch. I have my reasons for choosing what I did, but those reasons don’t apply to anyone else. It’s like ice cream. They come in different flavors. Pick what you like for whatever reason you like. There’s no “better” flavor. The only way to find a flavor you like is to sample what’s in the freezer. With time, your preferences can also change.

Sagebass, you’re probably right about the teak on the TXL. Thanks for the lead on the rod tube!


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:15 pm • # 10 
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Very well said.
I like the ice cream analogy!
I also find the extremist attitudes of some reviewers very off putting. When I read that part, I instantly lose all respect for the reviewer and read elsewhere.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:39 am • # 11 
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Great write up. Your thought on the TFO rod is why I own 4 of them, other stuff might be better, but not $XXX better.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:15 pm • # 12 
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great review!

Bart


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:01 am • # 13 
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i Agree..great review!!! thanks for thre detailed comparisons :smokin


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:06 pm • # 14 
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Waterborne,

Thanks for your time and views on the rods. I didn't have the chance to cast the TXL-F or the TFO, but I agree on the other two rods.

Tight Lines


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:11 am • # 15 
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Waterborne, you're one hell of a mature person with bloody high EQ and sensitive hands when it comes to figuring out a fly rod. Thanks so much for this review and for the cool ice cream quote. I hope you don't mind if I use that in the future. ;) Will help me avoid many arguments with people who don't want to hear your opinion but only want theirs to be heard. LOL!


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