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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:47 am • # 1 
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Well I finally got around to getting everything with this rod finished today. (Jerry I should be able to send it out to you tomorrow).

Due to the crappy winter weather here, I wasn't able to fish this rod. I did however take the rod down to my creek and cast it. One day it was cast over ice, but the following sessions were on open water after we had a thaw. I tested the rod with 3 different lines, an Orvis Silver Label WF1, Cortland 444SL DT1, and a Hook & Hackle WF2. Sorry, but I didn't want to brave the cold weather any longer to try a 3wt line.

I have never been known as a TFO fan. As a matter of fact I haven't cast one that I like with the exception of the discontinued S-glass rod they once had, but that's not a UL rod, and no I wouldn't buy one just because it cast good. With that said, I'll just say up front that in the end I didn't like this 1wt either. I was pretty excited about getting my hands on this one though after hearing what Les, and Jerry had to say about it. I had started to think that I would buy a blank and build one up, but now that's not gonna happen.

The thing about this rod that I like the most is that it packs down really small, and could fit in a day pack. I've been wanting a day pack type rod for a couple years now, but haven't found one yet that I'm willing to own.
The reel seat on the Finesse series is nice, but it doesn't belong on this rod. The grip is fine, it's smaller in diameter and shorter than on the heavier Finesse rods. That said, this rod needs to have a grip and seat like the one Jerry crafted on his build.

I tried the Orvis WF1 on this rod first, and it was in no way easy to cast. The rod, line, and myself just weren't jiving in any way. I tried in vain to get enough line speed for the line to anything, but I ended up flailing around with it, then soon gave up with this combo. Now I am not a super caster, but I'm not a poor caster either. I can cast better than many fly fishers out there, so I don't think it's my casting abilities that were at fault here.

The Cortland DT1 was a better performer, but still, it seemed as though I had to do all the work casting, the rod was no help. I had to force it into generating enough line speed so that the line didn't sag on the back cast.
Roll casting either 1wt  line wasn't all that pretty either. I was beginning to feel that the rod was in fact underlined a bit with standard weight 1wt lines. Getting any distance was simply a chore that I didn't care for, and I had trouble trying to shoot any line at all past 30 feet.

When I put the WF2 on the rod, it simply changed it's attitude and casting was no longer me just manipulating the rod, but the rod was working with the line, and me. It cast in close, out to 45 feet or so with a single haul, and even further with a double haul. The 2wt  worked 10 times better than with the 1wt lines. Even though the rod works better with a 2wt line, I still don't like the rod at all. I don't know what it is with the TFO rods I've tried, but I think they could use a taper overhaul. They just don't feel right to me.

I did all my test casting before I did any CCS testing. As a matter of fact, I did the CCS about a half hour before sitting down to write this, so I didn't have any deflection readings to cloud my judgment while I was out casting the rod, which was done about a week ago.

The ERN for this rod is 2.38. That puts it in the 2wt category, and that's the same thing my casting results told me. To me this is a 2wt rod, and not a 1wt. The AA on the rod is 63, that's medium action, not slow, nor medium fast. When using a 1wt line on this rod, it will feel faster than it really is because it has more power than a 1wt really should have. The 1wt line won't load the rod as deep as the 2wt line obviously.
For the record, I like all rod actions from slow to fast, so I don't have a bias either way about how all rods should load. A fast rod is what it is, just like a slow rod is what it is. I look at it from the point of view of how the rod is designed to behave, and does the rod actually behave that way.

Some of you may not agree with my findings, and that's fine. Buy what you like and don't let me tell you what you like. I won't recommend this rod as a don't buy, or a must buy. It's up to someone to try it out and decide for themselves if it's for them or not.

Rick, If your reading this, I do feel a bit bad that of all the TFO rods I've reviewed, none have gotten a two thumbs up from me. I wish it was otherwise because I like the fact that you offer affordable rods to the fly fishing community, and beginners benefit from this. On the other hand, I think that the tapers need to be refined a bit. There are other offerings out there in the same price range that cast and feel much better. Personally, I think that Gary Loomis should be working on the fly rod tapers just like he is with the bass rods. I mean no disrespect at all, this is just constructive criticism from a gear review writer.

Jeremy


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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:10 pm • # 2 
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    Thanks J...............I am sure that your reviews are as honest as you can make them. I personally value your opinions and have purchased a rod that you did recommend in the past. (fantastic rod) I for one am grateful that you will take the time to do these gear reviews and look forward to more in the future.  (and as for my $.02) "Don't feel as if you have to apologize whenever a rod doesn't measure-up"............ Don S. in SC      Image


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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:23 pm • # 3 
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Thanks for a comprehensive review. I found the same problems with this rod when I spent some time with it lined with a SA GPX 1wt at my local retailers casting pond last week. I didn't like it either. But in all fairness I should mention that I don't like medium action rods in general.


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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 2:53 pm • # 4 
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Nice, comprehensive review as always, but dont totally agree. I find these evaluations of individual tastes, I find the grip and reel seat wanting on this rod as Jeremy reflected, Pearow is going to do the one I have over for me, like the one Jerry displayed on his build. Have owned a few different model TFO rods, Signature series, Professional, FwFs, I wouldnt use some of em to move pianos with. but thats the nature of the beast when we are talking about mass produced rods made overseas. you just cant compare them to a fine custom rods made by Dave Lewis, etc your paying $300-400 for a graphite rod...Paul


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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:02 pm • # 5 
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Good review, J. We can't all like the same rods all the time or life might get pretty boring. I'm guessing it's the taper and not the speed of the rod that's not agreeing with you. I'm in the enviable position at the moment of having five different 1 wt rods here in my office and have been playing with them all off and on.

Here's what I've found in a crude slow to fast action order: 
[list type=decimal][*]Orvis Original Superfine 7'9"  [*]Elkhorn Western 8'[*]Orvis Superfine Trout Bum 7'6" [*]TFO Finesse 6'9" [*]Sage TXL 7'10" [*]Elkhorn Traveler 8' [/list]
So as you've already stated there's a lot more to liking a particular rod than just the "speed" of the action. Good stuff. 

 I'll post some more Elkhorn data soon. It's been too cold the last few days to do any serious testing.


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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:07 pm • # 6 
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Thanks for the review.  I have the tfo 1w and like it.   As an inexpensive 6' 9", 4pc rod with alignment markers, it seems like a dedicated small stream rod for "hike to brookie" fishing.  To fish on anything but small overgrown streams with a 1w, I assume that a longer (7'6" superfine or 7'10" sage) rod would make more sense, and the rod would not need to to be in a 4pc form. 

I have never put a 1w line on my tfo, but it casts nicely with a 3w.  It will balance with only 2.5 oz of loaded reel mass, which not many rods will do. 

For small stream ultralight fishing, there aren't many inexpensive 4pc rods around this length that allow for a balanced combo under 5 oz ... maybe only the St Croix Imperial 7' 3w and 6'6" Greys Streamflex 3w?  Are there other < 7ft 1 weights to compare this rod to, anyone know?

        



Last edited by Guest on Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:19 pm • # 7 
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Trouter2 wrote:
you just cant compare them to a fine custom rods made by Dave Lewis, etc your paying $300-400 for a graphite rod.
This is one of those other dead horses that keeps coming up.  Image   You have cane lovers, 'glass lovers, graphite lovers, etc.   Choose your weapon and have fun with it.  

If a beautifully crafted hand made rod does it for you then go for it.  If, on the other hand, you've found that a $129 Redington CT 3 wt is the perfect rod, then that works too.  The nice thing about mass-produced rods is if they get the taper right you can buy a half dozen of them for backups and know they'll all perform the same.  Image

I can't give cane lovers a hard time about their emotional attachment to the whole hand-crafted thing because even though I've tried cane and would much rather fish a very light graphite, I'm also a mechanical watch aficionado and wouldn't even consider wearing a cheap quartz watch despite the fact that a $10 quartz movement is usually more accurate than a mechanical watch costing hundreds or thousands of dollars.  Some times it's just not about being logical. 







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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:21 pm • # 8 
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Yeah Jerry, I hate the taper. The only rod action that I really don't like is those that are actually so wet noodle like, that they are pointless casting tools. Thankfully that type of action is pretty much non existent anymore.


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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:47 pm • # 9 
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I did not realize that Scientific Anglers made a fly line in 1 weight .. thought they started at 3 weight, show you how much attention I have paid recently .... Paul


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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:28 pm • # 10 
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Well apparently I'm wrong about the line I tested. The last post sent me to the SA website and SA doesn't make a 1 wt GPX. The guy in the shop said he thought all the test lines were GPX's. Oh well. I still didn't like the rod. 


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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:16 am • # 11 
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Technically SA does make 1wt lines, but they are Orvis branded lines only.


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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:30 am • # 12 
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Thx for the review.  I am glad to see testing and reviews on rods.  I am looking for a 4pc 1wt rod some day...but for now, I will stick with the Cabelas PT+ 2wt.  I know what it is, as ugly as it is, it does what it is supposed to do with dignity.  The only thing wrong with the PT+ is the cork/reelseat.  I should just find someone to make it look all better for me.  Then I would really love it. 

I might look more into the CT Redingtons now for my 4 pc rod.


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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:05 pm • # 13 
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Hey Jeremy, thanks for your time!. This gonna be a helpful post for members to follow, I was thinking on getting this rod cause is cheaper than the Orvis SF... but I rather save a little more an buy the Orvis. Im not saying that the TFO is a bad one, but I do like slower rods.


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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:30 pm • # 14 
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simonuca wrote:
Hey Jeremy, thanks for your time!. This gonna be a helpful post for members to follow, I was thinking on getting this rod cause is cheaper than the Orvis SF... but I rather save a little more an buy the Orvis. 
The TFO 1 wt is very close in it's action to the Superfine Trout Bum 1 wt.  That's one of the rods that Les and I tested it against.  It's just a tiny bit faster.

Of course if you're looking at the price of a new TFO plus a rod tube compared to a used Superfine then things are much less clear.  The Superfine is the better casting rod of the two--I don't think Les would argue with that and I know J wouldn't.  But, if you can find a used TFO it could be a great deal.

I've been casting this Elkhorn 7' 1 wt next to the TFO and Superfine and it really shines too.  It's a hair slower than the Superfine and is *very* smooth.  It's also cheaper than the TFO.  The downside for me is that it's only a 2 pc rod which will be an upside for some people.

BTW, I picked up a brand-new Superfine 3 wt a few weeks ago for $330 so the price of used ones should be dropping significantly as well.



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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:17 pm • # 15 
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Agreed, the superfine would be the better choice if you're willing to pay more.


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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:52 pm • # 16 
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Good Job on the review J. I enjoyed reading it...Thanks for the time and effort...


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 Post subject: J's TFO 1wt review
PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:17 pm • # 17 
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I had a chance to try out the TFO 1wt at the Somerset show last weekend and it just blew my mind what a difference a line weight can make. I first tried it with a 1wt Sci Angler and I couldn't get into a rhythm. My loop completely collapsed. I then switched over to a 2wt Sci Angler and suddenly I could make it sing! I was able to find my cast quite easily. I needed to do a few more casts to get a good roll cast, but overall, I liked it.

I will probably look to pick one up at the Valley Forge show in March.


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