Reviews are such a
subjective thing and therein lies the danger.
Yet it gives
perspective to someone interested in its purchase, that may be unsure of his or
her decision or give guidance to someone who has multiple options available. So
it's like a second opinion if you like. And we all know what they say about
So the question is:
why am I qualified to write this review? The short answer is because I can
cast, or rather (like most people), I think I can. The more detailed answer to
this question is, well, I'd like to believe that because I hold a qualification
in fly casting instruction I have the knowledge and ability to adapt my casting
in optimising the action and features of any rod at hand, thereby providing a
more balanced and accurate view, and then I also cast more line and rod
combinations than most people do.
Not that I need to
defend my qualification as this is only my opinion, and yes, you know what they
say about opinions.…
The rod arrived in a
durable and practical triangular rod tube. I like that because it does
not roll around in the back of your truck and if you do need to do an emergency
breaking manoeuvre, as tend to happen from time to time in Joburg's traffic,
the soft nylon tube cover protects the tube and your load bin from being dinged
and scratched. It also comes with a handy carry strap and D ring allowing
you to latch it to a boat or other carry items when you lug all your stuff to
the water’s edge. We fly fishers love the minimalistic approach to our sport
but always seem to end up with enough gear to stock a fly shop, so a carry
strap tends to come in handy more often than not. Inside the tube is a durable
and protective looking and feeling rod sock for a 4 piece rod, in this case the
TFO Impact 5 weight, 9 foot, 4 piece rod. The first thing I noticed while
removing the rod was the cork grip. It looked different to what I was
expecting and it felt different too. The pattern is eye catching and looks
quite funky and it feels, well, grippy, more so than the conventional cork
All sections of the
rod are marked with dots that help you line up the guides without the need to
judge it by "looking down the barrel" every time you assemble a piece,
making it quite an easy and a quick process. Don't know about you but for some
reason I'm always in a rush when I'm on my way fishing. I drive faster than
normal, walk with determination and am just eager to get on the water a.s.a.p,
but for some reason my fishing mates always beat me to the water? Could it be
that their minimalistic approach is more refined than mine? Could it be that I assemble
and carry just too much paraphernalia? My wife tells me it's because I faff to
much, but what does she know about fly fishing anyway? The point is these
little dots will help in assembling the rod a bit quicker, and yes I checked
it: lining up the dots does in fact line up the guides. You may think this is
obvious but I had a rod where this was not the case, it drove me nuts!
The reel seat has a
lovely rosewood insert and a solid, functional and robust locking ring. The rod
finish is matte black "which I also like" with a tinge of green over
the first ferrule and guide wrappings.
Wiggling the rod
indoors (like we all do at the fly shop) it feels "softer" than the
fast action rods that I have become accustomed to and learned to like. Rigged
up with reel and line I quickly realised that it actually just loads deeper
into the butt of the rod.
Short to medium range
casts was very accurate as a result and the cast felt effortless.
This rod came with a
reel and line supplied which was a pleasant surprise. Normally one would only get
the rod and one would then match the rod according to a line you have available,
which in this case would be a 5 weight and preferably a weight forward floating
line to match this rod.
If I was
a rod manufacturer I would make sure that I supply the rod with a line which I
have tested to be the optimally matching line for my new rod and not leave this
decision up to chance. Can you imagine spending all that time and money into a
rod's development and then give it to someone to write a first impressions
review and he or she just smacks any old available line on my new rod. What
sorts of first impression will you get? And we all know what they say about
It's almost like a
motor manufacturer inviting you to give your opinion on their latest and
greatest sports car in their range and instead of setting the test drive up at
a race track and having a qualified racing driver speeding you through the
corners they drop the car off at your office and leave the rest up to you. You
might just end up having your granny drive you home in peak rush hour traffic.
Not the correct way to do a review, never mind creating the right first
impression! Okay, I know I am exaggerating but you get my drift.
I don't know if TFO
planned the supply of the fly line to that extent but it did seem to be a good fit.
casts I struggled at first. The rod seemed to collapse or rather overload when
I forced it a bit. I even underlined the rod with my grannies 4 weight line,
thinking it would allow me to carry more line in the air and assist me in
throwing a full fly line easier. I quickly realised that this rod does not like
to be worked as I would normally do for distance casts with fast action or let
me rather say stiffer rods. “Working” a fast action or stiff rod helps me load
these (stiff butt section) rods a bit deeper.
The Impact rod already
loads deep with less effort and as soon as I stopped forcing the cast the
energy transfer from this rod made a longer cast with much more ease.
It's not the rod I
will take along to a distance casting competition but it is capable of throwing
a long line. I was actually surprised how comfortable it is to cast this rod
through different distances and how little effort is needed in doing so.
Spending a long day on the water with this rod will help you to exert less energy
and cast more gracefully throughout the day. Accuracy and presentation is where
the Impact shines and in most local fishing situations I will take accuracy
over distance any day.
Lefty Kreh once said
that most fly rods can cast better than their owners do and I think that it
also holds true for this rod.
I just can't help
myself wondering how this rod will throw a double taper line? Maybe I should go
and scratch in granddad’s tackle box for one, I might be pleasantly surprised!
Editors note: The fly
line supplied with the rod was a Rio Gold 5 Weight
ARTICLE BY ANDY VAN DER WERFF: