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Underground Review: The Orvis Superfine Touch 8' 4wt Small Stream Fly Rod

Posted by Tom Chandler 10/24/2011 5 minutes

Can A Modern, High-Tech Fly Rod Really Turn The Head Of A Cranky, Low Modulus Small Stream Fly Fisherman?

 

I'll be honest; I was prepared to *not* like the Orvis Superfine Touch fly rod.

We all have our hangups, and mine involves marrying the latest high-modulus technology to supposedly smooth, bendy small-stream fly rods, the idea being the two rarely play nicely together.

A lot of today's fly rod marketing involves words like "power" and "performance," and neither is much in demand on a stream you can jump across.

Orvis Superfine Touch fly rod

Still, because I'm a benevolent rod snob, I agreed to test the Superfine Touch, especially once Orvis' Tom Rosenbauer said many modern fly rods are designed to load well at 30'-40' ranges (which neatly explains all the overlined rods we see on the river), while these rods were designed to load at normal small stream ranges (15'-30').

When I had to choose the rod (disclosure: I did an ad trade-out), I tumbled for the 8' 4wt instead of one of the more exotic lengths or weights, and for good reason.

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The 8' 4wt is the classic small stream fly rod.

Ian Rutter fishes his 8' 4wt Scott G2 all over the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, John Gierach's fave small stream rod is his 7'9" 4wt Walter Babb bamboo, and the 8' 4wt Winston TMF (Tom Morgan Favorite) is still around after a bazillion years.

In fact, when Chris Raine and I sat down and invested an hour discussing the ultimate small stream bamboo fly rod, we decided it looked like a 7'9"-8' hollowbuilt, light-actioned 4wt with a tip light enough to curl a leader and a couple feet of line under that overhanging brush.

When I fish small streams, I vacillate between an 8' 5wt Phillipson and an 8.5' 4wt Diamondglass, so you can see how the 8' 4wt was right in my wheelhouse.

While I was still in the shopping phase (I'm a slow buyer), the Superfine Touch in the 8.5' 3wt or 8' 2wt formats represented real temptations, but I'm a gruff, slightly crazy, "hey you kids get offa my lawn" kind of guy, and to me, that says 4wt.

What Happened?

Right out of the tube, the rod was something of a revelation -- it felt like the love child of a toothpick and my bendy, you'll pry-it-from-my-cold-dead-hands 8.5' 4wt Diamondglass fly rod.

(Side note: I'm hearing ugly rumors that the "new" Diamondglass tapers are not the same as -- nor the equal of -- the old ones. More as we hear it.)

The 8' 4wt Superfine Touch feels extremely light in the hand, and in fact, it largely disappears over the course of a day.

Because it has so little mass, you don't feel the rod loading when you're only casting a leader (that's because it's not), but after just a couple feet of fly line escapes the tip guide, the feel in your hand builds rapidly.

By contrast, my 8' 5wt Phillipson bamboo rod will "load" carrying just a leader; the mass of the rod itself is sufficient to bend it.

Still, the Phillipson's tip is too heavy for most small stream work (it was designed to fish at longer distances), so while I love my 8' Phillipson, I was forced to admit the Orvis Superfine's light tip cast more accurately at small stream ranges.

In this instance it seems the rodmaker's hype is manifestly true; the Superfine Touch fishes beautifully at knife-fighting ranges.

Orvis Superfine Touch 8' 4wt fly rod

The tip is light enough to roll just a little bit of line under overhanging brush, and the taper is slow enough to deliver the fly line with a great deal of delicacy.

This is not an all-around rod you'd want to use on big, windy rivers, but it's plenty capable of airing out a little line.

Chris Raine and I cast it for distance in his rod shop's high-performance casting pond (OK, it's a parking lot), where it hit 40' pretty cleanly.

With a little hauling, we were able to goose it out to 60', though it's clearly not made for those distances.

An added bonus; the 4-pc design makes it very easy to cram it into a daypack or slither through brush, and after falling on it twice, I'd have to say Orvis made it tough enough (they claim their "epoxy–based resin system with plasticizers" makes for a tougher rod).

One bit I didn't fall in love with were the rapper-bling gold-plated guides and reel seat (the lightweight reel seat features an excellent design, but the gold color practically demands a pair of fuzzy dice).

Apart from the bling, the rod's cosmetics are understated; the blank is unsanded and the wraps are a nice, conservative orange-red color (to this color-blind writer). It comes in a carbon fiber tube that's light enough that you won't necessarily leave it at home when you hike into a lake -- a nice touch when you're terminally clumsy but too lazy to carry a lot of extra weight on the pack.

I Come Clean

I would have loved to test the Superfine Touch against the equivalent rods from other manufacturers, but then, you wouldn't be reading this for another year.

I will say this; at $475, the Superfine Touch is at least a couple hundred dollars less than the Scott G2 and Sage ZXL, and based on the G2 rods I have cast (the 8'8" 5wt), it's hard to see what might account for that difference, especially at the kind of distances I was fishing.

Orvis Superfine Touch reel seat

In fact, I ended up fishing this rod a lot more than I had to; it quickly became my go-to rod for small streams, though I wasn't necessarily admitting that to myself.

Finally, a friend wrote and said he'd been reading between the lines in my posts; did I like the Superfine Touch as much as I hinted?

The answer is yes.

Life, apparently, teaches us many lessons.

Simply put, I like this rod enough that if it was my only small stream fly rod, I wouldn't feel deprived. It simply fishes well at what I'll term "normal" trout distances, and the net affect is that the rod largely disappeares from the scene, leaving just you, the trout, and the (hopefully) breathtaking scenery.

That's no small praise coming from someone who can typically take or leave (usually leave) rods built over the last two decades, and while I'm holding onto my 8' Phillipson and 8.5 4wt Diamondglass, I'm forced to admit they both fish better when you can air out a little more line.

The Superfine Touch is a terrific rod, and at a couple hundred less than its competitors, it's apparently a terrific deal too.

See you fishing at 40' or less, Tom Chandler.
Destinations
 (1)
Culturally inclined and well preserved, Asheville is surrounded by majestic mountains, lush national forest lands and scores of fresh water rivers and streams. Long recognized for ... moreits art-deco architecture, performing arts and numerous music festivals, this mid-size city of about 84,000 has also become well known for its abundant trout fishing and is frequently referred to as the Trout Capital of the South.

And, you don’t have to go far to fish! The Davidson River, named after an early settler to the area and voted one of the top 100 trout streams in America by Trout Unlimited members, runs right alongside town. Less than an hour’s drive easily gets you to the Tuckasegee River. The South Fork Holston River (SoHo) considered one of the finest tailwater trout fisheries east of the Mississippi, and the Watuga River, also highly regarded, can be reached in 2 hours or less. By some estimates, there are over 4000 miles of public waters within driving distance of Asheville.

Rivers like the Davidson are most popular during the spring and fall months although year round fishing is permitted in tailwaters. During the hot summer months you may find yourself competing with tubers, kayakers, canoeists, swimmers and people just enjoying a waterside picnic.

Steeped in history and surrounded by natural wonders, Asheville offers a wide variety of options to those not choosing to fish. These include:

The Biltmore Estate, the largest single family home in the US

Asheville Art Museum

Black Mountain Golf Course

Beer City Bicycles

Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians

Great Smokey Mountains National Park

Appalachian Trail

There are several options for traveling to Asheville, including:

Fly into Charlotte’s Douglas International Airport and drive for about 2 hours

Fly into Piedmont Triad International Airport (serving Winston Salem, Greensboro and High Point) and drive for approximately 2 hours

Fly into Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport and drive for approximately 2 hours
Fishing Waters
The Pamlico Sound, is known as the fishing gem of North Carolina. It is the largest lagoon along the North American East Coast, extending 80 mi long and 15 to 20 miles wide. It is ... morepart of a large, interconnected network of lagoon estuaries. Together, these sounds, known as the Albemarle-Pamlico sound system, comprise the second largest estuary in the United States, covering over 3,000 sq. mi. of open water. A sound is a term used for a saltwater lagoon. The Pamlico Sound is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Outer Banks, a row of low, sandy barrier islands that include Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Cape Lookout National Seashore, and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. The Albemarle-Pamlico Sound is one of nineteen great waters recognized by the America's Great Waters Coalition.
Only an hour outside of Asheville, all four sections of the Tuckasegee River are included on the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail, five if you count the West Tuck - and there ... moreare only 15 spots on the trail list! In other words, this river has a lot to offer. Beginning at the confluence of the Panthertown and Greenland Creeks, the river flows for 60 miles until it joins the Little Tennessee. Its basin is sizeable, draining an estimated 655 miles.

The river is well stocked with brooks, browns and rainbows, although there are still wild fish throughout. State support for the river is generous with an estimated 50,000 fish added each season. Not surprisingly, the river boasts one of the highest fish counts in North Carolina, purportedly 9,000 fish per mile. Large numbers of rainbows and browns reach trophy proportion, both in weight and length.

Delayed harvest has been successfully employed through the 5 mile section between 107 Bridge and the riverside park in Dillsboro. As a result, this section is catch and release only, from October to June. That said, experts consider this the best place to achieve a “Tuckasegee Slam” where you reel in all three species in one spot.

One of the more inviting aspects of this river is its accessibility. Highway access is ample and parking is well marked and available for most of the river. The East Laporte Park to the 107 Bridge offers picnic tables and public restrooms. The river can be waded and floated in the middle and lower sections.
Game Fish Opportunities:
A favorite among NC fishermen, the Davidson originates in the mountainous Pisgah National Forest, a scenic area surrounded by other national parks and preserved forest land. As the ... moreriver wends its way south and nears Asheville, it empties into the French Broad River. Since being included on the Trout Unlimited list of top 100 trout fishing streams in the nation, its popularity has grown, bringing an increasing number of out-of-state anglers.

Luckily the state works hard to keep the river healthy and the fish flourishing. The river is divided into sections based on the regulations that apply to each. From its headwaters to the confluence with Avery’s Creek, it’s wild fish only, fly fishing only and strictly catch and release. From Avery’s Creek to the national forest line, you’ll find hatchery supported brooks and rainbows.

The section between the Pisgah hatchery and Looking Glass Creek is what really draws fishermen to this river. Here you can expect to find clear, slow moving pools, few overhead obstructions and lots of hatches that support brooks, browns and rainbows, many over 18-inches long. Like other heavily fished waters, the fish can be cunning and despite their large numbers, hard to reel in.

Route 276, near the town of Pisgah, parallels the river, providing lots of public access. There are stretches of restricted private land, although there is a 3 mile section where you can purchase temporary fishing access. Much of the river can be waded and enjoyed with your feet in the water.
Game Fish Opportunities:
Trips
$
225
-
$
450
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 3 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
The Davidson River is one of the most famous rivers in North Carolina. It has the biggest fish in the state, and the most experienced. This is a crowded river that routinely yields ... moreopportunities at fish of a lifetime. It can be very tough, but all it takes is one chance at a 25″ brown trout to make you want to come back the next day. When the Davidson is good, it is as good as anything out there
$
350
-
$
450
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
The South Holston River is located near Johnson City Tennessee and is a short drive north from Asheville North Carolina. The South Holston is one of the finest fisheries in the Appalachians ... moreas well as the country. This tail water is a 15 mile section located between south Holston lake and Boone lake, and holds some of Tennessee’s largest trout.

The South Holston river provides blue wing olive and midge hatches year round as well as great suphur hatches through the summer. Whether you want to dry fly fish the riffles and flats or fish indicator rigs through the deep limestone ledges you can be assured you are fishing in one of the premiere fisheries in the country. There are also lots of sight fishing opportunities on the south Holston river, which is most of our guides favorite tactics. If you see it you can catch it!

Let Asheville Anglers introduce you to the South Holston River and I’m sure you will fall in love with this great waterway as well. Prime Sulphur hatch on the south Holston river is June through august but any day you have the chance to fish the south Holston you take it.
$
400
-
$
600
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 3 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
5 hours - 1 day
We fish the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound for speckled seatrout, redfish, striper, flounder, giant red drum,bass, crappie, perch, bream and shad trips and the Crystal Coast for false ... morealbacore, bonito, bluefish, cobia, sharks and giant red drum on both fly or light tackle.

Spec Fever Guide Service fishes from a 22 ft. Frontier bay boat and can fish up to 3 comfortably, but for fly fisherman we recommend 2 anglers. Trips are priced per boat from 1 to 3 anglers. All your tackle, a blanket saltwater license, ice and bottled water is provided.

Capt. Gary Dubiel has over 40 years of fly fishing experience and an IGFA Fly Rod World Record holder. He is a fly designer and tier and a fly casting instructor. He and his fly patterns have been published in many books and magazines. Capt. Gary is a regional Advisory Staffer for TFO and Edge Rods and Pro Staff with Cortland Fly Line and has the boat packed with top notch gear.

Spec Fever Guide Service offers fishing trips out of Oriental and New Bern. Here's a guide to what we have going on;

January: Stripers, specks, panfish out New Bern

February: Stripers, shad and panfish out of New Bern

March: Stripers, shad, bass and panfish out of New Bern and spotted seatrout out of Oriental

April/May: Specks and redfish out of Oriental, top water stripers, redfish, bass and panfish in New Bern

June/July: Specks, redfish, flounder and the occasional giant redfish out of Oriental

August and September: Giant redfish out of Oriental

October-December: Specks, redfish, stripers and flounder out of Oriental and New Bern
Outfitters
Asheville Anglers Guide Service is owned and operated by Jay Dodd and Travis Honeycutt. Both Jay and Travis are locals of area, and take great pride in their home, and guide service. ... moreAsheville Anglers has been in operation since 2003 and will be for many years to come. There are many great fisherman in the world, but few great fishing guides. A great fishing guide has to not only enjoy fishing, but enjoy teaching and passing on their knowledge to others. “Our goal is to make each and every day on the water the best experience possible”.

Asheville Anglers provides all gear, tackle, and equipment on every guide trip. Each guide is outfitted with a comfortable hard bottom drift boat, sage and orvis rods and reels, and nothing but the best flies and lures available. Experience a first class guide operation with Asheville Anglers each and every trip!

AuthorPicture

Tom Chandler

As the author of the decade leading fly fishing blog Trout Underground, Tom believes that fishing is not about measuring the experience but instead of about having fun. As a staunch environmentalist, he brings to the Yobi Community thought leadership on environmental and access issues facing us today.

81 comments
Tom. The review pushed me into buying the 3# 6'6', used for a decent price. I really love this rod and as most of my fishing is within 20' it's perfect. Thanks again.
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this is my first visit to your website. One of my old go to favorites is the far &fine 7.9 5wt from the early 90s. I whole heartedly agree the gold hardware has got to go. however I just ordered the 9 foot 6wt touch from eBay for a price that I could not turn down. I am very curious to see how this rod will cast.
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"Near $500 for a rod that, when all's said and done, doesn't have to do very much?" Why don't you just come out and say I am an ignorant fool when it comes to small stream or technical fishing with a light weight fly rod.
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Making a cheaper version of the Superfine and then trying to tell me it is somehow better than the previous version, if you can believe that, is total BS. I have the Superfine Trout Bum 7'6" #4 and I think it is the best small stream rod ever made.
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[…] Re: Glass vs plastic A graphite Sage Circa is a slow action fly rod made for those that prefer that type of action. How soon we forget that the Circa won several "best" fly rod awards in 2012. Jerry Siem Discusses the Sage CIRCA Fly Rod | MidCurrent Sage CIRCA Has New Technology, Old-School Feel Of the New Orvis Superfine Touch, full flex graphite fly rod. Full Flex Fly Rods | ... more Superfine Touch Fly Rods | Fly Fishing -- Orvis Underground Review: The Orvis Superfine Touch 8' 4wt Small Stream Fly Rod […]
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Being impressed with the 1wt., I bought a 5wt. for windy conditions on the alpine lakes I frequent for greenbacks. It does fine in this environment but it is definitely not a big river rod. I've fished it on the Miracle Mile section of the North Platte but found it lacking when nymphing with lead and when the wind really kicks up. But it is not made for this type of fishing so no foul. For average ... more Miracle Mile conditions, I am forced to go to my Orvis Helios 2 broomstick. When the wind dies down a bit I use my Leonard cane, which is a far better rod than the Superfine 5wt. However, the Superfine 5wt. is my rod of choice for fishing for upper Potomac river smallmouths. Unless you are throwing big hair bugs, its perfect for this application.
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I snapped the end of the butt section of my Trout Bum 7'6" 3wt yesterday catching a 19" bow...yes, I did manage to land it. Orvis will fix it, but offered an upgrade to any Helios rod for $350. Wish I could do the upgrade AND find another soul with a broken Trout Bum 7'6" 3wt (different section) and make one Superfine out of two broken ones. Have any thoughts on the upgrade offer and/or finding broken ... more rods to match?
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You hit the nail on the head. My only problem now is that I will be returning it tomorrow as the cork has a crack in it around the whole handle. I am holding my breathe that its just a fluke and the next one will not have a problem. I don't think it is anything I did. I do fish more then most (daily) but I have only had it for less then a week and I babied it. On a lighter note I would love to see ... more forums like this do reviews on the more affordable rods in the industry as they are the core of what is being sold. I bought a Cabelas LSI 9' 3wt. I have to tell you it casts like a dream. It is a fast action fly rod, but not blistering fast. It casts very true and straight. It is also has very robust fighting strength. I have landed some very respectable size large mouths and never had any reservations about its abilities. In fact I've considered using it for occasional trout trips and replacing the 4wt Superfine touch with the 2wt Superfine touch. I thoroughly enjoyed your review and hope to see more.
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lloyd: Thanks Tom, I did go with the 8’0? 4wt. I Hey, cool. Glad you like it. lloyd: I will say that neither rods feel as slow as the reviews I’ve read claim they are. They actually have a little pop to them. I think you're right, and the issue is one of imprecise use of the terms surrounding rod design (myself included). The Superfines aren't especially "slow" tapered, but I'd say they are light ... more actioned -- they load up with very little line out. A rod can nudge towards a "fast" taper but load up easily (the Superfines), and more than a few of us will describe them as "slow," which isn't particularly accurate. I should re-read the review and see if I've done that.
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Thanks Tom, I did go with the 8'0" 4wt. I have to say the 3wt was great to cast but the 4wt feels much better. I cant believe how light they both are. I have to say even though there is a line weight difference , they feel worlds apart. The 4wt feels so much more robust. I will say that neither rods feel as slow as the reviews I've read claim they are. They actually have a little pop to them. Needless ... more to say it is a pleasure to cast and fish with.Thank you for the advice.
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It's not the line weight so much as the length; I arely fish a fly rod shorter than 8' -- I want the reach too much to fish anything shorter. Older Bro fishes the 8.5' 3wt Superfine quite a bit and hasn't been left stranded by it, though I tend to prefer a 4wt because some days the wind blows or you need to throw that #8 dry... I'd go with the 8' 4wt or the 8,5' 3wt before I'd stick with the 7.5' ... more 3wt...
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I received a 7'6" 3wt superfine touch as a present and I am not sure if it's the size I really want. I was told by the guys at the local Orvis shop that I could trade it for the weight I wanted which is the 8'0" 4wt. I am confident in the 3wt's ability to land the fish I'm trying to land. I am really concerned at the idea of feeling limited in the fly selection I will be able to utilize. I understand ... more that streamers and the like are out of reach but concerned by let's say weighted nymphs and dropper rigs. I am a fairly proficient caster but still concerned. Any opinion on how limited i will find myself with the 3wt.
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Michael5: Has anyone fished the 8’6? 5wt in the series? No, I haven't. I think it might be a really nice rod, and Rosenbauer assured me they put a lot of effort in the heavier lined-versions.
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Has anyone fished the 8'6" 5wt in the series?
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Just cruising the internet and came across your review. I agree with and appreciate what you have written. I have been fly fishing for 54 years. Much of my fishing has been in small rivers, creeks and alpine lakes. I spend a couple of weeks a year, alone, above 12,500 feet fishing for greenback cutthroats. I also fish larger rivers like the North Platte. Until two years ago, I fished cane exclusively. ... more I used my Leonard 6wt. for larger rivers and my 3wt. and 4wt. cane rods for the smaller waters. My favorite small water rod was an Orvis Battenkill 4wt. I fished that rod for 34 years before an airline lost it. However, I happened to meet a boy on my hike out of a wilderness lake. He was fishing a creek with a Superfine 1wt. I tried the rod just for the heck of it. I was very pleasantly surprised. Its action was very similar to my dearly departed Battenkill. I purchased the rod and it has replaced my Battenkill as my go to rod for small water. The action is perfect for small stream fishing and it can reach out a bit when necessary on the alpine lakes when there isn't any wind. I like the fact that it fits into my backpack. Other than the ascetics of using a rod that was built by a skilled artisan, the little superfine is a gem. I was impressed enough to buy a superfine 5wt. to carry to altitude for those times that the wind really blows, which happens often high in the Rockies. In my opinion, Orvis got it right with the superfine. I still love my cane rods, but the superfine with its four pieces is a more logical choice for backpacking.
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...my friend and the type of fishing we are extremely lucky to do!!!
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Just wanted to say Thank You for the review. My best fishing buddy's wife is looking to buy him a high end rod for Christmas something that he would never buy himself. We live in Western Montana and put 30+ plus days on the water including an annual week long trip into the Bob. For the most part we fish the smaller rivers where 15' to 25' is the normal casting range and have trouble making delicate ... more presentations with our over lined 5 wt bazookas that are designed to chuck a streamer 90' on a windy day on the Yellowstone. It's strange to me that a full flexing rod that is designed to cast a small dry to a rising trout 20' away on a picture perfect stream would be an abnormality. I have suggested that my friends wife look into rods also made by Harding, Sage, and Winston as well but after this review will suggest she buy the Superfine 8' 4 wt. I to have heard Tom Rosenbauer pimp the Superfines and I think the concept of a full flex rod is geared towards
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Any way you slice it, Orvis is onto something with lineup, and there are a numbers of choices bound to leave that big ear to ear grin on many folks. Hope you guys continue having fun out there.
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BTW -- nice website. Love the pretty pics of the sunnies. Glad to hear they're working out for you.
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I feel that the 8' 2wt is the star of the series. It's a really fun rod and is quite versatile. I haven't spent much time with the 8' 4wt but I liked it as well. The second best is the 7'6" 3wt. A bit stronger than the 802 but just doesn't have the fun factor that the 802 has. I caught a 28" carp on mine last year. Speaking of fun factor, while a niche rod, the 6' 1wt is a hoot! I built one for a ... more friend in Chile and he really puts it to the test. I've built several of these SFT blanks out and they are top notch when it comes to fit and finish.
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I feel similarly about the 8' 2wt, which could prove interesting on the real little guys in my local streams...
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I now wonder what the 4wt 8' or 8'6" 5wt throw like.....but that's not in the budget for this year so it might be dangerous to even look.
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I used the 7'6" 3wt on a recent south fork of the Kings River 4 day hiking/fishing trip. I was amazed at how it handled a 12-14" brown that I coaxed out of a hole just north of where Bubbs Creek dumps in....granted...flows are incredibly low for this time of year, but I was able to cast quite accurately and with a lovely soft touch out to about 40'....it was realistic enough that he took without hesitation. ... more I found I needed to fight off the butt more, leaving the tip straighter, and this gave me enough stiffness to thwart a runaway while still protecting the tippet. It made for an extremely fun event that I'm still enjoying a week later!!!!
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I've since cast & fished the 8.5' 3wt, which is a very precise rod, but (not surprisingly) lacks a little of the feel/feedback that makes the 8' 4wt so special. Still, it's an excellent small stream rod. I find myself wondering just how the 8' 2wt might fare on the real small local streams, especially given the 20% off deal Orvis is offering...
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Having bought and fished the 7'6" 3wt a few times now....what an absolute hoot this rod is. I love how they pull of the light and soft touch. I have thrown a couple glass rods back in the day, and one of the newer Diamondglass (8'6" 4wt) and it seems to have a similar action minus the feedback you get of the additional inertial during casting due to higher mass. This is going to be one of those rods ... more I'll enjoy for quite some time. As to the cost....look around and you can score some deals. I got the rod, a line and fly box for $475. Not the cheapest and not the most expensive. People loose hundreds of dollars in a couple hours in Vegas in droves and considering as long as I take care of this thing, it'll last me decades....I'm not crying too much. Don't like the price, pass on by and pick up a TFO or equivalent that btw are also great rods for the money as well.
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[...] Older Bro fished an 8.5′ 3wt Orvis Superfine Touch that is an impressive fishing tool, though it offers just a skoosch less feedback than the truly impressive 8′ 4wt Superfine Touch. [...]
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[...] Re: Orvis Superfine Touch rod? Here's a review I trust on the 8' version- Underground Review: The Orvis Superfine Touch 8′ 4wt Small Stream Fly Rod – - The Trout ... [...]
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Great review! One fo the better I have seen on any rod. Having been a lifelong fan of the original unsanded superfines, I was hoping for a decent rod to come out. I was ticked off when they discontinued the latter, and ordered a new far-and-fine from thir custom shop the next year thinking they would never build them again. So far, I like what I see, but have yet to fish one. I will add this much....the ... more 7'6" 3wt feels nearly the exact same as the old "Brook Trout" Superfine, and almost begs to cast a 4wt DT. Have not cast the 8' 4wt yet though. You have my mind working now. I also like the pricetag. Good move by Orvis. I have to agree with you on one major negative point as well though. The gold trim HAS TO GO! My only fault to the rod as well. NJTB
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I wanted to clarify; I didn't like the gold color of the reel seat, but I loved the design of the thing. Very light and totally secure. I'd prefer it to a nickel silver slide band often found on my bamboo rods.
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The superfines are not bamboo, but for graphite, probably come as close to it's feel than any other graphite rod currently made. They are a wonderful anglers compliment when fishing small streams. I thought the review was an honest depiction and represented the readership details of a tools ability to get the job done......pure and simple.
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In years past I have been a loyal customer of Orvis, but from an aesthetic point of view I think they have been missing the ball pretty frequently ever since they started using gold reel seats on their Trident TL rods and changed the porting and line guard of their CFO reels. Nobody wants to see cheap, gaudy materials on expensive, high-end goods. What's wrong with traditional nickel silver and a ... more wood spacer if you want a refined look? Or a drab matte finish if you want a stealthy tool in close quarters?
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@ Tom. Great review. IMO Orvis has really been producing some ugly rods. Does Orvis really think the gold reel seat and their name covering a nice wood insert looks good? Come on Orvis, wake up. Their top of the line Helios is even uglier. How many times does Orvis need to put their name on a rod?
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I want one. I just got my first fly rod at the Orvis outlet store, a very inexpensive Clearwater II without the 25 year warranty. It's a 8.5 5 weight. I think next will be a 3wt for the little tribs and headwaters in the Catskills which are my backyard.
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Boy Oh Boy. Don't most of us fish at 30 feet or less? Or maybe I'm just a stream and creek junky. This is a production rod that does what a custom carpet fibre, glass or bamboo rod is usually tasked to do. Y'all cut me a break... and TC, too.
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This has been an interesting discussion. Whether or not this rod is affordable really depends on the view/attitude of each person who may be interested in the rod. One person may consider it real affordable while another may think it's overpriced. Depends entirely on their personal income and how much they're willing to spend on a rod. To me this rod doesn't appear to be overpriced since it's in the ... more mid-range in terms of prices for graphite rods. Does that mean I"m gonna rush out and buy it? No. The next rod for me will be a 7 1/2' 3/2 5wt bamboo fly rod made by a modern maker. It's taken a while to save up $$ for this but I'm getting close. After I buy this rod (hopefully this spring) that'll be it for me in terms of buying another rod for the foreseeable future. As I'm sure some of you here can relate, having two small children does cut into being able to buy rods (the last bamboo rod I bought was 4 years ago).
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Sully: Jonny, We get it already.You're one of those guys who always has to have the last word. He commented on the style of the original rod review. That's a form of criticism, for sure, but seemed the sort of thing a writer (like Chandler) ought to be able to take. Every response since, to Jonny's posts, have had the purpose of telling him was wrong, or worse, insulting him ("fuck off", "pity", etc.). ... more Yours is the same. It's a clever trick: you accuse somebody of "being that type who has to have the last word", and then force them into a corner. They can let the personal insult go unchallenged, which is fine, I suppose, but even reasonable people can't be blamed for wanting to respond. Or, they can try to address the insult...and prove you right. Clever. (No, not really.)
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Jonny, We get it already. You're one of those guys who always has to have the last word.
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I'm a carp guy. Fly fish forum. If you believe you should spend 500 in order to cast, mend and bend your rod, you've bought the dream and I extend warm congratulations. In turn, be a dear and permit my jolly war against the marketing procession of anging trinkets. If you're a dry fly, underground sort of fellow, you'll understand. I am doubting, however, that you are an angler, much less with the ... more dry. Such a fellow would surely not stoop to acidic remarks from the safety of a pseudonym. Jon Atherton
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The professor: , If that is “not too much” as you suggest,then you simply are not a dry-fly man. Pity. No, Jonny is not a dry fly man. He can't afford it.
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Jonny: Near $500 for a rod that, when all's said and done, doesn't have to do very much? , Yes, it doesn't have to do too much. Just cast dries to spooky wild trout. As Tom stated, "The tip is light enough to roll just a little bit of line under overhanging brush, and the taper is slow enough to deliver the fly line with a great deal of delicacy." If that is "not too much" as you suggest, then you ... more simply are not a dry-fly man. You weren't curious as to the cast, the bend of the rod, the ability to mend. Just that you thought price was the be all and end all. Pity.
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My mistake - you said "terrific deal". An horrendous misrepresentation.
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Gee, as much fun as this has been, I'm going to make a point and go. First, you won't find the words "exceptional value" or "affordable" in my review (as putting quotes around them in a comment suggests). That's because I never said this was an affordable fly rod. If the product you're reviewing is $200-$250 cheaper than its apparent competitors, it's probably something you should mention -- but it ... more doesn't translate to a recommendation as a best buy or anything. I'll let you kids decide what's "affordable."
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....you guys are oooooooold.......Good morning read and chuckle,though...Jonny is right,however...500 smackers IS a bit much for an affortable rod,but that's the market/price point these days. If you can get the blanks go for it,you can get a much better looking stick built for less and it's 'bespoke' too.... TC can be as snarky as he wants,it's his playground....ya gotta be able to blow off steam ... more somewhere......
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Did someone say Paul's dead? Again?
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So Dan, ... You say you want a revolution?
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Since I was one of the price posters, here's the reason I made my comments: 1. I love this site and...ummmmm "respect" the comments from TC. 2. TC obviously is not a bought and and for spokesman for XYZ rod company 3. Being that TC fishes more than I do these days, his perspective on fly rods is a hell of a lot more accurate than mine. 4. While I've never met TC, I have no reason to think he'd bull ... more shit me if I ask an honest question in the constraints of this format. Even if his older and better looking brother may argue this position. ; ) 5. I REALLY want the precious few hours I get to fly fish every year to be the best they can be. And if I can glean useful information about the gear I buy here while making my fishing plans, isn't THAT reason enough for all of us to check this site 5 or 6 times a day? 6. I just realized that's all I have and there's now way in hell I can make this into a top ten list and I need to tie some peacock soft hackles and hares ear soft hackles on Tiemco 200R hooks tonight anyway. 7. TC HATES 200R hooks. He blames his inability to hook trout on the hook. 8. I plan on staying in a Holiday Inn express next week in Texas on a business trip. 9. Number nine, number nine, number nine, number nine, number nine, number nine 10. I wonder home many readers have no clue what number nine means? In a nut shell, we're here because we fish and we appreciate TC's site. While we may argue about the costs of the fly fishing business, we all participate at some level. Next week: Waders, is $500 enough to stay dry?
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[...] Chandler, on the Trout Underground, has a nice review of the new Orvis 8' Superfine Touch rod. A quality review and some good info on what to look for in a rod for small stream action. Hint: [...]
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Uh,,, how about reading his response where he tells someone that reads his blog to 'fuck off'.
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ml: god, chandler, you get so bitchy/prissy when someone makes a critical comment.you need thicker skin. So the purpose of your remark is?
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god, chandler, you get so bitchy/prissy when someone makes a critical comment. you need thicker skin.
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For the record I wasn't bitching about the price. I was just taken aback to read (here of all places) that this rod, which is designed for conquering streams "that you can jump across", and which the writer (and subsequent posters) thought to have certain ugly characteristics, was, in the writers view, "exceptional value" at 500 nicker. Given the interest in more "low end" rods (a marketing term used ... more to breed penis envy), perhaps others thought similarly, who knows. I was not suggesting this was typical of Tom's delivery, nor that he is in bed with Orvis, or anyone else - I was commenting on this one review. But you're right about one thing: I should know better than to engage in tittle tattle about an industry that is, to me, more parasite than friend to the sport of fly fishing. I'd happily see it suck a tailpipe, as this great American once said: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDW_Hj2K0wo I shan't do it again. djohnson: not bitch at the writer about the price/vaule of the rod. djohnson: So, the way I see it is…if you dont want to pay 500 bones for an outfit…stay out of the Orvis store, and dont bother reading a review on it. Now, if you want to read about something new on the market, and consider it…and the price…read the review, and decide for yourself, not bitch at the writer about the price/vaule of the rod. I personally feel most flyrods are overpriced, and Orvis is most definately…upper end equipment. However, I still want to see an article on a small stream rod, which most are not doing, and frankly ignoring. So I say, lets give Tom a pat on the back for reviewing a tool that most others will ignore. I guess Tom, from now on….just state the price…and your readership can decide if its a good deal for them or not…..as to not rile the troops, as it were. Hehe.
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Sully: You can contact Orvis for the blanks. You can contact Orvis for the blanks - they'll sell them to you.
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You can contact Orvis for the blanks.
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Hey Tom, This was a terrific review and I've been curious about the 804 SFT. Take a look at my review of the SFT 802 here: http://breambum.blogspot.com/2011/10/orvis-2-weights-old-and-new.html Keep up the great work! Chris
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So, the way I see it is...if you dont want to pay 500 bones for an outfit...stay out of the Orvis store, and dont bother reading a review on it. Now, if you want to read about something new on the market, and consider it...and the price...read the review, and decide for yourself, not bitch at the writer about the price/vaule of the rod. I personally feel most flyrods are overpriced, and Orvis is most ... more definately...upper end equipment. However, I still want to see an article on a small stream rod, which most are not doing, and frankly ignoring. So I say, lets give Tom a pat on the back for reviewing a tool that most others will ignore. I guess Tom, from now on....just state the price...and your readership can decide if its a good deal for them or not.....as to not rile the troops, as it were. Hehe.
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Mudhole sells Orvis blanks, but often not at the top end. That said, they sold the previous Superfine blanks when it was still the current model (they still do), so perhaps when they do show up on the market, thats where they'll be.
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Does anyone sell these blanks?
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a nicely conducted review with good photos once again, thank you. kinda wish these rods were in my price range as new. but it's ok, because i wholeheartedly agree on one point... gold? ugh. it's not even a blip on my future-used-purchase radar because of that.
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I have two 6' 2wt and love both of them for exactly what you are talking about. I'm also considering going down to a 4wt for the delayed harvest waters.
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Ed I think Tom hit the most important point when going with a 2 or 3wt here in NC, size. I'm a fan of blue lining myself and more often than not non-designated waters. With that comes the realization you will be chasing fingerlings up to 6", 8" and over are trophies!
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Exactly what I like to read; an honest, unbiased assessments from someone qualified to call it like they see it. Great read Tom!
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I am not surprised that you this rod. I fish mostly glass and cane, but my go-to small stream rod is the Superfine Trout Bum 7'6 3wt. (The Trout Bum was the predecessor to the Touch). I am not sure how much they could have improved it in this new line. I guess I know at least one person who broke their Trout Bum, so perhaps improved durability is a good thing, but the new rod is quite ugly in comparison. ... more That reel seat is horrid compared to the TB's nickel-silver wedding band reel seat.
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Tom Chandler: OK, but there's a licensing fee (a beer). A fee I will pay gladly!
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Funny coincidence--just set myself up with a little 7' 4wt Orvis Access creek rod this fall. Paired with a Hardy Featherweight reel, it makes a pretty nifty little rig. I just fished it a couple of times on the Silver Fork of the American River, and it works great. Definitely makes little wild fish feel big, and I seem to be able to put flies where I want to. I'm not enough of an afficionado to really ... more know if it's all that great a rod, but I have fun. I'm curious--you ever fish with an access rod?
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Kudos for another unbiased report. I'm surprised anyone reading this blog is surprised at the cost of a quality, handmade-in-America, fly rod. That said, does everyone know about the 60% deal at Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone. You pay 60% of the cost of the rod and then make 4 monthly payments on the balance--no interest. For those unfamiliar, Craig Mathews owns Blue Ribbon Flies and he cofounded ... more 1% for the planet with Yvon Chouinard. I buy my rods there because it's a good deal and Craig Mathews puts his money where his mouth is--for real.
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I had a 7' 4wt batson rainshadow cutom built for a hundred dollars. It's a great rod. I should order another four. Dan: TC, Have you written a rod review with lower price points?Something a little more,”trout bummish?”Is there any such thing as a great casting rod under..say $250.00?How about a small stream rod vs Upper Sac rod?Or is it simply time to stop squeezing the nickle so hard the buffalo ... more craps in the Indian?
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Tom. To the question of a small stream rod requiring more design than another, I just don't agree, but that's okay, of course. I could fish a small stream well with a garden cane and twine, and I'm a distinctly average angler, and merely one who thinks $500 for a brookie pole is expensive. We agree to differ, fucking off optional but not preferable (and rather unmerited given our rich history of jolly ... more correspondence). Sorry (really) if you thought I called you a pimp. I didn't.
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I don't write that many rod reviews, and don't pretend to be an expert on everything that's out there. A couple of low-end rods I do like are the 8'9" 4wt Temple Fork Finesse rod. It's not in the same class as an old Sage LL, but it is fairly sweet, pretty versatile, and costs $180. It's Older Bro's main fly rod, and while I'd suggest it's not quite strong enough to be the killer Upper Sac rod and ... more it's a little too strong for really small streams, it will do both. And while I haven't cast the small stream version, I did test cast (briefly) a 9' 5wt Redington Classic Trout that was very smooth. I can't speak to the 8.5' 3 and 4wt or the 8' 4wt versions of the rod, but given the quality of the 9' 5wt (and the $149 price) I'd suggest they're worth a look. I tend towards slower rods than most, and you have to take any of my recommendations with that in mind.
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Tom, With eight feet of line out of the tip and a matching leader, do you prefer the double taper line with this rod or the more prevalent weight forward? Not that you'll have an opportunity to use either in the small stream setting, I was just curious ...
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Great review Tom. It most certainly DID NOT sound like an industry-standard plug. I've always enjoyed your gear reviews. Keep up the great work and thanks so much for keeping the Underground up and running. We very much appreciate it.
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That question is easy to answer. Buy used.
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Man, you guys really like a violent slant to your gear reviews...
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Jonny: Near $500 for a rod that, when all's said and done, doesn't have to do very much? My guess is that designing a rod to fish really well with one foot of fly line or 30 feet (the normal range for smaller waters) is probably a hell of a lot harder than building a cannon for windy bonefish flats. The latter only really has one defining characteristic while the former has to accommodate several. ... more But that's just an opinion. A terrific deal, my foot. Sorry old chap, but this read like an industry-standard plug to me. I'm tempted to tell you to fuck off, though that's probably the wrong tack. In less heated terms, I'm one of the tiny handful of bloggers who actually seems to give a shit about the conflicts of interest riddling this industry, and one of the few who regularly calls out the industry for its more egregious behaviors. To refresh the record, I fished this rod for a good nine months before writing the review, and more than paid for it by trading Orvis an ad placement (at any reasonable ad rate, they got the better of the deal). I disclosed both to my readers right in the story. Contrast that with others offering up uncritical "wow" reviews seconds after the gear comes out of the box (or while the junket is still in progress) -- and tell me again I'm in the business of pimping for this industry. If I was pimping, I also wouldn't be publishing negative reviews (I panned the Glacier Glove River Rat pack and Patagonia's "Rock Grip" wading boots), nor highlighting Sage's overbearing sales copy for their "One" rod. The Trout Underground remains one of fly fishing's most heavily trafficked blogs (with Google Search Results the envy of almost everyone else's), and believe me, if I was really interested in trading all that for free gear, I'd have an office full of the stuff. I don't.
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TC, Have you written a rod review with lower price points? Something a little more,"trout bummish?" Is there any such thing as a great casting rod under..say $250.00? How about a small stream rod vs Upper Sac rod? Or is it simply time to stop squeezing the nickle so hard the buffalo craps in the Indian?
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I think there's a lot more personal taste involved this than the industry would like you to believe. I "think" I fish a 4wt because I live in the west where it's often windy and a foam hopper is always a possibility, so I'm a little happier with a 4wt than a 2. After all, there's the character of the water (more gradient=faster currents) and while you're mostly catching 8" trout there's always a chance ... more for a 12" fish which will want to run you into downed timber... You get the picture. But when it's all said and done, someone could make a lot of equally cogent points for a 2wt, and it all comes down to my feeling that a 4wt is just a lot more useful on a day when it could blow hard or grasshoppers could be hitting the water like chum, or...
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flylink: Oh, I am going to steal that from you, only use it as “A benevolent beer snob” OK, but there's a licensing fee (a beer).
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"Still, because I'm a benevolent rod snob," Oh, I am going to steal that from you, only use it as "A benevolent beer snob" LMAO!
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I had been considering lighter weight rods (3 wt or maybe even a 2 wt) for the creeking here in NC and I was puzzled when reading your accounts of fishing small streams using a 5 wt. I thought you'd want the lighter rod as it'd be able to make those more delicate presentations (that copywriters always tout). I think now I'm coming to understand the “why” in using the 4 or 5 wt rod on streams you ... more can step across. It's the versatility, you're not giving up that much on the low end, but you gain when you have the chance to “open the throttle”; plus on the bigger water (relatively speaking) you can, in a pinch, muscle the occasional streamer or (heresy alert) wooly bugger. I have a 7' 6” 3-4 blank that I'll assemble when fall fishing is done, and give it a try in the spring (mind you just to establish that you're correct).
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Nice review, I DO LIKE the Superfine touch a LOT. Im on the UL side of things, so my SFT are a 761-4 and the 802-4 with custom reel seat (cork and rings like the old superfines). See you at knife fighting range...
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Near $500 for a rod that, when all's said and done, doesn't have to do very much? A terrific deal, my foot. Sorry old chap, but this read like an industry-standard plug to me.
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"...fishes beautifully at knife fighting range." Brilliant!
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