Monday, March 18, 2013

My Review: TFO Finesse Half Weight 5' 3Pc

I broke down and bought a new rod. ...    Or maybe a more honest truth would be;   My wife broke down and let me buy a new rod.    After the tax return went into checking, I was on the phone ordering the rod through the nearest freshwater fly shop; Jt's (a TFO dealer)
Before I start telling you about this rod, you must know that this review netted me no money, no freebies, no nothin... just fish.   This is my fourth TFO rod, so I might be a little biased.
I forked out (after sales tax, $170 bux)  a really large purchase for me, but hey, I couldn't resist. I was in the market for a replacement to a 4'9" boo 1-piece 0wt & a 5'8" boo 2-piece 000wt. The pack-ability of this rod, 22" broken down! really sounded appealing.  I intentionally never searched online for a better deal from the mall in the sky, as I would have rather supported a real Fly Shop.  If you live in eastern Ct, and have never visited JT's Fly shop in Union, Ct.... do yourself a favor and get down there, tons of stuff.!!!
  This was a pretty big decision to make, as for the last 10 of so years, my trout fishing has been done almost strictly with a bamboo rod. Buying this new graphite sounded mildly wrong. But at the same time, the decision felt like a safe move... let me elaborate.     I have a friend that for some reason, has had the crappiest luck with keeping his rods intact. in the last year and a half... TFO has replaced his broken rod 4 times with their reasonable warranty fee.  I think it's like 25 or 35 bux.. .send it in, and you get a new one back. simple.  If they don't have a replacement, as was once the case in my poor friends 8-wt one time, they let him choose any rod he wanted. Pretty cool.     It's a feeling of security or insurance that I don't get with my bamboo rods. Each one won't be some sort of 'individual feel', they are all identical. If I ever bust this rod, I can get an exact replacement fer pretty much the shipping charges.
   Out of the box... err bag...TFO does not make a tube for this rod. :( .... the rod looks great. extremely light-weight, (1.2oz) and with an awesome green color. My favorite color. the thread-wraps are also a complimenting green color, with a lighter coat of varnish than on my other TFO's. i.e. my 6' 2wt.  Maybe this was a way to save some weight? I dunno, but it looks good, very smooth, with no "ridged" wraps, the epoxy/varnish is very consistent, and smooth.   there is no stripping guide on a model this short.. and all snake guides have a blackened finish. My 6' 2wt's guides are all silver, and the blackened guides on this 5" half weight are appealing, as they kinda make me confident that when I'm sneaking up on some finicky, skiddish wild guys, a sunlight glint won't ever scare them off. the same goes for the reel seat rings.  they have a Purple/Titanium kinda color to them, are partly knurled, and more importantly, they hold my reel just fine. no wobble, twisting, or loosening. the reel-seat is all cork, and fits well in my hand.
 Fit N' Finish.. Pretty good.
     I paired with the rod my old cage reel. (I love local stuff) it's a Ct. made antique from 1900-1909.  Still functions like a friggin new reel, with the best sounding click drag you've ever heard.  (the same feeling car-junkies get from the note of a Ferrari's exhaust note)    The reel, although all a brass-ish alloy? -is surprisingly light. On the reel is mu Sage-Leland DT 000wt. once paired, the rod is balanced right at my lower two fingers.  it feels great.
Iced guides.... but you can see the black guides.

 I dry'cast in the back- yard like a dork, and was excited.  20-30-even 35'  this rod was deadly. loaded great, and threw the line effortlessly.
  I took it out a few times, and although I was never able to test it on any wild brookies, I did get into a few 2 pown-browns!!!  I ran to a Sea-Run Brown Trout stream after work (year-round) and landed 6 Buckin' browns. these guys were crazy!!!! runs, jumps, and some pretty good fights. I had on  16" furled leader, 18" of 8x and 24" of 10x. I never once broke tippet on a fish!  the delicate tip on the TFO was able to pull in 2lb trout on 10x!!!!!!    

All'in-all.   Glad I bought the rod, I'd recommend it.
*** To note. I was not happy with two aspects of this rod. Neither one affecting it's performance
---First. TFO does not offer a tube. WTF TFO. I would have bought it. their tubes are great! cordura, straps, handle. The tubes are travel-friendly.   *If you're gonna sell a delicate rod in a packable size... offer a tube. common sense. come-on.
---Second, this rod is not offered as a blank, and TFO offers no custom services on builds. (i called and asked) I would have preferred Ct. made REC bendable guides. I build mu rods, I enjoy building them, and like the personal customizations that it allows me.   I won't be able to do that here... but thats OK, TFO did a great job putting this one together.


  1. Now that's a Ferrari of a reel. Nice.

    1. Nothing compares. I have a few of these and like them a lot.

  2. I have a TFO Signature 6ft 2wt and love it.
    Good luck on your outings with your TFO.

    1. Thanks! I think I'm going to have fun with this rod!

  3. I had no idea they made rods that light, but I guess I just haven't been paying attention. I'd only heard people talking about 4 wt and bigger. I would imagine that a 2# brown on 8X & 10X tippet was one hell of a ride.

    1. Its a fun time of year.... lasts a few weeks, usually during the current closed season. (This stream remains open) if you don't get out there in the cold, ya miss it. With such a strong migration in swing, I'd like to challenge myself to a 12x12. (A 12" trout on 12x tippet). With such a gentle tip on this rod, I might pull it off. Thanks for commenting

  4. Good Lord that is a small rod! Man, I can't imagine my paws trying to handle that thing. 3wt is about as light as the ole' Squatch will go! Good for you though haha!