2016 has in many ways been the Year of the Fly Rod, with some
impressive technology creating some truly groundbreaking rods from many of the
major rodmakers. Thomas & Thomas not only joins them, but one ups them all with
their new "Contact" series of tight-line nymphing rods. As a veteran
Euro Nympher with well over a decade devoted to the method, this rod
blew me away. Even at 3" longer than any of their American competitors,
the11'3" 3wt rod clocks in at 3.1 ounces, an exceptionally light weight and
nearly 1/2 ounce lighter than any of the premium or mid-priced 11
footers currently available. This is important when you are holding a
long rod up in the air all day long. Along with the light weight comes the T&T Contact's superior
sensitivity & accuracy. I was able to
detect very, very subtle takes, and also put my flies consistently right
where I wanted them.
By design the T&T Contact employs a fast action but a
soft tip to enable casting longer leaders with light flies, and to cushion the hookset with the lighter tippets we often use. The
tip dampens very quickly after being flexed, which really helps with the
casting. These new rods not only perform at the highest level, but they
are damn hard to break. Joe Goodspeed of T&T told us that so far in
testing, not a single one had broken yet. Their propriety StratoTherm
resin gives the rods amazing durability, light weight, fast recovery,
and extreme sensitivity. Now no fly rod is unbreakable, car doors will
do even the strongest rod in, but these rods are quite strong considering the thin blank and light weight. Though it's only rated a #3, this rod has plenty of backbone in the
lower half to land truly large trout.
In addition to the superb build quality I have come to expect from T&T several features help this rod to stand out from the pack:
a fighting butt to help balance the rod and battle big fish, large single foot black REC Recoil guides for uninhibited casts, and an
unpainted, unsanded blank which aids lightness and strength. Some Euro rods omit the hook-keeper, but
this rod has one (placement under the blank still allows me to put my
finger of top of or on the side of the blank for extra senstivity).
The REC single foot guides reduce the amount of wraps & epoxy needed, keeping the physical weight of the rod down as well as reducing the swing weight,
which makes the rod feel lighter in the hand and more pleasant to cast.The guides are made of nickel titanium alloy, which makes
them virtually unbreakable; if you flatten them against the blank
they pop right back up.
T&T Contact series of nymphing rods has a combination of features that no other rod on the
market has. Cutting edge materials and technology make it perform better than it's competitors. Casting is effortless and accurate even
with a long leaders and light flies. The sensitivity is superb, and
despite the light tip there is ample power in the rod for casting and landing large fish. I really cannot
find a single fault with this rod.