The second time I ever went fly fishing was on a guided trip on Utah’s Green River. I expected to have a great day, I expected to catch lots of fish and I expected that I would soon have my own fly fishing equipment, but I didn’t expect to get my first rod that day.
We had a great day fishing and caught lots of nice fish, but while we were putting the rods away at the end of the day, the tip broke off my friend’s rod. No big deal since his rod had a lifetime warranty and would be repaired, but that left us a rod short for fishing the next two days. Our guide came to the rescue and offered to let us borrow one of his Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO) rods.
The next two days, we used the TFO 6 wt and my friends 4 wt rod on Utah’s Middle Provo and Strawberry Rivers and the High Uintas (read post on catching grayling). After our fishing trip was over, I emailed the guide to make arrangements to send his rod back to him. His reply said if I wanted to keep the rod, just send him what he paid for it. I’m not going to tell what I paid, but it was a very good deal even if the rod had seen some use.
Fly Rod Design – TFO Rod Power Matrix
Fly rod design is an attempt to balance between three factors: presentation, distance and fish handling ability (Lifting). As designers attempt to maximize one or two of these factors, it is at the expense of the other factor(s), so all designs are a compromise.
There is no such thing as a rod that can crank a large fish out from under tree roots and cast a small fly quietly on the water 100 feet away. These factors are obviously different and relative to different types of fishing. Presentation may be very important for small trout in clear calm water, but not so important for salt water fishing. The ability to cast long distances and handle large fish is more important for catching large fish on large bodies of water and for salt water fishing.
Temple Fork Outfitters trademarked Rod Power Matrix
- Presentation – accuracy and delicate presentation
- Lifting – ability to handle large fish
In my attempt to understand the Rod Power Matrix so I can decide which type rods are best suited for different situations, I converted TFO’s graphed images (photo above for example) into numbers shown in the Table below. Notice that the totals for Presentation, Distance and Lifting always add up to five.
Temple Fork Outfitters Fly Fishing Rods
|NXT 2 piece||Med-fast||2||2||1||4 – 9|
|NXT 4 piece||Med-fast||2||2||1||4 – 9|
|Lefty Kreh Signature II||Med-fast||2||2||1||2 – 10|
|Lefty Kreh Professional Series II||Med-fast||2||2||1||2 – 10|
|Fly Rod Chronicles||Fast & Med||2||2.5||0.5||3 – 10|
|BVK||Fast||2.5||2||0.5||3 – 12|
|Clauser||Fast||2.5||1.5||1||5 – 10|
|Axiom||Fast||1.5||2.5||1||5 – 10|
|Lefty Kreh TiCr X||Fast||1||2||2||5 – 12|
|Lefty Kreh Finesse||Med-fast||3.5||1.75||0||0.5 – 5|
|Bug Launcher||Fast||3.5||1.75||0||4 – 6|
NXT, Lefty Kreh Signature II and Lefty Kreh Professional II Fly Rods
The Table is sorted by the price for a five weight rod. You should notice that the first three models (NXT (2 & 4 piece), Lefty Kreh Signature II and Lefty Kreh Professional II) are all medium – fast action rods and all are equal for Presentation, Distance and Lift (2-2-1). These designs maximize Presentation and Distance, but have some Lifting ability, which should work well on most small to medium trout streams. At $90, the 2 piece NXT is an excellent fly fishing rod for the beginner.
Fly Rod Chronicles, BVK, Clauser and Axiom Fly Rods
The next model, Fly Rod Chronicles, listed as both fast action and medium action, has been slightly tweaked to increase Distance and the expense of Lifting ability (2-2½-½).
The BVK, a fast action model has been tweaked the other way, to increase Presentation instead of Distance at the expense of Lifting ability (2½-2 -½).
The fast action Clauser model also gets a Presentation score of 2½, but it comes at the expense of Distance, so Lifting ability remains at one (2½-1½-1).
The Axiom model (fast action) takes things a different direction to increase Distance at the expense of Presentation and again, leaving lifting ability at one (1½-2½-1).
Both the Fly Rod Chronicles and the BVK models would be better for casting farther to small, but spooky fish. One focuses on better Presentation, the other on more Distance. The Clauser model is designed for for better presentations to medium sized fish while the Axiom is designed for better Distance to medium sized fish. All of these fast action rods are probably better suited to more advanced fly fishermen.
Lefty Kreh TiCr X, Lefty Kreh Finesse and Bug Launcher Fly Rods
The last three models might be considered as specialty models, two for more advanced fishermen and one for a beginner. The Lefty Kreh TiCr X model had completely gone the direction of maximizing Lift and Distance at the expense of Presentation (1-2-2). It makes perfect sense that this model was being used by our fishing guide, where most fishing was nymphing and not dry fly fishing and where hooking very big fish was common. Probably not the best choice for a beginner like myself attempting to learn to cast dry flies, but I still catch fish.
The Lefty Kreh Finesse series are medium-fast rods that have specialized in the opposite direction, in an attempt to maximize Presentation at the expense of Distance and the total loss of Lifting power (3½ – 1¾ – 0) where you need to be stealthy on small waters for small, spooky fish.
TFO makes another fly rod they call the Bug Launcher. It is a smaller thinner rod designed the be a first fly rod for kids. It is designed just like the Finesse model to maximize Presentation with good Distance capabilities and minimizes lifting ability (3½ – 1¾ – 0).
And remember, all Temple Fork Outfitters rods come with a lifetime no-fault warranty. Just make sure you register your new rod when you buy it.
Difference between Lefty Kreh TiCr and TiCr X
I have a Lefty Kreh TiCr model (6 weight), which is an older model that has been replaced by the TiCr X. Since it has been replaced, I was curious about the differences between the two models.
TFO says the 6 wt. TiCr X is 9.0 feet long and weighs 3.8 oz. I found archived data for the older TiCr was exactly the same length and weight. I read a post where someone claimed the only difference between the two rods was the TiCr X had a heavier Butt section, but TFO still sells TiCr blanks and lists the butt diameter of both models at 0.38 inches. The TiCr blank weighs slightly less than the TiCr X at 1.92 oz to 2.06 oz, which makes the TiCr X blank about 7% heavier.
One review I read about the TiCr said “I happen to think the TiCr 5-weight is one of the nicest rods Temple Fork has produced”. I believe some of that rubbed off on my 6 weight.