Over the last couple years our company has grown from an idea to a up and coming competitor in the Fly Fishing Industry. When we started we saw ourselves as a reel company and didn't really consider the addition of any other products. We wanted to make reels that were durable, stylish, and affordable so the average fisherman didn't have to compromise according to their budget.
About a year after starting our company we really recognized that like reels, a quality fly rod was often too expensive for the average consumer. While there are many great rods out there at a affordable price, pick up a $600-$900 rod and you can see and feel the difference. We knew we could design and build a high end fly rod with all the look and feel of top rods at an accessible price point. The decision was made in the spring of 2014 to design our own fly rods. It is now two years later and our first rod is ready to hit the market.
Our first step is designing rods was to ask one simple question "what makes a fly fishing rod great?" Our research began by gathering many of the rods that top casters, industry leaders, and fly fishing professionals considered the best. We took those rods and we cast them over, and over, and over. We analyzed the rods, researched them, broke them, and fished them. We also researched the blanks, components, cork, and finishes of the rods. We began to get a really good idea of what separates the top rods from everything else. Here is a small list of what we found made a great fly rod (Some of this was specific to our 5wt criteria but most of it was consistent across the board regardless of rod size).
1. The Graphite and Resins- While performance graphite isn't a new technology new innovations are constantly being made. Rods are being made stronger and lighter because of state of the art graphite and resin technology. The best rods use the best graphite and best resins to reduce weight and improve strength.
2. Performance- The best rods can delicately present a fly at close distance while having the backbone to perform consistently and accurately at a long distance. Certain rods can cast long but felt like broom stick up close and others can gently lay down a dry fly under 25' but felt like a wet noodle at any distance past that. The best rods could do both! This made us ask, why? We found three consistent characteristics in the best rods. 1. Stiff/Fast responding butt section of the rod was needed for distance. 2. A soft tip was needed for an accurate and delicate presentation up close 3. Rod action needed to be fast yet progressive through the blank. (Action is an open ended term that means a lot of things to a lot of people in fly fishing. The best way to accurately describe action is a combination of taper [where the rod bends] and stiffness [the rods recovery time after being bent]). All the best rods had those three things in common.
3. Hardware- Many fly rods use similar hardware. The best rods have the best hardware and pay attention to all the little details. Some of the small details like double locking reel seats, winding checks, and stripping guides can make all the difference.
4. Cork quality/rod handle- Not all rod handles are the same. They have different shapes, details and cork quality. The best cork might not make you a better caster but it does improve the look and feel of the rod.
5. Reel seat- Out of any part on a fly rod the reel seat is the one that is most subject to style and preference. While the weight and locking mechanism can effect performance, most of the reel seat is all about style.
6. Craftsmanship- The finish, thread wraps, epoxy, color consistency, etc... all make the difference between a good and great rod. You need the right hands doing all the finishing touches in order to make a great rod.
While there is a grain of truth to the notion that rod action and performance is a matter of personal preference, the best rods simply look, perform, and feel better. The six items we just listed are the reasons why certain rods are just plain better than others. In 90% of your fly fishing scenarios this remains true except where specialty rods may better suit your needs.
When we designed the new Taylor Fly Fishing Phenom rod we focused in on perfecting those six characteristics. We wanted to design a rod with maximum performance, the best hardware, a great handle, the beautiful reel seat, and the best craftsmanship.
The Phenom rod uses our new X-Tempo rod design. When hunting for a buried treasure they say X marks the spot. Our X-Tempo rods perform at the perfect merger of tempo and stiffness. We consider it a fast action rod with the feel of a medium action. We really believe we hit the sweet spot when it comes to rod performance in the Phenom.
We designed the Phenom using top quality high modulus graphite. It's more expensive but we know the only way to make a great rod was to use the best materials. The rod also uses hard-chrome snake guides and an SIC stripping guide.
One of the unique details of the Phenom was that we chose to use composite cork for the rod handle. We loved the look and feel, and it has the added benefit of being more durable than traditional cork.
One of our favorite aspects of the rod is that we chose to use a raw unhanded blank with only a clear coat. You can still see the tape marks on the blank and raw graphite has a beautiful look. The thread wrapes are trimmed in silver, the alignment dots also list the rod wt. and length, and the label is a two tone white and grey. We chose a carbon fiber reel seat because it perfectly accented the blank and it reduced the weight of the rod.
The Phenom will be available for pre-order in May via Kickstarter.com and it will ship mid-summer.