TFO Clouser Rod Review

| June 9, 2010

(Thanks to the designers of the TFO site for the easy loaner image!)

I enticed fly fisher and guide, Joel Hays, to write a more comprehensive review of a rod that I have been very happy with – the Temple Forks Outfitters Clouser Fly Rod. It’s not “BRAND NEW”, but I really have enjoyed my eight weight through the spring of heavy palmetto bass and cranking largemouth out of their structure. We all know what a fantastic company TFO is when it comes to customer service, and keeping their prices in line with the demands of the masses. I will let Joel flesh out the details of what else makes TFO a great value. I finally broke a tip on another TFO rod the other day, and went into the warehouse and handed over the tip for a new one – no questions asked. (It would be a long and inglorious story anyway)

TFO Clouser Rod Review by Joel Hays –

The latest addition to the Temple Fork Outfitters stable of rods is the Clouser – designed with input from the man himself, Bob Clouser. The word on these rods is that they were designed to effortlessly load deep into the blank to more efficiently throw large flies and/or sinking lines.
They will do that and a WHOLE lot more; in my opinion, this “specialty” rod is the best all-around rod in the TFO line (for 6 wt. and above “applications” – for the little stuff, you can’t beat a Finesse)!

While technically part of the very popular TiCrX product line, these rods are really a breed apart. Different lay ups and mandrels produce a rod that is just a little slower than a comparable weight “X” with a thinner butt diameter.

I first had the opportunity to cast a six and eight wt. Clouser (both 8′9″) and was blown away by the ease of casting at all ranges. This rod has the range of the rest of the “X” family but REALLY shines in close. While putting through its paces with a standard 9 foot leader, I decided to tack on about 6 feet of tippet and see what would happen. The Clouser straightened the leader perfectly with 3 false casts and laid a practice fly on a nerf football (the target at the time) 32 feet away. And, I love the length! Who ever said fly rods had to be exactly nine feet long?
The 6wt. is a carp fishing MACHINE. I was able to fish one for a few hours on the Ray Roberts flats in August and it performed wonderfully. A few quick, LONG shots at bass, some close-in work on carp and buffs, and a nice battle with a 5 pound carp all gave a VERY favorable impression as to what this rod is capable of. If you’re looking for an excellent light redfish rod for the Texas coast, look no further than a 6 wt. Clouser.

After casting both I have to say that I decided flats fishing Nirvana will lie in between – I set my sights on a 7wt. (and I’m thinking here of my South Carolina redfishing as much as a heavy carp rod and/or popper chunker!). I picked this rod up in March just as the hybrid bass run was winding down. A cool morning after Spring Break found me below the dam at Ray Roberts, throwing a 7 wt. sink-tip and #2 lead-eyed Whistlers to deal with the 1500+ cfs current on the river. These were variables that the Clouser was designed to manipulate and the rod performed WONDERFULLY! The loading of the mid-section really allowed the sink-tip to be cast with ease (instead of the usual “micro” tailing loop you sometimes get with a faster rod). I hooked a 6 pound hybrid that tore up and down the river, bending the Clouser deep into the butt; however, I never felt like the rod was close to being “maxed out.” Yes, the butt section on a Clouser is thinner than a comparable TiCr”X”, but the rod is no wimp. You just seem to feel the fight a mite better!

Cosmetics are nice with the “X” blue blank and a few composite cork rings in the handle and the fighting butt to add longevity and looks. There is a line identification system on each rod with a red stripe (“5” wt.) and a number of yellow stripes (each one line size). My only real complaint, and it’s small, is that there is no hook keeper on the rod.

As I’ve said before, this rod REALLY proves my axiom regarding TFO’s – it’s a good rod . . . for the price, it’s a GREAT rod!

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Category: Equipment, Fly Rods, Reviews, TECHNICAL

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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