Fly Rod Review TFO Impact

 Fly Rod Review TFO Impact

by Klaus Berger

*Note from the Managing Editor – We love hearing real-life fishing stories and equipment reviews from our readers, and this one was recently sent to us by a reader all the way up in Canada. Since we haven’t had the chance to use the new TFO Impact Fly Rod ourselves yet here in Patagonia, we decided to post his review so everyone could share his experience. This is an independent review submitted by a reader who is not affiliated in any manner with the Patagonia Journal. We take no responsibility for omissions or accuracy of the article.


Starting out to try to put on paper an honest, detailed review of the new TFO Impact fly rod I realized that this encompassed much more than just an equipment review. It included my joys and frustrations, my success and failures, my ignorance and knowledge, where I’ve been and where I want to be and most of all why I fly fish.
I now see the reason was much more than just catching more and larger fish. Although this was, and still is the ultimate purpose, the real reason lay in the details. To name just a few it was getting out in the countryside and on the waters, stopping to observe or photograph the landscapes, plants, animals and what ever caught my eye. It was being, not only aware and interacting with my surroundings, but also being a part of it. Always exploring what was around the next bend in the stream or in the next bay on lakes and large ponds. It was constantly improving my stream or lake sub-surface awareness. Always striving for that ideal cast with that perfect, of the moment, fly and the exhilaration when it all came together and the thrill of the battle on.

Last fall, seeing I was getting out less and less over the past few years, I took a trip to a local lake that held decent trout and proceeded to exhaust myself with constant, repetitious casts and asked myself “was I having fun?” No I wasn’t. So I packed up and went home to sit and brood about why I just wasn’t into it any more. One reason that stood out was that I had gotten older and the body just wasn’t quite what it used to be. The solution? Try starting with improving the equipment and see where it goes from there.

It had been many years since I’d held a new fly rod in my hands and knowing there had been many improvements in materials and rod design I went to a nearby department sized store to feel a few in my hands and see where prices had gone. I zeroed in on rod size in the 8 weight category since my personal style of fishing favored seeking large fish and thereby using large streamers. If I could raise a fish to the surface it was a bonus but I liked working the hidden structures and currents. I also found when fish weren’t hungry I could bring out the aggressive, territorial instincts with a big streamer and fast retrieve.

Needless to say the high end rods felt great but the prices didn’t. Remember I still had to get this past my wife! So many rods, where do I start? As with many good things in life that occasionally come your way, I was drawn to the TFO rods and them to me, or so it seemed. The feel was the same as the high end ones but the price was much lower putting them still within my budget. I kept coming back to them after trying other rods. They fit both of my criteria for quality and value that being: Quality – the accomplishment of design and process to meet or exceed the expectations of the user; Value – the marriage of quality, durability and price. Since the TFO rods were in this category I went home to do some computer research.

Early in my search I came across the Patagonia Journal’s TFO BVK review and took note since it was written by one who was on the waters continually, had any rod at his disposal but kept coming back to the BVK. An excellent honest review from a user and not a salesman! And he loved the pursuit of large trout with large flies like myself! I was willing to stop my research right there but out of curiosity I broadened my search only to find the rave BVK reviews everywhere by fellow fly fisherman.

The final test started a few weeks ago after I got the land owner’s permission for accessing a nearby small lake that was rumored to hold pike. I had been inspired by the fine Scandinavian fly fishing and fly tying videos on YouTube by the likes of Nicklass Bauer, Daniel Holm and many others in Sweden and Denmark in their creative pursuit of large pike, sea and brown trout and basically anything that’s large, swims and can be caught on a fly as well as the fine articles, photos and videos coming out of Argentina, especially the Patagonia Journal. I tied up many, various in sizes, from medium, large and just plain huge and rekindled my joy of fly tying. These are a blast to create and the ideas are endless! But how will they cast?

Well the first short outing had me testing my creations for action and appearance in a still back bay out of the wind and I was very impressed. Venturing out into the windy stretch of shoreline I was quite surprised at the rod’s ability to handle the heavy load of articulated streamer on a wire leader and punching it through the wind. Once I gained a rhythm and worked out both depth and presentation I got many follows right to my feet of surprising large pike and ended my first short session with several hooked, battled and released. Sitting on the shore packing up my gear I had a huge smile on my face savouring what just took place. The TFO Impact rod, the flies, the fish and the gorgeous countryside…yes, I remembered the joy of what fly fishing meant to me and why I have done it for at least 40 years!
I’ve been back to the lake many times the past few weeks, always testing some new streamer I’d just tied and constantly hooking, battling and releasing large pike. As I used to believe and many still do that pike fishing is boring and their fighting ability is poor don’t believe it for a second. Get out with a TFO Impact fly rod, grab some huge flashy streamers and fish near the surface. The strikes can be explosive and these fish can fight. At least the huge ones sure do! I landed a personal best ever on a fly rod two days ago with a pike longer than my leg. The feeling of excitement and satisfaction still lingers today. I’ll be back soon!

In conclusion, I wrote a detailed review of the TFO Impact 8wt and reasons for purchasing it because I know there are a lot of fellow fly fisherman who felt the same as I did. My recommendation? Pick up the rod, try it and you’ll agree. It not only has the brute strength and ability to cast huge flies but shines even more with its sensitivity on lighter, smaller ones. It’s the only rod I’ve tried that encompasses the full range with sacrificing little. Three actions in one (fast, medium and slow)? Very close indeed. The fighting ability on large fish meets or exceeds any expectations. TFO has a real winner here! Quality and value = TFO Impact.



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