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One of my specific intentions at Sunday's Kaufman's Spey Clave was to try as many CND rods as possible. There was a good selection, but because of tight scheduling of the presentations (and they were excellent, one and all), I had time to try just a few.
The Steelhead Specialist handled a short floating head plus sink-tip competently, but that style of line just isn't my cup of saki. The 15' 6" 9/10/11 Salmo Salar Specialist was light but strong - too strong for the 8/9 Mastery I put on it. I imagine that lines near the midpoint of its rating would make this rod sing.
As I attended to Simon Gawesworth's lecture/demonstration, I was holding the 16' 7" Thompson Specialist 10/11/12, which was fitted with a 9/10 XLT; my senses were telling me that "Something's odd here. This rod is longer than any I've ever cast, but it feels like my 9140!" I had time to use it for just a few casts before Nobuo Nodera reclaimed it for his demonstration, but what a revelation! The rod easily sent the XLT halfway across the Skykomish, with a feathery ease that was nothing like my 16-foot Daiwa Alltmor (which Nobuo confirmed that he'd had a hand in designing). There was nothing quirky or tempramental-feeling about this big rod, just smooth, comfortable power like no other spey rod I've ever tried.
Well, I'd better start filling a new piggy bank, so that when the Alltmor becomes too much for an old man, the Thompson Specialist will be ready to ease my burden. :(
 

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Great rod

A 9140 it isn't, but it is a great rod and not appreciably heavier than a Sage 10150-4. Get that piggybank filled and enjoy the fishing more right now.

BTw a 10/11 long delta works well on the Thompson and should be a good line for tips, provided you don't want to cut an XLT.
 

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Mac,

I had the pleasure of casting the first two prototypes of the rod last fall (one was 16'6" the other 16'8") and then got to cast the real deal 16'7" at speybum's mini clave last February. If I did not already own the T&T 1611, I would have a very hard time choosing between the CND Thomspson Specialist and the T&T 1611. The T&T is a slightly more powerful rod, but they both come into their own with the extended-belly lines and both are very nice casting tools.
 
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