Absolutely not. TFO is a private company marketing out of Dallas, TX, whose rods are made in South Korea. I just had a conversation with Rick Pope, President of TFO, today on his new spey rods. He answers their email and is a great guy. It was only incidental but he said there were three offered. I am looking at the website now templeforkflyrods.com and they are listed there.
I can't comment on the Spey but I have experience with the general design and graphite of the TFO rods. The new TiCr's are designed by Lefty Kreh and frankly are great rods. The sticker price is significantly below what you'd expect and I'd recommend them to anyone (I bought the 7 weight for my wife's saltwater rod immediately after casting it.)
The Spey series is part of what they are now calling the Professional Series and I believe they have had a slight cosmetic upgrade since I purchased my ten weight in this series. That rod is a sweet stick, very smooth progressive action on fairly stiff IM6 formulation graphite. These rods have a big following among saltwater anglers and landlocked striper fishermen. DanBlanton.com is a good place to ask about them (I am unaffiliated with Blanton.)
I really don't know what is expected of a spey rod but I will say in full confidence that their standard type rods are excellent, and the customer service is fantastic. TFO's a similar company to CND in that they pay attention to moderating costs without sacrificing performance. I am not affiliated with them but I respect them a great deal.
The 10 weight you are talking about is the one I have.
Here's your rundown.
-Unfinished gray blank
-Good sized fighting butt, tarpon ball style in 1 1/2"
-Adequate wraps in black, gold highlighting wrap
-Oversized guides, two strippers and the rest snakes, standard crome.
-Full wells cork grip, lots of holes but again adequate, tapering standard.
-No case, comes in a plastic tube.
-Lifetime warranty, etc.
The action is comparable to a Scott SAS if you're familiar with them. Graphite is IM6 so the recovery rate isn't particularly fast (see TiCR for that.)
The rod is smooth and will deliver shooting heads more than 100'. I use 30' of LC-13 for 390 grains and it is a comfortable weight with this rod. Full floaters in 10 weight should be fine. Might size up 2 or 3 for a floating shooting head if you are into that.
In short, I like it a lot and am really glad I paid the $150 for it.
TFO sponsored our casting conclave last year and provided the grand prize, a demo 8wt which was won by Dave Williams. While in attendance I tried their 3wt 4pc and 8wt 4pc rods. Both very nice singlehanders and what a screaming price.
My casting style was not a good match for their (titanium?) hvy duty rods because of the stiffness, that is to say I am an RPLXi kinda guy for saltwater and like a smooth load with powerful recovery. I am sure there are many who favor those stiff SWFF rods, and believe it's a matter of taste. I'm sure they are very good fish fighting tools.
TFO rods have created a new niche for value rods in the market.
Zach, although I agree they are analogous in a way with CND in the Expert series rods (delivering high value products for low pricepoints), the Custom and Specialist series rods and the soon-to-be production Atlantis Series surf rods are more focused on performance and less on hitting a pricepoint. The materials and workmanship on some rods simply can't hit such low price points. But it's definitely a trend it seems, Sage also has a value series as of last year, in fact I suspect most companies will soon. I also suspect the high-value brands will creep up into the higher tiers like St.Croix did.
CND is focused primarily on three levels (1) offering unmatched performance and rod designs at the top tier (2) offering superb high-performance rods at the middle tier and (3) offering an excellent value rod at a very affordable price with the Expert series.
That's a good point, and my bad for not acknowledging it. TFO is sticking in the mid-$200s pricewise for now, although if they did issue a more cosmetic rod they'd sure have a market for it. I am pretty impressed with them in particular and value rods in general, but even I had to splurge on a Winston for my trout rod. It is a good thing that the price points are spreading, though, a lot of folks can afford decent tackle for cheaper now.
I would really like to see a little bit better set of pictures of the CND rods. I can't tell much from the reelseat shots on the website and the other photos don't have the models labelled. If anyone knows of a good place to look or wouldn't mind just snapping me a pic of yours, I'd sure appreciate it.
Their TiCR series is something of a screamer. I doubt very many with lighter-touch casts or who lack the experience to elevate enough line to load these rods would like them without overlining. I gave the 7 a workout when we got it, though, and it is just responsive as it can be. I have fished the 5 and 10 as well and, like you, found them a little stiff. The 5 would be a great lightline saltwater stick, though.
I cast a Temple Fork in July--the 14ft 9 wt--and thought it had a nice action (reminded me a little of the St Croix rods) and cast well with a MidSpey 8/9. I wasn't really excited about the handles, but that's just a personal preference thing.
I have zero experience with the two handers,but the single handed TFO's are excellent rods for the buck.I have 3(1 IM6-2pc 8wt,1 Saltwater-4pc 10wt and 1 Ti-4pc 11wt and plan on getting a few more(the TiCH should be sweet once all the wrinkles are ironed out),especially with TFO's customer service level.
In the IM6 blanks,
I didn't care at all for the 4pc 9ft 8wt,but the 2pc 9ft 8wt is a great rod.It is faster,stiffer and has ALOT more power than the 4pc IMHO.
The 4pc 10wt and 4pc 11wt are both wonderful rods though.For the dollar,they simply can't be beat.
Many of the current models, ( Both one and two-handed,) were designed prior to Lefty joining the TFO team. He is currently methodically working his way through the entire line of rods with an eye towards making each of them as good as it can be.
The spey rods are currently what I would call moderate action spey rods. They are light in weight, especially the 12'6" and the 14'. My suggestion would be that if you like a traditional spey action, you should try the rods out soon.
With the right line/head setup, I can cast the 14 & 15 a very long ways, ( Read: Backing knot in the guides,) but they are not as fast as I would like them to be, although I think the flex points are just about perfect.
Then again, all my other two-handers are T & T's, so I think my casting has been grooved for their speed and action.
On an almost un-related note, here is a picture of the TFO 14' 9-weight overhead casting the 8/9 Rio WindCutter on Pleasant Bay, Orleans Mass., two weekends ago. Randy Jones can throw some pretty nice loops on the overhead:
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