I broke down, and bought a new rod. I've got rods, but nothing nice that I enjoy fishing. And since I had good reason to buy a new one.. I did.
The Clouser is to replace my 4wt Sage VT2 (RIP).
Here's my thoughts on it so far after using it for a week.
Its 5wt, 4 piece, 8'9". Paid 225$
-This thing is a frickin CANNON! No kidding, it does as described on TFO's website. It chucks heavy weighted flys and split shot like none other. With ease.
-LOTS of backbone, and plenty of sensitivity. The tip is super powerful, and not soft like a lot of TFO rods. No more do I find myself dropping the tip early to widen my loops for heavy presentations.
-It's fast, but not as fast as an axiom. In fact the rod feels more powerful than fast. If that makes any sense at all.
-It looks good. In fact it comes in my favorite color, bright blue!
-With its powerful tip, the clouser seems to love to stack mend, but seems too laterally stiff in the tip with a standard mend.
I've got it coupled with a Ross Evolution lt. (great reel, can't ask for anything more). And with this combo the rod will RIP line off.
Now the things I don't like:
-The grip. For a rod with this much horsepower, I would have preferred a full wells grip. Even in a 5wt. A removable fighting butt would have been a nice option, but something I really don't care about, and honestly wouldn't use.
-It's heavy. (TFO thing) But again, if you want the lightest rod on the market, pay the big bucks. I'm young, I can handle waving this thing around all day. But, it will wear you out.
-It does NOT cast the small stuff well. Dries and small nymphs are a PITA. I'm considering buying another spool and lining it up with a nice 6wt line for such work. I think overlining the rod would help in this department. Lacks a lot of control with small stuff, can't feel a thing. Either that or buy a TFO Finesse Rod .
-I don't like the extra stripping guide, but I can see the reasoning, and again, it doesn't bother me.
I don't bobber fish, but all cues suggest that this rod would excel at tossing indicators, if that's your thing.
For me, for 90 percent of what I do, this rod is perfect. In a 7wt, this would be a red snagging machine.
Hope this helps anyone looking for a quality rod at a value, or looking at this rod in particular. There's not a whole lot out there on the web regarding the clouser series.
As for the reel. The Evolution lt. Purely perfection.