I have the TFO TiCr-X double hand conversion kit in my arsenal for a few years now but never really thought much about using it for Spey as this rod was mainly designed for overhead casting. Recently, I got interested in progressive action DH rod for saltwater Spey and started experimenting.
A true progressive action rod typically has a relatively stiff butt section with the upper sections bending progressively downwards as more and more load is being applied. This is in contrast to most Spey rods that are designed to be more regressive, loading quickly to the butt. TFO TiCr X rods attached to the beefy DH conversion kit is as progressive as it comes.
I had a chance encounter not long ago with a friend's TiCr X 6wt fitted with the DH conversion kit casting 400 grain Wulff Ambush line and was very impress with how well it loads and fire, easily forming tight loops. Before long, I started digging out out my seldom used TiCr X 5wt and tried fitting it to the conversion kit and to my surprise, it fitted rather nicely.
My on water session with the rod last Sunday blew my socks away. Matched with a 350 grain Wulff Ambush line (plus 15ft versi-leader), the rod was easily firing 100 foot cast post Perry Poke with insanely tight loops. It has never cross my mind that a 5wt can have such performance. I have previously cast my DH TiCR X 8wt (with 450 grain Ambush line) but was never this impress. I think the key is in softening the top half of the rod to bring out the animal in it. Although the TiCr X conversion kit was originally designed for the 7 & 8wt TiCr X rods, we know today that it will also fit the X 6wt, the non-X TiCr 6,7 & 8wt as well as the BVK 6 & 7wt rods.
This easily makes the TiCr X conversion kit a best buy from TFO for anyone wanting to make a foray into the double hand world. With just a TiCr X conversion kit, one can affordable own up to 4 Spey rods ranging from 5wt to 8wt with the corresponding single hander to boot. Two thumbs up for TFO!
The DH TiCr X 5wt will make its way to Maldives with me next year to do battle with Bonefish and Trevally. I am looking forward to it. I am sure the beefy butt section will have more than enough juice to handle the occasional big GTs.
Here is a video of TiCrX8wt conversion kit in action fighting Arapaima in Thailand. I was fishing with a 450 grain Ambush line but felt that the rod can handle heavier. I recently have confirmation from a fishing buddy that the TiCrX8wt DH handles 500 and even 550 grain very well.
I recently bought a 510 grain Airflo Skagit Switch to match with the TiCrX8wt DH and it cast great. I find it easy to fire out out 100 ft cast with this set up. The Airflo Skagit Switch is also great with static roll cast with minimum back space. I could easily roll cast 80ft with this line even with minimum D-loop space.
Arapaima on DH TiCrX 8wt