Monday, January 29, 2018

TFO Drift Rod Review

TFO Drift rod review. Finally TFO is getting into the Microspey game. Their new 3wt Drift rod is certainly a game changer. It is 4 rod in one covering 9ft dry fly fishing to 10' Euro nymphing to 11'3" or 12'3" micro spey / trout spey. 

After my recent Bosnia trip fishing in river Una, I can certainly appreciate the versatility of having such a rod in my arsenal. In the morning with no hatch happening, I could be Euro nymphing with 10' configuration. Later as the trout and grayling warms up to slurping dry fly, I could easily shorten to 9ft by removing the 1' extension without needing to re-string, how sweet is that! Next day, if I fancy prospecting for big trout tossing wooly bugger across the stream, this same rod can be rigged as a 11'3" microspey casting sink tips on Skagit line... how neat is that :)

I recently got a chance to test cast this rod for a few hours, thanks to my friend, Nick, owner of Tackle Box Adventures Fly Shop in Subang Jaya. Here is my initial impression review of this TFO Drift fly rod.

I first strung up the 9ft configuration to cast a 3wt RIO intermediate line (It happens that I don't have a 3wt floating line). I must say that I initially  struggled to get a good cast because the tip felt really soft. After taking a step back I realized the problem. I was pushing the rod too hard for distance. This 3wt 9ft configuration is supposedly designed for close in dry fly action, so I started working on 30 - 40 ft cast and the rod begins to perform. It excels in loading with minimal line out for delicate presentation cast meant for dry fly.

Next I wanted to know if this rod has the guts to handle distance. I extended the rod to 10' and hauled away.  Immediately I can feel a change in character. The rod came alive with more power. The tippy action encountered earlier seems to have dissapeared. The rod now loads lower down with more power at my disposal as I made longer hauls. In the end I was gratified. I managed to clear the 90ft RIO Aqualux line. So if you meet stiff wind and need to punch for distance, set it up to 10'. At 10', the rod did not feel too tip heavy and I would be perfectly happy using it Euro nymphing the whole day.

Next and more importantly I wanted to know if this rod can Spey cast well. Since I can't test on water, I did the next best thing... which is to set up my anchored grass leader system to cast on grass. For those who are not familiar with my anchored grass leader system please follow the link to see how it works.

I set up the rod at 11'3 microspey configuration and put on a 235 grain Wulff Ambush line with 15ft RIO versi leader. After making a few cast, I can feel that 235 grain is in the right ball park. The rod is not overly fast but it does load smoothly and dish out the cast with unhurried pace. I suspect that it will cast even better  with Ambush 195 grain. Since this is casting on grass, I will not put to much judgement on how it will perform on water. Do take this as my very initial impression of the rod.

Next, just for curiosity, I set it up at 12'3" Spey. At this length, the rod slowed down tremendously and also very tip heavy. I can't imagine anyone wanting to use it at this length for Spey fishing. My advice is to stick to 11'3" for microspey and you should be happy. Hopefully I will get to test the rod on water eventually and provide a more thorough review.

Who should get this rod or why should you buy it? If you are new to the Microspey game or want to get into single hand Spey, this is a good way to start because you get a dry fly presentation rod and a Euro nymphing rod as bonus. Or if you want a 10ft nymphing rod and not sure if you would eventually venture into Microspey then this rod will do it.


  1. Hey Mah,
    Thanks for the great review. Glad to see you are blooming again.
    My Drift rod is on the way. Just ordered it yesterday.
    Main role of the rod will be for euro nymphing at 10’.
    Hopefully I can use the 11’3” micro Spey for some smallmouth bass locally.
    Too bad I missed you in SG. Will be in SG in May and make a trip to KL. I’ll get in touch then.
    Take care my friend.
    Hendry Keck

    1. Good for you Hendry. Hope you enjoy the rod. It's truly a very versatile system. Please do look me up when you are in KL. Come visit Tackle Box Adventures in Subang Jaya. It's the equivalent of Coho fly shop in Singapore. I normally hang out there Sat afternoon.