As might have been expected from my last post on the Thomas and Thomas (T&T) Avantt, I ordered one in six-weight with fighting butt and aluminum reel seat.
Once I got it from Emerald Water Anglers (EWA), I looked over the rod and saw the fit and finish was even more impressive than observed in the casual inspection in the store.
The rod is delivered with plastic covering the cork and a silver T&T cigar band. I know of only one other rod maker that covers their cork like that – Scott, and no one else that has a band on the cork. Protecting the cork may be a small thing but it certainly speaks of craftsmanship and pride. The unlocking reel seat is a wide band with the T&T insignia, classic and very refined.
This rod is so beautiful it could be mounted on a wall for display. But that’s not why I bought it.
I wanted to get a bit more of backyard casting to better understand the rod – this time with lines I was familiar with and had actually fished.
I’ll say right up front, this rod cast well with all the lines I cast – both up at EWA and in my backyard; that’s not something true of every rod. At this point, I’m not sure what I’d say was my favorite – might depend on where I’m fishing, so more on that in a future post.
Given I wasn’t taking anyone’s time but my own, I used my standard approach in casting a new rod. I’ve grown wiser and no longer strip off line almost to the backing and try to cast for the bleachers.
I set up my soccer cones in the backyard at distances of 24, 32, 40, and 48 feet, all of which, perhaps not surprisingly, correspond to my fence posts; those lengths represent casts from a bit over twenty to almost fifty feet where most fishing is done on the beach (or chasing trout on rivers).
As I observed when casting with Dave McCoy at EWA, this casts nicely off the tip with about five to six feet of line out. With this amount of line, casting was more about watching the tip and varying casting speed to see how loops were forming. Very nice.
At 24 feet, I found I was accurate with all three lines, though only the CQS and OB had enough mass out to let me feel the line loading. I had to watch the Gold to see how my cast was doing. At the distances beyond 24 feet out to 48 feet, casting was easy with good line feel and I was accurate all distances.
Transition down the taper was smooth as the casts lengthened, but most of the loading is in the upper third of the blank as would be expected with a faster action rod.
In addition, I was looking for any tip collapse with the heavier shooting lines at distance, and that included casts beyond 48 feet. There was none, as I suspected given the stiff tip, making this a great rod for casting heavier lines and flies in the typical conditions on Puget Sound beaches; this rod will also work on windy afternoons on Montana rivers.
I spent some time casting the Gold with different speeds and stroke lengths to see if the rod favored any particular type of cast or under what conditions a cast would fail. From beginner-type overpower casts to slow and easy casts (with a double haul) the rod was accurate and I was able to hit the target area I set up.
This is one sweet rod.
The next step is to take it fishing. I’ll report on that in a future post.