mike kinney and bob meiser join tfo


Active Member
Salmo G,

Although it is true that the price difference among the various modulus graphite fibers on the market is not all that much. It is equally true that it takes a lot more development work to get the higher modulus ones turned into a good casting and fishing rod that won't break under big loads. I'm sure that the reason the lower priced (noticed I didn't say poor casting, because they cast well enough) rods that are built offshore are made of IM6 is because it takes more development and testing time to get rods of the higher modulus graphites and graphite scrim, or because the IM6 rods with fiberglass scrim can take a lot of abuse without breaking, which allows them to offer good replacement warrantees without going broke from rod replacement.


As I've said, TFO produces a good casting rod at a pretty low price. However, this doesn't mean that a TFO rod is the equal of the high-end rods. It means that the average fly fisherman (the ones who haven't learned how to cast 70 or more feet with a single-hander or 100 or more feet with a 2-hander, have been fly fishing less than 6 years, and who fly fish 20-30 days/year or less) will probably be happy with a TFO for most of his life. However, for those who have learned to cast single-handers 70' or more, 2-handers 100' or more, and those who have been fishing 50 or more days/year for 6 years or more will notice the difference right away between a TFO (or other lower priced rods) and a high end rod. There is a reason tournament casters are using high end rods, and it isn't because they like spending money for a rod.

What can TFO do the make a better product? Start developing blanks made of higher modulus graphites that use graphite scrims instead of from IM6 with fiberglass scrim. Use better cork (yes I know it costs a lot more/rod to do so), use better reel seats (again I know it costs more to do so), and do better on guide wrap coating.

The only real question I have (and had) is why can't TFO build its blanks and rods here in the US instead of in Asia, even if it means you have to charge a bit more? St. Croix seems to have figured out how to do it, why can't TFO do so?
Philster said:
Never thought of that! The cork is pretty intimidating on a spey. If he does that it would remove the only really huge obstacle in building a spey. Thanks for the tip! :thumb:
now that I've configured my drill as a lathe, I'm building my own spey corks from rings, and it is so easy and satisfying as to be almost a guilty pleasure. My first was on a Forecast (now sold), #2 is a Meiser.

James Mello

Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"
SSPey said:
now that I've configured my drill as a lathe, I'm building my own spey corks from rings, and it is so easy and satisfying as to be almost a guilty pleasure. My first was on a Forecast (now sold), #2 is a Meiser.
Ahhh yes... it is addictive. In rod building it is probably the most fun I have. Compared to the nerve wracking part of the epoxy process, it is true nirvana! :)
Well, I think raw graphite costs the same for all manufacturers. How they roll the graphite and what they do with it to get the end product is the great mystery.

Define High end- Many on here want to categorize high end as craftsmanship and cork etc. I have many rods here from high end sages to low end TFO's and there is not much difference on the guide wrappings and the cork. There are a few guide wrappings on sages that are not the best, even cork work isn't superior. I wanted to get them all out and take pictures, but that seemed like allot of work. Maybe someone else would like to do that.

It would be interesting to have a blind rod test done to see who can really distinguish the performance difference on rods from different companies. I don't think Sage and Loomis would be on top every time.

As for TFO spey rods, I'm continually amazed at how light those things are. My Meiser MKS 7/8 is one heavy cannon. compared to a tfo 8 wt spey I believe the MKS weighs double, but not 100%. I really couldn't stand my MKS with heavy flies until I got rid of the windcutter and put on the skagit 550. Then it was a whole new world.



Active Member

High-end is very easy to define: Rods made of high modulus graphite or boron-graphite with graphite scrim, many of which are mutli-modulus (using different graphites for different sections of the rod) to optimize performance of that particular rod section with smooth power progression down the blank without dead spots or places where the blank bends almost like a section or large portion of a section all at once, which also has good durability and is not tip heavy, nor does it have a very fast taper from butt to tip, which tends to result in a rod with a too thin tip.

How much the rod or blank weighs is immaterial, as is the wall thickness of the blank because some blanks are designed as thin wall, larger diameter blanks (like T&T) and some are designed as thick wall, thin diameter blanks (like Meiser).

Rods and blanks like this are on the market and they are more expensive, especially if compared to TFO, ECHO, and Forecast.


Ignored Member
I buy what works. I don't care who makes it. I have some Sages, a Mieser, a couple of Lochmors, a CND, a Scott, a few custom made rods, a Cortland (I think) and one 4 piece TFO 6 weight that was bought on the spur of the moment for an unplanned trip to AK. It worked great. They all catch fish. If a TFO spey rod designed by Mieser and Kinney fits my bill I will buy one.

I got a 13'6" 7/8 MKS here in the shop waxed and ready to ship.

All the bells and whistles and what not ... Definitly heavier then a standard build.

She comes in at 9.2 Oz. wet

Just finished building up the benchmark blank TFO Deer Creek 12'6" 5/6 rod for the Portland Fly Show ... Got her right here leaning up against my PC desk.

Built up shes 5.8 Oz. wet ... The Sage Z-Axis 12'6" 6 wt (BTW) is 6.2 Oz. according to their catalog tables.

... Now I find out that TFO already has an 8 wt Spey that weighs less then half the standard weight of the 13678 MKS ... 4.6 Oz.

Dang it all ...

Well ... Looks like it's back to the drawing board for us Mike ...};^)...!!!