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two handed bombing on a budget... the tfo deer creek.
in my opinion, the two handed rod is the absolute best tool to use when it comes to what is known by some as “blind casting” for bonefish and other reef creatures that inhabit our waters. since i started learning to cast the two handed or spey rod a few years ago, i have rarely used anything else for this purpose. despite the many advantages of using a two handed rod for bombing, there are still only a handful of people who have or use these rods here on oahu (most of which were introduced to it by yours truely). that is not too surprising. getting into spey casting or two handed casting can be quite an overwhelming experience. it took a long time to reach the united states from europe and is still evolving in the nw and great lakes steelheading arenas. there are different rods, line set ups, casting techniques, that keep people from taking the initial step into the spey world. i know it kept deano and i talking about it for years but never taking that plunge. in fact if it wasn’t for deano buying a couple of rods, i may not have even started using them myself.
then there is the cost. as much as single hand fly rods cost these days, spey rods cost even more making it a very big gamble for many to get a rod and give it a try. fear not... there is hope. it comes from the tfo rod company with their deer creek series of spey rods. tfo single hand rods have already introduced many locals here to fly fishing with great casting rods at reasonable prices and the deer creek rods may just do the same to introduce hawaii to two handed casting. at $350 to $370 the deer creek significantly lowers the cost of entry for anyone who wants to give it a go. the rods are designed by spey gurus bob meiser and mike kinney (these guys know their stuff). thanks to my buddy nick curcione and the good folks at tfo, i got my hands on two hawaii appropriate rods in the tfo deer creek lineup the 12’ 6” 5/6 weight (model tf 126 4 dc) and the 13’ 6/7 weight (model tf 1304 dc) deer creek rods.
the official tfo spiel on these rods goes like this...
While some might argue that properly executed Spey casts are the highest form of fly casting, we would probably all agree that these casts are visually compelling, personally gratifying, and a wonderful way to present a fly to a fish. For a collective 65 years, two Pacific Northwest Spey casters, Mike Kinney and Bob Meiser have perfected this art and have shared their knowledge through guiding, teaching, and perhaps most importantly, by designing a new line of Spey rods, the Deer Creek series of two-handed rods. The Deek Creek Series rods have casting properties that marry perfectly with modern Spey lines. They have a unique progressive-regressive traditional action making them ideal for executing all types of Spey and Skagit casts. These blanks are a beautiful translucent dark amethyst color with fittings and components selected by Mike and Bob.
i had heard a lot of good things about these rods in the spey community since they came out a few years ago but never actually saw, casted, or fished one. upon finally seeing one, the rods look very nice. the blank color is cool as are the thread wraps. the cork grip has a nice shape to it. overall you can really see the meiser influence in these rods. that’s all well and good but the more important thing to me is how the rod casts and fishes. only one way to find that out.
so on friday i took out the 13’ 6/7 weight deer creek and hung my abel spey reel on it which balanced the rod perfectly. i lined it with a 450 grain airflo rage head. lately i’ve been doing more touch and go type casts as opposed to waterborn or skagit type casts. no real reason except i need to practice the touch and go style more (i actually need to practice both). just doing what i always do... something a little different. i brought along some skagit heads to try, but never got around to trying them as the fishing turned out to be good and the 450 grain rage worked well on the rod. i used an 18ft. tapered mono leader that i tied up and an orange sunday number 8 weighted with a 5/32 brass eye. the area i fished i would call a medium on the sketchy gear eating reef scale. where the 6/7 would fit right in. as usual, unlike others, i always start with the gear i want to use then choose an appropriate place to fish it.
long story short, the rod performed beautifully. very forgiving of shall we say less than perfect casts. the rod loaded easily and i could feel it throughout the cast. it launched long with very little effort. i casted it for five hours straight with absolutely no fatigue. the only thing that wore me out was fighting a bunch of fish (as it should always be when using any fly rod). i didn’t hook anything big but the rod handled the rats i got into very well. it felt like it still had some reserve power for when the big boy bites, yet it was light enough that every fish i caught put some serious bend in the rod. the deer creek was just a pleasure to cast and fight fish with. absolute super fun which, after all, is the point of all of this fly fishing stuff.
the tfo deer creek 13’ 6/7 is perfect for anyone looking to get into the wonderful world of two handed spey casting without spending close to a grand for a rod. if you already blind cast with single hand rods and want to get serious and take your reef bombing to another level the 13’ 6/7 weight tfo deer creek deserves a good look. this rod is an all around hawaii bomber. it will handle most every “blind casting” situation that i can think of here on the island with ease. best of all, it comes at a price that won’t leave you without gas money to get to the water. i’ll try to get to the 12’6” deer creek 5/6 this week. until then... i'll see you on the water.
check out this video clip i found of the tfo 13' 6/7 deer creek. the guys reactions are pretty entertaining.
have you ever sat on an empty beach with the sun and the sky and the sea so deep and you ask yourself... is this for me?
the first of the "rat pack" on the 13' 6/7 deer creek... always important to get the stink off a new rod.
then it was like the dam holding back all the bones broke...
i wasn't expecting to catch much on friday with the weather and cool temperatures we've been having... but like i always say, you'll never know unless you go.
sometimes like that... and sometimes it's with a tfo 13' 6/7 deer creek. just goes to show, it doesn't have to take a lot of cash to experience the ultimate in good times.