The Thomas & Thomas zone came into my life as a short, enjoyable adventure that made me want more. She was 9ft 5 in weight and I only had a few weeks to get to know her. If I’m being honest she wasn’t much to see, but we just fell in love. Then she left, on a plane home, and I miss her terribly. Although I don’t have to wait long to get reunited because at around $ 500 even I can scoop up enough money to make her mine once again.
The Zone is the quintessential work rod to complete the T&T line, and works in a league with rods that cost almost twice as much. With nine different models ranging from a 7 ‘6 “3wt to a 9’ 10wt, there could be a zone for everyone.
The Zone Series offers top-of-the-line performance at a price that, without being cheap, is well worth the investment. If you’re considering a $ 250-350 cane, you might want to skip expensive coffees and cook lunch for a few weeks, as the Zone is worth the extra money. You get everything you need with an $ 800-1,000 cane, and nothing else. It might not have quite the level of fine detail of a flagship model, but I’ve never met a fish with strong feelings about the rod’s aesthetic.
With the Zone, you get the latest Thomas & Thomas technology for around half the price of their flagship models. According to T&T, the Zone uses the same StratoTherm resin as the Avantt and Exocett line of rods, and includes anodized aluminum hardware and reel seat (with a blue fiberglass insert), reinforced premium cork handles. of composite and titanium stripping guides with zirconium inserts. The Freshwater Series (3wt-7wt) features single leg chrome guides, while the Saltwater Rods (8wt-10wt) feature Universal Snake Brand E-Coating Snake Guides. All models are hand-rolled and built right next to T & T’s premium offerings at their Massachusetts plant, and come in quality aluminum rod tubes.
As you progress as an angler and spell caster (or really with any discipline), you look for better and better gear to track your progress, and that usually comes with it. ‘increased costs. If it’s not already clear, the Zone is somewhat of an exception. Zone rods are high performance tools, not status symbols, and their utility-oriented concept is for those who want the best gear but don’t need the frills.
If you’re about to go high-end or mid-range, you shouldn’t worry about going over it. There is a much bigger gap between a budget rod and the zone, than there is between the zone and the top of the line. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t consider price a factor and appreciates fine wood reel seats, artistically wrapped guides, and all the other fine details, maybe a flagship model is. the higher your speed. If you’re more of the trendy type and picky about gear, take a close look at the Zone.
Act and feel
During my summer job at a fly outfitter in the Western Delaware branch, half a dozen vendors and guides got to try the Zone, and everyone loved it; “Soft enough” was the term most used, and it was not your average castor.
While rod preference is such a subjective consideration, there are certain qualities of a rod that make it feel “better” or comparable to others in a category. At least when it comes to the feel of the 5wt model I had the pleasure of testing, the Zone is on par with the best medium-fast acting trout rods I’ve got my hands on. If you’re a fan of fast and medium-fast action, you’ll love the Zone.
T&T claims that the 3-5wts are a slightly smoother, smoother cast than their heavier 6-10wt counterparts, and I find the 5wt Zone to be true medium-fast action, which I tend to prefer. It’s comfortable to cast and very precise in the 30- to 60-foot sweet spot, although you can easily cast a full line on the casting pond if you know what you’re doing. I have spent some time on the water with a T&T Avantt 5wt, and in my opinion the Zone is very similar. With the right line, the 5wt would make a great dry fly rod on large waters where you need to be able to perform long, accurate casts and pierce into the wind. At least for my casting style, the Zone seemed to like Rio and Cortland to type the best of what I tried. The Rio Trout LT throws effortlessly, with nice, tight curls and ultimate control. Everything I told the cane to do, she did.
While this is a hell of a fishing tool, I’m just not a fan of the Zone’s look. A few people I’ve spoken to share my sentiment, especially the reel seat. Personally, I don’t like the blue theme. I think the look can work on a saltwater rig, but I’m just not crazy about how the rod looks on a trout / freshwater setup. That being said, I would fish the Zone if it was neon pink with rainbow polka dots. It is so good. But for me, compared to the simple, classic design of other mid-priced competitors, the Zone leaves something to be desired.
In my experience, the Zone competes with some of the best trout rods on the market and offers the latest R&D from Thomas & Thomas at no additional cost for potentially unnecessary features. At around $ 500, it’s a serious contender with the top of the mid-priced pack, and will give most of the more expensive rods a run for their money.
I see the Zone is a great choice for a variety of anglers – whether you fish endlessly and need a workhorse that won’t break the bank, or you’re a more casual angler who can’t justify the cost of a flagship rod that will end up collecting dust half the year. On a related note, I think the Zone is an ideal guide rod as well (once you’ve broken a few “flagship” rods, the Zone becomes an even more attractive option). Whatever your story, the Zone is an incredibly flowable and controllable rod that won’t disappoint, and at a price more people can potentially swing. While my opinion alone may not have swayed you, trying one for yourself just might.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE T&T ZONE (via T&T)