Test: Thomas & Thomas Contact II fly rod | Outbreak Magazine


Thomas & Thomas introduced the Contact series of Euro-nymphing fishing rods a few years ago and they almost immediately gained a cult following, with many experienced anglers raving about their performance and build quality. . These delusions were well justified, given that the original Contact was a superb example of what a well-designed Euro rod could be. So when T&T announced the Contact II, it inevitably posed the question: Could the second incarnation of the Contact series provide a marked upgrade over its beloved predecessor?

The new Contact II rods are the brainchild of T&T chief designer and rod construction scholar Joe Goodspeed, who, in addition to designing the original Contact series, is also responsible for T&T creations like the Exocett, the Avantt and the Paradigm. T&T and Goodspeed have spent nearly three years of development work on this latest addition to the T&T range, which includes an all-new blank construction, new components and freshly designed cones, which combine to give these new specialists Euro-nymphing is an action and feel like no other rod on the market.

We have been fortunate enough to fish the three 10 ‘9 “and 10’ weights of the Contact II range over the past few months and put them to the test on wild and wary brown trout in low, clear, harsh and harsh conditions. technical conditions.

What works

Construction

The Contact II features a number of construction elements that are specifically aimed at improving the efficiency of the Euro nymph of the rods. One of the most immediately apparent is T & T’s new “Low rider” stripping guide, which is positioned lower and closer to the blank than the first stripping guide on a traditional rod. The result of this specialized treatment is less sagging of the line between your hand and the first rod guide, a detail that may seem trivial, but in practice translates into improved control and faster hooks – the kind of detail that can make the difference in tight online nymph technique game.

An extra-dense Flor-grade cork grip provides excellent sensitivity and feel as your nymphs bounce along the bottom of your local crick, and a redesigned, low-profile combat butt adds balance to the rear end of the rod .

Aesthetically, the Contact II stands out, an arena in which T&T has long been one of the standard bearers in the industry. The brown and olive wire wraps accent the black single-footed RECoil guides and add a stylish touch to the black white of the Contact II. The locking down reel seat is a beauty, with black anodized machined hardware, an engraved logo and a burl ash wood insert. All components of the upper create an elegant yet stealthy look. And, believe it or not, there’s even something to be said about the shank tube and sock that comes with the Contact II, which are premium quality and add to the list of the little details that make the Contact II such a great product. unique in its category.

Precision and action

The Contact II blank is a blend of carbon fiber and fiberglass which, combined with newly designed cones, has enabled T&T to provide a rod that has responsiveness and recovery unlike any other Euro rod we have fished. . The super soft and sensitive tip of the Contact II was a revelation when throwing lighter flies and hair thin tips, and you’ll find that the Contact II loads up even with tiny, barely weighted insects on the line. This tip also offers superb sensitivity, and you’ll swear you can spot every pebble, stick, moss patch, and sucker fin that your bugs drift through.

Despite its soft, supple tip, the Contact II recovers surprisingly quickly – delivering precise casts in pocket water and other technical quarters, allowing you to make the most of short, fast and controlled drifts. And, in cases where your nymphs find their way into a trout’s mouth, this retrieval will help you perform quick hook sets and, more specifically, stay tight against the fish without any kickback or “bounce”. , a gap which is the scourge. of many other euro rods.

The Contact II can also serve as a dry fly stick in a pinch. It’s flexible enough to load a mono rig or competition line (think RIO’s FIPS or Cortland .022 braid core) and throw a sec with a semblance of precision in cases where the fish start to climb.

Power

While the Contact II excels at throwing small nymphs and light platforms, it also offers plenty of power and power reserve and can throw a reasonably sized streamer into some of those dark, deep holes where unicorns expect unsuspecting sculpins. Fighting larger fish in the current is almost always a problem with wispy European rods, but the Contact II has a lot of grain. Go ahead and muscle that twenty inch you just hooked up to the 7X because these poles are built to handle it. The power-to-weight ratio that T&T has managed to achieve with the Contact II is an impressive feat of rod design.

What does not work

The reel seat

Unexpectedly enough, the Contact II’s down-locking reel seat uses a single locking nut. But, as is often the case with European rods, a bigger and heavier reel is needed to balance the system. On several occasions this nut loosened while it was on the water causing the reel to come loose and requiring special attention. It’s more of a nuisance than anything else, and it’s easily remedied by tightening it really hard, but I think an extra locking nut, kind of like what is used on larger saltwater rods, would go a long way in eliminating this problem.

Last word

At $ 825, the Contact II is expensive. But, given the lightness, sensitivity, crispness, and a host of other superlatives that most Euro-nymphers will use to describe the Contact II, it’s easy to justify the price of the rod. All rods in the Contact II range, when properly balanced with the right reel, are lighter in the hand than almost any other Euro rod on the market and yet T&T has maintained that weight seemingly without sacrificing an ounce of power. and stability.

Here in Pennsylvania, the summer has been a desert with no rain, and we mostly found ourselves hitting 6 and 7x tippet. The Contact II was the perfect remedy for these difficult and unwanted conditions.

T & T’s slogan, “The rod you’ll eventually own.” Is a bold statement given the overabundance of phenomenal rods that anglers can choose from these days. But the Contact II is a rod that, if you have one, you won’t regret it.

BUY THE T&T CONTACT II


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