8. TFO DeerCreek 12’6” 5/6-weight $469.95
The TFO DeerCreek is a beast of a trout spey rod. While most of the rods here handle a 360 grain Skagit Scout, the DeerCreek casts much better with a 390 gain, and can handle heavier FLO tips like T-14 or even T-18. While this rod has great power, it feels much heavier when compared to other rods, and has the heaviest swing weight of all the rods tested. It also has the stiffest tip of any rod tested. Perhaps the reason for this extra weight is that TFO uses both a layer of IM6 graphite as well as a layer of Kevlar woven into the blank in a crisscross patern. The good side to all this is the Deer Creek is a very durable rod and one that is unlikely to break.
While the 5 pc construction makes this rod slightly smaller and more packable than the 4 piece rods, it won’t break down “in half” like the other rods in the test. I prefer rods that fold in half, so I can reel my fly to the tip, take the rod apart at the mid point, and fold it in half for easy lunch hour fishing trips or for fishing after work.
This is a good rod for anglers trying to swing slow and deep with heavy sink tips.
The TFO DeerCreek rods are finished in a unique reddish/purple that really lights up in the sun. The matching purple wraps cover two large stripper guides and chrome snake guides. The black aluminum up-lock reel seat isn’t fancy with two locking rings that tend to squeak over time. The cork grip is different from other handles, using a conglomerate of worm cork rather than cork rings. The grip on this rod is significantly thinner than other rods, which could actually be a good thing for anglers with smaller hands. A cloth bag is included, but no hard rod tube.
When we first tested this rod the TFO DeerCreek 12’6″#5/6 was $424.95, which has since gone up $45.00 to $469.95.
This rod is downright heavy. Not nearly as smooth as the other rods although admittedly a lot of power. Once I switched to the 390 grain this rod felt much better and less “choppy.” It is definitely more on the 6-weight side rather than a 5-weight trout spey. If you are looking to throw larger streamers this may be a good option, however the Orvis Clearwater is lighter with equal power and costs less.