Thomas & Thomas have always been known for craftsmanship and quality. Their rods are made in the USA and don't cut any corners. Every component of these rods is top-notch, from tip to butt. The cork is of the finest quality and the perfect thread wraps compliment the deep blue tone of the blank. The reel seats are manufactured by T&T and are extremely smooth and solid. Each rod section is even individually serial-numbered. Thomas & Thomas rods have that "custom" look and feel that is so often lacking from rack model production rods.

I recently field tested two rods from Thomas & Thomas during a trip to Argentina. The large flies and windy conditions of southern Patagonia were quite demanding and the rods performed exceptionally under the circumstances.

The Horizon series rod I tested was the HS908S-4; a 4-piece, 9' 8 weight saltwater-rated rod. I used this rod primarily with a Scientific Anglers Mastery Steelhead Taper WF8F fly line for sea-run brown trout. Despite the constant wind, casting this rod was as effortless as possible in the unforgiving conditions. The stiff butt combined with a snappy double-haul made penetrating the wind relatively easy. During the brief periods without wind, the rod was simply a cannon. One of the most notable characteristics is the Horizon's ability to throw heavily-weighted nymphs, streamers, and even split shot without that "thud" at the end of each casting stroke that is so typical when casting such setups. Thomas & Thomas describe the Horizon rods as providing excellent line control and mending abilities, which I found to be completely true. The stiff tip made throwing upstream, upwind mends possible when other rods would have fallen flat on their faces. On a scale of 1 to 10, the Horizon is a perfect 10. I was thoroughly impressed and cannot think of anything that could be improved on the Horizon.

MSRP for this rod is $625. Horizon models are available in line weights from 3 to 16, lengths from 8'6" to 11', and in 2, 3, and 4-piece configurations. Prices range from $525 to $785.

The other rod I tested was the Helix series, HE907S-4; a 4-piece, 9' 7 weight saltwater-rated rod. Again, I chose to fish the Scientific Anglers Mastery Steelhead Taper, this time in a WF7F. This rod was used for targeting the resident brown trout found in a small Argentinean spring creek. Normally I would fish a lighter rod on a small creek, but the extra backbone provided by the 7 weight was necessary not only for the windy conditions, but also to keep the fish from becoming entangled in the thick patches of weeds throughout the creek.

Overall, the Helix performed exceptionally well. It has an extremely smooth, forgiving action yet is still a powerful rod. Compared to the Horizon, the Helix definitely had a more sensitive feel, but still delivered the power necessary to punch Chernobyl Ants and conehead streamers through the wind. My only complaint with the Helix was that I felt the stripping guide could have been slightly larger. When viewed side-by-side, you could see the size of the guide on the 8 weight Horizon was significantly larger. I found that in many situations, the smaller stripping guide on the Helix seemed to be a bottleneck when shooting line. Other than that, I give this rod top marks in all other categories. It was a pleasure to fish and I have the feeling my other 7 weights are going to be collecting dust in the corner from now on.

The HE907S-4 has an MSRP price tag of $630. Other rods in the Helix series range from an 8'6" 3 weight to a 9'6" 10 weight, all of which are 4-piece rods. There are even two 10' models, in 4 and 5 weight. Prices range from $600 to $660.

If you haven't fished a Thomas & Thomas rod, visit your local dealer and take one for a test drive. If you're like me, you'll find yourself a convert instantly and be wanting to completely replace your existing rod collection.

Thomas & Thomas Rodmakers Website