Fly fishing the surf is no beach picnic. The elements alone — especially on the Pacific — can be demanding. Trekking through the cold water, navigating the occasional rogue wave (that has potential to kill you if you’re taken down in waders), and dealing with coastal currents and rip currents are just the start. When it comes to fishing, the surf can be one of the toughest games around. Surf anglers have to duck and chuck heavy sinking lines and big flies over waves then strip fast enough to keep the flies going through the waves and before the next wave completely kills the movement of the fly. In short: fly fishing the surf can be difficult and tiring, and great gear can make things far less difficult (though not easy).
Since moving to California in 2012, I have searched long and hard for every possible gear remedy for surf fly fishing challenges. Single-handed rods have come and gone, stripping baskets of yesteryear are stacked in the garage, and more lines have been tried than I can keep track of. As for rods, fast-action switch rods have been the best fit thus far, but it’s been difficult to find a rod that is just right.
When I fished the salt early this year with the new Thomas & Thomas Exocett, I was impressed to the point of giddiness. And recognizing that T&T has a stronghold and tradition in the Northeast among striper anglers, I had my fingers crossed that a surf rod was in the works. So when I learned that Thomas & Thomas had created the new Exocett Surf rod, I couldn’t wait to get one to the beach.
Thomas & Thomas has been hitting home runs with rod design over the last couple of years, and the Exocett Surf rod is their latest score. This rod has it all. The Exocett Surf is a fast action rod that is ready for battle but offers enough feel to allow you to know what exactly is happening with your monster backcasts in the wind and over high-sloping sand.
This rod has backbone and allows for great line control over waves or with mending and lifting sinking lines in the riffles. Casting Whistlers with wire leader and T-14? This rod is ready to handle that along with the battle of a bluewater beast ready to go the distance and test your gear.
What’s important about this rod is that it isn’t a switch or Spey rod that will work for the surf. Instead, this is a rod designed for the surf. Surf angler needs are unique, and this rod uniquely fills a role that is largely absent in the market. The Exocett Surf rod makes the challenges of fly fishing the surf less challenging. Well done, Thomas & Thomas!
The Thomas & Thomas Exocett Surf is available in a 11’2″ 10-weight and a 11’2″ 12-weight. The rods cost $925 and come in a hard rod tube and have a lifetime warranty. If they add a 7-weight, 8-weight, and 9-weight to the lineup, I’ll have myself an Exocett Surf quiver!
– Tim Harden
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