After another successful winter fishing season on the Tongariro River, I was approached to evaluate the innovative TRYCD fly rod package produced by Composite Developments (CD).
Over the decades I have fished with most of CD’s fly rods, and after regularly test casting many of the imported top brands, I can honestly say that my CD XLS rods are still right up there with the best. By international standards, Composite Developments is still a small player, and with the market awash with fly rods, the company needed to find a niche to fight for its market share. The result is the TRYCD versatile fly rod system which has interchangeable components. Modern fly rods are mostly four-piece with the butt section accommodating the grip, reel seat and fighting butt. In the TRYCD system, this section becomes the foundation on which several fly rod configurations can be assembled.
Having recognised that this section barely flexes in moderately fast action fly rods, the designers created a three-section #5/6 and a three-section #7/8 top extension, both of which will fit firmly onto the base butt section. The result is two 9’ rods, a #5/6 for summer streams and a #7/8 for winter or big water fishing.
A one-foot extension that also fits onto the butt section enables further configurations. Adding it to the #5/6 option results in a 10’ Euro Nymph rod, while adding it to the #7/8 rod results in a 10’ deep wading lake rod. This already amazing flexibility will be enhanced even further by a 10’5” double-handed Switch Rod configuration which is currently under development.
It is really hard to believe that all those bits fit neatly into a triangular rod case that folds out flat and when closed is held fast by magnets. Apart from the sealed in magnets, there are no other metal parts that could corrode. The case has two carry handles and a back strap, as well as eyes for a security lock.
When the test sample arrived, I spent some time assembling the various rod sections. I also looked closely at the components, the workmanship and overall finish, all of which are very good. The dark grey rod blanks are either polished to a high shine or painted with a clear coat. The black Alps reel seat is one of the best I have ever seen. Its flat base holds any of my reels rock solid. The rod sections are fitted with Alps guides, which consist of one stripper guide, eight fine wire single food guides and a small diamond ceramic coated tip top. All the ferrules fitted snugly.
After joining the various options together, I wig-wagged each rod version to observe the various flex patterns. Both 9’ rods are light in hand and have a crisp, fast action. With the one foot extension, the action is somewhat slower but far from being sloppy. I am lucky to live near a sports field where I test cast the various rod kits. All blank pieces are made of 40-tonne high modulus carbon and are designed in a similar way to the company’s high-end XLS fly rod. Cast alongside my own XLS rods, both examples performed equally well. I found the cork grip a bit on the large side, and after inspecting a top rod line-up at the local Hunting and Fishing shop, I recommended a smaller grip for future rods. With the extension in place, the rods still cast a full fly line, although with the extra leverage I found casting less comfortable for my admittedly ageing wrist. I still remember hammering the former Tongariro Whitikau Pool for a week with a 10’ rod and ending up with such painful tennis elbow that I could not even lift a cup of coffee. Clearly, my arms are not made for casting ten footers.
The TRYCD AllFly Ultimate kit is four rod options in one sleek package.
Currently, CD is offering six different ALLFLY kits with various components, from the one-rod Starter kits starting at $450 to the Allfly Ultimate Plus (which contains all components) at $780. However, as I understand it, all the components are interchangeable and individually available. With such flexibility, anglers can adapt their rods to new fishing situations. One could easily think that this mixing and matching of parts would compromise each rod version, but this is not the case. Casting each with different lines, I found them practically indistinguishable from other four-piece high-end rods.
Casting a rod on grass is not the same as fishing with it. On the water, a rod needs to do more than shoot your fly into the sunset. Accurate fly delivery and effortless line manipulation are equally important. I tested the rods on New Plymouth’s Waiwhakaiho River and Lake Rotomanu. The 9’ #7/8 is a gutsy big water rod that cast a full fly line from my shooting basket even when wading knee-deep into the lake. When using my long-bellied lines on the river, I could effortlessly perform the Tongariro Roll Cast and/or drill a shooting head into next week. With the lighter 9’ #5/6 rod I concentrated primarily on accuracy and line manipulation for drag-free drifts. This is a delightful rod, very light in hand, with a crisp action that can literally jump the line from the water surface. I don’t do Euro Nymphing and therefore cannot judge how the rod would perform with the 1’ extension. However, it is light and long enough to provide the extra reach, both attributes that ‘close contact’ nymphers prefer.
To round off the tests, I took the TRYCD to the Tongariro after Christmas. Using the #5/6 set and a double tapered #6 weight line, my friend Simon and I fished the upper river. At the Sand Pool, we spotted several fish lying right on the far side of the broad tail. With no room for an overhead backcast, I had to resort to a Tongariro Roll Cast to try to reach the fish. The distance was daunting, especially for a double taper line. With lots of slack line at my feet, I set up the cast and with the timing just right, the line shot out in a tight loop and landed the nymph in a great place for a drift upstream of the nearest waiting fish. We could see it move and instinctively set the hook even before the tiny indicator registered the take. With only one fish needed for the photo shoot, we then just enjoyed casting this impressive rod.
This trout was lying on the far side of a pool, but the writer had no trouble reaching it with a Tongariro Roll Cast.
When I got home, there was Simon’s email with photos. Simon is a confirmed Sage man and had this to say about the new TRYCD rods: “Banging low trajectory TRCs right across the sand pool is not something I’ll ever forget, especially with the new CD set up in 5/6 configuration. I don’t even know if Andrew (Burden) and (Peter) Carty will believe me without seeing it for themselves.” What more could I add?
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