The giving season last year gave me a gift certificate to my local fly shop (thanks hon, just my size). With that new found wealth I sought to pick up a true and pure bonefishing rod, an 8 weight, that I could cherish and love and make part of the family. After some discussion with Frank, I opted for the Temple Fork Outfitter Clouser, an 8’9″ 4 pc. 8 wt. I read some reviews and gear thoughts from a couple of message boards and went ahead and made the purchase.
Being a stay-at-home dad with a wife that travels means I simply didn’t have time to get this rod out on a grassy field or body of water before I went to Grand Bahama in January. I brought the Clouser, untested, along with two other virgin rods. This wasn’t an ideal scenario, I’ll admit. Someone once said you go to battle with the army you have, not the army you may want and I wasn’t totally sure if I’d be making due or if I’d be confidently assured.
From reviews I knew a few things… first, others said the rod cast very well, was fairly fast on the spectrum and that no one who had cast it missed the three inches that kept the rod from being a true 9 footer. I know one of the reviewers and if he said it cast well, I believed him.
I had paired the rod with a TFO Large Arbor 375 reel and a Bruce Chard 8 wt. line. My first casts with the rod felt great and my first fish on the rod, about a 3-4 pound bonefish, satisfied me that the rod had the backbone I needed. In the end, I fished that rod pretty much the whole time and every fish landed was on that rod. I even cast in the face of a pretty stiff wind and the rod did the trick. I left the Bahamas impressed and it clearly had established itself as my go to stick for the salt.
On a recent trip to Mexico (Vallarta, primarily a family trip) I brought the Clouser 8 and another TFO 7 wt (Axiom). I had the Clouser set up with the TFO LA 375 and a 9 wt. clear intermediate sink, although who the manufacturer of the line is I have no idea.
After casting the 7 a bit, I switched to the 8 just to get a little more distance and again, I was impressed with the rod’s ability to throw line. I think this rod would do very well with shooting heads or sinking lines. My biggest fish of the trip, about a 4 pound Jack Crevalle, felt great on the rod (and the reel). Again, I’m a happy camper.
At $250, this rod is a great value. I know others swear by some of the more expensive sticks, but I need every dollar to stretch as far as it can. With some of the more elite rods on the market for $700-$800… if you can find a good, quality rod for a quarter of that price it seems kind of crazy to me to opt for the more expensive option.
The Clouser 8 wt. is now a true part of the family and will remain my go-to saltwater stick for the foreseeable future, barring fire or theft.
The guys at Three Amigos like the Clouser rods too.