Temple Fork Outfitters new(ish) Deer Creek Series are family of 6 switch rods ranging from a 5/6 weight all the way up to a 10 weight. As befits my steelheading passion, mine's an 11' 8-weight. Especially in a switch rod, 4-piece construction is key to easy transport.
From the start, this rod makes a great impression visually and in the hand. A deep blue blank with copper wraps, and a matching blue anodized reel seat makes for a nice visual. It's a good looking rod! The two tone grip is comfortable in the hands and seems to have very nice cork. And, it all comes in a very nice larger diameter case.
TFO is known primarily for low-priced rods with good value. The Deer Creek seems to take that to a new extreme. I own a couple of TFO Signature rods for more specialized purposes (a short 3-weight for bushwackin' and a stout 10-weight for salmon) but neither of them are all that pretty. Both perform in a workmanlike manner, but are nothing special. But at their low price and with a lifetime guarantee, I have no complaints. But the Deer Creek is something entirely different. It's easily as visually appealing and feels as good in-hand as my Scott's or any Sage I've seen.
With some help from buddy Mike Schultz of Schultz Outfitters, I was able to figure out a line configuration. Skagit line is a 475 grain Rio Skagit Short, with a 5' Rio Skagit Cheater. This links to 6'-10' lengths of T-14 depending on water conditions. For Indy fishing, a 10 weight Rio Steelhead & Atlantic Salmon line is spooled up. Both are on Ross Momentum V reels.
Regular readers will know I'm a Scott rods fanatic. Just exceptional products, all American-made and a Michigan-owned company. When I bought the Deer Creek the Scott A3 switch either wasn't available or I didn't know about it (plus, there wasn't a local dealer at that time). Last night I got to do a side-by-side comparison of the two. I'd been considering if I should sell the TFO and buy a Scott. I decided against that. After comparing, I think the TFO Deer Creek is a prettier rod with a better grip design. This is no knock against the Scott -- I'd buy one in a second, but it's not worth the effort of selling what I have first. The flex pattern did seem a bit different, but not huge.
Complaints? I only have three:
- No hook keeper; I wish it had one. Although the Scott didn't either. Not major.
- It's a LITTLE bit heavier. Not an issue with swinging two-handed. Maybe it will be for Indy fishing, but if that's the case, then I'll just fish my Scott S3 single hand.
- It's made in the East, not the US. Can't have it all.