TFO Signature Series Pack Rod

Digital image

As a saltwater fishing guide and tournament director for the Kayak Fishing ClassicS, I get to check out a lot of cool gear. I recently had occasion to try out a new Signature Series pack rod by Temple Fork Outfitters or TFO. The new 7 foot, 3 piece, split cork grip spinning rod with single foot guides accommodates line weights of 4 to 10 lbs and lure weights of 1/8 to ½ oz. The new rod greatly impressed me and here is why.

To begin with, a pack rod should be light weight and compact to fit into your pack, canoe or kayak and not take up valuable space. The new TFO; SWS 703-3 is perfect for that consideration and in addition the finish is absolutely beautiful, as expected from such a fine rod maker. The rich deep blue finish is highlighted by the perfect thread wraps and gold trim lines. The split grip is of very high quality cork and is completed with a nice size fighting butt that still fits into your rod holders. There is a unique hook-keeper that keeps your baits in place without much tension on them. I used High Roller Lures top water prop bait which has two sets of treble hooks on it. I bring this to your attention because I traditionally have to tighten the reel drag to keep enough line tension on the bait to keep it in place on the hook keeper. Not so with this new rod. I purposely loosened the drag and the High Roller Lure stayed in place. Nice!

I was using 10lb test braid and made ready to cast from the deck of my skiff. I put little effort into the cast to see how responsive the load would be. Well I was shocked but should not have been. The lure launched like it was shot out of a cannon and sailed much farther than anticipated. I made a few more casts to get a feel for the new rod and then began some finesse casting. I was a good 70 feet away as I launched the lure up under the mangrove trees. I repeated the process by casting backhand as we all must do at times, and I had the same telegraphic feel as I did casting sidearm. I turned and tried out some distance casting to specific targets which were farther away than one would normally cast to a fish. No disappointment here as the TFO launched the lure like a missile. I kept the lure low to the water for the distance casting, which is a good test of the rods ability.

With the rod being a 3 piece rod, one might suspect that there would be a few dead spots in the rod but none were detected. In fact the rod casts like a one piece rod of very high quality. The fighting characteristics are splendid, as expected from TFO but my main focus was the casting capabilities of this beauty. In sight fishing being able to lay a lure on target without making a huge splash is everything. This rod allowed me to do this with ease and consistency, with very little effort. Being able to pack this rod away for transport is a bonus that many anglers will appreciate however, to me, the pleasure was in the casting and I highly recommend it. Thanks for reading and visit TFO at a dealer or online at