THE XPLORER T50 FLY ROD, REVIEWED BY TREVOR HAWKINS
The Xplorer T50 Fly Rod from Xplorer Fly fishing, distributed and sold online at Tackle Safari, is their flagship model and from first glance it is obvious no expense has been spared when developing this powerful, yet responsive fast actioned rod.
The Xplorer T50 Fly Rod is built on an hi-modulus Japanese carbon fibre blank to create a light (86 gm) yet very strong, fast actioned rod that features REC ReCoil (updated to ALPS Guides in 2016) single foot spring steel guides that flex under pressure, comfortable reverse half well 3A grade cork grip that sits comfortably in the hand, ahead of a beautiful CNC machined up-locking reel seat with natural burl inserts. The rod is a rich dark brown colour with complimenting paler brown thread wraps trimmed with a few turns of gold. The package is finished off with the rod protected by a cloth sock and classy brown carbon rod tube with aluminium end caps. The rod tube is also protected by a black neoprene rod tube sock with a tightening tag. Nice look! All up a very upmarket looking product that sits comfortably in the medium/high range of rods available on the Australian market. But how does it cast?
Very nicely, I really like this rod, so much so that it was the only five weight I took away with me on an extended fishing trip recently and there were no regrets. It performed admirably on big lakes and medium rivers casting everything from very big dries and heavy wets to small delicate flies over fussy feeders.
The Xplorer T50 Fly Rod is a powerful 5 weight that is more suited to lake or big river fishing in my opinion than other 5 weights on the market, when lined up against many other 5 weights it over guns a number of them quite considerably and it takes some getting used to delivering the fly softly because of the built-in power that transmits through the forward delivery cast. This is not a criticism, just a reality of many very fast rods.
It was recommended that I use a line such as the RIO Gold, which traditionally rates at the higher end of a lines weighting system, but I haven’t found the need to go past using a SA Trout Stalker WF5 F line in all the fishing I’ve been doing lately. I’ve also used a RIO Perception WF5F line and that performs equally well without the line noise associated with the Trout Stalker textured line. The rod is fast and powerful but does slow up a bit on longer deliveries out around 90 feet and I put this down to the top 1/3 to 1/5th of the rod tip length being quite flexible in comparison to the lower butt section of the rod.
Casting at 45 to 60 feet, the line fires out on standard hauled casts but past that distance the angler needs to adapt his casting stroke and drift with the rod to allow the tip to catch up and fire the last 20 or 30 feet. Get your timing correct on this rod and it is a real gem. I have been using it for dry and wet fly fishing out of a drifting boat, casting 50-60 foot casts with wets and 35-40 feet with dries and it does both really well. Pickups are effortless out to 25-30 feet with some line haul, and false casting is reduced to a minimum on this rod with good line hauling.
Xplorer products which are distributed and sold online by Tackle Safari are a new brand on the Australian market and from first appearances they have a few winners in their rod line up. The Xplorer T50 Fly Rod is a light in hand, very fast actioned rod best suited to advanced casters. Anglers looking to purchase a six-weight lake or big river rod will probably find this 5 weight just as adequate and less tiring during long casting sessions. The Xplorer T50 Fly Rod is definitely worth hunting down and putting a test line through for those in the market for a top line gun.
Features of the Xplorer T50 Fly Rod:
• Premium Japanese high modulus carbon blank
• Ultra fast action
• 4 piece with alignment dots on ferrules
• Premium 3A grade cork grip handle
• REC ReCoil single foot guides on freshwater rods
• CNC machined up-locking reel seat with natural burl inserts
• Cloth rod sock
• Brown carbon rod tube with aluminium end caps
• Black neoprene rod tube sock
• No Fuss lifetime warranty
Read the FlyFisher Magazine review of the Xplorer Guide 2 Fly Rod here.
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