When I first met the team at 3-TAND a couple IFTDs ago, I saw why their products have been so well-received. They offer nicely-appointed, attractive reels that carry realistic price tags all while promising strong performance. As anglers know, great looks don't always mean great performance, so I wanted to get a 3-TAND reel to find out for myself. A great match for small rods, it's time to see what their little TF-40 is made of!
Designed for 3–5 weight lines, the reel is constructed from machined aluminum and has a very pleasing style that's difficult not to like. Our demo reel was crafted well with good tolerances and no noticeable machining errors or blemishes from the factory. From the inside of the arbor to the back of the reel's frame there's generous porting to be found for the utmost in weight reduction. At just 3.5 ounces, the design seems to have paid off with a nice lightweight result.
Are you wondering where the counterweight is? Most fly reels have one that's quite obvious on the face of the spool, but at first glance it appears as if though 3-TAND has forgotten this feature on the TF-40........but you just need to look a bit harder! The silver-colored counterweight is actually hidden in the rim of the spool so only bits of it are visible under close inspection. I don't consider a counterweight to be an eyesore, but keeping it out of sight does give the reel a bit cleaner look.
The arbor size isn't huge so the retrieve isn't blazing fast, but it's adequate enough for most fishing this reel should be used for. Cranking on the TF-40 is easy thanks to a handle that has an excellent size, shape, and a comfortable taper. Retrieval is silent, but there is a pleasingly mellow click when line is pulled off the spool.
3-TAND uses a Nano CF drag system that's sealed to protect from water and grit. The rear drag knob is large and features notches around the rim for easy gripping. The dial turns with minimal effort and sports mild clicks throughout its range. Speaking of which, going from zero drag to full takes about 2 1/2 turns. The performance of the drag is excellent. While the maximum drag power isn't anything shocking, it's more than enough for anything you'd likely chase with a 3,4, or 5 weight rod. What the drag does offer is consistent performance with a satisfyingly smooth startup that will help protect light tippets. Even after submerging the reel underwater in my testing the drag still performed without a hiccup.
The TF-40 reel carries an MSRP of $189.95 (with a neoprene pouch) and a spare spool will set you back $114.95. That's a very attractive price considering how expensive fly reels can cost these days and the nice performance and features that the TF-40 brings to the table!
WF3F 90 yards / 20 lb
WF4F 60 yards / 20 lb
WF5F 45 yards / 20 lb