Five to seven weight rods are not only my favorite rods to fish, but currently also my most used. In particular, I have a special affection for lightweight saltwater-style rods in 5 and 6-weight sizes as they have the stouter components and more powerful actions that I often prefer. With this in mind, the 6-weight Exocett from Thomas and Thomas seemed like an ideal candidate for review. As the flagship saltwater fly rod series from T&T, they pack a premium list of features that should please even the pickiest inshore or bluewater angler.
Length: 9 feet
Line Weight: 6
Measured Rod Weight: N/A
Stripping Guides: RECoil (Titanium frame/ceramic insert also available)
Guides: Black RECoil snake guides
Reel Seat: Aluminum
Rod Tube/Sock: Yes/Yes
The cork on the Exocett can be categorized as "WOW!" It's clean, tight, and smooth—really high-quality stuff right here. To compliment such a nice grip is an equally nice aluminum reel seat. It certainly looks very "saltwatery" with its chunky double up-locking rings and thick slide band sporting the T&T name. Below that is a small fighting butt with composite cork end.
The blank of my 6-weight test rod appears very streamlined thanks to its thin diameter throughout. Showing off a matte-blue finish, there's no fish-spooking glare here—just pure stealth. Love em' or hate em' (I LOVE them), there's two RECoil stripping guides and a set of black RECoil snake guides for durability. Not to be forgotten, the tip-top is generously-sized and ensures that knots slide right on through.
The wraps really caught my eye. You can tell they were done with a lot of precision and are extremely straight and clean. Actually, these are probably the nicest wraps I've seen on a production rod thus far!
Each rod piece is adorned with the rod's serial number to avoid mixups with other T&T rods you may own. The ferrules all fit together perfectly and there's no clicking or ticking when the blank is wiggled and flexed. There's no hook keeper.
Quality of my Exocett was generally excellent, but upon even closer inspection I did find a few little things, though. Three of the snake guides had tiny epoxy drips/overruns on them, but I put tiny in bold there for a reason—they were only noticeable when looking extremely closely and had zero effect on performance. Second, and a bit more curiously, only the first section of the rod had an alignment dot while the other three didn't. Odd. Yes, both issues are really minor, but I was hoping for perfection considering the rod's sticker price.
A great saltwater fly rod will exhibit the power and taper to cast far, yet have enough "give" up top to perform well at close ranges, too. I threw two WF6F lines on this rod—one being a line of a more standard weight, while the other was rated about one line weight heavier than AFTTA standards. No matter which line was used, I found that the 6-weight Exocett was well-suited to presentations at any range. The performance of this rod is not just good, but great.
I caught largemouth bass, little snook, and jumped a 10-pound tarpon on the Exocett. Delivering the fly to these fish was never an issue!
The Exocett's slim, sensitive blank offers a lot of casting feel along with crispness and very light weight. Speaking of weight, I had a major blunder and sent the rod back to T&T without weighing it on my scale....DOH! Getting back on track, its fast action doesn't just cover modest and distant casts with ease, but short shots never felt vague or numb with either line. Of course, the heavier fly line had a bit of an edge when casting chunkier flies or throwing in-close since it weighed more and had more of an aggressive head design.
As each casting stroke is completed, the blank also dampens quite fast which helps improve that capable, precise feel especially important to a saltwater stick. If you're an accurate caster the Exocett won't hold you back at all—provided your technique is sound, it'll deliver the goods astonishingly well.
As far as light saltwater fly rods go, the Exocett 6-weight was easily one of my favorites. I know I cited a few little cosmetic gripes, but it's still a real knockout looks-wise and a grand slam performance-wise. It also didn't hurt that it matched my new Abel SDF perfectly! This is a rod I wish I could've fished a ton more and taken more places. It's also a rod I HATED returning! I'd definitely find room on my rack for one of these.
Exocett rods can be had in 6 to 12-weight sizes, all measuring 9-feet long and coming in 4-piece configurations. Prices range from $895–$925.
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