My hands-down favorite trout fly rod of all time is the Thomas and Thomas Contact three-weight (review here). But, for high flows and bigger fish, I leave behind the 1133 and bring its bigger brother, the 1086, the Contact six-weight.
I brought it last year to the Salmon River for my first steelhead trip, and it performed amazingly well. It had no problem landing a 23″ steelie (post here).
I also brought it to Maine when fellow blog writer, Ashu Rao, and I were gunning for big brookies during high spring flows (prior post here). Paired with my Thin Euronymphing Leader (formula here), it had no problems chucking light streamers and tightlining.
Like the three-weight, this T&T rod combines both finesse and power: it is light to cast, is sensitive enough to glean soft takes, and has the power to subdue quickly big fish. Its 10′ 8″ reach gives me a great deal of line control.
As with all Euronymphing rods, the butt end provides tremendous leverage. It’s strong. T&T’s Joe Goodspeed regularly lands monster 30″ fish with the six-weight. Here’s one.
So, if you’re fishing for steelhead or want a stronger rod for when flows are high, consider the Contact 1086. The UpCountry Sportfishing folks sell it. It’s a great fly rod. I’ll be bringing it on my upcoming November steelhead trip.