When it comes to fly rods in Colorado, a 9’0” 5 Weight is a must have. Diversity is the name of the game here so if an angler had to settle on just one rod it would more than likely be a “905”. This is because they can handle small high country creeks, rolling over nymph rigs on our tailwaters and hopefully throwing streamers along some of our bigger waters. At least those are things I feel they should be able to handle. I recently got my hands on a Thomas & Thomas Avantt 905 and was asked to put it to work. Established in 1969 the original T&T owners Tom Dorsey and Tom Maxwell began building rods promising “The relentless pursuit of innovation, superior quality and uncompromising performance in creation of the world’s finest hand crafted fly rods.” I don’t want to say T&T disappeared towards the late 2000’s but the once great brand surely didn’t have the presence it once did. This is where current owner Neville Orsmond comes into play. After acquiring the company in 2014 Neville set out to revitalize the brand. Keeping everything in the US, the newly designed T&T rods have had the industry buzzing. So it goes without saying how excited I was to put the rod to the test.
There is no question the Avantt is one of the best looking rods on the market. We all know looks aren’t everything so I didn’t hesitate getting the rod on the water. I made a point to take the rod to a variety of different waters to see if it was up to the task of handling everything Colorado could throw at it. The first place I fished the Avantt was a small tributary to the Colorado River, with the idea of throwing dry flies to spooky trout in the low fall flows. T&T’s claim of precise command with a delicate touch was right on the money. The rod had great feel that allowed me to fit flies in tight windows and also present long casts with small dries to fish sipping in slow slicks. I’ll tell you after that day I was crushing on the Avantt pretty hard as it passed its first test with flying colors.
As much as I enjoyed the way the Avantt handled a day of tossing dries I knew there were other things it needed to do before I fully bought in. My next trip with the rod was to the South Platte in Cheesman Canyon. The Avantt is a very lightweight rod and I was a little skeptical as to how well it would roll split shot and three fly rigs over. My first roll cast ended any concerns I had about the Avantt being able to perform. I had great command of casts and mends the entire day. While a little more length may have been beneficial, the 9’0” got the job done passing the second test again with flying colors. After handling dries and nymphs there left only one thing for me to do, huck some streamers!
That day came when a couple of us from the shop got the chance to go fish the Fraser River at Granby Ranch. Personally, I try to avoid watching a thingamabobber all day like it’s the plague. So it goes without saying how eager I was to see how the Avantt would respond to fishing some streamers. This is when Thomas and Thomas delivered on their claim that the Avantt comes alive in your hand. As I began lengthening my casts I realized how much power it had while still maintaining great line control. I was able to put my streamer wherever I wanted without any issues. From that moment I was 100 percent sold. Having grown up in Colorado, I have fished my fair share of 9’0” 5 weights and the Thomas and Thomas Avantt is one of the very few that I feel actually made a difference in my performance. I think it’s clear to say that Thomas & Thomas is BACK and BETTER than EVER! If any of you ever see me on the water… I’d bet you’d see the Matte Blue Thomas & Thomas Avantt in my hand.