by Zoran Marinkovic
in what is undoubtedly the absolute bestest fly rod review ever to end all fly rod reviews, directly from yesterday’s Sexyloops Front Page, ‘Tarzan’s’ (he used to be Zorro, not sure what happened) account bypasses all technical info and goes straight to the point. worship, anticipation, tangas, mysticism, South Africa and a whole lot of enthusiasm and wine. “awesome !” just doesn’t do it justice. enjoy !
i don’t do wine and mysticism but there’s one thing i’ll completely agree on with Zoran: the Hot Torpedo is the absolute best fly rod i have ever cast. period. i’ve had the Instructor model 9′ 6wt for four months now and the woW ! just won’t go away.
here it is on a special rod rack i made for it.
Arrived last week (thanks Ákos) but only collected today after an exciting argument exchange with SA Post Office. Surprisingly enough, those SA postmen know what a superb Fly Fishing rod is, but Tarzan also knows what superb fly fishing rod is, so, I won this time, HT is finally in my hands!
I left a few PO employees’ and his manager behind me in bloodless conditions, but at least, they realised no one can fak with Tarzan, The King of the African Jungle (and monkeys).
Only Chuck Norris, maybe.
Coming home with Hot Torpedo
Soon as Rescue Emergency followed by two fat policemen behind arrived at Rivonia PO, I was driving like crazy to get to my house, forcing myself to not tear up the winning parcel right there on the parking, take the rod out and do those “swish swish” things!
So, I get home first.
You know, it is Autumn here in SA. Nice, pleasant and warm during a day and fresh and chilly during the night. Probably the best climate in the World. My grass still looks fresh and green, but covered with thousands of yellow leaves, beautiful contrast in colours.
That was my playground to check this rod out, still in the tube!
Epitome Wine on casting field
Even it was maybe too early (11:30 am), I opened one special bottle of red wine, which I bought directly in heavenly Cape Town vineyard one month ago. That wine is out of this world, it’s a mix between Syrah (Shiraz), Pinotage and Merlot, with a touch of blackberry and some magical South African Mountain herbs. Vineyard is situated in the CT Mountains, having Trout lake (pond) . Owned by English nobles couple, maybe one of the most beautiful vineyard and Vinery around. Staying on the bank of the Trout pond, one can take a view of the Mountains behind and Indian Ocean on the left (Atlantic Ocean is just 30 minutes driving on the right hand side(West) ).
Here, at the point where warm tropical salt waters met cold waters of Atlantic Ocean, spiced by fresh air from South Pole icebergs and pumped by hot climate from Africa continent from the North, life has nothing to do except to explode, blossoming in a glory of the Earth’s Creator Himself. And all around this vineyard are more vineyards. This is how Paradise must look like.
Copy and paste, if Creator had a computer, that’s how Paradise from Heavens come here on the Earth. Red Vine was Epitome 2007 :
Epitome itself deserves a full Front Page on Sexyloops, maybe even 3 or 4 pages, depending on how many bottles are on the table. So, why on this Earth I am talking about wine and yellow leaves in my back yard?
Because of the clear moment and because of colours.
Imagine that colour of green grass, yellow lives and dark red, but crystal colour of Epitome, which looks like a frozen wave of liquid Rubin Crystal, and then put HT next to it.
HT tube comes in cherish Cordura, with black, solid zip on the cap and comfy black rubber handle. It feels very heavy and looks very solid, probably is hard aluminium tube inside.
I guess I can drive with my 2.5 tons 4×4 over it, and rod (for which I still don’t know how it looks like) will stay untouched. Would you like to know how Epitome tastes?
No, you don’t want to know that, it will lift you up to the sky, you will think it is your nicest day in your life, you will certainly don’t want to go back and you will forget that we are here because of bloody rod review. Wine testing – another entrance, please.
OK, I took one more sip of that Godly Wine, I closed my eyes, and asses the weight of tube again. It looks pretty heavy, didn’t I told you? Then, I gave another 5 minutes until countless, tasteful sensations and aromas generated by one wine sip randomly as it comes, now randomly vanished away. All the colours around me becomes more clear, gently pulling my inner me to another spiritual level, with my senses amplified by 100 times, making me to realise meaning of “I am”.
That was one of those moments, you know… when you simply “are”. I was there, standing on my lawn, with glass of wine in one hand and Hot Torpedo tube in another hand.
Opening the Hot Torpedo Tube and Tanga surprise
Then, suddenly, without any introduction, you know, I don’t like too much of introductions, I unzipped that bloody HT tube cap zip . It was about 1,5 hours after I left PO Rivonia and after 2 pages of introduction to this rod review.
Oops, now I am trying to pull out that rod tangas (rod cloth, rod underwear whatever) but nothing is happening. I cannot pull rod cloth tangas rod out! Put my reading glasses on Ð and hop, I realise rod tangas cannot be pulled out, it is a part of internal tube furniture!
Now that’s clever, I said to Paul and Akos in my mind, and took another (number 3) sip of that Goodness wine.
You guess it already, I gave another 5 minutes to enjoy out of this world taste, aroma and wine bouquet, simply diving in the immense dimension of that Ruby Wine colour.
The Rod Appearance
So, because tangas cannot be removed , I decide to put my fingers in (any resemblance with SheepGirls business is highly intentional, and that was exactly what it felt like).
Rod tip part was the first to come out, so called FF rod clitoris in my neighbourhood. It looks so tiny , fragile and unprotected (I am talking about rod tip, btw). In the same time it has some kind of dynamic authority when I did that “shwish shwish”, cutting the air like a sharp knife used to cut our enemies flesh in our past lives. Fast and sharp but still smooth on some weird way.
OK, I get deeper with my spoiled fingers inside the tube, enjoying that smoothness of rod tangas while still looking for the feel, feel of the other rod parts, of course. And then, I pulled them all out. All of them. Part 2, 3 and 4 – the rod handle, so called butt in the same neighbourhood.
Fantastic! Rod blank is black matt. Looks cool, looks very danger, kind of macho on Gentleman’s way, you know. Iron fist in silky gloves. No shine will scare the fish with this rod. It was built by someone who knows how much scary green, blue or red shiny rod finish could impact the number of fish takes.
Blue thread over the guides legs looks fancy and classy. Forces you to look through it, like a 3D thread. Guides are uncommon, tiny and small, recoils in one word. Later during a casting, recoils proved their supreme impact on rod action and rod/line balance, time will show durability.
The Rod finally assembled
Fak, it looks really nice and classy. So simple and pure, but not boring. In contrary, very inspirational. Mat black rod blank, midnight blue (Atlantic Ocean style) 3D transparent thread, Chrome guides, beautiful healthy looking Portuguese cork with chrome seat is winning combination. Nothing to add nothing to deduct.
Reminds me on design approach from Tom Anderson, the Top World guitar luthier. When he build the guitar, one must simply stay with no words, no comments. It is about beauty by itself, when nothing is left behind to be said.
And then my first, second and third swish, this time with rod assembled! Swish, swish and swish…
Wow, something is happening here my friends, this not about every day mass produced rod. This rod has something! Swish, swish and swish again in a nervous trial to immediately find out what is so special… but no luck.
It feels special, but I do not know why? Tarzan on his knees? Tarzan at a loss for words or some good explanation or two? Don’t joke with Tarzan.
Hot Torpedo IS
I know, you will now guess I took another wine sip, and I can tell you, you are bloody right! I actually took two sips, because I always find myself to have 4th and 5th sip randomly. Why ? Older Sexyloopers will know why. This is SL , and there is no 4.
So, because there is no 4 , go figure…
This time, I didn’t allow that wine to pull me out of this World so easy, I stick to Hot Torpedo with my right hand, what secured me some kind of earthing. But still, Epitome phenomenon and taste explosion simply did another kind of swish, this time swish with myself, exactly as I did with Hot Torpedo five seconds before.
In a millisecond, measured by this world time, until observing the situation from the nearest cloud and watching down to myself standing on the lawn with that rod, I realise what is so special with that lineless rod swishing.
The Hot Torpedo IS!
Yes, that rod is simply: “is”.
One piece, one flow, one dynamic, one wave, one completely compact rod bastard, never seen before in my life. Maybe in dreams. No “dead spots” along the rod, not at all. Bouncing? What is bouncing? If one try to figure out what is bouncing, he will never make to learn about bouncing with this rod. Try some another rod, than you might find out what is bouncing.
All in all, this is simply one-piece, bouncing-free, loop-maker mutherfuker!
The Hot Torpedo, Short Casts, Roll Casts
OK, I prepared XXD #5 and #6 and Rio Distance Casting line, given to me by Paul as a prototype, before Rio faked up that line in final version (I was told they shortened a head for few meters).
First Ð XXD #5 (yes it was really XXD, my old private stock reserves, the last one of its kind in #5). Pulled out about 12m, with the rest of 3 meters in my left hand. Short cast aiming the yellowest leave on my lawn. Swish, ops, that was easy but sharp, light and precise. Casting is flawless, rod balance is amazing, doesn’t feel as a #6 rod, not at all. More like a powerful #5.
Let’s check again those labels on the rod: “HT Pro, Sexyloops, 9′ #6 weight, Zoran FP Team, Paul’s signature, No 22″…? Maybe &Aactute;kos or Spanish rod builder made a mistake? They sent me Competition in #5, with rod labelled as a #6?
Fak it, its feel so good, that really doesn’t matter, let’s do some Roll Casts. Roll will tell me. If its hard to load the rod and do the Roll Cast with 10-12 meters, then shit! Roll, roll and again roll. Then a real EFFF static Roll! Wow, it works with deep, sophisticated action penetrating right through the rod handle.
Let’s do some false casting with short line. Swish swish swish… My God! That loop point, that rod leg looks like ironed! I used to have a small, undesired wave just one meter or so behind the loop point on the bottom leg. With every rod, with every line. It has something to do with my forward flick, I didn’t make to get rid of it, so I decide to live with it, WTF.
With this thing, my famous wave in the bottom leg just disappeared. Vanished. No there anymore.
I thought I will jump on Distance Casting ASAP, but some magic keeps me stacked into that 12 meters casting for a long time. I couldn’t believe this rod is so god on short distance and for Rolls. It is a pure pleasure, and it was easy to load it with lazy, short stroke. Presentation could be so gentle and delicate, almost like with soft rod specially designed for big Caddis dry fly fishing.
All that with #5 line, meaning underlined! They must made a mistake, this is not #6 rod, this is a powerful #5 rod , for the God sake!
Medium Casts, Spey Casts
It took me a good few minutes to switch to another reel with #6 XXD, with my hands shaking all the way I was so impatient to prove that guys made a mistake sending me #5 instead of #6 bloody rod.
Ok, no time anymore for short casts, I just wind off the line up to say 25 meters and start with false casting. Oh, my Gosh!!!! That flick, that life, that action! Rod simply disappeared out of my sight, meaning I was able only to see and feel the loops, rod doesn’t exists anymore in a sense that I have to think about it, if you know what I mean.
Rod doesn’t feel “powerful” anymore, it felt just right. In other words, between my self and the loops was nothing. One biiig nothing. Black hole, emptiness, silence. Just my thoughts and loops. Except of the feel of the flick. Flick back, flick forward. It was somewhere deep in my mind, like a memory of rod, but not rod exactly but just a rod flick.
But what a loops my dear. Straight, ironed, no any bloody wave. My back cast simply exploded in its sharp, energized point, almost like in Paul’s demonstration from SL apps. I finally understand Paul’s teaching and about what he is up to.
Then Switch, Snake Switch, Snap Switch, and every other single hand Spey Cast I can imagine and beyond. Singing, that rod is singing.
Actually, this rod is just IS.
On the same way I AM.
Loops, these Loops are charging the air with energy of Sex… hence the name Sexyloops?
Then I checked the wine level in the bottle… Still enough, huh! But why is this rod so good on short and medium distance. Why the loading is not a problem with short and medium long line? Why is so easy to do even EFFA static Roll Cast? Switch is also easy? Distance must suffer. Nothing is perfect… that was what my Eng. brain continue to telling me, bloody educational training sucks.
Distance Casting and my teachers
OK, you hot bastard, now I will broke you, and send the broken rod in 9 pieces to Akos and Paul with instructions how to assemble two shorter rods out of those 9 pieces, waiting for them to send me a proper and normal stiff broomstick in a #6 weight.
So, I release full length of my lovely #6 XXD and start to torture so called Hot Torpedo in my neighbourhood, in a manner to come up with two shorter, baby hot torpedos.
Meanwhile, I had sip number 6, 7, 8 and 9 (or it was 10?). Epitome rules, what to say. The late afternoon Sun helps me to clearly see my loops against the dark trees in my backyard. Ideal scene and setup for filming Fly Casting movies. Epitome in my blood and some wild energy in my chests make me to do not feel my Golf Elbow, pain just disappeared.
Jason Borger from River Runs Through It was with me, Paul Arden was with me, Mel Kruger was with me, my Daddy was with me… all the important Fly Casters from my life were with me in that very moment, with all of their teaching I managed to assimilate, showing their influence in every piece along my loops… Or those were thoughts transformed in loops?
Zoom, zoom zoom (swish is for short, zoom is for long casts, btw) Oh my dear. This thing somehow and finally becomes a “proper” #6 rod. Weird, but only with maximum line in the air I could manage, I start to feel the real “stiffness” and power of this rod. And as much as I increased the power applied, the rod increases in its strength, recovery speed and response.
My loops get some kind of bonus. Bonus is when you think your loop will collapse and should be opened with the fly dropping on the ground, but instead, loop just proceed for a second or two to fly and unroll, like some anti-gravitational force is pushing it forward, keeping it in the air for longer.
That bonus, in line length, was significantly longer than my usually achieved distance. That bonus in loop shape was in waveless bottom leg, tighter, straighter, more energized loop points and faster loops in general. That bonus ,from caster perspective was in easiness of casting, in control and deep feeling of flick, from the sensitive rod tip up to the latest millimetre of Portuguese cork.
I was wondering if that was really me casting those loops, with loop shapes from Photoshop surgery. Late rotation get sense 100%, I just get enlightened what to do and how to do on the right way, adding a touch of delicate thrust on the end, just to confirm torpedo’s macho’s penetration ability.
And yes, Akos, Paul and Spanish rod builder were right, this is the #6 rod, the best #6 and rod I ever tried in my life.
Of course, didn’t tried it on the fish yet, but tried to pulling trees and fight like with fish. The rod tip is surprisingly tippet friendly, I am sure it will amortise every wild fish run saving tiny tippets, but still with the lots of power to land it.
Ideal rod for fishing 6+ pounds Yellowish on Sterkfountain with 5X tippet, and for fat Drina Greylings with 6X.
Summary, finally You ARE here, congratulations!
Soft and stiff, but not soft and not stiff (?). Yes, you are reading it right, new terms and wordings must be applied to explain that. HT response is like a pain response. Fast and powerful, but delicate and surprisingly gentle when need. Light but not too light. Balanced to perfection. Just right weight in the hand. So friendly. Welcome home! Bouncing free. The biggest, immediately noticeable advantage of this rod.
Short casts, medium casts, long casts – all with authority and as it has been designed just for the each of those conditions separately, and then design assembled in one single rod, very effective synergy of three different rods.
Build Quality is on the highest possible level, top notch. Worth every bloody penny and a few more. It looks classy and rich, tastefully designed. One can use #5 or #6 line, depending on purpose.
This rod deserves its own fly fishing line line to be developed, The Sexyloops Hot Torpedo Fly Fishing Line, period. If the same level of innovative performances could be achieved with HT line as Paul did it with HT rod, it means the guys from Sexyloops Rod Factory Team nailed it 101%.
And yes, it will make you better caster and sexier person, for sure.