The best trout reel on the market today is a bold statement with the number of fine trout reels on the market. With all things considered, the ultra-smooth and durable 3-Tand TF-Series of trout reels makes a compelling case to be just that. I look for two things above all others when looking to purchase a trout reel: an ultra smooth drag and a reel built so well it simply won’t fail regardless of where in the world I may be fishing. And by the way, I expect to find these attributes in a reel that retails for less than $300.
The 3-Tand brand has a distinguished pedigree, being that it is the third successful reel company launched by owner, designer, engineer and machinist Rob Koelewyn. Previously, Rob was the owner of both Van Staal and Zee Baas, long known for producing premium surf casting reels and fly reels for several decades.
Rob has hit it out of the park with his first launch of mainstream trout reels. The TF-Series trout reels are fully Machined (no cheap plastic parts found on this reel) out of solid block 6061 T6 Bar stock Aluminum. The reels are then cold forged and tempered to complete the hardening process, then treated with 3-Tand’s proven type III anodization process to produce the unique gunmetal finish that is also saltwater safe.
At the heart of this reel is a fully sealed carbon fiber disc drag treated with Nano resins (first of its kind to do this) that provides the smoothest, most consistent drag pressure you will find from any reel, let alone one at this price point. With an extremely low start up inertia – as close to zero as I have ever seen in a reel, the TF – Series has proven to be an especially competent dry fly reel. The treatment of the carbon discs with Nano resins makes these reels smoother out of the box that other reels and reduces the potential for the carbon fiber discs to become scratchy or squeak over the life of the reel.
Durability is at the core of each of these reels. I have dropped them on the rocks, stuck them in sediment along the bottom of the river and found continuous performance from the TF’s fully sealed drag system.
In addition to having one of the best drag systems ever created and being housed in one of the most durable frame/spool designs, the first thing you will notice when putting one of these in your hand is the light weight of these 3-Tand reels. The TF-Series five weight reel weighs a mere 3.8 oz.’s, which falls into the rare sub-4 oz. category for a five-weight trout reel – a benchmark that was previously only met by the Lamson Litespeed and Nautilus FWX. What you will find is that these reels will balance beautifully on just about any rod.
What’s truly amazing is that the five weight TF-50, retails for a mere $199, redefining the saying “high performance at a mid-range price.” The TF-Series far exceeds any other reel in it price class and performs as well if not better than reels at twice it’s cost.
So what’s the catch? The only downfall for some is that the TF-Series is not made in the USA. (What is these days) While, yes these reels are made outside the US, they are made in a far more controlled environment than other overseas production reels. Rob Koelewyn – owner, designer, engineer and machinist for 3-Tand reels lives in China the majority of the year overseeing production of these reels in his own manufacturing, along with his team of 5 employees. All 3-Tand reels come with a limited lifetime warranty and are serviced from their facility in Prospect, CT.
After catching hard charging trout on size 20 dry flies with the TF-40, reeling in Bighorn River trout with nymphs by the dozens on the TF-50, and pounding the banks with streamers for days with the TF-70, I can say with the utmost certainty that I have not fished with a finer line of trout reels than those of the TF-Series by 3-Tand. I find that their performance, durability, stylish good looks and very reasonable price are second to none.
With three patent pending technologies in the new TF-Series of trout reels that includes an embedded rubber insert in the reel seat, carbon fiber disc drag treated with Nano resins and a counter weight that is embedded in the spool frame that produces a cleaner look and increased performance, the 3-Tand line of reels are a must to check out if you are in the market for a trout reel that will provide you with maximum performance on the water at a terrific price point. Is it the best trout reel on the market today? Maybe. Is it the best trout reel at its price point? Without a doubt, YES!
3-Tand TF-Series at a Glance
- Frame/Spool – 6061 T6 Bar Stock Aluminum
- Type III 3-Tand anodized Finish (Saltwater safe)
- Carbon fiber Nano resin fully sealed drag system
- Near Zero start up inertia
- Embedded Counter Weight
- Very low 3.8 oz. overall weight
- Line Weights 1 – 8
Pros: Fully sealed, very smooth, extremely durable and a great price
Cons: Not made in the USA
Price: $179.95 – $209.95
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Categorised in: Gear Reviews
This post was written by Bighornangler