I recently returned from a fly fishing trip that I had been anticipating for months to the Florida Keys. During the trip I had a chance to put my new Galvan Fly Reels Torque 8 and Temple Fork Outfitters Mangrove Stick through their paces. While planning for the trip I decided that I wanted to order a Torque 8 and I also wanted a new rod to pair it with. I decided to go in a different direction from my G Loomis Cross Current rod that I have paired with my Galvan Rush 8. I wanted my next rod to be more suited for my main style of fishing, which is out of the kayak. I was also looking for a rod that would load fast so you could feel it right away, and if a fish was close to the boat you could easily put the fly on him. I wanted it to be able to cast very accurately along shorelines and have plenty of power to fight fish in all situations. I had read quite a few good things about the mangrove series of rods and that they were developed in part by Flip Pallot. When I read what he had to say about it, I knew I wanted to try it out. I stopped by Orlando Outfitters in Orlando, FL to try out some other rods and the TFO Mangrove Stick in an 8wt. After the first few casts I knew it was going to be added to my arsenal. I picked one up the following saturday and took it out for a test drive the next morning.
I had a great first trip out with the new combo. I picked up 3 Flounder and 3 Snook and it definitely met my expectations. All of the fish were caught along a shoreline and I was able accurately pick my spots to make the casts to. It was a good decision to get it out on the water as it does have a different action from the cross current. The Mangrove Stick has a more of a moderate action which enables it to load quickly and shoot the line very accurately. It loaded very well at the short distances which was a great advantage casting out of the kayak. Even with the moderate action the mangrove is no slouch in the wind and proved it’s worth in the keys.
While in the keys I had a real good chance to put the Mangrove Stick through it’s paces. I was able to catch Redfish, Mangrove Snapper, Schoolmaster Snapper, Grouper, Barracuda, and Jacks. I lost count of all of the mangrove snapper I caught with the mangrove stick but I can tell you it was some of the most fun I have had in quite some time. Pound for pound mangrove snapper are some of the toughest fighters no matter what size they are and are a ton of fun on the fly.
2 of the 3 Redfish I caught were on the Mangrove Stick and Torque 8 combo and they were both over 27 inches long. As you can imagine they were very hard fighting fish in the shallow water and had plenty of fight in them. The mangrove stick had no problem handling these fish and I was easily able to manage them close to the kayak. I can not say enough, about how pleased I was with the it’s ability handle these fish through all aspects of the fight. I was initially concerned with the moderate action that it may lack the back bone to control the fish when they were in close. That was not the case at all with this mangrove as it has plenty of back bone to it.
As I mentioned earlier the mangrove stick does a good job casting into the wind. I dealt with the wind quite a bit while in the keys and was still able to pick both of these Redfish from the school that they were on. I was able to make accurate casts with good distance into a direct headwind to land both of these fish.
Before finishing the review I had one fish that I really wanted to catch on the Mangrove and that was a juvenile Tarpon. It took me a few trips but I did manage to catch one, and the mangrove did not disappoint. There is one thing about catching Tarpon. It does not matter what size they are because they always give you their best. This fish was no exception.
In conclusion I can say that I am very sold on the Mangrove Stick and I feel that a lot of others who have a chance to use it will feel the same way as I do. The Mangrove Sticks come in 9-foot, four-piece models, available in line weights of 6 through 10 and also in a 12wt. I would highly recommend these rods to anyone, but it always is best to try on out for yourself and see if it suits your casting style.