Outside magazine, May 1996
It's inevitable: you're biking beside a mountain stream or visiting the in-laws on Flathead Lake when a monstrous trout--the Hulk Hogan of salmonids--ghosts to the surface right in front of you. And all you can think about is the fly rod that was too big to pack.
With the Vagabond Travel Fly Rod from Thomas & Thomas Rodmakers, however, you'll never have to be rodless again. Designed for a five-weight line, this eight-foot rod breaks down into seven sections. In its hard-sided, Cordura-covered case, the Vagabond is only 17.5 inches long and less than 2.5 inches around. In other words, it'll strap to the top tube of a mountain bike, fit through a kayak hatch, or disappear inside your briefcase. But the Vagabond doesn't sacrifice performance for portability. It casts like a standard two-piece rod, delivering a dry fly with delicacy.
It's nice, if a bit inconvenient, that the Vagabond is not a miracle of mass-production technology. Upshot: Order the Vagabond at least four to six months before your next trip with trout potential.
$515. From Thomas & Thomas Rodmakers, 2 Avenue A, Turner Falls, MA 01376; 413-863-9727.