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Rod Review

The Search For One... Temple Fork Outfitters Enters the Bass Market (continued)

Sensitivity: The SWC 664-1 is built with all the modern touches like a split rear grip and exposed blank reel seat. It’s delivered with top end components like SiC guides with stainless steel frames, yet even with all these advantages, it’s obvious the most important factor to a rod’s sensitivity is the quality of the blank and at roughly one hundred dollars, you just can’t expect much in terms of blank material and therefore sensitivity. Having said that, the SWC 664-1 is respectable, just don’t expect it to perform above its market segment.

It's not so much that the reel seat is a non-exposed blank seat, but the locking mechanism looks and feels cheap and plastic like.

Of course, fished with a quality super line or fluorocarbon (or both), any rod can be made to perform above expectations and the SWC 664-1 is no exception to this fact but it does lack that quick, crisp feel I personally look for in a fishing rod.

The rod has a cork foregrip

Power: Fortunately, power is not a trait reserved only for high quality graphite rods and the SWC 664-1 delivers in this category very well. While I wasn’t able to hook up with a fish to really test this stick’s capabilities, I caught enough to know this stick does not disappoint and performs as one would expect from a medium heavy powered rod (even if this rod is classified as “medium”).

Detailing at the butt section is pretty good.

The SWC 664-1’s taper is correctly specified as “fast” which helps in the transition from its tip to a predictable backbone. Again, nothing extraordinary, but no disappointments either. The SWC 664-1 can get the job done in anything but moderate cover situations.

The guides feature SiC inserts with stainless steel frames and while we're uncertain as to the actual manufacturer, these guides sure do remind us of the Kigan product found on Dobyns Rods.

Warranty: All TFO bass rods are covered by a lifetime warranty covering defects in materials or workmanship for the life of the original owner only. All rods must be registered with the company before a warranty can be claimed and Temple Fork Outfitters requires proof of purchase along with $40 to cover shipping charges to initiate a warranty claim. For further information or specific questions regarding your warranty situation, contact the manufacturer directly.

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Temple Fork Outfitters SWC 664-1 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A decent build 6.5
Performance Casts well, but not very sensitive 6.5
Price Very reasonably priced 8.5
Features Seemingly quality guides though we're uncertain as the actual manufacturer... reel seat could stand for improvement 7
Design (Ergonomics) Contemporary split rear grip design but something is missing 7
Application A good, budget all purpose choice 7.5

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:


J An affordable bass rod L The reel seat feels really cheap and generic
J Guides feature quality inserts L Not the crispest blank we've fished even at this price point
  L Line weight rating suggests medium powered, lure weight rating suggests medium heavy, manufacturer lists power as medium, fishes and deflects like a medium heavy


Conclusion: As our economy continues to recover, the market for budget rods is only going to become more and more saturated. And while some companies manage to do better than others, at this one hundred dollar price point, there’s little room in the margins for a manufacturer to really distinguish itself. Temple Fork Outfitter’s approach is to leverage the expertise of the legendary Gary Loomis to create this signature series of rods.

The SWC 664-1 is not without its strong points, but does it have enough to compete? The use of SiC guides is a big plus

While it’s doubtful there are many other rod manufacturers at this price point, if any, offering sticks with guides featuring SiC inserts, the remaining details and specifications of these Temple Fork Outfitters Gary Loomis Signature Series bass rods are at one end, pretty status quo for this segment of the market. In fact, the reel seat on these rods is actually inferior to that offered on other budget rods like the Lamiglas Excel or Abu Garcia Vendetta.

If you're on a strict budget and want durable components, Temple Fork Outfitter's new line of bass rods are worth consideration. Meantime, our search continues.

The blank itself, an area where we’d expect any stick with the Loomis name attached would distinguish itself, but instead it's rather unremarkable and specified with a confusing list of statistics. The SWC 664-1's line rating is that of a traditional "medium" powered stick, but its lure rating suggests "medium heavy". The rod's rated power is "medium" but on our RoD WRACK and fished in hand, it tested out as a "medium heavy." Something is not right with this stick's ratings and while it might sound like we’re being unduly harsh on the SWC 664-1, we’re really not. Given the rod’s price point, we really didn’t expect the rod to blow our mind and for that we were not surprised. It’s a worthy contender in its price category, delivering top end guide material on an average blank, but to expect much else would be unrealistic.









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