In 2002 the then new Orvis T-3 series rods were featured in FLY FISH AMERICA's 2002 Gear Guide, page 32, in an article titled How a fly rod is built. The article features the Orvis fly rod shop. The Orvis T-3 line of rods was featured in Fly Fish America's Editor's Choice Awards for 2002.

I have read a lot about the new Orvis T-3 rod series that hit the market for 2002.

For insight into the new T-3 series of rods, I sat down and chatted with Paul Fersen, Orvis outdoor wholesale marketing manager (below right) in the Orvis booth at the Shallow Water Expo in Atlanta this year where we discussed the T3 series rods at length. The following is part of our chat:

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Byrd: What are the major differences in the Orvis Trident series and the T3s series?

Fersen: "The important thing is the graphite. The development of fly rods today is a race to find out how to use higher and higher modulus graphites, because then we get lighter and more powerful fly rods. Orvis obtained exclusive rights to the thermoset resin technology for use in our fly rods, specifically for the T3 series. The graphite fibers are coated with a high heat activated thermoset resin to bond them and form the rod. The result is a very strong, light, responsive fly rod."

Byrd: What line weights are currently available in the T-3 series?

Fersen: "Right now the T-3 series includes a 3-weight up to an 11-weight. Initially we came out with 14 models covering 3-weight to 11-weight for Spring 2002. We will have seven more models available in May 2002, then in October 2002 we'll have five more models, and by spring 2003, we should have 36 models available in the T-3 line."

Byrd: Are you going to produce rods lighter than a 3-weight in this new technology?

Fersen: "Yes, we probably will, but at this time (February 2002) there are no 2- or 1-weights on the drawing board. We have to develop the faster selling models first. By the time we build 2 piece rods, 4 piece rods, full flex, mid flex, tip flex rods, different length rods within the series - it just takes time."

Byrd: Based on your personal use of both rod series, how do you compare the T-3 rods to the Orvis Trident TLs?

Fersen: "The T-3 series over and above Trident gives us the ability to design fly rods that feel much lighter. We are finding that the new "thermoset resin" process makes T-3 rods very strong, and initially it seems that breakage is being reduced. So we have a lighter, stronger, aesthetically beautiful rod that plays fish well, and breaks less. It is just an absolutely nice rod to hold and fish."

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I recently obtained a beautiful T-3 843, an eight foot 4 inch 3-weight 8.0 mid-flex rod. Initially I took it to the water, and I was pleasantly surprised. I have fished Orvis fly rods from the Superfine 7 ½ foot 1-weight to the Trident TL 10-weight. The T-3s seem to offer a lighter, stronger, smoother casting rod. Since I spend most of my time casting rods 3-weight to ought-weight, I'm glad that this light rod is offered in the T-3 series. In casting tests, I found that my T-3 843 will handle a WF2F line beautifully, as well as a DT3F line for lighter 3-weight presentations. While not a full flex rod, its timing and casting characteristics are SMOOOTH, and it protects tippets nicely.

All the while, it has the power to drive casts with light fly lines through wind. I've also noticed that my 2 section T-3 will shoot even light lines effortlessly. Now, I have fished my T3 843 many hours, and have caught a lot of fish on it. I feel even the slightest pickup or strike and can get hookset by simply raising the rod, or gently flicking my wrist.

In side-by-side comparison on the water, when I put down my T3 and tried a rod that I believed to be similar, I found that I could detect subsurface strikes and get hookset faster on the T3 than some of my other 2 or 3-weights. For that reason I have fished my new T3 very much over the past couple of years. I am truly impressed with my Orvis T3 model 843.

When I first obtained my T3 843, Orvis wasn't making them in a 4 section travel rod. Also, a 2 weight version was not available. Now both are. If you travel the T3 843-4 in 4 sections is now available and packs very well.

Based on my T3 843's fishability, in 2006 I ordered a T3 842-4, a 7 foot nine inch 4 section 2 weight rod that feels very much like my T3 843 but packs much better for travel. Although it will cast a WF2F line without problem, it has a lot of lower rod strength. It also works well telegraphing subtle subsurface strikes to my hand. I have caught bass up to 3 pounds on it and bluegills to 1.5 pounds. It handled them with ease. With beautiful looks, smooth casting, and sensitivity to fly pick ups and subtle strikes, I'm fishing this latest T3 a lot and enjoying it.


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