Thomas & Thomas XL Rod

The new XL-4 is both highly affordable and highly portable...

While ultrafast rods are great for long casts and quick presentations, not all situations require that kind of power, nor do all casters like them. For anglers who prefer their rods a bit slower, Thomas & Thomas Rod Makers introduces its XL-4, a medium-action rod that's built in the United States and reasonably priced.

The new XL-4 is both highly affordable and highly portable, thanks to its four-piece design. Built to the same standards as other T&T; rods, like the Horizon II and the Helix, the XL series doesn't load as quickly as its faster brethren. However, it can still carry a significant amount of line in the air and deliver it accurately, and it has enough backbone to land fish effectively.

The XL-4 lineup consists of several freshwater models, but the heavier line weights are fitted with a full-wells cork grip, a saltwater-proof reel seat and a fighting butt. The four-piece 9-foot 8-weight retails for $395 and comes with a rod tube and T&T;'s lifetime warranty. For more information, write to Thomas and Thomas, 627 Barton Rd., Greenfield, MA 01301; call 513-561-5466; or visit