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Thomas & Thomas Avantt 590-4 Review

- published August 2017

96

2017

RATINGS

Weight/Balance
10
Fit in Hand / Grip
10
Casting Accuracy
9
Casting Distance
9
Fish-on Performance
9
Versatility
9
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
96

SHOP

MSRP
LOW PRICE
$825.00
N/A
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

THE GOOD

  • Perfect balance with low swing-weight
  • Versatile performance
  • Strong butt & mid-section for fighting fish
  • Sensitive tip for good line control & accuracy
  • Comfortable & secure grip
  • Made in the USA

THE BAD

  • Expensive
  • Not as accurate as some
  • Fast action performance can be difficult to master by novices

THE VERDICT

The Thomas & Thomas Avantt is the lightest fast action rod we’ve tested, yet it also proved to be one of the strongest in terms of fighting power and casting distance. The Avantt earned the test’s highest rankings across all but one of the test categories, and was dubbed the favorite by every test team member. The biggest knock on the Avantt proved to be its price: As with much of the outdoor market, lighter weights and better performance equates to higher prices and the Avantt is one of the most expensive rod in the test.

FULL REVIEW

The Thomas & Thomas Avantt represents a new direction for the venerable old brand. With new owners, new management, and new rod designers leading the way, T&T has stepped back to the forefront of fly rod excellence. The Avantt rod blanks utilize proprietary composites and resins in a new sleekly tapered design. The result is a rod that provides fast-action performance, with the tip sensitivity of a slow-action dry fly wand. That makes the Avantt a versatile tool for fishing everything from big, heavy nymphs to tiny dry flies.

Weight, Balance, and General Feel
Everyone, from the woman with the smallest hands to men with the biggest, most calloused mitts, felt the Avantt’s cigar-tapered grip fit perfectly in hand. The cork has enough girth to be held firmly but not so bulky as to cause hand strain for the smaller folks after a long day of casting.

The Avantt’s weight (2.9 ounces) felt even lighter thanks to the low swing-weight of the design — that is, the rod’s balance means less effort is needed to ‘swing’ the rod through the full casting motion. The result is a rod that can be fished all day without undue fatigue.

Casting Distance and Accuracy and Fishing Performance
The Avantt’s fast-action design helps deliver big flies and long lines out to where the fish live, but a slower, more flexible tip section gives the rod an extra measure of finesse not often found in fast action sticks. That tip-flex does slightly inhibit casting distance, but not enough to make a difference for the vast majority of casters.

With fish on, the rod proved adept at controlling hard fighters. There’s enough power in the butt and mid-section to ‘lift’ big brown trout from the depths of pools, and enough delicacy in the tip to help control leaping rainbows without snapping the tippet.

Versatility
The Avantt 590-4 and its little brother the 486-4 (8’6” 4-weight version) earned our respect for their unmatched ability to move from one situation to another with light or no change in performance. The rod worked wonderfully when we needed to chuck a couple weighted nymphs under a thingamabobber indicator out into a deep Yakima River pool. And when I spotted fish rising to a caddis hatch in the next pool, I switched to a #18 Elk Hair Caddis and could deliver it gently and accurately into the feeding lane about 40 feet from my position on the shore. The Avantt truly earned the title of “King of the One-Rod Quiver.”

Sizes Available: 7 models, from 3-wt to 7-wt in various lengths

How We Tested It

Fishing for rainbow and cutthroat trout on the Yakima and Methow Rivers in Washington, and the North Fork Clearwater in Northern Idaho. We fished from shore on those rivers, as well as rafts on the Yakima and Idaho’s Henry’s Fork. Testers included myself, as well as a range of fishing guides, outdoor photographers, and fish and wildlife professionals (fish biologists and game wardens). Both men and women participated in the test.

For more reviews beyond this test, check out our best women's wading boots of 2017 and other related fishing gear tests.

The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.

About the Author

Dan Nelson

Dan Nelson

Dan Nelson is the fly fishing editor of Gear Institute.com. He is a veteran outdoor journalist based in the Pacific Northwest. Follow him at Google+.


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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$825.00
N/A
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

RATINGS

Weight/Balance
10
Fit in Hand / Grip
10
Casting Accuracy
9
Casting Distance
9
Fish-on Performance
9
Versatility
9
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
96

Specs

  • Weight verified?: Yes

Weight

2.9 oz

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