Baffling to many people as it might be, we took the HT6 blank and relabelled it a #5 for competition use. Now there are some pretty sound reasons for this, the main one being in the UK for BFCC usage in the 5WT distance game the rod has to be labelled a 5WT. For very long carries – the sort of carry that one might use for distance casting – i.e. 90ft measured fly line end to hauling hand – you need a relatively stiff rod to handle this. And so the COMP5 was created.
I took two prototypes to the very first World Championships in Norway, with the blank that we ultimately finished with, one with Recoils and the other with single leg H&H rings and cast them side by side for about one hour. That little experiment saw us fitting single leg H&H rings to our finalised rod, because in competition I believe that they shoot slightly further. I love Recoils on my fishing rods, but any small advantage in competition distance will see me ring accordingly. It’s a small advantage, smaller than the wind that’s for sure! But it’s there just the same.
This was several years ago and the World Fly Casting Championships with Fly Fishing Tackle has moved on, and this small jump in rod stiffness is now behind the times, and we – or many of us at least – now use far stiffer rods. The COMP version 2 for example actually has the stiffness of a 10WT rod, and I know that because it is our HT10 blank! This is the rod that (finally) gave me a Bronze medal this year. Not your everyday comfortable fishing tool.
However the COMP5 blank (i.e. HT6 blank) is the one I use for accuracy competition too. For many accuracy casters this is too stiff, and a soft (not fast) AFFTA 5 rod is often preferred. Ashly for example prefers the HT4 up-lined for her accuracy work. But she is a girl. Me on the other hand, this is what I use. Mind you I always have the fastest accuracy rounds of any championship competitor – not the most accurate this is true – but I’m fast!
Even “under” lined with a 5-line it is an awesome fishing rod, and has caught me many fish. 49.5cm Grayling in Bosnia, 7lb trout in Russia and has been a great casting tool for me too, putting me into the finals in the World Championships twice in distance and once in accuracy. I wouldn’t recommend it for your 5WT fishing – not unless you like to be very fast! – but as a means of tuning your casting to enter the World Championships then I would thoroughly recommend it before jumping to the poker that we now sell.
A great rod and it resulted in the current whippings colour scheme that we currently have on all our PRO series. Incidentally if you ever come across HT COMP5 with serial no.4 then it is mine – some Barstool stole it from my boat!