Developing the HT10

A few years ago, after cycling half way around Australia, I ended up fly fishing in Exmouth for a month. This is a very exciting destination and I used a TCX10 for all of that time… and it gave me Tennis Elbow! It took three months for the pain to eventually leave…

Now the reason the rod gave me Tennis Elbow is because it had an almost completely rigid butt section, this meant that my body (elbow) had to stop considerably more of the lever in the first instant. So I learned from this and developed a rod with a more forgiving butt section, allowing the flycaster to initially stop less of the rod.

The first prototype, while good, and considerably more gentle in this regards, I felt just a little too slow. So we sped it up. The resulting blank is light, fast and smooth, with an incredibly positive tip. The tip damps perfectly making it possible to throw 5-line on the rod and still see no vibration – indeed this is also our COMPETITION V2 blank – the one that gave me a Bronze Medal in this year’s World Championships in Estonia!

But really it’s a ten-weight. I personally like fishing RIO’s Technical Tarpon Taper but I’ve always preferred fishing these longer heads!

For the World Championships I had Titanium Torzite rings fitted to the rod. This was an experiment – they are supposed to be slicker than SICs and of course Titanium is not only lightweight it is also Saltwater proof. We’ve taken the (rather expensive!) decision to fit them as standard on all HT10 rods. Of course we also fit Snake rings or indeed anything that you’d prefer, but I would take the Titanium Torzite option – they are fantastic rings and IMO the best.

You can find the HT10 here in the Sexyloops Store.

Hot Torpedo 10
Hot Torpedo 10

The HT8 Build

Holger asked me yesterday for more details on the build and appearance of the latest HT8 model. This is the flag ship model that we stock.

The Hot Torpedo
The Hot Torpedo

Sexyloops has its own cork grips made in Portugal using the slightly thicker Full Wells grip that we like with a small fighting butt. The cork quality is immaculate. The reel seat is machined by REC in the USA – the best – black anodised and the insert (spacer) is machined and black anodised in the UK.

Titanium stripping guides
Titanium stripping guides

Stripping guides are Titanium framed SICs, there are seven Recoil rings and the Tip Top is Hopkins & Holloway. Whippings are blue/grey thread with orange tips. Epoxy is applied in 3-4 very thin layers built up over time to give the perfect Sexyloops finish.

The complete HT8
The complete HT8

The most common custom builds for the HT8 are for Snake Rings and/or your name on the rod. The blank itself has four types of carbon, but the rest is a secret!

A CANNON WITH FINESSE – the HT8

I think that sums up what the HT8 delivers. A beast of a rod, with an incredibly stable tip and plenty of that all-important factor; feel. It’s no surprise that it took us 9 attempts to get it right. One thing that I found very interesting was that three of the prototypes, that all behaved differently, were separated only by having different sanding options.

The HT8 has become one of my all-round go-to rods. This is probably no surprise either since I’ve been predominantly jungle fishing in Malaysia for the past three years! The HT8 has been my Snakehead rod for all of this time. For Snakehead you need to be lightning fast and deadly accurate. These are without doubt the hardest fly fishing shots you’ll ever make. For fast delivery you need a fast rod. And for Snakehead – well the fights are simply brutal.

As well as numerous Snakehead, I’ve used mine for Bonefish in the Maldives as well as catching my largest Brown Trout, 11.5lbs in the Kola Peninsular. So this is a hell of a rod, that has magic properties too. I’ve compared it side by side against many other 9ft 8weight rods and none has the tip that all the HT rods exhibit – i.e. little or no vibration after unloading. Does that matter? Well it certainly does to me!

THE HOT TORPEDO COMPETITION 5

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!

THE HOT TORPEDO INSTRUCTOR

When we decided to shoot the Sexyloops App it was apparent that we were going to need a white rod. I’ve seen white rods used for this task in the past, namely with Bill Gammel’s 5 Essentials video – Bill used plumber’s tape wound up the rod. Instead of doing this we had a HT6 blank painted white. Since then I’ve used this rod for all my teaching and demos.

It’s also put me into two World Championships 5wt distance finals and one accuracy final. So it’s quite comfortable casting a 5-weight line too! But for me it’s really a six weight tool.

Casting the HT Instructor in Estonia
Casting the HT Instructor in Estonia

It’s beyond me why an instructor would use a rod that students cannot see! Something I notice with the Sexyloops Instructor rod is a longer student attention span. Also it makes teaching far clearer. And of course for shooting video it is a must.

Casting the HT Instructor in Norway
Casting the HT Instructor in Norway

There are some other white rods on the market, particularly now, but none compare to the HT INSTRUCTOR. Not only is at a great casting tool, but it’s also very comfortable for beginner casters to use. This is important!

We have around 90 Casting Instructors using the HT INSTRUCTOR. I shall be giving them all a free listing very shortly. We have an Instructor/PRO programme. If you think you qualify then please get in touch!

Teaching in Switzerland
Teaching in Switzerland

THE HOT TORPEDO 6

The HT6 was the first HT blank to go into production. I’d been looking to produce a rod series for quite some time and approached various blank manufacturers, but couldn’t find what I was after. On the third attempt I made contact with my good friend Alejandro who designs rods for the Maxia factory in Spain. This connection saw me travelling to Spain for a weekend with the Maxia owner, Alejandro and Aitor (who helped translate). A few early prototypes were made, none of which I was very excited about!

My main trout fishing rod for the last 25 years has been a 9ft 6-weight, so I knew exactly what I was looking for in this regards; I need something that is fast, has a strong but flexible butt and a completely stable tip. Numerous prototypes and 9 months later I got what I was looking for and took it to the Sexyloops Scottish Meet where Stefan Siikavaara broke it after beating the hell out of it for two hours in a snow storm! The rod went back to the factory and the entire second section was strengthened. This had a remarkable affect on the rod and transformed it into (in my opinion) a quite amazing rod. Now we had the rod I was looking for.

The last thing I want is a problem with breakages, so this rod (like all the Sexyloops rods) went into distance casting competitions and passed through some 500 anglers’ hands, including many top distance casters who like to hit the rod as hard as they can. I took it to the World Championships, I took it to Malaysia. Basically we beat the crap out of it! And then I placed an order…

And that’s when I had to look for a rod builder, because the finish didn’t live up to the blank’s performance. The rods were stripped and rebuilt by a Hungarian rod builder. The Hot Torpedo rods were finished in Hungary for some two years, before we moved the rod building to the UK with Trevor. Trevor was (and still is!) a fantastic rod builder, but he had to leave to go live in New Zealand after a year, passing on the Sexyloops rod building mantle to his great friend Lee Martell. Lee is an awesome rod builder, all rods starting with serial number 100 and up have been built by Lee, on the 4, 6 and 8 series. And on the 10 WT they start with number 1.

The sort of fishing the HT6 is designed for is New Zealand style fishing, large heavy nymph combos, medium-sized tungsten streamers, sinking lines when necessary, big fish, tight loops and everything has to be done with finesse. It’s a wonderful all-round fishing tool, our best seller and if it wasn’t for the HT4 would be my most used trout rod!

The reviews on this rod speak volumes, I think.

4 IS THE NEW 5

Of all the rods in the HT series, the HT4 is my favourite. This might be because it’s my primary dry fly rod of course, but also it is perhaps the most versatile. Originally it was developed for river fishing in Bosnia and Croatia. In Bosnia, the most used tippet is .10mm or 7X, fishing flies #16-20 so a light-line rod with a sensitive tip is a must. However I really wanted to keep the Hot Torpedo feel and action and the result has been surprising…

Most 4WT rods on the market have rather soft butt sections, the HT4 has a powerful flexible butt. This allows for distance casts on Stillwaters, in other words it can comfortably throw a team of buzzers 90ft across the wind. Since a 4WT flyline is 40% lighter than a 6WT line this gives us far greater sensitivity. Side by side, you might feel the pluck of a take on the 6 – and miss it – with the 4 you get to hit these delicate takes. The fish appear to mouth the fly for longer.

Even more surprising is that the HT4 is quite at home throwing medium-sized streamers. Being able to throw a streamer as well as fish small dries on delicate tippets is very handy if you don’t want to carry two rods around! It will French nymph too, but in this regards it is a compromise and another foot of length would be preferable.

So here we have a superb all-round trout and grayling rod, that gives considerable advantages over heavier lined rods. This is a really great rod for trout fishing on the flats of NZ or Tasmania, fantastic on rivers and a joy to cast. The powerful butt section allows for a strong fight too, which is particularly useful for me, because it’s also my Giant Gourami rod in Malaysia!

I fish this rod with a DT4 line. It should be exactly AFFTA conforming. Fast and furious and with finesse. If you’re a 5-weight man then try the HT4. 4 is the new 5!

It catches big fish too…

 

 

 

SEXYLOOPS HT vs SAGE X

A few people have asked me what is the difference between the Sexyloops Hot Torpedo series and the Sage X since they cost the same USD price and have the same lifetime guarantee. That’s really where the comparison ends. This is not a price war, this is a quality war.

1. The Sexyloops Hot Torpedo blanks are better by design.

Blank feel may be subjective, tip recovery is not. Sexyloops blanks have the best tip recovery by far. HT blanks are fast but delicate, have both finesse and power. The HT blank is a smooth fast progressive action designed as for all-round mastery of both short and long distance presentation shots. Loop control is impeccable. There has never been such a finely tuned blank delivering so much power with finesse.

*Tip recovery is how the rod tip behaves as the rod unloads. An unstable tip will put waves in the rod leg of the loop. HT rods are designed to minimise this and in many hands will completely remove it.

Paul Arden leads the design, working with top casters and anglers all over the world, having his blanks produced in Spain. These blanks are not available anywhere else.

2. The Sexyloops Hot Torpedo finish is both immaculate and stealthy.

Sexyloops rods are built in the UK by our extremely talented rod builder who builds each rod to perfection. HT rods are built the long way, three micro-thin coats of epoxy for each whipping. This results in a thinner more-even finish. Only perfectly finished rods leave our workshop. If it is not perfect it is stripped and rebuilt until it is. This is no easy task and no factory in the world is going to pay such attention to detail.

Sexyloops fly fishing rods have a matt non-scaring finish. If you want to buy a glossy rod then buy the Instructor Rod. Glossy rods scare fish.

3. Sexyloops uses higher quality components.

We use the best cork money can buy. Stripping guides have titanium frames. We machine and anodise our own spacers. Big businesses cut costs at the bottom end to increase their profit margins. At Sexyloops we don’t do that and use the best fittings available, whatever the cost. On our HT10 for example we use Torzite Titanium rings throughout. A world first.

4. There is no 4.

5. Sexyloops has the same great Sage Warranty.

We know this a big selling point for many fly fishers, so we offer it too. However we offer a small but important difference; we will always rebuild your rod the way you want it and not replace it with different model.

But it doesn’t stop there, we also offer more…

  • All Sexyloops prices include free priority shipping, anywhere in the world. That’s right, if you live in Timbuktu we will deliver your rod to you for free.
  • We give a 7-day money back no-quibble guarantee. If you are not completely enthralled with your HT rod, then return it in 7 days and we will give you a complete refund. (This has never happened!)
  • We offer a bespoke rod service at no extra charge. Don’t like recoil rings and prefer snakes? We will fit snakes. Prefer a Full Wells grip or a wooden insert? No problems – we have you covered.
  • And finally, through Sexyloops, we give you unlimited lifetime support. Need travel advice? Need help in fixing an irritating casting problem? Want to know how to tie your flies upside-down? Any question, mainstream or obscure, we will do our best to help. After all we’re not just selling you a rod; we’re coming fishing with you!