After the success of its Contact series dedicated to euronymphing approaches, the famous American brand Thomas & Thomas continued to work to improve the existing models. That’s how the Contact II was born, in a desire to optimise the Contact series... Focus on the first model of the series: the 10 '#2.
On the aesthetical side, this new Contact II series is close to the original Contact: it notably takes up the dark gray spiral coating of the blank and the brown olive wraps. The rod number is still present at the different separation points to help alignment of the pieces. It also features high-end components from the Contact series, including a maximum quality cork handle (extra flor), and a titanium-frame ceramic stripping guide followed by 11 single foot RECoil guides. Finally, the handle ends with a new thin fighting butt, more discreet than the previous one, bringing comfort and balance. The black anodised aluminium reel seat keeps its ash burl insert but becomes down-locking. The Thomas & Thomas Contact II 10’ #2 is a 4-piece rod shipped with a made in USA protective cover and an aluminium tube.
The Common Cents System protocol was used to characterize the action, the power and the reactivity of this rod :
Regarding the power, 27 cents was required to load the rod over a third of its total length, which gives after conversion an ERN of 2.97 and a #2/3 line power, just a little bit more than expected. This measured power is similar with the manufacturer's recommendation on its website: the rod can be loaded with a line 2 or 3, depending on the casting distance.
With an AA of 67°, the action is fast (AA> 66 °) but remains in the bottom part of this range and closed to the moderate fast category.
The frequency was measured at 80cpm which shows of the versatility of this blank and demonstrates the real possibility of dry fly fishing as well as European nymphing. Tested with a weight corresponding to a line 3, CCF at 74 cpm shows the great reactivity of the product.
The comfort while fishing is excellent. The rod only weights 2.96 oz and has a perfect balance with a spooled reel weighting 4.23 oz. The BTW is 1 oz less than that of the Cortland MKII 10 '#2 (same length and real power), despite a much shorter handle on the Thomas & Thomas. Moreover, this relatively short handle (6.42") allows an optimal use with a semi-automatic reel, popular type of reel in nymphing technique (an excessively long handle coupled with a down-locking reel seat prevents direct access to the semi-automatic trigger).
The diameter of the handles is still standard and the first guide is now perfectly positioned for effective nymph fishing (13.38 in from the handle).
The opinion of Joe Goodspeed, Thomas & Thomas rod designer
"Contact II 10’ 2wt model is a good representation of what is unique and different about the second generation of T&T Contact series. Our goal with Contact II was to improve upon the highly successful original Contact series, and we approached the project from a very wide angle over the course of three years. This time was spent learning more about the science of material and reinforcement structures, obtaining and strength testing new materials, and listening to the feedback from the excellent anglers on our pro staff (and from reviews like Trout and Co. !). We also spent time reviewing component improvements (extra low profile stripping guide) and designing a smaller and more efficient fighting butt for the matte black colored down-locking reel seat. Improving the guide spacing on original Contact design was a frequent topic with pros, and we experimented with a number of potential options. The final spacing on these Contact II rods is based on the concept that the line contact point where the hand sits against the cork is considered the first point in the “guide spacing”, such that the transition from the hand, to the extra low profile stripping guide, to the start of RECoil single foot guides has a smooth taper that minimizes mono leader line sag. This design creates the best line contact points to maximize the rod blank properties while casting, detecting strikes, and allows the most powerful lower part of the rod to work striking and playing fish.
Overall, the new blanks are designed to be tactical flyfishing tools more than just nymphing rods. All the Contact II rods have a smooth and accurate overhead casting action that is true to their listed line weight rating. The new blanks have exceptional strength, allowing for lighter line weight rods to target larger fish and to fight and land them effectively."
THE OPINION OF THE EDITOR
After testing almost the entire original Contact series, we were excited to discover this first Contact II. The only defect of the Contact was the distance a little too important between the stripping ring and the handle for an optimal use in euronymphing. It is now fixed! The chosen distance (13.38") is ideal because it reduces the formation of the slag in the line without penalising dry fly fishing casting with a standard line. Especially since the reactivity of the blank allows an efficient dry fly fishing. At the same time, we find all the advantages of the Contact which have promoted them as references on the nymphing rods market: soft action without hard point in the curve, excellent fishing comfort and reactivity.
This “10' #2/3" is a versatile rod for fine techniques in small to medium rivers. It will allow to cast small nymphs with beads from 2.4 mm (or 2 nymphs of 2 mm). For dry fly fishing, we appreciated its qualities of casting at short and medium distance (up to 40'), with a 2 line. Compared to the Contact 10'2 #2, in addition to the more adapted distance between the guides, this Contact II is slightly more powerful and faster, which gives it a little more authority over powerful fish and a better aptitude for dry fishing with a line 2 (CCF at 80 vs 77). All with a much superior fishing comfort. Despite this slightly modified action, we still find that the trademark of the Contact series: a harmonious curve of the blank during fights and a very interesting ability to preserve fine leaders. A real success Made In USA with a lifetime warranty!