Return of the Thomas & Thomas Paradigm
Roughly twenty-five years ago, I acquired my first REALLY GOOD fly rod, a 905 Thomas & Thomas (T&T) Paradigm. I say acquired, because I won it at a TU fundraiser auction. At the time, dry fly enthusiasts worldwide fished this rod. I absolutely loved its feel and hidden power. For years, it was my go-to rod, and I fished dries, soft-hackles, nymphs and even small to medium-sized streamers with it. The rod did it all!
Over time, I transitioned to the faster action rods the fly rod industry was making, and my T&T lay hidden in the back of my closet. A few years ago, I saw it, and took it out to cast in my back yard. I could hardly believe how it compared to our more modern rods! It cast like today’s full flex rods, though in its day, it was considered a medium-fast rod.
Last summer, I decided to purchase a short, light rod for fishing the mountain streams of Virginia for brookies. I mostly fish ten-foot rods, and it’s difficult to thread them through the riparian brush of these small streams. At the time, I was in Ennis, Montana. One of the local fly shops, the Madison River Fishing Company, had three premium rods that might do the job. All were 3 weight and short, 8’2″ or less. I cast all three, one of which was the recently redesigned T&T Paradigm. The Paradigm easily outperformed the other industry acknowledged rods. It was light-in-hand, silky smooth and had great feel. Although most casts on brookie streams lie within twenty feet, occasionally a run is found that requires a longer cast. The Paradigm readily punched out longer casts, and was extraordinarily accurate, with a quick recovery.
I have been fishing my new Paradigm for several months now, and absolutely love it. I slightly overweight it with a Rio Gold 3 (3.5) wt. line. It performs beautifully with this line, casting dry flies, nymphs, and dry-dropper rigs with ease. My only dilemma is whether to add more Paradigms to my assortment of rods!
Written by Al Simpson, 12/2023.