Expert Review: Temple Fork Outfitters Tactical Elite Bass Casting Rod

This review is my honest opinion of the fishing rod, which I purchased with my own money in April of 2021.

The Temple Fork Outfitters Tactical Elite Bass Casting Rod.

All photos courtesy of Danny Palmquist 

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the fishing rod, which I purchased with my own money in April of 2021.

My take

The Temple Fork Outfitters Tactical Elite Bass Rod is an excellent, performance-oriented casting rod for dedicated anglers. It is lightweight and sensitive, and makes it easy for anglers to perform a wide variety of techniques.

The Temple Fork Outfitters Tactical Elite Bass Casting Rod.

About this rod

  • Model: 2021 Temple Fork Outfitters Tactical Elite Bass Casting Rod
  • Rod Length: 7’2”
  • Rod Power: Heavy
  • Rod Action: Moderate
  • Rod Pieces: 1 Piece
  • Rod Material: Graphite

About me

  • Preferred fishing styles: Topwater bass fishing, swimbaits
  • Experience: 20+ years of fishing

Test conditions

  • When I bought this: April 2021
  • Reel Paired with Rod: Lew’s American Hero, 7:1:1
  • Line Paired Rod: Sufix 832 40lb Braid, Sufix Advanced Mono, 17lb Copolymer Leader
  • Days tested: 100+ days
  • Waters I’ve used it on: Shallow lakes and ponds, and in heavy cover
  • Species targeted with rod: Largemouth Bass, Chain Pickerel

How it performs

Casting Ease

What I was looking for

I have been fishing with bladed jigs and spinnerbaits in heavy cover, but I was having trouble setting the hook through thick weeds. I wanted a rod with a substantial backbone that would allow me to drive the hook through vegetation. Since I’m fishing around hard structure, I wanted a rod that would allow me to make casts with pinpoint accuracy to avoid getting hung up in tree branches or on a stump. I also wanted a rod that was sensitive enough to allow me to feel the vibration of the chatterbait or the spinning of the blades on a spinnerbait on the retrieve.

Why I chose this gear

I was having a hard time finding true, moderate-action casting rods. Most of what I found was labeled as fast or moderate fast. Many of the moderate-action rods that I did find were made of fiberglass, but I wanted a rod with the sensitivity and lighter weight that comes from a graphite rod blank for fishing around hard structure. I also considered the Cashion ICON Chatterbait Casting Rod but it had a softer tip and slightly faster action than I wanted, and I found a great deal on the TFO rod.

The Temple Fork Outfitters Tactical Elite Bass Casting Rod.

What I love about it

  • Quality: The overall quality of the rod is excellent. The graphite blank is well balanced. The PacBay Titanium SV guides are incredibly lightweight and durable. They are big enough to allow knots to pass through when using a leader which is perfect for my style of fishing.
  • Durability: I have used this rod for about a year with no issues. The guides have stayed in good shape. The condition of the grip is still like new and it’s been easy to rinse off. Nothing feels loose or worn at all.
  • Performance:
    • Ease of casting: The Winn grips are comfortable to hold on to, and the relatively short butt section made it really easy to cast. The rod is also really lightweight, which helped reduce fatigue during extensive use.
    • Power: The power of the rod was listed as heavy, and it’s definitely a heavy powered rod. It felt a bit stiffer than I had expected it to, which led to change from a fluoro to a copolymer leader to add a bit more shock resistance. For fishing around heavy cover, the rod performed well and it had the backbone I needed to set the hook. I found the rod most suitable for chatterbaits between ½ to ¾-oz.
    • Action: The action on the rod was true to its rating. It is definitely slower than my rods with a moderate-fast rating, and that’s what I was looking for.
    • Accuracy: Casting accuracy was very important to me, and the rod really delivered in that aspect. Sometimes rods with a moderate action are hard to cast accurately but this rod was really impressive. The weight and balance of the rod made it easy to make casts right up against cover without getting snagged in the weeds.
    • Length: At 7’2” the rod was slightly shorter than I usually go for, which helped with making accurate casts without sacrificing any distance.
  • Sensitivity: The rod allowed me to easily feel bites from pickerel and largemouth bass. It was also easy to feel the vibration of my lure, or if I was fishing through grass or hitting the bottom.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Versatility: This rod does well for fishing reaction baits in heavy cover, but it’s not suited for anything else.
  • Other: The hook keeper is located close to the butt of the rod which took some getting used to. It makes sense for anglers who are using a rod sock, but for me it’s not really ideal.

Favorite moment with this gear

My favorite moment with the rod was when I realized how much easier it was to make accurate casts. I fish around lots of wood and chatterbaits can easily get hung up on stumps and underwater debris. Using this rod allowed me to fish more efficiently and opened up some new areas for me to fish spinnerbaits and chatterbaits.

Value for the money vs. other options

Compared to other options, this rod is definitely worth the money. I had also looked at the Fitzgerald Fishing Brian Thrift Chatterbait Rod, but the heavier power of the rod and the titanium guides are what made the TFO a better option for me.

Final verdict

Ultimately, the TFO Tactical Elite Bass series provides a solid, performance-oriented casting rod. Dedicated anglers who are looking to put together some technique-specific setups will find a model in this series that will suit their needs. For tournament anglers, these lightweight rods will allow anglers control over their lure presentation while reducing fatigue during a long day out on the water. The Winn grips are comfortable and allow anglers to maintain a strong grip, even when wet. I have been really impressed by the overall quality of the rod and will definitely consider purchasing another when the need arises.

Selling Temple Fork Outfitters on
Temple Fork Outfitters Tactical Elite Bass Casting Rod
From $199.95
Conventional Fishing Expert Danny Palmquist
Danny Palmquist
Conventional Fishing Expert
Danny here! How can I help?
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Written By
As a lifelong angler, I have experience fishing a wide variety of techniques. My passion is fishing for bass. I put a lot of time and effort putting together technique specific combos and optimizing them so I can land more fish and improve my overall experience. I am also a writer and photographer,...

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