Thursday, June 30, 2016

The New Sage "X" Fly Rod. Thoughts and comparison.

Recently, Sage released the New "X" fly rod with lots of media attention.  As you know, I like to see all the new rods and compare them to some of our favorite rods out there.  I was able to cast the new rod and I'll share with you a few thoughts.
First, when Sage releases a new flagship rod, you know it's going to get a lot of attention.  Sage is probably the consumer's favorite rod brand and has been a major player in the fly rod game for years.  As the newest release and replacement for the hugely popular Sage "ONE", the new "X" touts some advanced materials.  Kennetic HD Technology is basically a high density fiber composite used in the new rod and provides a stronger, better recovering and a better loop and line controlling fly rod.  So is it better than the "ONE" or any other rod out there right now?  
I was able to take this rod out on the casting pond to see what it feels like.  My first impression when putting together the rod was, "why are they still using hard chrome guides on a high end rod"?  Most other high end rods use the Recoil guides. My preference is the recoil guides and not hard chrome.    After stringing it up, I casted it.   Hmmm?  It felt good, but I could feel the swing weight, as it was something that immediately jumped out to me.  One other thing was that the loops felt great.  It definitely has a great feel on the casting stroke.  I did like how tight I could get the loops.  But, I kept going back to the heavy swing weight.  Honestly, I actually think I liked the rod.  After telling myself that, I went to my car and grabbed a Hardy Zephrus and a G. Loomis NRX LP to see how it felt next to these benchmark rods.  I can say that both of these rods felt much better to me that the "X".  There is just a different feel to these other rods.  For me, a rod should be able to cast well up close and have enough power to make the long ball.  The "X" just couldn't cast well up close.  Similar to the "ONE". That was where I really felt that heavier swing weight.  The NRX LP just blew it away up close and just had a smooth feel to it.  The Zephrus was also smoother and better up close.  Also, the swing weight and overall weight of both rods felt lighter than the "X".  
With just a few minutes casting it, I can tell you that the "X" is a great feeling rod and most Sage fans are going to love it and think it is the best thing since Gore-Tex, but it's not for everyone.  I've read many great things about it already on social media, but I've also heard some not so flattering things about it in person.  
The price of this "technology" continues going up and these rods are retailing for $895.00.  A bit steep for a rod that to me feels "OK", compared to other high end rods out there.  I'd like to cast some of the other rods in the series as I think some of them would be pretty awesome, such as any of the 4wts.  I'd also love to fish the 10' rods.  I am sure those are great fishing sticks as these longer rods don't really need the tight loops and super light swing weights to preform.
I am sure you will hear how awesome this rod is and how you need it to make laser-like casts and catch more fish.  It is a great feeling rod, but as I told someone, "I like most of this rod, but not all of it."   It's not like this rod can do things that other rods haven't already done.  The top rods (Scott Radian, Hardy Zephrus, G. Loomis NRX LP, Orvis H2) have already shared their technologies and seem to be doing ok  in the "rod wars".  I don't think the "X" will knock any of these rods off the pedestal anytime soon.  Just my thoughts.
Thanks for reading!!  Let me know what you think if you have cast or fished this rod.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Roll Cast Baby!!

When I get people on the stream who have never fly fished before, or even those that have tried it a time or two, I keep them on a tight leash in terms of their casting.  I teach them how to roll cast and that is it.  As we get more and more rising fish, I will take the time to teach how to throw a dry fly, but for the most part, we throw indicator rigs and I don't let them overhead cast.  Why you might ask?  Have you ever tried to teach some one who has never fished how to throw an indicator rig?  That is why.  If you haven't, you might want to give it a try and let me know how it goes.  Just a tip here, take an extra leader or two!!
As beginners, I don't think they need to try and throw an overhead cast.  I want them to spend time fishing, not untangling their knots.  I always tell them that they catch more fish when their flies are in the water, not tangled up on the rods.  It usually make sense to them, so why doesn't it make sense to us?  If you are new to this, or even if you have been fishing for a few months now, keep roll casting!  Don't get in a hurry and try to be like everyone else.  I still get tangled a lot when I try to make longer casts with an indicator rig.  It's really not that hard to do.  Add in some wind and you will have one hell of a mess.  Remember how I told you that you can catch more fish with your flies in the water?  Really, it's true.  So next time, go out and roll cast more.  Get better at it and make it an integral part of your fly fishing skills.  You will tangle less and spend more time with your flies in the water, thus leading to better stories on the way home with your buddies.
You can thank me later for the tip!!!
Roll casting keeps you in the game to score more!