We fished for salmon from our beach for five hours yesterday
morning, the LadyFisher and I, (it was now about five in the
afternoon), on the way home we had stopped at Sage, not far
from us here, and picked up a new fly rod, their newest
in fact. We didn't take it out into the street here right
away, it was raining. We took the time to put it together
and string a line on it. It had been about four hours since
we had been casting our regular salmon rods.
I got out ahead of her by about five minutes, plenty of time
to make a few casts. She came down the driveway and I handed
her the rod. As was usual, I offered no comments and she
expected none, that's the way we do with any new rods. We
each make our own judgements and then compare thoughts. Her
pet fly rod has been for many years a nine-foot six weight,
she uses it to teach with and give demonstrations, her loops
with it are as good as they get.
I backed off a few yards and watched her make a few short tests
loops. I said nothing, just watched a few certain things; her
face, the tip of the rod on the stops for any recoil, the shape
of front and back loops, the amount of effort needed to cast,
consistency of the loops as line was extended, whether she
could maintain line-speed, could she hold a 'wedge' as line-length
was increased and did the line flow smoothly and without waves
in it. Like I said, I just watched a few things.
Her very first cast was made as smoothly as any I have ever
seen her make, ever. I, in fact, think she is a better caster
than I am, she is not as strong so she has to be smoother. What
struck me, was the cast she had just made with an eight weight
was as effortless as she does with her pet six weight. She made
a couple more casts, glancing over at me between them. She would
make a presentation, pull in, pick up and start again.
She was amazed to say the least, and grinning very broadly.
I can't print here what she said, not considered polite, and for
her, a great digression of decorum, but, it was a compliment in
the extreme. It was followed by something to the effect that it
was the absolutely best rod she had ever cast. Strong
stuff coming from her. I have the street marked out in feet,
every ten feet actually, up to a hundred feet. She was five
feet short, line straight, leader straight, no tailing loop
of the hundred foot mark. She did it again with about the same
results. Not surprisingly, we agreed. I too had never cast a fly
rod like this. I was not looking for a rod of this type to come
from major manufacturer, possibly from a 'custom maker,' but not
from a commercial rod company.
But, please remember, for you or many others, that may not be
necessarily a good thing, it may not be the rod for you,
yet. I like a full functioning rod for small stuff, but, when
it comes time to reach out with and get the job done I want
strength and power. Do not confuse that with stiff, there is
a big difference between those two. Envision this. When we are
casting for salmon, we make a cast, then strip the fly back to
us, a streamer representing a bait-fish. With about twenty feet
of line on the water, we start over. The first amount of line
is short with each succeeding double-haul extending line with
as much control as necessary. A stiff rod will not perform
at all line lengths properly. A strong one will, that is
the difference. The loops have to be tight at all line lengths
with only reasonable effort, not compensated for by the arm or
wrist. This rod gives correct loops at all line lengths
with no compensation. THIS IS A CASTERS ROD.
I felt it not fair or proper to write this until I had fished it.
I did that today. A twenty mile drive to a place where I knew
I could give it a thorough work-out, I know, 'tough job, but
someone has to do it.' The wind would be from straight at me
to a few degrees to my left and blowing about fifteen to twenty
knots at least, it was, perfect for a right-handed caster.
I needed a place where I could expect some salmon, where I would
be concentrating on 'fishing,' not casting. Very soon I was in
the swing of things, casting and retrieving, concentrating of
fishing. I had plenty of room for my back-casts and could also
vary the angle of my casts as per wind direction. Never before
have I had the control of all loops at all lengths as I did today.
Forgive me, I even impressed myself, the rod made look better
than I really am. Actually, I was proud of how my casts looked,
even though there was no one to notice. I noticed and that
was enough. The 'Fishability Factor'? One hundred percent.
I won't bore you with details of modules and all the extra
steps which are required to produce the TCR series now. I
can tell you that the next time you see either of us fishing for
salmon, ask to see the 'Chili-Pepper Red' fly rod. We'll be
using them, yes, 'them.' They will be introduced this week
at the Fly-Fishing Retailer World Trade Expo in Denver. Sage has
allowed us to break the story on FAOL before the show.
The TCR rods come in only two models, both nine foot,
four-piece. One with half-wells grip is a five weight for $700,
the other with a full-wells is the eight weight for $725. Yes,
a Lamborghin is more expensive than a Ford.
Watch for the distinctive red colored rods, they will soon be
in the hands of the top casters, under the best loops and behind
the longest lines.
~ James Castwell
Note: There's more. Check the Product Review on the Sage TCR