September 18th, 2006

No Show
By James Castwell

Almost every year at this time I bring you a report about the neat things we found at the big Fly Tackle Dealers show in Denver. Not this year. We didn't go. It was a couple of weeks ago and we were on vacation. So, instead of trying to list all the good, bad and ugly for the next season I am going to have to go by information I have gathered after it was over.

Two things have so far really impressed me. There is no way I can report on any one thing without offending one of our sponsors, we just have several all in the same business. But when I see something that is almost marketing genius I just have to remark on it. Usually a report would me about how fast, slick, better or bigger something might be. This is a product that is designed to go right down the middle. From a company that has well over five hundred different products, each created for an exact application, this is a winning idea.

Lefty Kreh Fly Line

Make a fly line that is 'average.' A line that is not designed for anything. Not a specialty of any kind. It is, however, the answer when a newcomer asks, "What fly line should I start off with?" Scientific Anglers has designed a fly line for the average guy, the beginner, the new guy, or anyone who wants a general purpose fly line. To make it even better, they get agreement to use the name Lefty Kreh. Not enough for you yet? Sell it for less than forty bucks. So there you have it. The new Lefty Kreh general purpose kind of greenish colored fly line, 85 feet long, sizes WF4F through WF8F. I have not cast it yet, but it is on my desk here and will soon. Hope to take it to the Idaho Fish-In too.

Now let's move on to something that is also close to my heart. Fly rods. This is from our old friends at Sage. Forgive me for saying that, "they have done it again," that is if you could possibly think of any improvement to the line of rods they offer. They have designed yet another rod. They also have discontinued one of my favorites, the XP. So does this rod replace the XP? To me nothing could replace it. The XP was what it was. Either you liked the way it felt for you or you didn't. It has it's place in history.

The new Z-Axis from Sage also has it's place in history or soon will. For me to try to explain what or how it is without it sounding like a commercial or hype or 'you know what' is pretty difficult to do. Try this. When we get a new rod in here to test, or play with or whatever you want to call it, here is what we do. I examine the rod, dress the ferrules with wax, assemble it and wiggle it. My wife checks it out the same way. We think we can tell something by doing this even though it is done in the livingroom.

Next I find a reel here with a 'test line' of the right size and out through the garage door, down the driveway and into the street I go. Notice I said 'I' go. Just me, I always go first. No reason, just the way we do it. After a few minutes of casting, 'wringing it out and beating it up' we call it, I leave the rod in the garage and come in and let her know she can go play now too.

Not until she has had all the time she wants and has come back in do we comment on how the rod performs. We both do about the same type of tests with the rods. After an overall visual check, we pull off about thirty feet of line. About however much it takes to get the front part of a weight-forward taper out. A few short casts with one hand and no double-haul to get a general feel of the rod. Then as we extend line we add the double-haul and continue to make longer casts. Usually there is some distance or action we want to check further and we do so. The last casts are just for fun, kind of pretend we are fishing it, going for accuracy at various distances. Just seeing how much fun it is to cast.

When all of that is done, we sit down and we discuss the rod honestly and coldly. Oddly, we always agree, always. I have no idea why, but we always feel the same way about the rods and we agree on the new Sage Z-Axis too. It was the first time we ever agreed on these points though. We did not agree on what the rod did or was. We agreed on what it did not do and what it was not.

For example, it is not fast. Well not super-fast anyway. Certainly it's fast but not stiff. It's not heavy by any means either. In fact it is very light in hand. It is not tip heavy. Some rods are and will kill your arm fast. It is not too stiff in the butt section. Firm enough, but, not stiff. I have cast some that were and they felt awful. They had a 'metal 'material in the butt section. Yuck. I think you are getting the idea here. The Z-Axis is simply 'right there,' disappearing as you cast. Your sole concentration can be on the fish. Not too much of this or too much of that. I think each of us could pick up nearly any rod made and after a few casts determine that it should be a little more this way or that way etc.

Much of that may be personal choice, but then again, maybe not. If several folks agree then it is probably true. I think we will all agree on these rods too. The Z-Axis are different in what they are. They do not need fixing, tweaking, any more generations or more refining. They are done. I'm sure you will agree when you have a chance to cast one.

Sage Z-Axis rod

I have the five weight and will of course bring it to the Idaho Fish-In and many of you can see for yourself. Oh, yes, you can have one for free. Enter the drawing this month. Someone will win it. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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