October 6th, 2003

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .

The Perfect Rod

By James Clarke, UK

Ladyfisher has posed the question - here is one answer. Recently I had the misfortune to stumble on the bankside, I tripped on a bunch of rushes, and I was sober, honest. I got to my feet quickly and as in circumstances like this, red-faced, hoping no one had noticed. Luckily there was no one in sight, but in rising and brushing myself down I noticed to my horror that I had fallen squarely onto my Sage rod. Catastrophe! The second section of my 4-piece had snapped like a carrot. Unfortunately it is too old a Sage to be covered by the current lifetime guarantee.

I have an Orvis, a Norwich, a couple of Hardys and quite a few other nondescripts, but this was my No.1 rod. It was the height of the season and I was so accustomed to my Sage that the thought of persevering for long with anything else was anathema to my fisherman's soul. The answer ? The XP I had been dreaming about for some time.

Now --- a problem arose. My favoured line size is 7, favoured rod length is 9'6". Sage now only make rods of this spec. with full Wells cork and with black reel fittings, neither of which I like. I don't really care for the rings they fit, which, while stainless steel snakes, are depressingly ordinary and have been known to wear through, or at least groove, within a couple of seasons use in the waters I fish with their high incidence of clay in the mud of the bottom.

So ----- blanks it would have to be, and such were duly ordered together with a reverse half Wells handle, Struble lightweight reel fitting, and titanium finished single leg rings from H & H. The blanks came, the whole was assembled and in five days I was fishing with the finest rod I have ever used, a four-piece 9'6" 7wt. Sage XP. You can keep all the others, this is the rod for me,it roll casts, it steeple casts, it spey casts and probably does things I can't. For distance casting I use a WF6 Cortland Laser but for everyday fishing a WF7 is perfect and goes out through the rings like a rocket. With the XP the air resistance is non-existent. For some reason I am much more accurate with this rod than I remember being before, even with the old Sage which was a RPL111. This is possibly due to the lack of "tremble" at the end of the forward stroke, when I stop pushing the rod stops moving with a "deadness" which is quite uncanny.

This is the rod for me, the perfect rod. ~ Jim Clarke

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