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What is fly fishing?
Thinking about getting into fly fishing? Well you should, and we're here to get you started out right with the real reasons to fly fish.
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Fly fishing is fun and easy!

Fly fishing is a “gate key.” It's an excuse to find yourself in wonderfully beautiful places with a reason to be there. Fly fishing is a catalyst to drive down dirt roads, hike new trails and explore around a river's bend to see what might be there.

Embraced correctly, fly fishing isn't just about fish count or fish size. Instead, the true goal is to “earn” your fish with an efficient and accurate cast, while employing as little equipment as possible. Done right, fly fishing is more like hunting. Quietly stalking along a clear trout stream looking for a fish or promising water is fun by itself. But, seeing a fish, making an accurate cast and hooking a fish is a fish well earned. This is fly fishing.

Fly fishing is a new lens to look through. It will sharpen your view of nature and build value in the wonder of the outdoors. Through fly fishing, you can collect magical memories that will last a lifetime. You can fly fish by yourself to find solitude or you can fly fish with those that matter. Young or old, boy or girl, everyone can fly fish and so can you!

You might have heard that fly fishing is complex and intimidating. Approached correctly, that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, we at Leland, argue that fly fishing is actually the easiest form of fishing. Fish don't have hands! Sounds funny to state, but it's true. Fish have to eat to stay alive and they are naturally curious...meaning they will put your fly in their mouth. All you have to do is get your fly in front of a fish.

featdesc::
It's time you started fly fishing!

If you've ever said to yourself, “I've always wanted to fly fish.” If you've ever poked your head into a typical fly shop and found yourself overwhelmed with too much equipment and underwhelmed by the service, you're not alone. For thirty years we've been listening to our customers and honing our craft. We're ready to service you correctly with just the right amount of confidence-building information and fly fishing gear so you can finally realize your dream...going fly fishing.


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What is fly fishing?
Thinking about getting into fly fishing? Well you should, and we're here to get you started out right with the real reasons to fly fish.
402
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detdesc::
Fly fishing is fun and easy!

Fly fishing is a “gate key.” It's an excuse to find yourself in wonderfully beautiful places with a reason to be there. Fly fishing is a catalyst to drive down dirt roads, hike new trails and explore around a river's bend to see what might be there.

Embraced correctly, fly fishing isn't just about fish count or fish size. Instead, the true goal is to “earn” your fish with an efficient and accurate cast, while employing as little equipment as possible. Done right, fly fishing is more like hunting. Quietly stalking along a clear trout stream looking for a fish or promising water is fun by itself. But, seeing a fish, making an accurate cast and hooking a fish is a fish well earned. This is fly fishing.

Fly fishing is a new lens to look through. It will sharpen your view of nature and build value in the wonder of the outdoors. Through fly fishing, you can collect magical memories that will last a lifetime. You can fly fish by yourself to find solitude or you can fly fish with those that matter. Young or old, boy or girl, everyone can fly fish and so can you!

You might have heard that fly fishing is complex and intimidating. Approached correctly, that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, we at Leland, argue that fly fishing is actually the easiest form of fishing. Fish don't have hands! Sounds funny to state, but it's true. Fish have to eat to stay alive and they are naturally curious...meaning they will put your fly in their mouth. All you have to do is get your fly in front of a fish.

featdesc::
It's time you started fly fishing!

If you've ever said to yourself, “I've always wanted to fly fish.” If you've ever poked your head into a typical fly shop and found yourself overwhelmed with too much equipment and underwhelmed by the service, you're not alone. For thirty years we've been listening to our customers and honing our craft. We're ready to service you correctly with just the right amount of confidence-building information and fly fishing gear so you can finally realize your dream...going fly fishing.


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Leland Upgrade: The Original Trade In Program

If you didn't use some of your fly fishing gear this season, you probably won't use it next season. Trade it in for for exactly what you'll use with Leland Upgrade!
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If you didn't use some of your fly fishing gear this season, you probably won't use it next season. Trade it in for for exactly what you'll use with Leland Upgrade!
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Name::Leland Upgrade: The Original Trade In Program
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detdesc::Don't keep your closet filled with unused fly fishing gear. Trade it in for gear you'll actually use with Leland Upgrade.

In 1999, the Leland Upgrade service was born. It was initially created for Leland employees, allowing our staff to acquire better fishing gear by leveraging the fly fishing equipment they already owned. The concept was simple, offer the unwanted fly fishing gear at action on Ebay and use the resulting funds to purchase better fly fishing equipment.

This approach worked so well internally, that we decided to offer this same service to our better customers. As we refined our approach and workflow, we finally found ourselves ready to offer our Leland Upgrade service to all our customers and the rest, as they say, is history. Leland Upgrade is now, and always has been, the original trade in program.

Casey Rolig runs the Leland Upgrade Program. He as for years. With his experience and collected sales history data, he'll give you the best estimated value for your trade in. He'll also make the process simple, easy and seamless. He'll guide you to the best gear available and make your time on the water more enjoyable.

Don't let your unused fly gear continue to rot in your closet. Trade it in for a solid credit toward what you'll actually use next season. Just click the link below for more information or contact Casey directly for more information. He'll take great care of you.

featdesc::CLICK HERE to read testimonials from our satisfied Leland Upgrade clients.




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The Fly Shop at Leland Ranch
The Fly Shop at Leland Ranch...a unique 
experience.
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desc::The Fly Shop at Leland Ranch...a unique 
experience.
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We're passionate about fly fishing and our customers. Here to provide you with the best fly fishing experience possible whether it's over the phone, via email or in person at our Sonoma Ranch. We pride ourselves on 3 E's (education, experience and equipment)

Phone / Email / Live Chat Hours
 Monday-Friday 9am to 5pm PST
 
Sonoma Ranch Fly Shop and Casting Lesson Hours
FRIDAY & SATURDAY ONLY 10am to 6pm PST

If our business hours don't work with your schedule please let us know and we'll do our best to accommodate whether you just wanted to visit the fly shop or book a casting lesson. Our customers are the reason we're here so don't hesitate to ask.


(Please note, we may not be able to answer the phone on Saturday as we may be assisting customers in the shop or out casting)
Closed Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, NYE, & New Years Day

Phone: (415) 781-3474 or (707) 939-6910
Toll Free: (866) 672-1959

24120 Arnold Drive / Hwy 121
Sonoma, CA 95476
email: info@FlyFishingOutfitters.com


If you're finally ready for fly fishing solutions born from thirty years in the fly fishing business, it's time to visit the Fly Shop at Leland Ranch.

Whether you're new to fly fishing or a seasoned angler, this great sport can be a bit overwhelming with all the brands, series and models of tackle available today...each claiming to be the best. Truth is, even we at Leland felt overloaded with all the choices. That's exactly why we got rid of them and kept only the solutions that are worthy of your consideration.

We have a balanced, efficient fly fishing outfit for every type of fly fishing situation you might encounter. From panfish to billfish, we'll put the right solution in your hands so you can arrive anywhere in the world completely confident that your fly tackle won't let you down. If it's fly fishing for trout, we're ready for you. Saltwater flats...no problem. Steelhead...yup. We make it easy for you.

featdesc::Call us a throw back to the good old days, when fly shops carried only the best. Today, the world moves at a faster pace. Who has the time research and attempt to test all the fly fishing tackle options? Well, we do...and we did. We've done the heavy lifting for you...keeping only the best. Nothing makes us happier than assisting you with fly fishing tackle solutions that make your time on the water that much better.

This doesn't mean we only kept the most expensive solutions. We pride ourselves on the ability to service all our guests with the same responsible approach at all prices. Whether you're just learning, we've got the right gear. If you're a youth fly angler, we've got the right gear for you. Maybe you just love to backpack into the mountains for a soulful trout trip. We've got the right gear for that, too.

But, gear alone doesn't make for an exceptional fly fishing experience. For this you need confidence and our principle-based approach to education won't leave you wanting. Over our many years, we've honed our instructional technique, making learning easier and more enjoyable for you. No lengthy classes, syllabuses or quizzes that bring on that “test anxiety” feeling. We promise, your experience with us will be refreshing and enjoyable...just like fly fishing should be.

Our thoughtful approach to fly fishing means we'll take care of you, your needs, your wants and your wishes. The way we see it, it's our job to put you in that magical fly fishing picture that lies deep in your mind and to do this right, you simply need to visit the Fly Shop at Leland Ranch. We look forward to your visit and to the many memorable fly fishing experiences that await you.

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Sage Z-Axis 7136-4 Spey Fly Fishing Rod Review
Arguably one of the best all-around two-handers that Sage has ever built. If you can only have one two-handed fly rod this is it, from summer to winter steelhead...this rod can do it all. Read more!
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desc::Arguably one of the best all-around two-handers that Sage has ever built. If you can only have one two-handed fly rod this is it, from summer to winter steelhead...this rod can do it all. Read more!
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Sage Z-Axis 7136-4 Spey Fly Fishing Rod Review


Specifications

• Line Size: 7

• Rod Length: 13' 6”

• Sections: 4

• Weight: 7 1/8 oz.

• Handles: Premium Portuguese Cork - Two Handed

• Reel Seat: Uplocking Black Aluminum

• Tube Size: 44 ½”

• Action: Fast and Smooth

• Price: $800





What’s the word . . .



Being one of Sage’s top dealers, I was able to borrow one of Jerry
Siem’s new Z-Axis Spey rods before it was unveiled at the Fly Fishing
Retailer. For my trip to the North Umpqua, the choice was easy; the Sage
Z-Axis 7136-4 Spey Rod. This was over a year ago and the trip was
magical. The history, the scenery and catching steelhead on dries
overwhelmed my senses. This year I was lucky enough to return to the
Umpqua. This time, I brought my own Sage Z-Axis 7136-4 Spey Rod . . .
and it was the only rod I brought.



People who know me and my love of gear have never seen me show up for a trip, no matter what the destination, with less
than half a dozen rods. In fact, I am constantly made fun of for having
“too much gear to fit in the car.” This Z-Axis Spey rod has stopped my
quest to find the perfect rod for every situation, for every pool and
every fly line. The Sage Z-Axis 7136-4 Spey rod is that ‘perfect rod’
for me. I expect it to be the only rod I use on my next trip to British
Columbia, too. Keep in mind, I do not say this lightly. . . in fact, it
hurts the total gear-head in me to think I may not have a full quiver of
rods with me on my next steelhead trip. Maybe I’ll just have three
7136-4 Z-Axis rods rigged and ready to fish . . . one with a floating
line, one with a type three sink tip and one with 10 feet of T-14?





Features. . .



The Sage 7136-4 Z-Axis Spey rod is rated for a 7 weight spey fly line.
This can be confusing because a 7 weight Spey line doesn’t weigh the 185
grains that a single handed 7 weight fly line does. In fact, the
perfect line for this rod is the Rio Skagit Shooting Head for
interchangeable tips, which weighs 450 grains, that is, before the
addition of a 140 grain tip. So this ‘seven weight’ rod balances with a
line closer to 600 grains than the 7 weight designation might indicate.
Despite the rumors, fly fishers don’t make it confusing just for fun. It
is my observation (I may be tarred and feathered for saying this) that
this Spey ‘thing’ is relatively new for most of us, and those designing
and manufacturing the gear are just starting to figure some of it out.
We at Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters take it to be our mission to educate
ourselves, and you, on how to wade through this confusion so you can
just enjoy the fishing!



This amazingly efficient rod casts floating heads, sinking tips, extreme
sink tips, heavy flies, and dry flies, all with effortless precision
that I have not experienced before. The 13’6” length, weighing in at
only 7 1/8 oz., gives you the length you need to precisely control your
swing without tiring. The rod breaks down into four pieces, is protected
by a cloth rod sock and fits into an aluminum rod tube 44 ½ inches in
length, allowing you to fit it safely in most overhead compartments. This
insures the rod will make it safely to British Columbia, Alaska, Russia
or the Great Lakes. The 21” cork handle provides enough room to
accommodate any style grip. The 7136-4 comes with an uplocking
saltwater-safe black aluminum reel seat that resists corrosion when
you’re fishing the tidewater on the Dean. The fast, smooth action of
this rod generates line speeds I have never before experienced in any
spey rod, which translates directly into accurate, precise and easy
fishing. What a rod!





Action. . . .



The first impression when I opened the tube is that the rod blank was
thinner than a traditionally-built 13’6” rod. As I put the rod sections
together, my observation turned into the physical conclusion that this
rod was light! I wiggled the rod and it did indeed feel light in the
hand, and fast! (Wiggling rods is a fantastic pass time, and is done the
world over in fly shops. This is a poor way to determine a rod’s
action, but until every shop has a river running through it, we are left
to wiggle.) I strung up the recommended 450 Grain Rio Skagit line, with
a floating tip, and started to fish the North Umpqua. This is really
the only way to determine a rod’s action. If a rod Only feels good in
the store, it should stay there. After numerous casts, I could confirm
that this rod was “fast”; not in the tainted meaning of the word, which
means “stiff”. “Fast”, as in the awesome meaning that it transferred a
magical amount of energy to the fly line and created loops with
tremendous line speed. Line speed in this situation means easy casting
and accuracy!! The last attribute that I look for in a rod is tracking.
Does the tip follow the butt of the rod and, therefore, the casting
stroke? If it does, you get accurate loops and a versatile rod that
accommodates many types of casting styles. This rod has a thin blank for
low windless drag, is lightweight for tireless fishing, generates amazing
line speed, tracks like it’s on rails, and handles all types of lines,
flies and all my different casting styles. Jerry Siem, the rod designer
at Sage, has built into this rod the potential for it to be a seamless
part of your fishing; where you no longer feel the rod as a fly fishing
rod, but, as an extension of yourself to land your fly exactly as you
pictured it.





Materials. . .



The Sage 7136-4 Z-Axis is built with the Generation 5 Technology
process, a significantly different and improved method used in building
rod blanks. Instead of a typical fiberglass “scrim” or mesh that is
rolled around the steel mandrel to bind the longitudinal graphite fibers
together, the Z-Axis Series has this scrim replaced by a lighter layer
of graphite cloth. This cloth is rolled at a 90º angle to the
longitudinal power fibers, resulting in a rod with greater “hoop”
strength, more power, a thinner wall and less weight. A more efficient
rod with less weight?! Sage wins this one!





Fit and Finish. . . 



The Z-Axis rods are also attractive, with a rich, olive green blank and
contrasting brown thread wraps over English Hopkins and Holloway guides
and tip top. The finish over the wraps is a medium build and has very
professional, near flawless appearance as you would expect. The reel
seat is a black aluminum, giving the rod a solid look. The handle is top
quality Portuguese cork which is a beautiful tan and natural to the
touch. It’s all organized in a custom tan rod sock and fits into a
handsome aluminum brown Sage rod tube. Sage’s fit and finish is equal to
their reputation of making the finest fly fishing rods in the world.





Reliability and Durability. . .



When a fly fishing rod bends, its circular cross section becomes an
oval, with the greatest stress occurring in the compression element at
the inside of the bend. This phenomenon is typically what causes
graphite rods to shatter when they’re overstressed (aside from car
doors, dog teeth, and nicks from weighted flies). In addition, when the
G5 layers are compressed with tape and baked in an oven, as all
synthetic rods are, the epoxy resin fuses the layers together more
effectively than it would with scrim, and uses less resin in the
process. G5 tech has already been proven over several years within the
existing Sage line of tough Xi2 Salt Water rods, and one might assume
this durability will carry over to the Z-Axis line, as well. Time will
tell, but I have no concerns in this department.





Company Profile and Customer Support. . .



Sage was founded in 1979 by Don Green, an experienced rod blank builder
and one of the architects of the modern fishing rod, as owner of the
Grizzly Fiberglass Company, which later partnered with Fenwick. It was
originally called Winslow Manufacturing (after the city of Winslow on
Bainbridge Island, Washington) but within a year had changed its name to
Sage. Emphasizing high quality fly rods sold only through specialty
stores, Sage rode the crest of the fly-fishing boom in the post “A River
Runs Through It” years. Today, although there is no industry repository
for exact numbers, Sage is probably the world’s largest producer of
premium fly rods and employs over 100 workers in their manufacturing
facility.



So, has being the 800-pound gorilla affected the quality of their
product as it has with so many other companies in the outdoor industry?
Although challenged by industry wide flat sales, the growth of the
Internet, and increasingly higher quality Asian imports, my impression
is no, for several reasons. Sage has continued to retain talented people
and spend money on research and development. The proximity of
Bainbridge to the Boeing Aircraft manufacturing plants near Seattle and
Toray Composites in Tacoma provides access to a wealth of knowledge from
the aerospace industry, the primary end users of graphite fiber. More
importantly, aside from a few casting and spinning rod models over the
years, Sage has pretty much stuck to their original intention, building
very good fly rods.



The Z-Axis has a limited lifetime warranty for the original owner. If
you damage or break your rod, you are responsible for the shipping
charges and insurance to send ALL of the pieces to Sage, plus a $40
handling fee, to cover return shipping and insurance within the U. S.
International owners are charged the actual shipping and insurance fees.
Not a bad deal for an expensive, relatively fragile tool. The other
five or six top US makers offer similar rod warranties, but not all
provide the same level of service. I’ve seen some customers wait 3 or 4
months, or longer, to get their rods back. Sort of puts the damper on
the fishing season. Sage’s lead time for repairs is currently about 2 to
2 ½ weeks during their busy summer, and shortens to about 1 ½ weeks in
the winter.





Overall Rating. . . 



Scott Howell is one of the finest guides I have ever fished with. His
passion for steelhead fishing is only rivaled by his intensity for
having his clients catch
one on a dry fly. He was one of the pioneers of Skagit-style spey lines
and was perfecting his cast before most of us knew what Spey fishing
was. His belief is that this rod has put Sage back in front in spey fly
fishing.



“There were, until now, independent boutique manufactures that
produced better rods. The Sage Z-Axis Spey Series and, specifically, the
7136-4 Z-Axis Spey rod changed all that.”




I feel them same way. After fishing this rod for a full year, I can say
that this beautiful spey rod has halted my search for different rods for
specific situations. On a trip last year, I brought six rods to fish.
This year, I brought only two; both 7136-4 Z-Axis Spey rods, one for me,
and one for my fishing buddy, Thys. These were the only rods we used
all weekend and we never felt under or over-gunned. This has never
happened to me before. I’m sold, and I have a lot of boutique Spey rods
that are going to very lonely in the closet.





Reviewer. . .



I’m the owner of Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters by no mistake. I’m,
admittedly, a gear head, and there is nothing better each day than to be
surrounded by fly fishing equipment. I personally have 50+ fly rods,
maybe twice as many reels, 12 cameras, 8 guitars (I can barely play),
1,800 bottles of wine (I barely drink), and four boats. I love the
stuff. I enjoy spending hours trying figuring out what rod matches best
with what line, leader, and fly on a specific river, in variable
conditions. I keep hundreds of lists, and on most trips will be greeted
by groans from the guides on the number of rods I have brought that day
to test. I was introduced to Spey casting about ten year ago, and it
resonated deeply with my love of steelhead fishing. There is nothing I
would rather do than to work a run in the cold autumn of a British
Columbia morning with a Two-Handed Rod. Spey rods and spey lines make up
the focus of many of my current lists. I hope my above review was as
helpful to you as it was fun for me to test the gear and write about it.
Please, if you have any questions, call the shop, as I would much
rather be talking about steelheading than doing the paperwork I find
myself confronted with more and more as a store owner!



Tight Lines – Josh Leland Frazier





PROS    This is the one steelhead spey rod I’ll bring on my next
trip, regardless of where it is. . . B. C., the Pacific Northwest, Idaho
or the Great Lakes. It does it all!



CONS    Being a gear head, I’ve been used to having a few rods with me. This limits my need for a quiver.



BOTTOM LINE    Light, powerful, and strong; I don’t think I’ve
ever said this before, “This rod is a ‘must-have’ for every steelhead
fisherman.”

Sage no longer makes this fine rod. Click here to view Sage's latest work, the Sage ONE 7126-4 Spey Rod. She's a doll!

Click here to see Sage's best steelhead Spey outfit.

Click here to return to equipment reviews.


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52
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Contact Us


We're passionate about fly fishing and our customers.

We're available to answer questions on products, orders, manufacturers, and fly fishing any time between
9:00am and 5:00pm Pacific Standard Time, U.S.A.,
Monday through Friday.


866-672-1959 or via email at keith@lelandfly.com


Leland Sonoma Ranch Map


24120 Arnold Drive Sonoma, CA 95476
707-939-6910
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Galvan Torque Fly Reels
You've collected too many reels... upgrade a few and buy something new!
20630
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Leland on the Galvan Torque Large Arbor Fly Reels

The Galvan Torque represents the culmination of the very best in modern fly reel design, all at a mid-level price. These reels have a large arbor design, with its proven advantages, and are impeccably machined from solid bar stock.

The strikingly attractive appearance of the Torque Fly Fishing Reel is a result of the unique cutouts on the frame, spool and drag knob that significantly reduce weight, while maintaining strength and rigidity. The rounded rims on both spool and frame better withstand impact for enhanced durability and the smooth and reliable thermoplastic and stainless steel disc drag never requires lubrication. There are no ball bearings; a trouble free, self lubricating HPV plastic bushing allows the spool near-frictionless rotation. In this case, less is more. Fully anodized to protect from corrosion, the Galvan Torque is available in seven sizes, and is equally at home as a freshwater companion for your favorite trout rod or as a sleek, ultra-light addition to your modern big game saltwater stick.

Spools
are attractively and functionally counterbalanced, and remove with a simple push of a button. The large drag knob is precisely adjustable with distinct, détente settings. The Galvan Torque has a light audible click, both in and out, is easily convertible from left to right hand, and is available in a handsome bronze or blacklimited lifetime warranty, of course, backed by outstanding customer service from a small, family run operation. From amongst the glut of fly reel model choices confronting the prospective buyer, the Galvan Torque stands out as a superb machine at a very reasonable price.
color. It comes with a
• Large arbor design for quick line retrieve, improved drag continuity, and less line coil
• Precision machined from 6061 Aluminum bar stock
• Unique cutouts on spool, frame and drag knob for lightweight and a distinctive, attractive appearance
• Rounded rims on spool and frame for improved impact resistance
• Low maintenance thermoplastic-stainless steel disc drag
• Large, easily adjustable drag knob détented for precise settings
• Trouble free, self lubricating HPV plastic bushing
• Anodized for superior corrosion resistance - saltwater safe
• Easy, push button spool removal
• Contoured counterbalance on spool for ultra-smooth rotation
• Light click in and out
• Easily convertible from left to right hand wind
• Available in 7 sizes, for 3 to 12 weight rods
• Standard colors are Bronze or Black
• Limited lifetime warranty

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Sage Bass Series Fly Rod Review
268
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Sage Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass Fly Fishing Rods

Specifications

Line Weight ratings:

Smallmouth:  290 grains (Smallmouth floating line included)
Largemouth: 330 grains (Largemouth floating line included)

Rod Length: 7’11”

Sections: 4 pieces

Rod Weights: Smallmouth: 3 1/2 ounces

                      Largemouth: 3 5/8 ounces

Handle: Portuguese cork - full wells shaped grip

Reel Seat: Matte black aluminum big game with double locking retainer

Action: Very fast and very stiff
 



What’s the word…


Jerry Siem, head rod designing guru at Sage
, was sitting in his office at the Sage factory on forested Bainbridge Island, WA.  His desk was surrounded by, literally, hundreds of fly rods leaning at precarious angles against walls and book cases. “Hmmm”,   I said to myself, “Just like my office at home, except he has more rods than me. A lot more!”  Out of the stack, Jerry plucked one of the shortest and brightest colored of the rods, and with a big smile, walked to the lily padded bass pond “test center” behind the factory building. “This is our latest project “, he said as he proceeded to tied on a huge deer hair popper.

The “Latest Project” from Jerry and the folks at Sage turns out to be two very unusual, high performance Bass Fly Fishing Rods, aptly named the Smallmouth and the Largemouth. 

At first glance, these two Bass Fly rods appear to be small-stream trout rods because they’re just 7’11” in length. But believe me, the similarities end there! These specialized rods conform to Bass Tournament rules that limit allowable rod lengths to 8 feet and under. Traditionally, the understanding is that Pro Bass circuits have rejected fly gear as being “too dangerous”, but my guess is there is some conventional tackle industry bias (i.e. $$$) there as well. A careful reading of the rules finds that some tournaments allow fly rods, where others do not. Regardless, one could imagine the efficacy a fly rodder might have on the deck of a bass boat, where a pick-up and lay-down would eliminate the extra time required to reel in between casts as with conventional gear.

But whether you fish tournaments or not, The Sage Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass rods have a lot more going for them than just their compact size. These rods are specifically designed to do two things better than any other fly rod;1) accurately cast very big, wind resistant flies, and 2) allow maximum leverage to fight fish and pull big fish from cover.  So what makes these rods capable of this performance?

Most anglers typically select a nine foot, six or seven weight line and rod for smallmouth bass fishing, casting, (on average), size 4 to 12 flies for one to five pound fish, and an eight or nine weight line weight rod for largemouth bass,  throwing flies sizes 4/0 to 6, for two to eight pound fish.  The new Sage Bass rods, in stark contrast, cast much heavier lines. The Sage Largemouth Bass Fly Rod is rated for 330 grains, which is the average heft for an 11 weight line and the Smallmouth is rated for 290 grains, which is at the high end of the weight range for a10 weight line!  Yet, these little outfits feel like you’re only casting light seven weights, as you’ll read shortly! The two rods are extremely fast in action and very stiff and powerful to cast these big lines. In fact, to ensure proper loading, Sage has included a specially designed, matched, grain weight specific floating line with each of their new Bass rods.

 

Action and Features


I’ve cast a lot of different fly rods over the last thirty years
, but owing to their unusual nature, I felt like I was in new territory as I rigged the Smallmouth and Largemouth outfits with six foot, 20 lb. tippet leaders and big, 3/0 hair bugs at my local bass pond.  I tentatively hauled the 25 feet of line from the water and aimed at a spot 10 feet to the left. I guess I expected the leader to partially collapse on the water, with the bug to follow, because that’s what always happens with flies of this size. Not this time. I watched the tippet arc over in a tight curve and the bug WHAP! into the water with a couple of waves pulsing out. Wow! These rods cast big bugs with crisp authority, and I mean CRISP! A short roll cast to put it in the air in front of you, one quick back cast to load, then shoot.  The Smallmouth and Largemouth Fly Lines are massive, short belly (33 ft.), bullet tapers designed to do exactly that: load the rod with a single backcast and store enough energy to turn over almost any leader and fly. The fly lines have fairly large diameter running lines for improved  handling when fighting fish. The super fast, very stiff Sage Bass Rods respond remarkably well to this mass.  An unexpected advantage  of the rod’s stiff tip was apparent when retrieving flies; line strips are more definitive for a bigger “pop” on your surface flies and sub-surface flies swim more realistically. Beginners, who usually find casting bulky flies the most troublesome, will ease their problems with these outfits and a more experienced fly caster, with a reasonable double haul, will make these rods get up and dance.

The Smallmouth and Largemouth Fly Rods derive their strength and power from Sage 3e graphite technology; a reliable combination of high modulus graphite and fiberglass scrim used in the highly successful Sage XP and RPL series. This combination of materials has proven to provide  superior hoop strength and impact resistance to fly rod shafts .  And the best part is the price; the Smallmouth and Largemouth rods, complete with a custom fly line and case sell for a reasonable $350. One other fly rod  that I’m aware of  that fits into this category is the Scott Backcountry. It’s a 3-piece, 7’7” graphite rod, 3.7 ounces, rated for a 9 weight line and sells for $625. It’s worth checking out as well.

I do a lot of float tubing for bass, and while most float tubers choose longer rods for distance and to raise their backcast, I find most of my bass fishing to be around overhanging cover with casts of twenty five feet or less. To get a fly back in under cover usually requires sidearm casting to keep your loop very low and parallel with the water’s surface. Long rods that are accurate in the vertical are very poor for this task, where shorter rods excel. With a little practice, I found both the Smallmouth and Largemouth to be extremely accurate, particularly when casting out of the vertical plane around structure.  These little rods would be very maneuverable in the heavy cover one might find in the rainforest, cedar swamp, or mangroves as well as the confined space of a kayak or canoe. The extreme mass of the line and stiffness of the rod gives you great authority to direct and power your fly in, under and around thick cover. If you get hung up, (and you’re using a twenty pound tippet) this rod will pull the fly off of leaves or twigs, if it’s going to come at all! The rods will fit conveniently in a small boat, rather than being dangerously exposed over a gunwale, and will get fish closer to the boat more easily for landing.

Fly rods, like all fishing rods, serve two elementary purposes. They cast, to place your fly in position for a chance at a strike, and that being successful, they fight fish. The second element, striking and fish fighting, is where nine foot fly rods, and, in fact, almost all fly rods fall short. Although long rods displace line more quickly on the strike, their limber nature has more difficulty generating enough power to drive a large hook into bone or exerting enough pressure to pull or turn fish quickly from cover.  Try dragging a six pound largemouth out from under half a foot of weed with your nine foot, eight weight.  Not likely! I probably lose nineteen fish for every one that I land in a situation like this. I would guess that these little Sage rods, as short, powerful levers, should prove to be among the best fish fighting fly rods on the market.

Although these fly rods and respective lines are named “Smallmouth” and “Largemouth”, Sage suggests that their myriad potential applications in both freshwater AND saltwater would better have us view them as “Light Duty” and “Heavy Duty”. The light duty Smallmouth will serve for Smallies, White Bass, Sea Trout and Largemouth, as well, for all but the largest of flies. The heavy duty Largemouth will rock throwing big bugs for Largemouth, Peacock, Pike, and Musky and in the back country mangroves for Snook, Redfish and Tarpon. The Largemouth should be quite capable of beating fish over twenty pounds and in very experienced hands, probably over forty or fifty pounds. Overall, these rods are a lot of fun to cast and fish with, and bestow a feeling of power and control in a small, relatively lightweight package.

 

         Proven Sage 3e graphite construction

   

         Compact length and light in hand

 

         Extremely powerful and accurate at short to medium distances with big flies

 

         Great hook setting and fish fighting ability

 

         Heavy duty, English Hopkins and Holloway guides and tip top

 

         Padded nylon, PVC rod case with dividers and reel pocket

 

         Limited lifetime warranty

 

 

Fit and Finish


The sanded shafts of the Sage Bass Fly Rods are sunset gold
with rust thread wraps, which appear red when wrapped over the blank. The ferrules and handle front are additionally trimmed with a few wraps each of black and gold. This color combination, from a distance, reminds me of a classic bamboo fly rod.  The English Hopkins and Holloway snake guides, tip top and the two stripping guides are robust and oversized to accommodate the massive, large diameter fly line. The two strippers have hardaloy ceramic insert rings that are actually encased in bands of brazed metal, as opposed to being glued in place.  A nice touch if a mangrove, cedar, or boat rail gets whacked by mistake. The high quality, Portuguese cork grip is a full wells profile for power casting, but is a ½ inch shorter and slimmer than the standard Sage grip. This smaller grip is very comfortable and well suited to these shorter rods. The reel seat is what you might find on saltwater big game fly rods; matte black, heavy duty up-locking aluminum with double retainers. Sage, like most quality rod makers, has several layers of inspection before their rods leave the factory, so one would expect a near-flawless fit and finish. The Sage Bass Fly Rods come with their respective matching floating fly lines and a light green, nylon covered, padded carrying case with room for an attached reel and zippered compartments for accessories. A nice, compact package.

 

Customer Support. . . . Company profile. 


Sage was founded in 1979 by Don Green
, an experienced rod blank builder and one of the architects of the modern fishing rod, as owner of the Grizzly Fiberglass Company, which later partnered with Fenwick.  It was originally called Winslow Manufacturing (after the city of Winslow on Bainbridge Island, Washington) but within a year had changed its name to Sage. Emphasizing high quality fly rods sold only through specialty stores, Sage rode the crest of the fly-fishing boom in the post “A River Runs Through It” years. Today, although there is no industry repository for exact numbers, Sage is probably the world’s largest producer of premium fly rods and employs over 100 workers in their manufacturing facility.

So, has being the 800-pound gorilla affected the quality of their product as it has with so many other companies in the outdoor industry? Although challenged by industry wide flat sales, the growth of the Internet, and increasingly higher quality Asian imports, my impression is “no”, for several reasons. Sage has continued to retain talented people and spend money on research and development. The proximity of Bainbridge to the Boeing Aircraft manufacturing plants near Seattle and Toray Composites in Tacoma provides access to a wealth of knowledge from the aerospace industry, the primary end users of graphite fiber.  More importantly, aside from a few casting and spinning rod models over the years, Sage has pretty much stuck to their original intention, building very good fly rods.

The Smallmouth and Largemouth fly rods have a limited lifetime warranty for the original owner. If you damage or break your rod, you are responsible for the shipping charges and insurance to send ALL of the pieces to Sage, plus a $40 handling fee, to cover return shipping and insurance within the U. S.  International owners are charged the actual shipping and insurance fees. The other five or six top US makers offer similar rod warranties, but not all provide the same level of service. I’ve seen some customers wait 3 or 4 months, or longer, to get their rods back. Sort of puts the damper on the fishing season. Sage’s lead time for repairs is currently about 2 to 2 ½ weeks during their busy summer, and shortens to about 1 ½ weeks in the winter.

 

Overall Rating. . .


The Sage Bass Fly Rods are admirably suited
to fulfilling a performance category not clearly addressed in the past. These rods weigh 40% less than their big saltwater brethren, yet are capable of lifting and casting very large, heavy and wind resistant flies with impressive authority and accuracy.  These rods will “swim” or “pop” flies better than longer rods, and should be more effective at positive hook sets.  Most importantly, once the fish is hooked, these fly rods will do what fly rods are typically very poor at doing; pulling fish from heavy cover and beating them quickly with maximum turning power.  By mating the rods and lines as a package, Sage has taken the guesswork out of line selection for the angler and potentially avoided the disappointment a mismatched outfit would bring.

The Largemouth and Smallmouth rods are constructed with proven graphite technology and heavy duty components that should withstand the abuse one would expect from duking it out in close quarters with bass, tarpon and snook. Although these rods aren’t for everyone, and I don’t know if the Pro Bass circuit will lose its fear of fly rods anytime soon, I think any serious bass, mangrove, canoe or kayak fly angler would find one of these rods indispensable once he or she has used one. I have to believe the Sage Largemouth will quickly become the “go to“ rod for anyone contemplating fishing for Peacock Bass in the thick of the Amazon rain forest.


PROS- Powerful, compact, lightweight, durably constructed rocket ships for shorter, accurate casts with big flies in and around structure.  Incredible fish fighting tools for pulling big fish out of heavy cover. Comes with a custom, matching fly line for $350.  Limited lifetime warranty.

CONS- At 7’11” in length, not as effective for casting at distance, extensive false casting, or mending line in moving water as longer rods.  Definitely not the rods for fishing with light leaders.

BOTTOM LINE- A unique pair of specialized fly rods that can do what others can’t; deliver big flies and fight strong fish in close quarters with less effort. A must for float tubing and boating bassers (including peacock bass), kayakers, and mangrove fishermen.

Click here to check out the ultimate Bass Outfit from Sage.

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R. L. Winston BIIMX Fly Rod Review
266
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Winston: Boron II-MX 1090-4


 

Specifications


  • Line Size: 10 
  • Rod Length: 9’0” 
  • Section: 4 
  • Weight: 4 1/4 oz 
  • Handle: Full Wells, Saltwater grip 
  • Reel Seat: Nickel Anodized Aluminum 
  • Action: Fast 
  • Retail Price: $675.00

 


What’s the word…


 

Winston has always been known for its sweet, smooth casting
bamboo and trout fly rods. But a few years back, Winston introduced the
Boron II-X fly rod series, a fast action rod
that broke out of the typical Winston genre. After owning several of
those fly rods, I thought, “Now if Winston could just add a little more
power and a little more speed, they’d have one darn fine saltwater fly
rod”. Low and behold, the Fall of 2007 brought the Boron II-MX series.
Was I a mind reader? No, it was just Winston’s time to shine. They’ve
broken their mold, and entered into the saltwater, big game arena with
the Boron II-MX rods.



Does a fly rod manufacturer of trout fame have any business
making powerful big game fly rods? When they’ve developed the use of a
material as strong as boron, why not? The Boron II-MX is the third
Winston fly rod series to use the Boron II and, in my opinion, is the
best. But then again, I love saltwater fly fishing. I decided I’d give
the 10 weight 9-footer a go while recently tarpon fishing in the Keys.
One word; IMPRESSIVE.


Action…


 

When you first pick up the Winston Boron II-MX 1090-4, you have
to be impressed. Doing the “shop wiggle” tells you this isn’t the same
old Winston; it feels quick and powerful. Light in hand, fast off the
tip, but then again, not too fast; the Winston Boron II-MX still has
that special feel of a Winston. When I put a line on the rod, it came to
life in my hand. They call it transference of energy; I call it feel or
touch. As I increased line distance, the strength of this rod came
through. It felt like it took the same amount of energy to cast a fly
line70 feet as it did at 30 feet. Somehow, Winston was able to build a
fly rod that has the strength to battle winds, big fish, to carry large
amounts of line while providing one that loads quickly enough for
short-range casts. To put it simply, the Boron II-MX has the best of
both worlds; power with “load-ability”.



Big game fly rods need to be powerful throughout their entire
length for fish fighting ability. They also need to load quickly for
short casting conditions. This became very apparent after a week in the
Keys mired under cloud cover. It’s amazing how camouflaged a dozen
100+lbs fish can be when covered with shadows. I found after casting
this rod over several days at many pods of tarpon, the 1090-4 Boron
II-MX provided the strength to maintain all the line I dared to up in
the air, and generated the line speed for the tight loops needed to turn
over a 6 foot butt section, 4 foot leader and a 1/0 toad fly into 15
knot wind. And after hooking and landing several fish in the 80 lbs
class, I found the 1090-4 Boron II-MX provided me everything I needed
for tarpon fishing.


Material…


 

After several failed attempts at using boron for increasing rod
action and strength, Winston has found the right combination of
placement to give you a fly rod that is destine to be one of the great
saltwater/big game fly rod series. Gone is the floppy tip and
mid-section of the BL5 and gone is telephone pole stiffness of the XTR.
Enter another great fly rod in the modern era of lightweight, powerful
fly rods.



At a weight of 4 ¼ ounces, the Boron II-MX is significantly lighter than
the old XTR, which weighed in at 5 1/2 oz. But what is just as
important is the increased action and feel that the Boron II-MX rods
have over the beastly XTR and floppy BL5.


Fit and Finish…


 

No fly rod manufacturer builds a more beautiful fly rod than R.L.
Winston, period. Their soft green, sanded blanks are accented with
handwritten model and serial numbers and each section has the serial
number hand written at the ferrule. The matching green wrapping is
perfection and almost disappears under the flawless epoxy job. The
slightly smaller than average grip is of handspun Portuguese cork and
sits easily in most hands. Winston has always known how to bring out the
best of fly rod with just the right type of reel seats and the dull
finished anodized aluminum reel seat adds the final touches to this
great looking fly rod.


  • Boron II technology
  • Lightweight powerful big game fly rod
  • Fast action with smooth casting, whether 30-feet or 80-feet
  • Anodized aluminum reel seat
  • Aluminum tube with a rod sock
  • Original owner lifetime warranty

 


Reliability and durability…


 

Many years back, a fly rod company introduced a no-fault full
replacement policy and the rest is history. In my humble opinion, this
“no matter how you break it” full replacement warranty has done to two
things, 1) developed angler complacency in how we treat our equipment
and 2) made the manufacturers develop stronger, abuse taking fly rods.
Modern fly rod materials can be as fragile as the fiberglass and cane of
old, and at $600+ for one rod, it’s hard when it breaks. But we asked
for smoother, lighter fly rods and the manufacturers responded. Be
careful what you ask for! Enough of the rant, Winston’s path to
lightness, smoothness, and strength was through the use of boron. Boron
has always provided strength, but with the use of Boron II technology,
Winston has been able to dramatically decrease the weight while
maintaining strength. After pulling on several large tarpon, I found the
1090-4 Boron II-MX had the power and strength needed to quickly subdue
the fish and put an end to the fight. I never once felt concerned with
breakage. Of course, I knew if I made a mistake and something did
happen; there was the original owner full warranty to back me up!


Customer Service…Company Profile


 

Winston is a San Francisco tradition; Winston started here, and
it grew and prospered here, so it has warm place in our hearts. The
company has passed through the hands of some great fly rod builders and
is now under the control of David Ondaatje, who intends to maintain the
deep Winston tradition of providing phenomenal casting and fishing fly
rods. Through the guise of David, the company has developed the use of
Boron II that has taken Winston to the next level in rod design.



Winston prides itself on the craftsmanship of each and every fly rod.
This pride shows through in the high level of customer care and service
they provide. From publishing contact info to providing individual
factory tours, Winston lays it all on the table for everyone to see.
They stand firmly behind each rod and will fix or replace any
manufacturing defects. If that isn’t enough, Winston provides an
original limited lifetime warranty. No matter how it breaks or dings,
Winston will replace or repair you fly rod for shipping and handling
costs. Because of the level of hand craftsmanship, Winston cannot
guarantee a turnaround time, but they make every effort to get it done
as quickly as possible.


Overall Rating…


 

As I previously stated, I am a fan of fast action fly rods and
the 1090-4 Winston II-MX is one fine fast action rod! Winston entered
the era with Boron II and the Boron II-MX takes them to next level in
big game/saltwater fly rods. The newest member in the modern era of fast
action, but responsive fly rods, the Boron II-MX provides all the
strength and power needed for big flies, long or short casts and
fighting large fish while giving you consistent feed back. Winston did
not just come up with the initial design for responsiveness; they have
put their touch, their Winston feel, to it!



The 1090-4 Boron II-MX fly rod easily handled everything the Florida
Keys and its migrating tarpon could throw at it. From winds in the 15
knot range to cloud cover requiring short dinky casts to big (in my
opinion) fish. It requires little energy to get the fly moving, the
extra power is there for extra long casts and strength to quickly end
the fight. Now, I’m not long distance casting champion or famous tarpon
angler, but I have spent a lot of time in the saltwater arena and I know
what works for me; the Winston Boron II-MX fly rod. I was so impressed
with the 1090-4, I’ve ordered the 8-weight and 12-weight.


Reviewer…




I have been fly fishing the saltwater environs now for more than
15years and grew up with a fishing rod of one type or another in my
hands. I have been in the fly fishing industry for more than 10 years
and have been lucky enough to be exposed to most of the major
manufacturers of fly rods, reels, waders, clothing…I hope this review
helps you decide on which products to purchase. -Burke White



PROS – A true saltwater/big game fly rod by R.L. Winston. Easy to
cast, powerful and good-looking! Boron II has given the MX power to
battle wind and big fish. Original owner lifetime warranty.



CONS – The smaller than average grip may not suit everyone. But
it’s the Winston standard grip and it fits my hand well. At $675, this
rod is a little pricy, but right in line with other top manufacturers.



BOTTOM LINE – The Boron II-MX 1090-4 is a wonderfully casting,
powerful fly rod that stands up to the rigors of saltwater fly fishing
and big fish.

Want the ultimate 10 weight fly rod? Check out the Loop Cross S1 1090-4 Fly Rod.

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Sage Z-Axis Fly Rod Review
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THE LATEST FROM SAGE - Z-AXIS FLY FISHING RODS

Sage Z-Axis 590, 2 & 4 piece

Specifications

• Line Size: 5 

• Rod Length: 9' 
• Sections: 2 piece model or 4 piece model 
• Weight: 3 3/16 oz. (2-piece) or 3 3/8 oz. (4-piece) 
• Handle: Portuguese cork - Cigar shape 
• Reel Seat: Nickel silver uplock with Rosewood spacer 
• Action: Fast



What’s the word. . .

 When I heard that the folks at Sage Fly Rods were replacing the most popular and successful line of fly rods ever produced, the XP Series, I was, well, sorta shocked! It’s not often a company with an enviable reputation such as Sage, arguably the world’s premier fly fishing rod manufacture, would abandon their proven top of the line product for an unknown quantity in our current competitive market place. In fact, I had just purchased a Sage XP 696 a year and a half ago as my primary nymphing rod, and thought I had found perfection.

I’ve felt that we fly fishers have had access to some pretty good graphite rods for the last 15 years or more. As the manufacturers have learned from one another, claims of significant performance increases most often have proven to be small steps forward, if at all. That being said, I was more than a bit curious what I might find when I picked up the new Sage Z-Axis model 590. (A rod nine feet in length, rated for a 5 weight fly line is considered to be the bread and butter standard by most trout fishers).


Features. . .

The new Z-Axis 590-4 from Sage is a fast action nine foot, five-weight fly rod that incorporates the latest Generation 5 graphite technology. Coupled with a newly designed, computer enhanced taper, the result is a lightweight rocket with power and smoothness that sets a new standard. The rod casts comfortably and accurately at both short and very long distances and its forgiving nature makes it desirable for beginners and experts alike. The Z is outfitted with quality hardware; English Hopkins and Holloway guides and tip top, and a Strubel nickel silver reel seat with rosewood spacer. A cloth rod sock and protective aluminum tube are included, as well as a limited lifetime warranty. The Sage Z-Axis 590 is a beautifully finished piece of equipment that may arguably be the best all around performing trout rod ever built.


Action. . .

 My first impression was “wow”, this rod feels very light. Noticeably light. Not only light in physical weight, but more importantly, light in “swing weight”. When a fly fishing rod is accelerated, and then decelerated to transfer energy to the fly line and form a casting loop, the greatest acceleration is progressively toward the rod tip. As a flexible lever in your hand, a fly fishing rod with proportionately less material toward the tip section feels lighter and requires less effort to cast, hour after hour. That’s assuming, of course, that the lighter tip can provide the same relative stiffness and power without sacrificing durability. And therein lies the dilemma of all rod designers; overbuild a rod to withstand almost any abuse and most would consider it heavy and clunky, underbuild a rod for lightweight performance and one may end up replacing or repairing an inordinate number of broken rods for unhappy customers.

All that technical jargon aside, it’s the rod designer who is ultimately responsible for creating the tapers of a superior casting tool. Sage is fortunate to have a rod designer, Jerry Siem, who is a great caster as well, and it is this ability, along with some new computer software, that enables him to evaluate, refine, and tweak the individual rod models to ensure consistency across a given rod series. Rod companies with less talented engineers are relegated to designing by committee, a tricky process, at best.


Materials. . .

According to Sage specs, the Z-Axis 590 -4 piece weighs in at 3 3/8 ounces, compared to its 3 1/2 ounce predecessor, the 590 XP. With identical hardware, the weight difference between these rods is a seemingly mere 1/8 ounce.

But the significance is in the differing technologies used in building the rod blanks themselves. Instead of a typical fiberglass “scrim” or mesh that is rolled around the steel mandrel and binds the longitudinal graphite fibers together, the Z-Axis utilizes what Sage calls their Generation 5 technology. In this process, the scrim is replaced by a lighter layer of graphite cloth that is rolled at a 90º angle (hence the name “Z-Axis”) to the separate layer of longitudinal graphite rolled over it. The result is a rod with greater “hoop” strength with less weight.


Fit and Finish. . . 

 The sanded blank of the Z-Axis is an olive green with gold thread wraps over English Hopkins and Holloway snake guides and a single stripping guide. No color preserver is used, so the wraps become semi-translucent when the finish is applied, resulting in a rich, uniform appearance. Ferrules and hook keeper are trimmed with a few wraps each of gold, black and rust thread for a nice, subtle accent. Handles are turned smoothly from the finest individual Portuguese cork rings and complimented with a sealed rosewood spacer and Strubel nickel silver uplocking reel seat. Due to several layers of inspection during the manufacturing process, the fit and finish of the Z-Axis is nearly flawless and what one should expect from a top of the line rod. The rod comes in a cloth sock with fold over tie down and a substantial, olive colored aluminum tube. Overall, a handsome rod, indeed.

• Sage G5 technology graphite construction

• Very light in hand

• Fast, yet smooth rod tapers for high line speed, accuracy, and comfortable casting, near or far

• English Hopkins and Holloway guides and tip top

• Nickel silver reel seat with rosewood spacer

• Cloth sack and aluminum rod case

• Limited lifetime warranty


Reliability and Durability. . . 

When a fly fishing rod bends, its circular cross section becomes an oval, with the greatest stress occurring in the compression element at the inside of the bend. This phenomenon is typically what causes graphite rods to shatter when they’re overstressed (aside from car doors, dog teeth, and nicks from weighted flies). In addition, when the G5 layers are compressed with tape and baked in an oven, as all synthetic rods are, the epoxy resin fuses the layers together more effectively than it would with scrim, and uses less resin in the process. G5 tech has already been proven within the existing Sage line of Xi2 Salt Water rods and one might assume this durability will carry over to the Z-Axis line as well.


Customer Support. . . . Company profile.

Sage was founded in 1979 by Don Green, an experienced rod blank builder and one of the architects of the modern fishing rod, as owner of the Grizzly Fiberglass Company, which later partnered with Fenwick. It was originally called Winslow Manufacturing (after the city of Winslow on Bainbridge Island, Washington) but within a year had changed its name to Sage. Emphasizing high quality fly rods sold only through specialty stores, Sage rode the crest of the fly-fishing boom in the post “A River Runs Through It” years. Today, although there is no industry repository for exact numbers, Sage is probably the world’s largest producer of premium fly rods and employs over 100 workers in their manufacturing facility.

So, has being the 800-pound gorilla affected the quality of their product as it has with so many other companies in the outdoor industry? Although challenged by industry wide flat sales, the growth of the Internet, and increasingly higher quality Asian imports, my impression is no, for several reasons. Sage has continued to retain talented people and spend money on research and development. The proximity of Bainbridge to the Boeing Aircraft manufacturing plants near Seattle and Toray Composites in Tacoma provides access to a wealth of knowledge from the aerospace industry, the primary end users of graphite fiber. More importantly, aside from a few casting and spinning rod models over the years, Sage has pretty much stuck to their original intention, building very good fly rods.

The Z-Axis has a limited lifetime warranty for the original owner. If you damage or break your rod, you are responsible for the shipping charges and insurance to send ALL of the pieces to Sage, plus a $40 handling fee, to cover return shipping and insurance within the U. S. International owners are charged the actual shipping and insurance fees. Not a bad deal for an expensive, relatively fragile tool. The other five or six top US makers offer similar rod warranties, but not all provide the same level of service. I’ve seen some customers wait 3 or 4 months, or longer, to get their rods back. Sort of puts the damper on the fishing season. Sage’s lead time for repairs is currently about 2 to 2 ½ weeks during their busy summer, and shortens to about 1 ½ weeks in the winter.


Overall Rating. . .

The true revelation occurs in casting the Z-Axis rod. It’s powerful. Yet powerful in a way I hadn’t really experienced before. Most powerhouse rods in the past, that were able to generate the highest line speeds for casting in wind or for distance, have usually had a broomstick feel to them, requiring a short, compact technical stroke. They’ve been limited in their ability to cast comfortably at short to medium distances and not as effective at roll casting. Not great rods for beginner or even intermediate casters and, in general, not great all around fishing tools.

Not so with the Z-Axis. With a short amount of line out, about 25 feet, the rod cast comfortably and crisply. As I extended my casts to 60 feet, and then, beyond 80 feet, I was struck not only with the rod’s reserve power, but how smoothly that power transferred to the tip of the rod, with seemingly little effort. The transition zone seemed wide and forgiving. The light tip tracked very accurately.

In a nutshell, the Z-Axis is a fast action rod that is capable of developing tremendous line speed, yet it doesn’t feel that fast when you cast it. This is a high performance rod that even a beginner would find easy to cast.

The Sage Z-Axis 590, and the entire Z-Axis series, in my opinion, represent a noticeable improvement in all around fly fishing rod performance and are the first rods in a while that would influence me to replace the majority of my favorites that I currently use. Based on this technology, I’ll probably start recommending 9 ½ footers as the standard.



PROS - What’s not to like? A surprising blend of lightness, power, accuracy, smoothness, and, hopefully, durability. Suitable for beginners and experts alike. Limited lifetime warranty.

CONS -
At $695, there are some decent rods out there at half the price, yet most top-of-the line manufacturers have models in a similar price range. Nickel silver reel seats are pretty, but require more care than aluminum.

BOTTOM LINE
Perhaps the best all around fly fishing rod series produced to date, at any price.


Reviewer. . .

Having been in the fly fishing industry for over 25 years as a guide, fly fishing school director, writer, and manufacturers sales representative, I’ve been fortunate to cast and fish with a wide array of fly rods from almost all of the top makers.
– Dean Schubert


Here's what one of our customers had to say recently about his new Sage Z-Axis rod;


"I live in South Africa and have just read your opinion on the Sage Z-Axis. In my mind you hit the nail 100% correct. I purchased the rod not knowing what to expect seeing that every fly rod company proclaim their rods to be the “best”? I took it out for a cast and was silenced… Then I took it to the pond and was blown away with the forgiving nature of the rod when a sudden breeze came up, I thought it was awesome and didn’t even think of the fish I was actually targeting, until one took the fly and I was still on ”hey this is an awesome rod..” when I suddenly had to think “OK, now you have to perform on landing this fish with this pricy rod?” We’ll it handled a 23 inch rainbow with an attitude of dominance. I am currently looking at investing in a 7 weight outfit, seems I’ll look no further than Sage and its good friend Abel." -- Marius Calitz

Back to the Sage Z-Axis 590 Fly Rod


Leland on sage z-axis fly fishing rodS

 

The Z-AXIS Fly Rod! Mr. Wizard is back and talk about pressure! You know the design team at Sage was sweating some serious bullets when they looked to replace the XP. For more than six years the XP Fly Rod Series was the industry standard by which fast action fly rods were measured, and now, it's been replaced. Enter the Z-Axis. We know you’re going to be completely awed by this Sage Fly Rod Series! These rods are lighter, and although they generate the fastest line speed of just about any rod, they're easier to cast (if that's possible) than the XP models. The added advantage of the extreme line speed is accuracy and control of your fly. And if you want to talk trackability...

Here's what one of our customers had to say recently about his new Sage Z-Axis rod;
 
"I live in South Africa and have just read your opinion on the Sage Z-Axis. In my mind you hit the nail 100% correct.  I purchased the rod not knowing what to expect seeing that every fly rod company proclaim their rods to be the “best”?  I took it out for a cast and was silenced… Then I took it to the pond and was blown away with the forgiving nature of the rod when a sudden breeze came up, I thought it was awesome and didn’t even think of the fish I was actually targeting, until one took the fly and I was still on ”hey this is an awesome rod..” when I suddenly had to think “OK, now you have to perform on landing this fish with this pricy rod?” We’ll it handled a 23 inch rainbow with an attitude of dominance. I am currently looking at investing in a 7 weight outfit, seems I’ll look no further than Sage and its good friend Abel."  --  Marius Calitz

Even though we now expect lightness from today’s fly rods, we never thought the Z-Axis' seemingly near-weightlessness could be achieved without giving up strength. Oh, how we were wrong! To bore you with a little technical talk, by replacing the glass hoop fibers (the fiberglass scrim cloth) with lighter, stronger graphite fibers, Sage found that during the curing process, the graphite fiber fabrics bind together more effectively. These now welded fibers give rise to a stronger fly rod blank and the lighter graphite fibers up the performance! Sure, we're simplifying the whole process, but we know when you first pick up one of these rods you will have the same reaction; WOW! You're going hear more clichés than you can shake a stick at (we couldn’t resist just one) about this rod series but just remember; if you want the lightest, most accurate fly rod on market, then reach for the Z-Axis. As Sage says it in one word “Magic”… and we couldn’t agree more.

  • Rod weights: 3 through 10
  • Rod lengths: 7'6" to 10' for single hand rods and 11' to 16' for Spey rods
  • Reel seats: Nickel/silver with Rosewood inserts or anodized aluminum
  • Cork handles: Cigar grip, small cigar grip or full wells
  • Aluminum tubes with cloth socks
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About Leland Upgrade
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Getting your hands on new fly fishing gear is tough to do without draining your bank account, but we’ve made it much easier and less costly to get new fly fishing gear you want to fish. The short is, we're a consignment shop that doesn't take any commission for our service.

What is Leland Upgrade?

Leland Upgrade helps sell your unwanted fly fishing rods and reels on eBay and turns the sales into store credit to be used at Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters. Please note, we now offer two ways to trade Leland Upgrade and Instant Upgrade are available to you. You can compare them below.

Compare Leland Upgrade to Instant Upgrade for me?

Leland Upgrade relies on your item selling before we issue store credit. Luckily our auctions are just 7 days as this ensures a large bidding audience without going too long. It allows one full week of searches. Items are generally paid for within 1-3 days and we issue credit each and every Friday for all the items paid for within that past week. From the time you send in your gear to issuing credit expect 2 to 2.5 weeks. The plus side to Leland Upgrade is that we let the market determine value and trust us, this is a good thing. With a global audience and the nature of bidding all it takes is two or more people to fight over your item. Since your photos and descriptions are so good those bidders know exactly what they're getting. Near the end of the 7 day auction you'll see many bids as these people are now invested in the item and they want it bad! Usually, our auctions exceed our estimated value and this goes right into your pocket. There is a small risk, but we generally see all fly tackle sell between 40 and 60 percent of its original manufacturer price.

Instant Upgrade is exactly what the name implies, it's Instant! Since we have years of sales data and a program called Terapeak which gives us previous sale prices from all ebay sellers we can formulate a fair and honest instant value for your item(s). You can even search for your rod or reel here to see it's value or you may email us for an Instant Upgrade Quote. This is great for that last minute trip or for those that just want to proceed with an established value and don't want to risk selling their gear as an auction on ebay. It's safe to say that Leland Upgrade will likely yield 10-15% higher returns than Instant Upgrade but the choice is yours.

This all sounds great but where's the catch?

There is no catch. We deduct the same service fees you would pay if you sold the gear on eBay yourself. This is equal to 10% of the sale price of the item to cover eBay and PayPal fees. In fact, a new seller to ebay will incur much higher fees and you must wait up to 2 full weeks to receive your funds from PayPal. PayPal does this to ensure the buyer received the item you sent. Since we have been selling for years all of these fees and delays are minimized and to make calculating your credit easier we choose to charge just 10%.

In what form is my money coming?

The sale amount less 10% which goes to cover the ebay and Paypal fees associated with the transaction is issued in the form of an electronic gift card good for use on our website, over the phone, via email or in person at the Leland Ranch.

What price will I get for my equipment?

Our professional ebay listings are optimized to achieve the highest sale amount with respect to the item condition and age. We guarantee it! Recent research shows Leland Upgrade auctions obtaining 15% higher returns than anyone else when comparing the same item(s) from other sellers.

What kind of gear do you accept?

  • Fly Rods with greater than $150 original retail value (Call before sending in bamboo rods)
  • Luggage, Gear Bags, Vests / Packs, & Boots in Like-New Condition
  • Waders must be NEW w/ Packaging
  • Call or Email Us before Sending in Jackets, Sunglasses, or Any Other Fishing Accessory
  • We DO NOT sell float tubes or fly lines (There is too much liability involved)
  • Own something else? Golf equipment maybe? Let us know what you have and we'll see if we can sell it for you.

Why not just sell it myself?

We have Leland Upgrade participants all over the United States and beyond. If your goal is getting new fly tackle with little to no out of pocket expense and minimal time then there's no reason for you to sell your old gear by yourself. We take nothing off the top putting this free service right at your fingertips. It's a lot of work for us but we do this in hopes of putting the right gear in your hands for a more enjoyable time on the water.

Still have questions?

Contact Leland Upgrade at (415) 781-FISH via email casey@lelandfly.com

OR

Get Started Now - Click Here


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Sage TXL-F Fly Rod Review
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THE LATEST FROM SAGE - TXL-F FLY FISHING RODS


 


Specifications




• Line Sizes: 000wt-4wt


• Rod Length: 7'10" (with a 3wt and 4wt at 6'10" as well) 

• Sections: 4 piece 

• Weight:  1 7/16 oz. (000wt) to 1 15/16 oz. (4wt) 

• Handle: Cork - Snub-nose Half Wells Grip 

• Reel Seat: Bronze anodized with walnut insert 

• Action: Moderate Fast 

• Retail Cost: $625.00



    Leland is excited to offer Sage’s new TXL-F series of fly rods.




November 22, 2010 (San Francisco, CA):
  Since 1985, Sage has
endeavored on perfecting performance by handcrafting fly rods in
Bainbridge Island, Washington.  This year, Sage’s master rod builder,
Jerry Siem, has developed a new series of dedicated small stream fly
rods named TXL-F.  This latest rod offering provides big rod performance in a small package.



Celebrate small stream fishing:
Ultra-light rods in general have a reputation for being "noodly". Not so with the ,
which responds to the same casting stroke that efficiently loads and
unloads Sage's high-performing, fast-action rods.  Now an angler can
play “small ball” on tight trout streams without sacrificing
performance.

 


PRO Review - GEORGE REVEL








What’s the word. . .





The new TXL-F series of small stream trout rods from Sage  have been
introduced as the replacement to the much-loved TXL ("Trout eXtra
Light") series. In line weights 000 through 4, the TXL-F fly rods offer
anglers the responsiveness and precision necessary to fish confidently
in tight quarters. The "F" in "TXL-F" is for "feel," and Sage has
managed to produce a rod series that provides unprecedented sensitivity,
tippet protection, and--most surprisingly, stellar casting performance.





Features. . .


 


The TXL-F raises the bar on its predecessor in a few different ways.
From the 000710-4 to the 4710-4, the TXL-Fs are on average a full third
lighter than their TXL ancestors. Sage has achieved this through further
refining their proprietary G5 construction technology (more about G5
below) and a new style of ferrule which they're calling "microferrules."




These new, more efficient junctions provide the TXL-Fs with weight
savings, to be sure, but also help ensure an even, continuous flex along
the rod's length to give anglers sensitive tippet protection and easy,
intuitive casting. These rods load fully and cast dart-like tight loops.



The "snub-nosed half wells" grip is another feature that's new for the
TXL-F. This high quality cork handle is slightly flared at the top, to
provide ergonomic hand placement and better energy transfer from the
anger's arm, through the thumb, to the blank and fly line.





Action. . .




Perhaps because they are on average a third lighter than their TXL
predecessors, the TXL-Fs are a great deal crisper-casting than any light
line rod developed to date. Historically, the small stream category has
been populated by rods with a noodly, unsatisfying action, one that
loads easily at close distances, but doesn't track particularly well or
gracefully form tight loops.



Not so with the TXL-F. These lightweight fly rods are veritable pistols.
They are designed to be cast with the same casting stroke that best
operates Sage's full range of fast action fly rods. If you are
comfortable casting a Z-Axis 590-4, you'll be able to confidently use
that same compact, modern casting stroke to impressive results with
every TXL-F model.





Materials. . .


 


The TXL-F rod series makes use of a high modulus graphite blend in
its blank construction, as well as Sage's proprietary G5 construction
technology.
High modulus graphite allows TXL-F blanks to efficiently
load and unload during the casting cycle--transferring more energy into
the fly line---while G5 enables Sage to produce lighter, more
responsive, and more precise rods.



Often misunderstood, G5 technology is a manufacturing process rather than a specific material, machine, or treatment. G5 has two elements: a scrimless reinforcement method and a fiber alignment method.



Traditionally, graphite blanks have made use of fiberglass "scrims" or
woven sheets of fiberglass that are sandwiched between sheets of
graphite. While the graphite provides axial strength along the blank,
the fiberglass provides hoop strength---basically, it prevents the round
cross section of the blank from contorting into an oval, which is the
first step in failure.



But fiberglass is heavy and makes rods heavier, less powerful, or both.
Through G5 technology, Sage has used advanced resin systems and lateral
carbon fiber reinforcements to provide more than adequate hoop strength without fiberglass.
When these scrimless blanks are baked and cured, they achieve a much
denser nesting of graphite fibers--with consonantly greater strength. With
G5, Sage has moved beyond the need for scrim, making it possible to
produce a lighter, livelier, and quicker-recovering blank.








The second facet of G5 has to do with fiber alignment. Unlike fiberglass, which is woven, a sheet of graphite has all its fibers running in parallel--or unidirectionally. This means a rolled-up tube of graphite is very strong axially. But a fly rod isn't a simple cylinder--it's actually a very thin, gradually narrowing cone of sorts.
It has taper to it, in order that it can bend and unbend predictably to
cast the fly line. This taper makes it technically difficult to keep
fibers in alignment as you roll a sheet of graphite around a mandrill to
make a rod blank.



To get around this, Sage lays a cut of graphite sheeting on the mandrill
and rolls it, then lays another cut at a different orientation, rolls
it, then another cut, and so on. These "multiple lay-ups" result in less overall migration of fiber direction off the longitudinal axis,
and make for blanks that track better, respond with more energy, and on
the whole provide casters with an extra level of precision.






Fit and Finish. . . 


 


• Sage G5 technology graphite construction



• Exceptionally light in hand, but stable and responsive as well



• High quality cork handle in a Snub-Nose Half Wells configuration



• English Hopkins and Holloway guides and tip top



• Bronze anodized reel seat with walnut insert



• Stitched cotton rod sock and extruded aluminum tube



• Limited lifetime warranty




Reliability and Durability. . . 




Sage was founded in 1979 by Don Green, an experienced rod
blank builder and one of the architects of the modern fishing rod, as
owner of the Grizzly Fiberglass Company, which later partnered with
Fenwick. It was originally called Winslow Manufacturing (after the city
of Winslow on Bainbridge Island, Washington) but within a year had
changed its name to Sage. Emphasizing high quality fly rods sold only
through specialty stores, Sage rode the crest of the fly-fishing boom in
the post “A River Runs Through It” years. Today, although there is no
industry repository for exact numbers, Sage is probably the world’s
largest producer of premium fly rods and employs over 100 workers in
their manufacturing facility.



So, has being the 800-pound gorilla affected the quality of their
product as it has with so many other companies in the outdoor industry?
Although challenged by industry wide flat sales, the growth of the
Internet, and increasingly higher quality Asian imports, my impression
is no, for several reasons. Sage has continued to retain talented people
and spend money on research and development. The proximity of
Bainbridge to the Boeing Aircraft manufacturing plants near Seattle and
Toray Composites in Tacoma provides access to a wealth of knowledge from
the aerospace industry, the primary end users of graphite fiber. More
importantly, aside from a few casting and spinning rod models over the
years, Sage has pretty much stuck to their original intention, building
very good fly rods.


 

The TXL-F has a limited lifetime warranty for the original
owner. If you damage or break your rod, you are responsible for the
shipping charges and insurance to send ALL of the pieces to Sage, plus a
$40 handling fee, to cover return shipping and insurance within the U.
S. International owners are charged the actual shipping and insurance
fees. Not a bad deal for an expensive, relatively fragile tool. The
other five or six top US makers offer similar rod warranties, but not
all provide the same level of service. I’ve seen some customers wait 3
or 4 months, or longer, to get their rods back. Sort of puts the damper
on the fishing season. Sage’s lead time for repairs is currently about 2
to 2 ½ weeks during their busy summer, and shortens to about 1 ½ weeks
in the winter.




Overall Rating. . .





PROS - The new TXL-Fs are really a groundbreaking
series. The actions correlate to Sage's larger trout rods, so you can
use the same, compact casting stroke you would use on a 5wt or 6wt, get
great loops, and still show small fish the respect they deserve.





CONS - Though the TXL-F 4710-4 is the most versatile
of the series, these rods are definitely specialty rods. Any one of
these rods will make a great addition to your quiver, but look elsewhere
if you're shopping for an all-rounder.





BOTTOM LINE – These are precise, crisp light line fly
rods that are fun to fish. The TXL-Fs will open up new water and remind
you how great dry fly fishing really is.



Reviewer. . .






 


I grew up in Redding, CA, fishing for trout and steelhead on
the many waters of the region. As I grew up, I became more focused on
fishing for steelhead, and swinging a fly through a glassy tail-out is
probably my favorite thing in the world. But fishing the TXL-F this
summer on small water was like "trout rehab" for me, and I've been
fishing trout hard through the summer and fall. I'm remembering that
California has some really outstanding small streams and ponds that
never get the pressure of the larger tailwaters and freestones. Although
I always value the secrecy of my fishing spots, I encourage you to pick
up a TXL-F and go find the small stuff near you. I'll see you on the
water. -George Revel


 







Leland on sage txl-f fly fishing rodS


 


Why replace a beloved series of light fly rods? When you can
make that series 33% lighter while dramatically improving its
performance, the real question is why wouldn't you? Besides its near
weightlessness, the TXL-F (the "F" is for "feel") Series of fly rods has
received a tune-up in the form of increased sensitivity and performance
with the latest version of Sage's exclusive G-5 technology, as well as
new and improved microferrules. The series even has a brand new grip: a
"snub-nose half wells" grip that's just one more reason it's tough to
put down at the end of the day.



Ultralight rods in general have had a reputation for being "noodly". Not
so with the TXL-F, which responds to the same casting stroke that
efficiently loads and unloads Sage's high performing fast action rods.
This efficient casting stroke allows you to delicately drift dry flies
under logs and bushes with accuracy unprecedented in an ultzralight fly
rod. We test-drove the TXL-F 4710-4 this summer on a tiny creek in
Northern California and had a blast dropping dries into wooded corners
and slingshot casting under cut banks.



Without question, this is the best-casting series of ultralight fly rods
on the market today. And in a new four piece configuration, the TXL-F
is that much easier to pack high into the backcountry.

For the ultimate in small creek trout fishing, check out Sage's new Circa fly rods.


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