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What our upgrader's have to say
When a customer trusts us to get the best prices for their unwanted gear, it’s our duty to provide the best service possible.
desc::When a customer trusts us to get the best prices for their unwanted gear, it’s our duty to provide the best service possible.
Name::What our upgrader's have to say
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Jim of Naples, FL

Dear Leland Upgrade Team
Last year I happened to tell one of my fishing buddies, that I wanted to sell some of my old fly fishing stuff on ebay.  My friend told me about Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters and the Leland Upgrade program.
After reading about the Leland Upgrade on your website, and a quick phone call for some minor questions, I sent you my fly fishing rods & equipment that I wasn't using anymore.  I can't tell you how surprised I was at how quickly you got this equipment on ebay and sold.  I was also very pleased by the prices that you were able to get for me.
Thank you again for making this an easy process, and making my experience with Leland a great one!  I will tell everyone about the Leland Upgrade team and how you enabled me to upgrade my fly fishing equipment painlessly and without spending a lot of money!
Thank you again.

Tom of
Danbury, CT

Attached please find a photo of me with a beautiful brown trout caught using my new Abel reel purchased from Leland. You guys are the best in offering advise and your upgrade program is Great !!!!


Jack of
Oklahoma City, OK

Having fly fished for over 40 years, I have accumulated a lot of equipment that I don't use anymore…that is until I found your upgrade program.  Now I am able to have the Loop Cross S1, what I consider the best fly rod made. I can't thank you enough for providing this service.  Leland has a customer for life now.


Duncan of Orange Beach, AL

I wanted to post about a great experience I had with Leland Outfitters and their exchange program. I shipped them a bunch of old flyfishing equipment I no longer used, they cleaned it up and sold it on ebay for me, and I was able to buy new equipment. It all worked just as it was supposed to, and that doesn't happen very often these days. I can highly recommend you do business with this shop.

Joel of Dutch Flat, CA

Job well done.  This really is a no-hassle way to clean out the closet of gear I wasn’t using and get some items that I do need for Christmas Island.    
I’ve not listed anything on ebay before, but watching the process was like fishing itself, toss the offering out there and see what happens.

And now for the fun part!


Cary of Arlington, VA

I promised myself no new fly rods until I got rid of some that I no longer use so naturally Leland Upgrade came to mind. I now have sold seven rods through Leland and I am confident that I got a good price for every single one (and I saved myself a lot of hassle) because Leland was the interface with the buyer. They kept me well informed and was a pleasure to work with.  And I cannot wait to go fishing with my new gear.

Michael of Branford, CT

Big thanks to Casey and the guys at Leland outfitters for rigging my tibor reels,, they are amazing reels.. the backing and the bimini loop got plenty of work this week,, it helped land this 41"-35lb bass
the upgrade program is the best!!!!

John C. of Illinois

Just a short note to express my complete satisfaction with
your program. You were most helpful before I sent my rod to you--and after the rod sold as well. Your pictures and comments were the reason the rod did as well as it did. I would not hesitate to make your talent, as well as your program, public. What an asset
for a fly shop to have.

Mark of Southern California

I wanted to let you know how pleased I am with the Leland Upgrade Program.  The process was completely painless and the descriptions of the my gear were well written and accurate.  The best part was the results, so much better than I expected!  I will definitely do this again in fact I’m cleaning out my garage now.

Alain of Branford, CT

I am really pleased with the Leland Upgrade Program.  The no-nonsense
commission is perfect, as the people who send you product can
easily track their auctions and know immediately what they are owed in
store credit.  Casey did a great job answering my questions and
updating the auction's progress and payment.  You did everything
perfectly and the listing was the most professional I have seen.  Your
photography and listing was top-notch.  I have already recommended
your service to numerous people in the Northeast (I am part of the
competitive fly-fishing community and a huge proponent of European
nymphing styles).  There are other eBay services, but none as
professional as yours.

Derry of Ireland

In relation to feedback on the Leland Upgrade experience, I am very satisfied especially with the ability to follow the auction on ebay. This was my first time to use this facility and will certainly use it again very soon in the future. It’s amazing to discover how many rods / reels one has that are seldom used!! Great idea and works well for all.

Scott of Horseshoe Bay, TX

I can't thank you enough for your encouragement to gather up some of my seldom used fly fishing gear and give you a chance to find it a new home. Your program is marvelous and you really do absolutely everything involved in the auction sale process. Every item I sent you was very professionally marketed and each one brought far more value that I expected. It certainly will not be a problem to spend up my

Greg of Fair Oaks, CA

"A Fly Fishing Fairytale" Once upon a recent time there was a tall fly fisherman who during the course of a passionate fly fishing life accumulated many rods,reels and spools that he no longer used. The formerly utilized fly gear languished in a desk,closet and his garage. The equipment was much too fine to not be used and their disuse caused the fly fisherman minor ennui and consternation.  The accumulated unused gear also inhibited the fly angler from buying new and finer gear. As great luck would have it the fly Angler learned of a magician's guild known as Leland Fly Fishing's Upgrade Program where sorcerers could invoke spells that allowed used fly fishing gear to regain some of the luster of it's youth.  the gear was then sold for astonishing prices throughout the known world.  Casey and Jon were the names of 2 of the affable, engaging and expert sorcerers. In short order the tall fly fisherman sent more than 20 spools,reels and rods to the LFF UP and they sold the gear to fly fisherman across the globe.  The story continues and the tall fly angler has new and advanced gear with poetic names like VXP, spey, Galvan and Rio which have graced waters in British Columbia, Mexico, Montana, the California Delta, Northern and Central California with the Amazon on the horizon...........

Steve of South Korea

I have just shipped my third (and probably not final!) batch of gear to the Leland Upgrade Program - what can I say, I wouldn't keep using it if it didn't work so well! Even though I live in Asia, it is still worthwhile for me to use the program - for starters, Leland make it so easy, I get exactly the same outcome as if I did it myself, but they do all the work, plus their status on eBay adds value to my goods when they sell. I have sold several rods, reels and spools and all have sold equally well, in some cases for more than I bought them for!

It's a great service, and it has allowed me to upgrade a rod and some reels to current models. Which fly fisherman doesn't like new gear??!!

Also the team at Leland is very efficient, provide great customer service and communicate well.

Mark of Fair Oaks Ranch, TX

I wanted to write and let you know that I have now sent you ALL of my older rods to be sold through Leland Upgrade. I am truly amazed at how well the upgrade program has worked for me. I have never heard of a better program for selling off older gear. I applaud your level of professionalism and knowledge regarding the upgrade program and it is certainly a pleasure to call you and discuss different ideas regarding fly gear. Additionally, I want to thank you for introducing me to the Red Truck Series fly rods. As you know, I was a bit skeptical of them in the beginning. As it stands today, I know of no better rod regardless of the price. Certainly the Red Truck rods are a great value but the "fishability" of these rods is second to none, regardless of the price. In short, I am absolutely thrilled with Red Truck rods. Also, I appreciate you sending the Red Truck Premium 5wt to my friend in such a timely manner. Keep up the great work. You guys have an amazing shop and an even better customer service package. I look forward to working with you in the future

Juan of Clayton, CA

The Leland Upgrade program: easy as heck, reliable, and a great excuse to visit the shop! I have used it on a number of occasions and have really
enjoyed it.  The guys are super professional, prompt, and very

Jerry of Edmond, OK

If you are an angler who wants to sell good stuff in order to get even better stuff, then Leland Upgrade is the only way to go.  Jon and the guys will prep your gear, take professional grade photos and list it in a manner that will guarantee top dollar.  Get serious, who has the time to sell gear?
Leave it to the professionals. You should be out on the water.  Thanks again to Jon and Casey.

Al of Excelsior, MN

Leland’s Upgrade Program is one of the finest services in fly fishing.  Take that reel you never use or the rod you want to upgrade and send it to Leland.  Their photographers and copywriters will present it on ebay, honestly describing it but putting it in the best possible light.  Sincerely, unless you’re a professional you can’t matching Leland’s presentation or the financial results.  The profit on the sale becomes a store credit, and you’re ready to go shopping. 

Gregg of Longmont, CO

This will be my third and fourth rods to sell through the Upgrade Program. The first sales went so well. I was impressed at the professional way everything was handled from the start to buying my new Scott T2H switch rod. I am convinced that you net me more cash because of the great presentation and the Leland name.

Thanks, Gregg

Mark of Great Falls, MT

I recently went on my first Salt Water trip and after doing some research I decided to go with the Hatch reels for the trip. I was not disappointed by their performance. When I returned to the States, I decided to make the full conversion to Hatch reels for all my fly fishing and the Leland Upgrade Program was perfect for this goal. I sold all of my non Hatch reels and used all the profits to replace my old fresh water reels.  I got top dollar for my old gear  and I had no hassles selling it. Leland took care of it all.

My only problem is now I also started buying from the Leland Upgrade
listings.  I found some great values and hard to find merchandise.  I check the listings very few days looking for that new used gear item I can't live without.

The program is very well run and organized. The staff have been excellent in customer service. I would highly recommend this program.

Reverend Joel of Bradenton. FL

I want to thank the Leland Upgrade Program for this incredible program! You guys made it possible for me to sell my used gear, some of it decades old, and get equipment I’d been dreaming about. When I sent my gear to you I had hoped to sell enough stuff to partially finance one particular Winston bamboo fly rod. Not only did I get the Winston bamboo but amazingly I was able to pick-up two Winston IIIx rods and a tackle pack for my spring bonefishing trip to the Bahamas.

This program is great! Selling my used equipment was easy, stress-free and may have contributed to the improvement of my marriage!

of Simsbury, CT

"About my experience with Leland Upgrade I can address to everyone that no matter if you are selling or you are buying from Leland Upgrade like I did few times during last three years, you can be absolutely sure that your product will get best professional evaluation and presentation allowing other people to buy it with confidence and trust. In my opinion this is the key of any Upgrade program and Leland has developed it extremely well."

of El Dorado Hills, CA

"I am heading to Belize for some saltwater fishing in June, 2011. Needed to standardize my reels. Had an Abel Super 8 and Sage 3400D with spools for my 10wts. Decided to purchase two Tibor Riptide reels but how do I sell my Abel and Sage? Bingo, the Leland Upgrade Program. Jon & Casey handled the selling of the reels on eBay from start to finish. I received a good enough price that I was able to purchase one of the Riptides and some accessories. If this program was not available I would probably still have the two reels and spools. Jon and I are also working on some additional equipment that I need. To Jon and the Upgrade Program, "Job Well Done"

of Pingree, ID

"Leland does an amazing job of taking  the hassle out of selling your gear.  I was impressed by the prices they got for my gear and the quality of service they offered.  They truly know what they're doing and don't charge any dumb fees or commission. They did a great job selling my old gear.  The other thing great about this program is that your store credit can literally get you any of the top gear in the fly fishing industry.  The bonus with this program is that Leland has some of the best customer service around.  Talking to them on the phone is just like walking into your local fly shop.  They are knowledgeable and caring and really want to make you happy with your purchase."

of San Rafael, CA

"I had heard good things about the Leland Upgrade Program (LUP) from my brother, who had taken advantage of the program several years ago. I had a closet full of 2-piece rods that were not likely to see the light of day again, so I decided to see if I could recycle them through the LUP. After receiving about 3 times the amount I had anticipated, I went back to the closet and pulled out bags of old reels from different phases of my fishing career, spanning the last 15 to 20 years. All of the items auctioned on eBay were professionally described and accurately rated for condition. Duplicate reels and spools were staggered to get maximum return. When it was all said and done, I netted about $5,000 from gear that was previously destined for the dust bin. The staff is very knowledgeable and extremely friendly. I highly recommend the LUP to everyone with unwanted or out of date gear - everybody wins."

of Canby, OR

"I could not be happier with the Leland Upgrade Program! Finally, a
guilt-free way to fish with the newest and latest gear. The guilt of leaving
perfectly usable gear in the closet just to fish with the latest gear kept
me from buying what I really wanted. Thanks to the Upgrade Program, no more gear guilt.

The help from the Leland staff has been nothing short of impressive. In
those rare instances that one of their staff doesn't know the answer, they
get me to a person who has the answer."


of Feasterville, PA

"I was a little hesitant about sending my gear across the country to be sold on ebay. However after dealing with the Leland staff on previous occasions I knew it was in good hands. The quality of their descriptions and photographs was great, and they even took the extra time to clean all my gear so it would turn top dollar. I ended up with more credit than I thought my old gear would receive. Constant email updates and contact through phone calls let me know I was in good hands and Leland's costumer service is second to none. I will not be hesitant in the future to go to Leland for any of my fly-fishing needs!"


of Shreveport, LA

"Like most fly fisherman, I have accumulated a lot of gear over the years
that - while fine when I bought it - has spent more time in the fishing
closet lately than on the water... Happily, I have recently discovered the
Leland Upgrade Program as a way to turn that lonely gear into money.
The program is simple - send your gear to Leland and they'll clean it up for you, sell it on Ebay and won't charge you a dime more than Ebay would charge you for selling it yourself - leaving you with top value for your gear in store credit at one of the top fly shops in the country.  Ariel and the entire Upgrade Team are pros whose specialty seems to be putting dollars in your pocket.
Once your gear is sold and you have your credit, you'll find the Leland staff is an invaluable resource for information on the replacement gear you need no matter where or how you fish. From the newest cutting edge technology to time-tested gear that evokes the rich tradition of our sport, the Leland staff can help you find exactly what you want and need."

Kent of Bedford, NH

So here I am in Bedford, New Hampshire wondering what to do with some quality fly-fishing gear that hasn't seen the water in just about two years. According to Mapquest my home is 3,128 miles away from your flagship store in San Francisco. That said having done business with you in the past via eBay I decided to take advantage of your upgrade program and let's just say I am so glad I did. From the very beginning Ariel Molina was tremendously helpful guiding me through the description and shipment process. As promised the shipping labels arrived via email, I shipped them from the local UPS Store and I was told my gear arrived safely. A few days later I checked out my gear on eBay under the Leland banner and I was stunned at the quality, professionalism and presentation of my gear on eBay and not only that one week later I was very very pleased with the result.

For anyone reading this email I have a little bit of advice for you, buy the best gear you can afford, take good care of your gear and if you ever want to upgrade or sell your gear use the Leland Upgrade Program!

arry of Grand Rapids, MI

Larry was most impressed with the communication from the Upgrade Team during the sale of his gear.

Best of all, he got a little more credit out of the experience than he expected. Here's how Larry's expectations were exceeded:


“When I first came upon it online, I thought it would be a good way to sell some old fly fishing equipment, and I didn't have any idea as to current value, collectiblity or demand,” Larry said. “I had a number in mind as to what would be a fair price for my gear and was pleased and surprised to have gotten twice what I expected.”


Phil of San Diego, CA

Phil upgraded a handful of his collection of older model rods and reels.
After the sales were finished, he was impressed with the quality and professionalism of the service:
“I think your text and quality photos add more appeal to the eBay auction process than I could do on my own; plus, I think buyers feel more comfortable with a retailer than an individual,” Phil said. “As long as I keep fly fishing, I figure I could always use the credit at Leland. When I'm in SF, I always stop by to see what's new.”
After the credit was tallied, he picked up a new Scott S4 4-weight rod and a Simms Windstopper DL Jacket for the small streams and chilly weather in the High Sierra.



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S.A. Sharkskin Fly Line Review
Name::S.A. Sharkskin Fly Line Review
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Scientific Anglers Sharkskin
Fly Fishing Line Review

The Next Generation of Fly Line Performance

Scientific Anglers Sharkskin Fly Fishing Line
Ultimate Trout Taper

• Fly Line Density: Floating
• Fly Line Taper: Long belly, weight forward with welded front loop
• Total Head Length: 51 feet (for 5 weight line - varies by line weight)
• Running Line Length: 49 feet (for 5 weight line- varies by line weight)
• Total Line Length: 100 feet
• Core: Braided multifilament for cold water use
• Coating: Sharkskin Micro-textured surface on 3M PVC
• Line Weights: 3 through 8 weight
• Colors: Blue Heron (gray) or Chartreuse

PROS- Technological
breakthrough greatly improves overall fly line and fly fishing
performance; less friction, greater casting distance, higher floatation,
easier mending, better presentation, more stealth, less line memory,
improved potential durability, with less effort from the caster.

$100 price is about $40 more than other premium fly lines.  Creates
much more noise going through fly rod guides than smooth fly lines.
One of our basic fly fishing tools has experienced significant
improvement! If the durability claims hold up, there’s no reason not to
buy this line if you dry fly or nymph fish in moving water. The
Sharkskin should be economical to use in the long run.

What’s the word?

Fly Fishing, as popular as it may seem from its
prominence in television ads, is still a very, very tiny industry. The
total money spent on our several hundred year old art form pales in
comparison to even recent phenomena like Pilates, for example.

because fly fishing holds a fascination for a dedicated following,
there are intelligent people in our world who devote themselves to
finding ways to improve the fly fishing tackle that we all use. Almost
all of these improvements are small ones. As manufacturers learn
technologies from one another, product categories are slowly refined;
Rods get lighter, faster, and more powerful. Reels become smoother, more
rigid, with better drag performance. But rarely does a piece of new
equipment come along with multiple attributes that clearly sets it apart
from others.
Well, that’s just what’s happened with the
introduction of the new Scientific Anglers Sharkskin Fly Fishing Line.
And I’m going to tell you why you’ll probably want to spend $100 to get a
Sharkskin, if you can find one. Even if you’ve just bought a new fly


The new Scientific Anglers Sharkskin Floating Fly
Line features a remarkable, patented micro-replication embossed surface
that greatly improves overall fly line performance in virtually every
category; higher flotation, less friction, less line flash, less line
spray, less line coil and, purportedly, greater durability. The result
is enhanced fishing performance with increased casting distance, easier
mending, easier line pick up, greater stealth and better drifts.

• Patented, micro-textured fly line surface greatly enhances overall fly line performance
• Superior shoot-ability with greatly reduced friction through the guides for easier casting and greater distance
• Higher flotation reduces drag and greatly increases line mend-ability
• Greater pliability significantly reduces fly line drag component in moving water
• Fly line surface sheds water more effectively – less line spray
• Line is purported by manufacturer to be up to 3 times more durable than other fly lines.
• Textured surface eliminates line glare or flash—more stealth
• Line lifts off water and roll casts with ease

Enter the Shark

The Sharkskin Fly Line made its official debut at
the recent 2008 American Fly Fishing Trade Association Show in Denver,
CO, where retailers gather every year to see the new gear and decide on
their inventory for the following season. Of all the new products, the
conversational buzz I most often overheard in the aisles was, “Have you
cast the new Sharkskin Line from S.A.!?”, or, “It makes a lot of noise
when you haul, but I’ve never cast that far!”, or, “I swear it was floating
above the water!” I didn’t get to cast one at the Show ponds; I was too
busy trying to see all the other new stuff, and besides, I’d heard
sales hype so often in the past that my expectations, honestly, weren’t
that great. But I was handed a new Sharkskin line at the Scientific
Anglers booth, as were hundreds of other trades people, and I put it in
my bag as I left.

I took the line out in my hotel room that
night, as I read the information on the 3M box cover. My floating 6
weight Sharkskin line was called “Blue Heron” but appeared a very dull
gray with a texture similar to cloth. The line was very supple in my
hand and felt like dry snakeskin. The box explained that the surface of
the Sharkskin Line was modified with “micro-repeating structures” that
“achieve surface interface properties that mimic nature, such as the
ability of insects to walk on water, the shedding and self-cleaning
ability of Lotus leaves, or the adhesion that allows a gecko to walk up
vertical surfaces.” Wow! That sure sounded impressive. I made a mental
note to read up on Lotus leaves later. Although I didn’t have a
magnifying glass handy, the close-up photo of the line surface looked
like fuzzy fish scales. The performance claims were equally grand, but,
like rods or reels, you never really know until you fish them hard.

Casting Performance

A couple of weeks later, I was on one of my
favorite Northern California freestone streams. The nymphing was
outstanding after a recent rain. I could see big Rainbow trout in
exposed positions, feeding comfortably in the stained current. My
relatively new long belly floating fly line, however, felt a little
sticky, and was causing me to labor as I forced it through the guides.
The front eight feet of the line was sinking. Even after I polished it
to remove accumulated dirt and algae, I still felt I was working too
hard. That night in camp I remembered I had the Sharkskin Line with me,
and I mounted it on a spare reel to use the next day.

In the
morning, my first cast sailed ten feet past the fish I had spotted! In
fact, the Sharkskin Line had so little friction going through the
guides, I had to adjust my casting and mending over the next couple of
hours to accommodate this phenomena. I was used to using far more power
to accomplish these tasks with other fly lines. Now, it seemed I needed
only half the energy to extend or shoot line. Single and double hauling
was easier with fewer false casts.

Texturing a fly line surface
to reduce friction is not a new concept. Original silk fly lines were
naturally uneven. The old Chancellor Chalkstream lines from England, and
to a lesser degree, the old Sunset lines, had a dimpled surface, not
unlike a golf ball, to reduce the amount of surface area making contact
with the guides. Airflo, England’s premier fly line maker, recently
introduced their bumpy surfaced Ridge fly line series in 2006.
Scientific Anglers claims the patterning of the Sharkskin process
reduces the contact surface area of the line up to 70%. Whatever it is,
the Sharkskin, at least when new, has far less friction than any fly
line I’ve ever used. I should mention that casting textured fly lines
through fly rod guides creates more of a rasping noise than smooth
lines, and with the Sharkskin, quite a bit more noise. It doesn’t bother
me at all, any more than my click-pawl reel drag.

So is the
Sharkskin the ultimate distance full-length floating line? Well, that’s
hard to say at the moment. Aside from texturing, fly lines in the past
have either been stiffer and/or smaller in diameter to increase casting
distance. The Sharkskin is much more flexible and softer, than other
lines, bending more like a bicycle chain. Fly line taper comes into play
for distance as well. The Sharkskin currently is offered in only one
taper configuration, called the “Ultimate Trout Taper” in line weights 3
to 8. (note: after this review was published, SA has since
introduced several new Sharkskin fly lines; Ultimate Trout Double Taper,
GPX, Magnum indicator line, Steelhead Taper, Shooting Line for heads,
and an ideal general purpose Saltwater Line - DS 4/09)
This long
belly, weight forward profile has a head length of about 45 for the 3
weight, ranging to 55 feet for the 8 weight, with a thinner, running
line adding to the 100 foot overall length. This taper in a 6 weight
performed extremely well for me, fishing at short to fairly long
distances (70+ feet), both roll casting and overhead casting. I didn’t
test the Sharkskin in a raw distance competition with my other high
performance lines as I was mainly interested in assessing the
Sharkskin’s fish-ability. The Sharkskin technology, either in the
current Ultimate Trout Taper, or a future configuration, may very well
prove to cast further than any other line. However, what I can tell you,
from a practical standpoint, is that the Sharkskin Ultimate Trout will
probably cast further, with less effort, than any other fly line for
most casters in typical trout fishing situations. Note: This line is
designed for mainly cold water use. Tropical saltwater fly lines
typically have stiffer cores, so if that’s what you need, wait until
S.A. comes out with a Sharkskin model suitable for that purpose (they have - see note above).

Fish-Ability and the Holy Grail

The most impressive, and important feature, by my
reckoning, of 3M’s micro-replication process is its awesome flotation
properties. I couldn’t believe how high my new Sharkskin line floated on
the water, even the line tip! Fly line manufacturers have been
struggling to improve line floatability for decades with decidedly mixed
results. There’s only so much that you can do with a given mass of PVC
with internal micro spheres to reduce specific gravity. Not many years
ago, one could expect the best distance floating lines to start sinking
immediately, and even most recently, the first six to eight feet of my
dry lines will sink unless they were cleaned that morning, and they’ll
still sink by the end of the day. Sinking fly lines increase drag and
make line mending much more difficult and far less effective. The
coatings on most floating fly line tips are barely capable of keeping
them on the surface at all.

According to Scientific Anglers, the
micro-texturing of the Sharkskin Fly Line “Greatly increases the upward
meniscus force (surface tension) through a combination of the water’s
interaction with the new surface and the trapping of air into the
valleys of the texture. The result is an over 200% improvement in
resistance of the line to be forced into the water….effectively
improving “floatation” of the line significantly beyond anything that
can be achieved through the addition of glass bubbles or surface

The incredible flotation of the Sharkskin had a
profound effect on my ability to make drag free presentations. Firstly,
the high floating fly line better supported the floating portion of my
leader, keeping it up near the surface in rougher water. Secondly, the
Sharkskin lifted so damned easily off the water that mending, stack
mending, and roll casting could be accomplished with a fraction of the
energy of my other lines, particularly at distance across disparate
currents. Thirdly, the Sharkskin line itself has less drag in moving
water due to its high flotation, but it also has less drag due to its
suppleness, compared to other fly lines. Softer material, be it line,
leader or tippet, will create less drag in current. Most trout anglers
stake their fish catching success on their ability to present dry flies
or nymphs in the most natural manner, which usually means as close to
dead-drift as possible. Veteran anglers will understand
the import of what I’m saying here, but let me re-emphasize for the
less experienced; the new Sharkskin line does everything so much better
that it will improve your fly fishing, improve your casting and
strengthen your learning curve.

The fly fishing line is,
arguably, the most important functional piece of tackle you own, so
we’re talking about something approaching the Holy Grail of desirability
here. With this technology, fly lines won’t have to be so closely
matched to rods, guide sizes on rods could conceivably be smaller and
lighter, improving rod performance, sinking lines (when available)
fished under tension would have greater tactile sensitivity. Not only
that, the Sharkskin’s dull surface has virtually no line flash to scare
wary fish, making it the most stealthy line available and a no-brainer
for fishing spring creeks and hunting New Zealand brown trout. I’d
strongly recommend the Blue Heron (gray) color for subtlety in most
trout fishing situations. The alternative color, Chartreuse, while
having low flash, is day-glo bright, suitable for anglers who have
difficulty seeing their line or for fishing in very low-light

Company Profile

Scientific Anglers was founded in 1945 by fellow anglers
Leon Martuch, Clare Harris, and Paul Rottiers in Midland, Michigan.
They developed the first modern, plastic coated fly line in 1952,
replacing silk fly lines which had been in use for well over 100 years.
In 1954, SA introduced the Air Cel, widely considered the first modern
floating fly lines. The development of 3M Microballoons in 1959
revolutionized the way that fly lines float and is the standard
technology by which all manufacturers float their lines today. 3M, then
known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, acquired
Scientific Anglers in 1973.

Today, 3M is one of 30 companies
comprising the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is ranked about 100 in
the Fortune 500 listing with over $23 billion in annual sales, operating
in over 60 countries with 29 international companies and 35
laboratories. It’s probably the largest company in the world directly
involved in the fly fishing industry. No wonder these guys can make fly
lines float! They obviously wrote the book on early modern fly line
development and it’s not surprising that they have research and
development resources way beyond the means of the handful of other major
fly line makers that we usually see on the shelves, which include Rio
and Cortland in the U.S. and Airflo in the U.K. Most other brands you
buy are actually made by one of these few companies or in Asia. Machines
to build modern fly lines are very sophisticated, very expensive, and
take up a lot of space, to satisfy a very small potential market. Hence
the dearth of players.

So, why hasn’t Scientific Anglers simply
rolled over their competition? Well, the other companies may be small by
comparison, but they too, have been innovative at times, particularly
in coming up with specialized tapers for different fishing situations.
These tapers are designed by knowledgeable fishermen, not scientists, so
sometimes the little guy gets the jump on the big guy. Rio Products,
recently purchased by the Sage rod company, has been particularly
active, and successful, pioneering whole new categories of Spey and
single handed fly lines.
I’m not a patent lawyer, but I’m
guessing that the 3M micro-replication process might pose a difficult
challenge for all other fly line companies seeking to mimic the
advantageous properties of the new Scientific Anglers technology.
Certainly expect S.A. to capitalize on Sharkskin with an expansion of
the product line in the near future.

Overall Rating - FIVE STARS

Out of the box, the Sharkskin certainly functions better than any other floating fly line I’ve fished, but the remaining question
for all of us is, “How long does this party last?” Scientific Anglers
testing indicates, by their accord, that Sharkskin Lines can last up to 3
times longer, overall, than their previous most durable lines. The
micro-texturing that increases suppleness allows the line to bend with
less cracking over time. S.A. has made some pretty durable lines in the
past, so that’s encouraging. They also claim that used Sharkskin lines
returned to their lab for re-testing actually exhibited improved
flotation properties.

Frankly, we won’t really know the true
durability of Sharkskin until enough of us go out and thrash the water
for a while. Lines that last a year for a fishing guide might last ten
years for a casual angler. My feeling is, even in the worst case
scenario (that being Sharkskin isn’t any more durable than other modern
fly lines), the $100 price would still be a bargain based simply on its
performance advantages. When you think about the money that you spend on
rods, reels, other tackle, and the gas just to get to where you fish,
forty extra bucks is a small price to pay.

Check out the best fly fishing lines.

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Leland Oakley Polarized Fishing Sunglass Review
Name::Leland Oakley Polarized Fishing Sunglass Review
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leland oakley polarized sunglasses





•  Oakley HDPolarized, 99% polarized efficiency
•  Oakley Hydrophobic/Oleophobic anti-smudge lens coating
•  Impact resistance that meets ANSI Z87.1 standards for high-mass/high-velocity impact
•  UV protection of Oakley Plutonite® lens material that filters out 100% of UVA/UVB/UVC      & harmful blue light up to 400 nm



•  Black, Tortoise, White

•  Durability and all-day comfort of lightweight, stress-resistant

•  Oakley O Matter® frame material Comfort and Performance of Three-Point Fit that     holds lenses in precise optical alignment

•  Metal Oakley icon accents


September 30, 2011 (San Francisco, CA): When Leland set out to create the best fly fishing sunglasses on the market, there was only one name we could trust: Oakley, the premier manufacturer of polarized sunglasses made specifically for angling. The Leland Edition Polarized Fishing Sunglass by Oakley are the apex of fly fishing eyewear technology and we guarantee you won't find a better set of shades for your style.


Keeping things Simple: Here at Leland, it's our belief that elite, expertly-crafted fly fishing gear doesn't need to be complicated, so we set out with a simple vision: two shades of Oakley's premier polarized lenses to cover the spectrum of fly fishing applications and satisfy the needs of anglers everywhere. The Leland Edition Polarized Sunglasses by Oakley are the answer to a market where excellent performance has been lost in a sea of too many options and too few results. With the Leland Edition Oakley Sunglasses, it's as simple as two lenses for every angling style. The All Day lens is the “everyday lens,” designed for bright conditions where the most important factor is diminishing glare and keeping your eyes at ease. Leland's All Day shades perform as well scanning the flats for bonefish as they do spotting steelhead or conquering high mountain creeks on a sunny day. The second lens, the Low Light Lens, delivers extraordinary clarity in dim conditions for those dedicated anglers who know the best fly fishing often means subpar light conditions. If you love to fish before dawn and don't call it a day until the last traces of light are gone, then the Leland Oakleys in Low Light are guaranteed to enhance your vision and and dial in on the catch.


Polarized matters: Oakley has always lead the industry in pioneering polarized lenses for a range of demanding applications, and their angling specific lenses are no exception. The Leland Edition Polarized Sunglasses feature Oakley's High Definition Optics®, delivering unprecedented clarity for peering beneath surface glare and differentiating between structures. Oakley's HDO® technology gets rid of the distortion that other polarized sunglasses leave behind, preserving your visual acuity so you get an accurate, crystal-clear read of the action. The Leland Edition Polarized Sunglasses also feature Oakley's signature Hydrophobic™ coating that sheds water and provides a permanent layer of defense against oily fingerprints, saltwater sprays and sunscreen residue. This barrier helps keep you focused on the catch instead of being distracted by smudged lenses. Most importantly, the lenses in the Leland Oakleys filter 100% of all UV rays and effectively eliminate 99% of surface glare, meaning you're able to fish all day in the most extreme conditions without eyestrain.


The Roster...

The All Day Lens satisfies a dynamic range of applications with extreme precision and unparalleled versatility. From saltwater to spring creeks, the Leland Oakley All Day Lens delivers striking visual acuity and fatigue-free comfort in a sport where reading the water, judging depth, and differentiating between structures is key. The Leland Oakleys in All Day enhance contrast without distortion to ensure that you can see the catch the way it's meant to be seen.


The second lens, the Low Light Lens, offers superb clarity in limited light conditions. Aptly named, this lens thrives in sight-fishing environments where reading the subtleties of the subsurface action is critical, helping you land fish and dial in on the catch no matter how diminished the light. The Leland Oakleys in Low Light are a must-have for the trout angler who fishes premier conditions no matter the time of day.


Both the All Day and Low Light offer Oakley's striking clarity as well as the protection of a shatteproof polycarbonate material. Glass lenses can prove dangerous when fly fishing, shattering upon impact and causing serious injury. The lenses of the Leland Oakleys won't shatter in the event that they're struck by a bad cast, guaranteeing you protection in the event of an accident. The Leland Oakleys are also scratch-resistant, a hugely beneficial feature in a sport where dropping your glasses into the water or dirt is not a question of if, but a question of when.


The frames: The unique design of the Leland Edition Oakleys lends itself to extreme comfort and versatility. The Leland Oakleys fit virtually any face and they're contoured design prevents peripheral UV penetration. Constructed from Oakley's patented O Matter® frame material, the Leland Edition Oakleys are also extraordinarily lightweight and entirely stress resistant. They won't start to cause you discomfort halfway through a day of fishing when the sun is bright and you need them the most. Both shades of the Leland Edition Oakley frames are available in black, tortoise, or white, and feature Oakley's signature metal icons


Pro Review – Leland's Keith Westra

What's the word...

The Leland Edition Polarized Sunglasses by Oakley have been a favorite in the shop since we brought them down to Mexico for a saltwater trip to the Pesca Maya Lodge. We were sporting the All Day lenses and the conditions couldn't have been better for testing out a pair of fly fishing sunglasses: saltwater spray, heavy UV plus huge glare, and hours of time spent scanning for bonefish, permit and tarpon. These are the environments where a great pair of fly fishing sunglasses means the difference between landing a trophy or going home with nothing but a pair of sore eyes.


The Leland Edition Oakleys decimate glare and make the task of spotting a bonefish at forty yards almost intuitive, turning the flats into a crystal clear playground for world-class fly fishing. The Leland Oakleys provided the extra edge to see through the surface glare and identify fish, and they also kept our eyes at ease after several consecutive days of fishing in the hot sun.

Fit & Finish...

The Leland Polarized Fly Fishing Sunglasses by Oakley are great for improving your fishing game, but we did more than just wear them on the water. We spent all day in these shades, from the flats to the beach, the bar to the lodge, the Leland Oakleys were basically plastered to our head.

Reliability and Durability...

All of us were impressed by the durability of the lenses during hard days of fishing. We definitely dropped a pair or two into the sand and, much to our relief, they were just fine. Nothing is more frustrating than scratching a brand new pair of shades, and the Leland Oakley Polarized Sunglasses came back from the trip without any battle scars (if only we could have been as lucky).

Overall Rating...

Pros – The Leland Edition Polarized Sunglasses by Oakley are extremely comfortable and form-fitting, and the premier polarization was important in the UV saturated saltwater flats.

Cons – The two lenses might seem limiting to some, but they're truly all you need. The Leland Oakleys keep things simple so you can focus on your fishing game.

Bottom Line – Save yourself the trouble of sifting through the countless options and underwhelming performance of . The Leland Edition Polarized Sunglasses by Oakley deliver the range of applications you need for bright days, dim mornings, and everything in between.
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Sage TCX Switch Fly Rod Review
Name::Sage TCX Switch Fly Rod Review
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new from sage - tcx switch rods



•    Models: 5119-4, 6119-4, 7119-4, 8119-4
•    Sections: Four
•    Weight: 5 1/4 oz. (5119) to 5 7/8 oz. (8119)
•    Handle: Updated grips built from premium cork
•    Reel Seat: Uplocking, Clear Anodized, Fully Machined Aluminum
•    Action: Very Fast
•    Retail Cost: $840-$855

Sage TCX Switch Rods are here.

April 4, 2011 (San Francisco, CA):  What do you get when you combine the world’s best casting fly rod technology with the fastest growing style of fly rod?  You get a Sage TCX Switch fly rod:  amazing performance and a pocket full of fishing options.
The Right Stuff:  Sage fly rods are known around the world as the benchmark of quality and performance.  Within their stable of fly rods lives the fabled Sage TCX Series.  This series was built to provide the ultimate in casting performance and efficiency.  Leveraging Sage’s Generation 5 technology, the craftsmen at Sage were able to make a fly rod that was not only lighter and more resilient than competing rods, but also brings a smile to any skilled caster’s face.  Now this same technology is available from Sage in four very useful switch models.

Sage TCX Switch Rods: the ultimate “do it all” performance fly rods are now available.

Series Overview

As quickly becomes clear to anyone who has cast a lot of fly rods, the Sage TCX Series rods are quite clearly among the most powerful ever built. These kryptonite-colored blanks are incredibly light on the scale and feature tapers that make them feel even lighter in hand. Leveraging much-touted G5 Technology, Sage's proprietary blank construction method which produces stronger, lighter weight rods that deliver amazing casting accuracy and fishing precision, TCX rods are the most impressive series from Sage in years.

The new TCX Switch Rods bring the high performance attributes of the TCX single hand and spey rods to the switch category. In line weights five through eight, the TCX Switch Series has something for every trout, steelhead, or salmon angler.

The 5119-4 and 6119-4 make useful nymphing tools for larger trout or half-pound steelhead, through they really excel when swinging traditional wet flies or soft-hackles on Scandinavian line systems.

The 7119-4 and 8119-4 also sing when rigged with Scandi heads, though they shine when fitted with Skagit heads for sinktip fishing. Immensely capable, these rods have the reserve power you need when fishing cold, gritty, high flows with larger, heavy flies and fast-sinking tips.

What's the word...
TCX is the latest super-star rod series from Sage, and the TCX Switch Rods represent Sage's commitment to providing high-performance tools for the emerging switch category.

We fished the 5119-4 and 6119-4 TCX Switch Rods on Colorado's Blue River in September, swinging and nymphing for brown trout. We used the new Rio Switch Line, which provides outstanding drift control with its longer belly and long rear taper. Impressive performance all around. Fish were caught.

We fished the 7119-4 and 8119-4 TCX Switch Rods on Oregon's Upper Rogue in March. We fished Intruders and T-14 on Skagits and were not disappointed. Except that we got skunked. The rods, for their part, performed brilliantly.


Switch Rods have come about as an answer to those anglers looking for a rod that can fulfill several functional niches at once. While at Leland we use switches primarily for swinging flies on small and mid-size steelhead rivers, we've also used them for two-hand overhead casting in the surf and nymphing for both trout and steelhead.

Fit and Finish...

These light, fast, super strong blanks are fitted with premium two hand grips and fully machine clear anodized reel seats. Chrome plated light wire snakes and stripping guides are secured to the blank with clear thread wraps. Inside the powder green rod tube, you'll find an all-cotton black rod sock to cradle each rod section. Overall, these rods look as great as they cast.

Reliability and Durability...

Having been one of the premiere rodmaking houses in the world for a few decades now, Sage needs no introduction. Series after series have proved their mettle, and Sage has always stood behind their product in the event of accidental breakage.

Overall Rating...

PROS- An immensely versatile and high-performing series of rods, especially the 7 weight TCX Switch Rod. Every model has an even flex from tip to butt, ideal for two handed casting. Most anglers will find them more generous and responsive than the TCX Single Hand Rods.

CONS- At over eight hundred dollars each, these rods are only available to anglers who are sure they know what they want.

BOTTOM LINE- Another incredible fishing tool from Sage, sure to open up new opportunities for successful fishing, and all the fun that entails.

Check out the best Sage Switch Rod.

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Argentina's Tierra del Fuego
Name::Argentina's Tierra del Fuego
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Val Atkinson

Life at the Edge of the World

There's no doubt that photographer and friend of Leland, Val Atkinson, is something of a fly fishing legend. But his recent trip to South America is as much a celebration of angling landscapes as the sport itself. Capturing the immensity of the Southern Hemisphere's most coveted fishing destinations, Val's latest collection depicts life at the edge of the world. And, of course, the trout that call these sacred waters home.

In March, Val hosted a group of international anglers for the trip of a lifetime: one week fishing for browns at the Remota Lodge in Chilean Patagonia, one week chasing sea-run trout at the Kau Tapen Lodge in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, and an opportunity to wet a line with a fly fishing great. Equipped with a selection of Loop and Leland's finest gear, Val and the gang trekked across the wilds of a trout fishing mecca. With them, a brand new Leland Switch prototype and Leland Brass Sea Run Reel, two Loop Cross S1 Fly Rods with Leland Limited Edition Opti Reels (9ft 5wt with a Dryfly for browns, 12ft 7wt with a Speedrunner for sea-trout), and a 12ft 7wt Loop Yellow Rod equipped with a Classic Fly Reel, 8-11wt.
There's no better place to put fly tackle to the test than Patagonia, with the Rio Grande boasting the largest run of anadromous brown trout in the world. Big fish, long days, and ripping winds made for beautiful photographs and serious strain in environments where lesser gear is best left at home. The season's exceptionally low water levels also demanded delicate presentations and put rods and anglers to the ultimate test. But this didn't stop them from landing enormous fish amid spectacular settings. In Val's own words, the trip was “truly remarkable, among the most productive and enjoyable fishing adventures I've ever gone on.” Not to mention, the response to the gear was hugely positive and had the guides offering to purchase Val's own rods and reels.
And what about the man behind the camera? Val landed the largest fish of the trip, of course: a whopping 23 pound gem of a sea-run brown. With fish like that and photos like these, it's easy to see why Val's is undoubtedly the best job in the world. As for the rest of us, there's nothing like gawking at a few South American slabs to get you through the work day.

- Val and his 23 pound monster sea-run trout

**Look for Val's Bolivian Dorado series in the latest edition of Catch Magazine, or browse his websites:



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Loop Tackle Cross S1 Fly Rod Review


Loop Cross S1 might well be the most highly refined fly rod ever produced, its every feature a testament to flawless design enabling flawless casting. . . . Read More.


Loop Cross S1 might well be the most highly refined fly rod ever produced, its every feature a testament to flawless design enabling flawless casting. . . . Read More.
Name::Loop Tackle Cross S1 Fly Rod Review
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The Wait Is Over: Loop Cross S1 Fly Rods


•  Single-Hand Models: 386-4, 490-4, 590-4, 690-4, 796-4, 890-4, 1090-4, 1290-4
•  Double-Hand Models: 7107-4, 7120-4, 9140-4

•  Sections: Four
•  Action: Medium-Fast
•  Blank in aesthetic matte smoke finish.
•  High-grade cork handle with Cork mix reinforcements
•  Triangular 3-pin aluminum reel seat in Gun Metal finish
•  Nickel Titanium Alloy Recoil stripping guides. Extra strong in Black Pearl finish
•  Recoil snake guides. Extra strong in Black Pearl finish
•  Delivered in matching Gun Metal aluminum tube and cloth bag 

March 23, 2012 (Sonoma, CA): What began thirty years ago as a modest mission to build better tackle for their home waters in Sweden, Loop has grown to be one of the most influential names in fly fishing. Today, those same visionaries responsible for the large arbor fly reel have altered the landscape of fly fishing yet again. Introducing a new paradigm of angling performance: the Cross S1 Fly Rod, premiering exclusively at Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters.

At a glance, Loop's Cross S1 is clearly a league apart from the ordinary. Featuring a radically redesigned reel seat and matte smoke colorway, the sleek and predatory finish is just a taste of what it's capable of on the water. But it's what you can't see that makes the S1 spectacular. Featuring the revolutionary new Powerlux™ resin system from 3M, the Loop Cross S1 might well be the most highly refined fly rod ever produced, its every feature a testament to flawless design enabling flawless casting.

3M's Powerlux™ composite material has been abuzz in the angling community, considered by many to be the next breakthrough in fly rod manufacturing. But cutting edge materials are only as good as the time that's invested in understanding their capability. While other companies rushed production to capitalize on the novelty of 3M Powerlux™ technology, their fly rods failing to harness its full potential, Loop was insistent on excellence. For over two years, Loop tirelessly dedicated its efforts to producing what would become the Cross S1, sparing no expense to get things perfect. Creating countless prototypes, their engineers and anglers focused on every element of S1's construction. The result is a fly rod that blends equal parts craftsmanship and cutting edge design for an exceptionally responsive and smooth casting experience.

So what is 3M Powerlux™? The 3M Powerlux™ Composite is an entirely new approach to making fly rods more efficient. Rather than just concentrating on the modulus of the carbon fiber filaments in the blank material, Powerlux™ owes its efficiency to the composition of the resin. Consisting of millions of microscopic glass spheres (nano-silica particles) that are capable of incredibly even and thorough distribution, the resin is virtually without unfilled space. These seamless bonds allow for an equally seamless distribution of energy throughout the blank, effectively eliminating any break in the energy of your cast. In turn, you can translate every minute motion into your line with less energy and perfect execution.The resin's unparalleled density also makes it tremendously strong and as a result the overall amount of material, and thus weight, can be reduced without compromising performance.

That said, Loop understands that lightweight doesn't equate to a better rod. Each model is balanced for its intended application and every feature contributes to the overall performance. Available in single and double-hand models, the lineup covers the spectrum of angling applications. For Single-Hand models, choose from the 386, 490, 590, 690, 796, 890, 1090, and 1290. The Double-Hand Cross S1 Rods are offered in 7107, 7120, 9140. From quiet, crystal-clear creeks to coastal rivers and saltwater havens, there's an S1 for every angler. Regardless of the model, the Cross S1's action is truly adaptive and hugely responsive, allowing for every style casting to be optimized. Classified as medium-fast, it's best described as recovering quickly with the flexibility to execute subtle line control with incredible clarity. Suffice to say, it's absolute control with minimal interference.

Cast the S1 and you'll understand why it's a fly rod worthy of accolades. It's not because of the resin or the Loop reputation, it's not the design or the demand. It's the harmony between fisher and fly that inspires true tackle innovation. Yes, the Cross S1 is result of the latest technology, but its essence comes from the same timeless Loop tradition: build gear that celebrates and enhances every aspect of the best days on the water. It's this desire to perfect the art of fly fishing that has made Loop's legacy one of innovation, and it's what makes their Cross S1 a truly remarkable achievement.
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Get Started Now
Follow the 3 simple steps to becoming a Leland Upgrader
itemlink::Get Started Now
desc::Follow the 3 simple steps to becoming a Leland Upgrader
Name::Get Started Now
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Follow the 3 simply steps to becoming a Leland Upgrader:

1. Print the 2015 Leland Upgrade Form / Contract by clicking here

2. Fill out the form completely, especially the Wish List portion. (We're no longer carrying many of the brands we use to. We are Leland Fly Fishing Ranch in Sonoma, California. A place that welcomes those to fly fishing and helps those who already fly fish to cast better and fish well balanced, timeless equipment through Leland and Red Truck Fly Rods)

3. Ship us your gear!

Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters

Attn: Leland Upgrade

24120 Arnold Drive/Hwy 121

Sonoma, CA 95476

It's now our turn. Once we receive your gear we'll let you know in the form of an email. Following that we will inspect, clean and do research on the item(s). Please allow 4-7 days for us to provide a quality listing as we want to get you top dollar.

Let the bidding begin! Monday through Friday we list items on our ebay marketplace as a seven day, no reserve auction. That way, all items end on a weekday to provide the best service possible to our ebay shoppers.

You're almost there. Once we receive payment for the item(s) we will then begin issuing your store credit to be used in-store at Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters or our Online Shop. Note: We update credit every Friday for all items paid for during the past week.

Time to shop. The credit is yours to be used whenever you like. It's not going anywhere. We will keep your gift card on file, so when you decide to make a purchase just let us know. We'll be glad to take your order via phone or email and the next thing you know you're on the water fishing the gear you've always wanted. When it's time to Upgrade, you know what to do.

Yes it is that easy!!! If you have any reservations please call!

 To learn more about Leland Upgrade, click here

To read what our Upgrader's have to say, click here.

Leland Upgrade Home

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Sage ZXL 590-4 Fly Rod Review
Name::Sage ZXL 590-4 Fly Rod Review
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Line Weight: 5
Length: 9 Ft.
Sections: 4 pieces
Weight: 3 5/16 oz.
Grip: Western-Portuguese cork
Reel Seat: Up-locking nickel silver w/ rosewood insert
Action: Medium w/ high line speed
Construction: G5 (generation 5) graphite technology
Blank Color: Pomegranate
Tube Size: 30 in. aluminum of matching color
Retail Price: $675.00

What’s the Word?

Sage. Here from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary: “Sage adjective. Middle English, from Anglo-French: proceeding from or characterized by wisdom, prudence, and good judgment synonyms see wise”. It was this definition that I thought of when I heard that Sage’s latest rod series was not in fact their Z-Axis, a rod series much praised in its own right for the utilization of Sage’s new G5 technology in making for some of the lightest and fastest rods on the market today, but instead the Sage ZXL fly rod, a rod designed using the same G5 technology, but with the alternate goal of creating instead a smoother, more refined rod, one with a medium action and softer feel, yet still plenty of backbone. In other words, just as the Z-Axis was designed to eventually replace the XP, so was the ZXL designed to be an eventual replacement for another older yet still very popular Sage series: the SLT. This was made possible with use of the same G5 high modulus graphite that the ZXL shares with its closest cousin, the Z-Axis. Is it just me or does it seem now that every year, a slew of the biggest rod companies seem hell-bent on outdoing each other in simply producing the lightest, fastest, and hence many times the stiffest rod they can, which is all fine and dandy when it comes power, weight, and the people that really prefer an ultra fast action, but whatever happened to building in a “good feel”, a sensitive tip, and a pleasurable casting stroke, not to mention something that doesn’t feel like a broomstick when fighting a 12 inch fish? Sage has truly lived up to their name in my eyes now as they have realized and answered the considerable demand that this niche occupies within the market and for many an individual angler. They have put forth full and equal effort into seeing that the ZXL takes its rightful place alongside the Z-Axis. Being one who appreciates the pleasurable, albeit, slower actions of bamboo, fiberglass, and even earlier, lower modulus graphite trout rods, but also the power, precision, and light weight of the latest “super rods”, it was a virtual “no brainer” for me when looking for a new rod to test and review. Enter the Sage ZXL 590 fly rod, a rod which I put through as many paces as a day of fishing would allow, from fishing tiny dry flies in a feeder creek I could jump across, to throwing nymphs and streamers with plenty of added split shot into the faster, deeper pools of the much larger freestone river that above mentioned creek fed into. The Sage ZXL 590 did not disappoint.


The 9 foot fly rod for a 5 weight line is generally considered to be the best all around fly rod for trout fishing, especially out here in the west with our wide variety of waters, and the ZXL 590 is no exception, especially with the unique blend of power and finesse afforded to it by Sage’s state of the art G5 technology which is matched to a more progressively graded taper that runs a strong powerful butt section rather quickly into a surprisingly sensitive tip, which makes for quite a “whippy” little rod with excellent responsiveness. All of this breaks down into four pieces which combined; weigh in at a feathery 3 5/16 oz. These 4-pieces slide easily into the provided aluminum tube of 30 inches. The ZXL Series of fly rods feature a narrower, western style grip designed for improved comfort and an up-locking reel seat.


In conversation with Chris Anderson, the sales manager at Sage, I learned that Sage essentially utilizes the exact same G5 technology of inner fiberglass scrim replacement in the ZXL that they do in the Z-Axis. The sheets of cross-thatched fiberglass scrim, that were traditionally used, layer upon layer, sandwiched in between sheets of the main material, graphite were replaced with thinner, stronger, and lighter weight sheets of carbon fiber. In this way, Sage is able to very efficiently shave away every gram of unnecessary material, building a much lighter but also much more responsive fly rod. But just as “the proof is in the pudding”, the difference between the ZXL and Z-Axis is in the taper design. By utilizing a taper that creates a more moderate action and by coupling that with the G5 technology of the Z-Axis, Sage was able to create a medium action fly rod that gives the angler superior line feel and response, but one that still retains the ability to generate line speeds previously reserved only for fly rods of a much faster action, like the Z-Axis, or TCR.

Fit and Finish...

The Sage ZXL 590 bears components and a finish to match its sophisticated and refined character. Not too much “bling bling”, no overabundance of gold jewelry components here, like you may see on the gaudy Cadillac “super rods” of other current manufacturers. The appearance of the ZXL is subtly understated but distinguished and aesthetically pleasing, with a blank of a deep Pomegranate color finished with four pairs of fine gold wraps in the Butt section. The comfortable, more slender western style grip described earlier is made of fine Portuguese cork, and the up-locking reel seat features nickel silver hardware and a handsome rosewood insert.


I found the ZXL to be nothing short of amazing at medium distances, which coincidentally, are where most of my trout seem to be caught anyways. It throws an extremely tight loop at an impressive line speed almost effortlessly between 15 and 40 feet, with a buttery smooth transfer of power and excellent tracking. Dry flies can be dropped in teacups at will at this distance it seems, with nary a ripple upon presentation if so desired. I think the rod’s somewhat softer tip is to thank, but I also found that this aspect lends itself extremely well to nymphing, even with a considerable amount of weight, as the rod’s butt handled the weight just fine, but it was the tip which allowed me to feel every rock, weed, and fish in the river. Jerry Siem, Sage’s chief rod designer, has indeed unearthed a gem with the ZXL.


Sage has built a reputation of quality and I see no reason why it shouldn’t extend to the new ZXL and Z-Axis, series, even if they are lighter. Lighter does NOT mean weaker in this case. If anything, these rods are stronger. The Epoxy resin saturates and fuses the graphite to graphite better than it did with the traditional graphite to fiberglass scrim process. This technology has already been proven in Sage’s new Xi2 Saltwater rods. In other words, what’s good for the tarpon should be good for the trout, at least where strength is concerned, shouldn’t it? And if you are ever lucky enough to be the first person to hook a Trout that’s bigger and stronger than a Tarpon, there’s always Sage’s excellent warranty and customer support to back you up.

Customer Support...

As with all Sage rods, every ZXL is covered by their lifetime, original owner warranty. 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 individually calculated shipping and insurance fees. A few other top US makers offer similar rod warranties, but not all provide the same level of service. The main plus with Sage seems to be the turnaround time. It can take months with other rod manufacturers, but Sage’s lead time for repairs at worst is 2 ½ to 3 weeks upon receipt during the high season of summer, and this shortens to about 1 ½ weeks in the winter.

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. Although challenged by industry wide flat sales, the growth of the Internet, and increasingly higher quality Asian imports, 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.

Overall Rating...

Overall, I found the ZXL to be a more than sufficient replacement of the SLT and a delightful alternative to the Z-Axis for those anglers who are open to the latest technological advantages but who aren’t quite willing to trade in that smooth pleasurable feeling of casting which to them, is essential to fly fishing.


Being somewhat of an aficionado of bamboo fly rods, which I consider to be the ultimate in terms of softness and slow action, but also being an all around “gear head” and working in the fly fishing industry where one needs to stay abreast of all current technological developments, my colleagues and I found that I was in a unique position to review one of Sage’s new ZXL fly rods. The ZXL had a hard judge in me, but I took my task seriously…and I loved every minute of it. - Evan

- An ungodly balance of power and finesse.

Cons- Umm..price? Ok, at $675.00 it isn’t the cheapest rod on the market but c’mon, let’s be honest. You get what you pay for, and for an “ungodly balance of power and finesse” you’re lucky Sage doesn’t require you to sign over your first unborn child for one of these.

Bottom Line- Best all around medium action, light trout rod on the market. Period.

Check out Sage's latest work. Sage Circa Fly Rods.

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Learn More about Upgrade
Over time, Leland Upgrade has perfected the art of transforming used fly fishing equipment into store credit that goes directly towards the purchase of any new item offered in Leland's premier full service fly shop. Call it a trade-in, trade-up, or a consignment program it doesn't matter. We're here to get you fishing the gear you want, not the gear you have!
desc::Over time, Leland Upgrade has perfected the art of transforming used fly fishing equipment into store credit that goes directly towards the purchase of any new item offered in Leland's premier full service fly shop. Call it a trade-in, trade-up, or a consignment program it doesn't matter. We're here to get you fishing the gear you want, not the gear you have!
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More On the Original trade-in Program

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Getting your hands on new fly fishing gear is tough to do without draining and straining 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.
This all sounds great but where is 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 what form is money coming?

The sale amount less 10% to cover eBay & PayPal fees is yours in store credit, in the form of an electronic gift card for each round of credit issued. When you're ready to redeem your credit, a call, click or email is all it takes.

What price will I get for my equipment?

Our professional listings are fine tuned and optimized to achieve the highest sale amount with respect to item condition and age. We guarantee it! Recent research shows Leland Upgrade obtaining 15% higher returns than anyone else, and any other listing method.

What kind of gear do you accept?

  • Fly Rods with greater than $150 original retail value (Call before sending in bamboo rods)
  • Fly Reels & Spools with greater than $100 original retail value
  • 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)

Why not sell it my self?

We have Leland Upgrade participants all over the U.S. and the world. If your goal is getting some new fly fishing gear, 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, but we offer it free with the hope that we’ll make you one of our life-long customers!

The perks when the Upgrade Team sells your gear

1. We extend a second owner 18-month warranty for the gear you sell on brands we carry.
A pre-owned item’s warranty is voided when re-sold, but at Leland we pass on this warranty for another 18 months. This gives our eBay buyers more confidence in the products we sell and adds value to your purchase. Only Scott and Loop graphite fly rods our eligible for this warranty.

2. We clean and refurbish your items.
We want your item to get as many bids as possible, and no one wants to buy a pre-owned item that looks used or is broken.
3. We professionally photograph your gear in our in-house studio.
Our high quality photos honestly depict equipment condition. Like our warranty extension, this not only boosts bidder confidence – it adds value to your eBay listing.
4. We have a full time staff that will answer questions about gear.
We know you’re busy and don’t have time to check your eBay messages, so you can count on us to take care of this for you.
5. We boast a 100% positive feedback rating on eBay.
The Leland Upgrade Program has been selling on eBay for the last 6 years, and we’ve earned the status of a Top Rated Seller
6. We have a professional shipping department.
We deal with the hassle of confusing shipping methods and will carefully package your sold gear and ship worldwide.



Still have questions?
Contact the Leland Upgrade Team at:

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Casey Rolig
At Leland I like to wear many different hats as it keeps the day interesting, from shooting product photos to assisting with the website updates. However, I spend most of my time in the Upgrade Program writing ebay listings, shooting the products, and ultimately helping our Upgraders fish the gear they want.
itemlink::Casey Rolig
desc::At Leland I like to wear many different hats as it keeps the day interesting, from shooting product photos to assisting with the website updates. However, I spend most of my time in the Upgrade Program writing ebay listings, shooting the products, and ultimately helping our Upgraders fish the gear they want.
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detdesc::How you got started fly fishing? What were/are your strongest fly fishing Influences? What was your most memorable or first fly fishing experience?

My addiction began in my late teens. My two best friends were influenced by one of their fathers, and of course I wanted to join in on the fun. I would have never started fly fishing with them if I hadn't found my grandfathers old rod in our cottage's outhouse/shed. I was digging around for tools when I came across an Eagle Claw #7 fiberglass rod matched with a Pflueger Medalist reel. The line was cracked and worn and my home made leader of straight 8 lb mono did the trick my first few outings. I landed many fish using that before I knew better to move on to a more modern and practical outfit.

What do you like to fish now? Explain How?

Before moving to San Francisco from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan I spent most of my time fishing for trout. Mostly native brook trout within a few minutes of my house to browns and rainbows across the UP. I tried my luck at steelheading one season before finally landing some great lakes chrome in 2008. Now I spend my time fishing for just about anything as long as I'm out with rod in hand, yet trout are still my go to species to fish for.

What is your fantasy trip? What do you see in the future?

Currently, my fantasy trip is a week straight fishing my home waters in the UP.

Gear. What is your next purchase and why?

My next purchase... probably some tippet and meaty flies. Big ticket items include a Red Truck Premium 5/6 reel, a six weight, and a light trout rod choosing between a Scott G2 or Leland Sonoma Traveler.

What’s your favorite San Francisco spot? Why?

Non fishing related favorite San Francisco spot combines a few things and places. 21st Amendment Brewery beer, Nicks Crispy Tacos, and enjoying both on Baker Beach.

What music do you listen to when you hop in the truck and go fly fishing?

Back in the day, when I use to own a car the go to road tunes would be Tom Petty, the Wildflowers album especially in the woods, in a jeep, rods rigged up getting knocked about.

What’s your ultimate fly fishing travel rig? A lifted van? A Range Rover? An F-350? Why?

My ultimate fly fishing rig includes 4 wheels and a motor, if we're pushing it, make it a 4WD
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Fly Fishing for Trout
When most people think of fly fishing, they're thinking about catching trout. To prepare you better, we created a short primer on the topic of trout.
desc::When most people think of fly fishing, they're thinking about catching trout. To prepare you better, we created a short primer on the topic of trout.
Name::Fly Fishing for Trout
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What is a Trout?

Trout is the common name given to a number of
freshwater fish species belonging to the salmon family, Salmonidae, and
include three genera: Genus Salvelinus (often refered to as "char"),
Genus Salmo which includes Atlantic species and Genus Oncorhynchus which
includes Pacific species. Trout have no spines on the fins, and all of
them have a small adipose fin along the back, near the tail.

Where are trout found?

Trout are usually found in cool, clear streams
and lakes, and are distributed naturally throughout North America, Asia
and Europe. Several species of trout were introduced to Australia and
New Zealand by fishing enthusiasts in the 19th century. In California,
trout thrive in a number of environments. Steelhead are found in coastal
watersheds, many native species ply the high mountain creeks of the
Sierras and rainbows and browns can be found all over the state.

Why are trout important?

Trout are important for a number of reasons but
perhaps their primary importance is as an "indicator species". When
trout disappear from a lake or river, that watershed is in trouble.
Trout are referred to as "cold water fish" because, unlike a number of
other species, they prefer cold, clean and often free-flowing water.
When our streams and rivers, slow down, dry out or heat up, it's the
trout that are the first to feel it.

Trout are also considered by ecologists to be a 'keystone'
species for watersheds. Keystone species are those that, if they die
off, leave critical gaps in the ecosystem that cannot be filled by other
species. If trout are removed from a river system, for instance, the
many aquatic insects that they feed on overpopulate, resulting in
destruction of aquatic vegetation. Meanwhile, bears and birds and other
land vertebrates that feed on trout are left without an important food

What Are "Wild Trout"?

When we talk about trout at CalTrout we usually
mean wild trout. Unlike hatchery fish that are farmed and planted
expressly for recreational fishing, wild trout live and breed naturally
in the state's watersheds. While hatchery-reared fish have their place
in California, wild trout remains CalTrout's primary focus.

Steelhead, a trout or not?

The steelhead is an anadromous species of
trout, native to the west coast. Anadromous fish, like Salmon, are born
in fresh water, mature in the ocean and return to freshwater (often the
stream of their birth) to spawn. Unlike Salmon, however, steelhead do
not necessarily die after spawning and can make the run between fresh
and salt water several times. Because their habitat, appearance, and
life cycle is so different from other trout species, they are often
singled out as a separate species.


Heritage Trout

Many species of wild trout are actually
immigrants. Species like the brown and some rainbow trout species were
introduced into California's lakes and rivers many years ago where they
continue to thrive and are protected under the Wild Trout Program.

Heritage trout, however, refers to those species that were here long
before our state was called California. So, while all heritage trout are
wild trout, not all wild trout are heritage trout.


California's Heritage Trout

No state can compete with California's diversity
of native trout species. Its 60 major watersheds include over 20,000
miles of rivers and streams (Source: FRRAP, 1988.). These waters support
10 native trout species, the majority residing in the Sierra Nevada.
California, however, also leads the nation in the number of extinct or
imperiled aquatic species (Source: Moyle and Williams, 1991.). The
problems for the State's native trout species are particularly acute in
the Sierra Nevada, where river systems are the most altered and habitats
impaired by logging, mining and grazing (Source: SNEP, 1996.).

A brief assessment of the status and health of these 10 native trout
species is presented below. The assessment designates their health and
general risk level according to four categories: extinct, at high risk,
at moderate risk and not at risk.



California Bull Trout: While Bull Trout
populations still remain in other western states, no Bull has been
caught in California since the 1970's. Before their disappearance, they
were found in the McCloud River in Siskiyou and Shasta counties.


At High Risk

Paiute Cutthroat Trout: This is the rarest trout
in California and one of the most imperiled species in the state.
Limited to two small populations surviving in Silver King Creek in the
Humboldt Toyabi National Forest and the Inyo National Forest, the Paiute
is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Presently
there are only about 500 Paiute trout over six inches. The two primary
reasons for their diminishing numbers are habitat loss caused by
overgrazing and the introduction of non-native trout species including
rainbow and brown trout.

California Golden Trout: Once called the Volcano
Creek Golden Trout, this species was designated as the State Fish by the
California Legislature in 1947. Their range encompasses approximately
120 miles of stream habitat found mostly within the Golden Trout
Wilderness high in the Sierras. The California golden trout is a State
Species of Special Concern (Source: Fish Species of Special Concern in
California, CA DFG, Second Edition, June 1995.) and a Forest Service
classified Sensitive Species. The golden is the most likely
California-native species to be federally listed as endangered, due to
habitat degradation, primarily by livestock, and planting of non-native
trout species.


Native Trout Populations at Moderate Risk

McCloud River Redband Trout: This unique and
colorful rainbow trout subspecies is native only to the McCloud River
and tributaries above Middle Falls near Mt. Shasta. Redbands populate
about 60 miles of stream habitat but their numbers have been reduced by
competition with non-native trout, primarily German browns.
Hybridization with introduced rainbow trout and deficient late summer
flows are also a problem. The McCloud River redband trout is a State
Species of Special Concern and is a candidate for federal listing.

Eagle Lake Rainbow Trout: This rainbow trout subspecies is confined
to Eagle Lake near Susanville in Northern California. The Lake's
population is a robust one. However, the fish are spawned in a local
hatchery as their historical spawning grounds (Pine Creek) go dry at
certain times during the year due primarily to cattle overgrazing. The
fish is presently listed as federally threatened.

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout: This cutthroat species
historically occurred throughout the Walker, Carson, Truckee and Honey
Lake drainages including Lake Tahoe, Donner and Fallenleaf Lake. Today,
the Lahontan population is restricted to 14 streams in the Lahontan
drainage with about 23 miles of occupied habitat, as well as 720 acres
in Independence Lake. Presently the population consists of less than
10,000 adult fish. The Lahontan cutthroat trout is a federally listed
threatened species due primarily to past overgrazing. Currently, the
Lahontan is considered stable and a population has been re-established
in the Upper Truckee River.

Goose Lake Trout: This rainbow trout species occurs
in Goose Lake and most of its tributaries, as well as some of the
tributaries of the Pit River. Historically, significant spawning runs
consisting of thousands of 2-5 pound trout occurred in most suitable
tributaries and provided a popular trophy fishery. Today, most of the
spawning runs are blocked by diversion dams and are de-watered for
irrigation purposes. The California Department of Fish & Game (DFG)
feels that, despite the drought of 1992-93 which caused the lake to dry
out completely, there is a good chance for the population to stabilize
and even grow. And in tributaries such as Lassen Creek, several hundred
Goose Lake trout have been seen spawning. The Fish and Wildlife Service
wants to see the trout listed while the DFG feels that they should not

Warner Lake Redband Trout: This rainbow trout
subspecies was isolated in Warner Lake approximately 15,000 years ago.
Evolutionary changes during their long period of isolation resulted in a
unique strain of trout. Human impact over the last 150 years has
resulted in the fragmentation and diminishment of the marsh/lake/stream
systems. Basin floors were developed for agriculture, which included
extensive damming, channeling, draining and loss of marshlands.
Irrigation diversions were constructed on most streams causing
de-watering and physical blockages for both upstream and downstream
migrating trout. Cattle grazing also contributed to channel destruction
in some locations. In several cases, the loss of adjacent marshlands
appears to be related to increased alkalization. Lake and marsh rearing
habitat and functioning migration corridors have been lost as a result.
Exotic warm water species have infiltrated and spread.


Native Trout Populations Not at Risk

Little Kern River Golden Trout: This colorful
rainbow trout subspecies is native only to the Little Kern River
drainage. In 1978 this species was listed as threatened. However,
because of long and expensive restoration efforts, the Little Kern
golden trout is now restored to 80 miles of stream habitat. It is likely
to be the first species in California to be de-listed. Because of
unauthorized plantings of exotics this may cause a delay in this

Kern River Rainbow Trout: This rainbow subspecies
formally occurred throughout the Kern River drainage but is now limited
to the mainstem, upstream of the Little Kern River where it occupies
about 30 miles of stream habitat. The Kern River rainbow is a State
Species of Special Concern primarily as a result of hybridization with
planted rainbow trout. The current population is relatively stable and
is not federally listed.

Coastal Cutthroat Trout: The coastal cutthroat
trout's range occurs from the lower Eel River north to Seward, Alaska.
To date, 182 populations occupying 650 miles of stream habitat have been
documented in California. In addition, they occur in five coastal
lagoons with 4,500 acres of habitat. The best population occurs in the
Smith River drainage where 14-18 inch fish are common. This population
is considered stable and is not federally listed, but is listed as a
State Species of Special Concern.

The source of this article
is California Trout, Inc. • 870 Market Street, Suite 528 • San
Francisco, CA 94102 and can be found on the internet at www.caltrout.org.

Through the experience of catch and release fly fishing, value is created when human and wild trout meet. This perceived value is very important for the future of all wild trout. Whether for themselves or to share with others, fly fishers will go to great lengths to protect the waters that support the wild trout populations which provide this valuable experience. It might be ironic that fly fishers are the ones actually protecting the fish they catch, but that's exactly how it works. If you want to learn how to fly fish and become a steward of the environment visit our learn to fly fish page.

Want to get started fly fishing. There are many books and DVD's the consider. However, the best-selling fly fishing book ever made is the Curtis Creek Manifesto. Whether you're seven or ninety-seven years old, this book will get your started fly fishing for trout the right way.

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What Makes a Good Fly Rod
Every fly rod can catch a fish...that's for sure. However, not every fly rod is a joy to cast and certainly doesn't celebrate the defining attribute of our sport...fly casting. To learn more about what makes a good fly rod, just click the link.
desc::Every fly rod can catch a fish...that's for sure. However, not every fly rod is a joy to cast and certainly doesn't celebrate the defining attribute of our sport...fly casting. To learn more about what makes a good fly rod, just click the link.
Name::What Makes a Good Fly Rod
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What makes a good fly rod?

The fly rod is the defining element in any tackle ensemble as it is responsible for propelling the weighted fly line
and relatively weightless fly out into the river or lake and to the
targeted fish. It is the angler's primary tool, a synthesis of
functionality and art. The very first fly fishing rods were crude
instruments that got the job done, but today's high performance fly rods
come in many shapes and sizes and are constructed of space age
materials like fiberglass and graphite that would no doubt have the
earliest anglers salivating at the advances in the primary tool used in
fly fishing.

Modern fly rods are designed, first and foremost, to cast fly lines
as efficiently as possible. This goal has created a community of
specialized casting specialists and "fly rod taper" designers who focus
on the physics of fly casting and materials science and engineering in
the search for the most effective fly rod ever produced. These advances
in fly rod design have led to parallel advances in fly line
design and construction as well as a general improvement in the casting
ability of anglers of all skill and experience levels. Improved casting
accuracy and distance, both direct results of modern fly rod
advancements, have also opened new horizons in the sport, allowing
anglers to fish new water and harsh conditions that were never
accessible with older fly rod designs.

still is a passionate community of more traditional rod builders and
enthusiasts who maintain the art of creating high performing rods of split cane bamboo.
These cane rods are most often found in the deftly skilled hands of
trout anglers on smaller spring creeks, but several of today's best bamboo rod builders
are also constructing highly effective rods in heavier line weights and
in lengths and tapers suitable for Spey casting.

Components of a Fly Rod

Rod Blank

The fly rod blank is simply the physical rod itself. Each rod style has a
unique shape or "taper" throughout its length designed to deliver a
specific fly line weight or fly line style as efficiently as possible.


rod grips are a key component to the fly rod itself. Grips are
generally made of Portuguese cork and are shaved and sanded on a lathe
to create an ergonomic handle. A series of classic grip styles are
available; Half Wells grips are popular in many mid-weight trout rods,
Full Wells grips give steelheaders and saltwater anglers a bit more
control when casting heavier rods, Cigar grips are extremely popular on
the lightest fly rods, Spey grips are long and tapered allowing an
angler to easily wield a two-handed rod of 13 feet or more in length.


Guides are small coils of light, but durable metal that hold the fly
line close to the rod, allowing an angler to actually use the fly line
and fly rod in tandem to successfully complete a fly cast. These coils
are sometimes referred to as "eyes" and the first guide or guides near
the butt end or handle of the rod blank are called the "stripping
guides" and the rest of the guides are called "snake guides." The final
loop-shaped guide at the tip of the rod blank is simply called the "tip
top." Fly rod guides have "feet" and are secured to the rod blank with
tight wraps of thread about the feet. Generally, guides have two feet,
but single-footed guides are becoming more popular with rod designers as
weight considerations become more important for a modern rod's
performance and marketing story. Recoil snake guides -- guides that
retain their original shape even after being bent -- are also finding
their way to mainstream fly rod design for their enhanced durability and

Reel seat

The reel seat is metal component that holds a fly reel
to the rod. Reel seats can be as simple as two aluminum rings (called
cork-and-ring reel seat), or can be beautifully machined combinations of
aluminum and wood or composite material for larger, heavier reels. The
reel seat is a relatively new addition to fly rod design as anglers used
to hold the fly reel in their free hand as recent as the mid 1800s.

Fly Rod Construction

The best fly rods, whether bamboo,
fiberglass, or graphite are put together with the utmost care.
Construction is the ultimate determinant of how efficiently the rod
transfers the energy of the caster through the rod to fly line and
eventually to the fly. A poorly constructed rod is not efficient and
will not directly transmit the energy generated by the caster to the fly
line, often resulting in a "wobble" at the end of the casting stroke.
This wobbling transfers to the line resulting in a weaker, less accurate
cast. The better and tighter the construction of a rod, the more
efficient it is, and the more accurate and powerful it will be at all

In modern graphite rods, the quality of construction is directly related
to the type of source graphite used to make it. As a general rule, the
higher the modulus (a term indicating how much graphite is present in
the rod), the better the graphite. Quality rod makers are continually
searching and redefining the right amount and type of graphite to make
their rods even better. Translation: just the right amount of modulus
graphite will make a higher performance rod. Rods that use modern
aerospace grades of graphite will transfer the most energy with the
greatest degree of ease and also allow for the best accuracy.

Fly Rod Performance and Optimization

Fly Rods and Line Weight

Generally speaking, the weight of a fly line is proportionate to the
size of the species you're pursuing. If you are fishing for smaller fish
with smaller flies, a lighter line weight will allow you to present the
fly more accurately. However, if you are going after big fish, a
heavier line is important for turning over larger flies in the wind and
casting greater distances.

Action and Flex

rods are characterized by where the rod flexes. A "fast action" fly rod
flexes near the tip, and a "slow action" rod flexes near the butt of
the rod with "medium action" somewhere in between. Action determines the
tempo of your casting stroke. It also determines the ability of your
rod to generate line speed, a term for how quickly the loop travels away
from the rod tip. As it takes less effort to cast farther and more
accurately with a fast action rod, beginning casters are often best fit
with this action.


The type of water and fishing determines appropriate fly rod length.
Smaller streams mean tighter casting situations, and a shorter rod is
much more manageable. Big Western rivers and salt water require a longer
rod for increased distance and power. While, anglers fishing for
steelhead and salmon commonly prefer longer rods for large mends and
roll casts. Generally speaking, a nine-foot rod is ideal for the vast
majority of fishing situations. If you are new to the sport, this length
will perform effectively in a variety of waters and will allow for a
solid development of your fly cast.

Check out the best fly rods available today.

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