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Loop Tackle Cross S1 Fly Rod Review


A RADICAL REDESIGN OF THE FLY ROD

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.
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A RADICAL REDESIGN OF THE FLY ROD

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.
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The Wait Is Over: Loop Cross S1 Fly Rods

Specifications

•  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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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:


valatkinsonphotos.smugmug.com

valatkinson.com

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Leland Oakley Polarized Fishing Sunglass Review
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leland oakley polarized sunglasses


   

Specifications

 

Lenses

•  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

 

Frames

•  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.

Features...


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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Leland Reel Company Vintage Fly Reel Review


ANCHORING YOU IN THE THE TRADITIONS OF FLY FISHING

Conceived for fly anglers who find that today's loudly colored, tech-ed out fly reels don't match the greater feel of their day on the water. . . Read More.
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ANCHORING YOU IN THE THE TRADITIONS OF FLY FISHING

Conceived for fly anglers who find that today's loudly colored, tech-ed out fly reels don't match the greater feel of their day on the water. . . Read More.
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detdesc::Leland Reel Co. Vintage Series Fly Reels

Specifications:

 
• Models: Sierra Nevada Golden Trout, New Zealand Brown Trout, British Columbia Sea Run, British Columbia Steelhead
• Time-Honored Click and Pawl Drag System
• Machined and Anodized Bar Stock Aluminum
• Full Cage Reel Frame with Inside Palming Access
• Brass Fittings, Reel Foot and Line Guard
• Agatine Handle
• Laser Engraved
 


Leland Reel Company Vintage Brass Reels debut in San Francisco and Sonoma, and online.

 
October 20, 2011 (San Francisco, CA): In keeping with Leland Reel Company's commitment to timeless aesthetics and contemporary fishing performance, we announce the arrival of the new Leland Reel Co. Vintage Series Fly Reels.

Taking a Step Back: Conceived for fly anglers who find that today's loudly colored, tech-ed out fly reels don't match the greater feel of their day on the water, Leland Vintage Series have engineered the fishing function you need into the traditional aesthetic that brought you to the sport in the first place. Fully-machined from solid blocks of cold-finished aluminum, then teflon-anodized for generations of reliable companionship, the Vintage Brass Series of fly reels represents Leland Reel Company's determination to fuse the rich aesthetic of bygone times to the functional advantages of modern reel technology.



The Line-Up: Recognizing that tradition-minded anglers exist in more than one of fly fishing's sub-disciplines, the Leland Vintage Series of reels features three sizes: the Sierra Nevada Golden Trout, appropriate for small stream dry fly fishing and line sizes 2 to 4; the New Zealand Brown Trout, sized for all-around trout fishing with lines 4 to 6; and the British Columbia Sea Run, our take on a traditional Spey reel, appropriate for mid- or long-belly lines up to line weight 7/8 and Skagit or Scandi shooting heads to 450 grains.

Click-Pawl Drag: As the most time-honored and fool-proof type of drag design, the click-pawl is built to perform for decades, not years. With a base level of care, the stainless steel components of the drag can function admirably for generations. Did we mention the sound this reel makes? It's enough to make you reflect on our sport's long and distinguished history.

Meant for Palming: We've designed every Leland Vintage Fly Reel to allow finger tips through the bottom of the reel cage when additional braking power is required. For centuries, such palming was an essential skill in fly fishing, just like casting and fly selection, but it's fallen away in recent years. We feel it provides a more intimate experience for the angler who is connected to a fish, and we want to bring it back. That said, the British Columbia Sea Run reel, designed for pursuing powerful anadromous fish, has dual pawls and an adjustable drag knob to provide the considerable braking power that this application requires.

Brass Hardware: The machined brass line guard, reel foot and screws are another deliberate touch. Selected because they develop a subtle patina over many hard seasons of fishing, these components -- unlike the impervious components of the drag -- are meant to show the distinction that comes with age. The same is true with the hand-sewn leather case that houses each Leland Reel Co. Vintage Reels: each fishing trip further enhances its appearance, each blemish becomes a reminder of a day well spent. We are confident that you will treasure your Leland Vintage Reel more with each season you own it.



Superior Fishing Tools: Built with a standard arbor and a narrow and tall geometry to maximize line pick-up while also maximizing line capacity, Leland Vintage Fly Reels are performance fishing tools -- make no mistake about that. With high-end materials, peerless machining and top-notch anodizing, they are built to provide the on-the-water fishing function you need, for seasons to come. But we feel the Leland Vintage Reels are more than tools. They are a reminder of a simpler time, a physical connection to a past when anglers could access nature's majesty and mystery whenever they set foot in moving water.
 

pro review - leland's josh frazier


What's the Word...


As the latest addition to the Leland Reel Company line-up, the Vintage Brass Series of fly reels offer anglers everywhere what many reel manufacturers believe you no longer want: well-built, traditionally styled fly reels.

Fit and Finish...

 
With the Vintage Brass Series, we wanted to build genuine fly fishing artifacts, reels that fished great and stood the test of time, both functionally and aesthetically. By scrutinizing the classics in our personal reel collections, by using a carefully selected roster of materials and the most advanced manufacturing methods, and by revising over and over, we've created three very unique reels. Functionally, they balance well with a variety of the premium fly rods we sell, and aesthetically, they enrich any rod, whether graphite, fiberglass, or bamboo.

Why We Did It...


When we go fly fishing, it's sometimes as though we're trying to connect with the past. For those of us who were fortunate enough to have a grandfather or other elder introduce us to the sport, fly fishing can be a way of remembering or honoring them, especially after their passing. For others among us, going fishing in fertile, pristine places is a way of imagining a time when more of the world was that way. With Leland Vintage Brass, we wanted to build reels that enhanced this feeling of return, that took their cues from our sport's long history, that consecrated your time on the water by anchoring you in the traditions of fly fishing.

Rundown...

 
Pros: We knew that if we designed a reel that you'd want to give to your grandchildren, we'd better build it tough enough to last that long. So we did. Like the most legendary reels of old, the Leland Reel Co. Vintage Fly Reels are tanks.

Cons: To stay true to our vision of a fly reel that any creel-toting fisherman from the 19th century would be proud to fish, we elected to go with the full reel cage and screw-operated spool release that held sway for so long. If you're looking for a classically styled reel that offers tool-free spool release and features a half-cage frame, check out the Leland Classic Reels.

Bottom Line: Extraordinarily well-made reels with a timeless aesthetic.

A Final Thought...


In our rapidly changing and always-distracting world, it's easy to lose sight of all our connections to the past. We forget, for example, that the water moving down spring creeks and glacial freestones today fell as snow thousands and thousands of years ago. And that the native trout of the Sierra and the steelhead of coastal BC were spawning in those waters thousands of generations before that. To be sure, the Leland Vintage Fly Reels are nothing more than what they are: fly reels. Fishing with one isn't going to make you a better angler or a wiser person. But it might make you reflect just a little bit more. About our world. About ourselves and our history. About why we do the things we do. At least, it's done that for me. Tight lines, Josh Frazier
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Choosing the Right Spey Fly Line
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Understanding Spey Fly Fishing Lines

Until recently, two-handed rods were used almost exclusively in the pursuit of steelhead and salmon on the rivers of the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Canada. In the last five years, however, the popularity of Spey rods on our own steelhead and trout streams has exploded. In fact it’s not unusual today to see anglers applying two-handed techniques on lakes, flats and in the surf.

What would influence these fly fishers to trade their favorite single-handers for longer rods? Spey fly lines, and the rods that cast them, offer many potential advantages: greater casting distance, greater line control, more precise mending at longer distance, and the ability to operate with little back-casting room. These tools enable an angler to cover more water with less effort and less fatigue. And on larger rivers, you can reach areas that would be virtually unfishable with single-handed lines and rods. And let’s not forget the enjoyment and excitement of learning new skills that add to your proficiency on the water!

Because anglers are doing a lot more with Spey techniques these days, Spey fly line designs are evolving so rapidly, even experienced spey folks have trouble keeping up, let alone beginners!  We at Leland have chosen RIO Products as our primary source of spey fly fishing lines. RIO has virtually led the way in revolutionizing fly line designs for Spey anglers in North America and across the world. Since there are so many styles of spey casting and corresponding spey line designs, who better than Simon Gawesworth, RIO fly line designer, former Captain of England’s World Fly Fishing Championships team, author, all-around nice guy, and one of the world’s leading authorities on spey casting to explain the ins and outs of modern spey lines? Read on and you'll get the best synopsis we've ever seen on modern spey lines from the man himself, code named 'SpeyBro'.

 

UNDERSTANDING SPEY LINES 2008

by Simon Gawesworth of RIO Products

'A newcomer to spey casting would be forgiven for peeping into this sport, trying it out or talking to the many different opinions and then turning tail and running away from the mass of confusion that there is out there.'

'There is a mind boggling array of theories, techniques, tackle and styles and it is very difficult for the beginner to make head or tail out of the world of spey casting. To explain the subtleties and intricacies of this spey world would be like trying to explain the rules of cricket to the average American, or of baseball to the average Brit. However, as fly line manufacturers, we only need to make it easier to understand the fly line – the most important part of your tackle.' 

Weight

Let’s start with a look at spey line weights. Perhaps the greatest confusion lies in the rating of two-handed rods and lines. Most fly fishers are familiar with the rating of a single handed rod – choose a #5 rod for trout, a #8 rod for bonefish and a #12 rod for tarpon. Two-handed rods also have a similar rating – somewhere between #5 and #12, but the 8 weight fly line that loads your bonefish rod will never get close to loading a #8 two handed rod. The reason for this is that two handed rods are far more powerful than an equivalent rated single handed rod.

A single handed rod, rated for a #8 line, loads effectively with between 200 and 300 grains. A #8 two-handed rod will take between 450 and 600 grains to load for spey casting. This large range is due to the spey casting style used. At this stage there is no need to confuse anyone more with the differences in these styles, just remember that the two-handed rod needs more weight to make it load. In other words, if you put a regular WF8 line on a #8 two-handed rod you will never get close to loading it.

One confusing thing about spey lines is that most of them have more than one line number as a “size”. The WindCutter lines have three numbers such as 7/8/9, 8/9/10 and 9/10/11. The reason for this triple numbering system is that the first WindCutter line designed by Jim Vincent, was made by taking the body of a #10 line, adding some of a #9 to the front end and then finishing it off with the full front taper of a #8, thus the line became an 8/9/10. The numbering system stuck. As a simple guideline, use the middle number of the three to find out what line size it is – the 8/9/10 is a good #9 line.

The AFS and PowerSpey lines only have two numbers – 7/8, 8/9 and 9/10 for example and in these cases, generally use the higher number. The 8/9 is, in effect a #9 line. To help choose the right line for your rod, we have compiled a chart that recommends the right lines for spey rods. (Please
See Rio's Spey Line Recommendation Chart for all of Leland Spey Rods)
 
AFTMA Standard

Okay, so how confused do you want to be? In an attempt to illustrate the difference in line weights between the single handed AFTMA standard and the two handed AFTMA standard the following charts might be helpful. On the other hand, they might cause you to go cross eyed and reach for the nearest bottle of Single Malt!

The AFTMA standard is an attempt to standardize line weights so that whichever line manufacturer you buy a fly line from you know that they will all weigh about the same and load the rod equally – that is, of course, assuming line manufacturers manufacture lines to the AFTMA standard.

Before you look at the charts you need to understand that the two handed standard actually has four different categories: H, S, M and L. More than regular casting the head length of the line in spey casting influences the weight. So, we have four standards (for ease of recognition RIO’s appropriate Spey line is listed after the category):

‘H’ is for shooting Heads and is measured at 40 ft.
- AFS head and AFS OutBound

‘S’ is for Short belly spey lines and is measured at 55 ft
- WindCutter

‘M’ is for Mid length belly lines and is measured at 65 ft - PowerSpey

‘L’ is for Long belly spey lines and is measured at 75 ft.

So, depending on how long the belly of the spey line is, the “weigh point” falls at different lengths. The AFTMA single handed designation is measured at 30 feet.

Now that everyone is clear on that, let’s look at the AFTMA Standards (the numbers represent the weight in grains at the “weigh point”)!


Size    Single
  Hand 
    H      S     M    L

       
 #5   140       ---   380     ---   ---
 #6   160   250   420   460  600
 #7   185    300   470   510  650
 #8   210   360   530   570  710
 #9   240   430    600   640  780
#10   280   510   680   720  860
#11   330   600     770      810      950      
#12   380   700   870   910 1050


Oh, a final thing to remember is that the two handed standard has a plus or minus tolerance of 30 grains, while the single handed standard has a tolerance of plus or minus 6 to 12 grains (depending on the size). Thus you could have a spey line labeled S8 and it would be acceptable if it weighed between 500 and 560 grains.

As yet, there is no AFTMA Standard for Skagit type lines.

Taper

Most spey lines follow a simply designed taper. There needs to be weight in the back of the belly to load the rod effectively as a “D-loop”. There also needs to be a long fine front taper, so that the line lying on the water (“The Anchor”) at the start of the forward cast has as little drag as possible.

In a spey cast the “D-loop” (from A to B) loads the rod and needs to be the heaviest part of the line. The “Anchor” (B to C) lies on the water. The more line there is lying on the water, the more energy is lost during the forward cast as it tries to tear itself off the surface film.


A typical spey line design will have most of the weight in the back end of the head and a long, fine front taper to make the most of these casting requirements:



Within the basic spey line design are numerous variations, but the main one to compare is the head length. At RIO we make three different head lengths of spey lines. These are the the AFS, (Advanced Flight Spey) line, both as a Shooting Head and as an integrated shooting head, with a head length between 31 ft and 40 ft, the Windcutter, with a head length of between 45 ft and 56 ft and the PowerSpey™, with a head length of between 57 ft and 71 ft.

The longer the head of the spey line, the more line there needs to be outside the rod to make a cast. Longer belly lines, like the PowerSpey, really need plenty of room behind them to create a big enough D-loop for the line to load the rod – say 30 ft of room for an effortless cast. With the short to medium head length of the Windcutter, you may only need around 15 ft of room behind and with a short head line like the AFS, even less; perhaps only 8 ft of space is needed.

Of course, space behind isn’t the only factor. There are four other factors that influence your choice of head length:

1. Casting Ability - you need to be a better caster to handle the longer head length lines.

2. Rod Length – A short rod does not have the same lift as a long rod, so the shorter the rod, the shorter the line head length must be.

3. Sinking Tip – with sink tips or heavy flies it can be really tricky to get the sunken line to the surface with a long belly line. A short head line means that the sink tip is closer to you and easier to get out of the water.

4. Stripping flies – Some fishing techniques require you to strip the fly in to entice a fish to take. The short head lines are perfect for this as you must strip the start of the head up to the rod tip before making a cast.

If you don’t need to strip line, the short belly lines are more of a problem and a good caster will have to manage the slack coils of running line hanging in the water before each cast. They will also waste good fishing time having to strip the line into the casting length.

Line Taper Comparisons



Generally, if you start with a WindCutter line and, with practice, get to a skill level where you can cast the whole head at the tip of the rod, without stripping anything in, you are ready to move up to a PowerSpey line. When you do, make sure you start with the head about 12 feet in side the rod tip; this will be similar to the WindCutter you are used to.

SKAGIT CASTING

The most recent style of spey casting is called Skagit casting (pronounced ska-jit) and named after the Skagit river in Washington.

This style of spey casting utilizes an even shorter head length spey line than the WindCutter - something in the region of 27 ft. This exceptionally short head length allows the fly caster to make long casts in extremely tight situations. Even the most basic of spey casters can make a 70 ft cast with no more than 3 ft of room behind. Added to the shortness of the line is the fact that the head weighs about the same amount as the corresponding WindCutter, but at half the length. This means that the Skagit line has almost twice the weight per inch of the WindCutter line. This extra weight per inch is an immense asset for lifting out deeply sunken tips or heavy, large flies. Nothing will pick up big flies or T-14 or LC13 style sink tips as easily as a Skagit line will.


Skagit Cheaters

The most confusion with Skagit lines comes with something called “Skagit Cheaters”, which are 2½ ft, 5 ft and 7½ ft extension pieces for a Skagit line.

One of the ideas behind Skagit casting is that you want to maintain a constant ratio between the rod length and the head length of the line. It maybe 3 times the rod length, it may be 4 times the rod length, and each caster will find their happy ratio.
 
For the purpose of this example, let’s say a caster likes a ratio of 3½:1. A 12 ft rod would require 42 ft of line and a 15 ft rod will require 52½ ft. By following this ratio, it means that the caster never needs to adjust their casting stroke, regardless of which outfit they pick up.

If a caster likes this ratio and uses a 12 ft rod, they are going to need 42 ft of line to feel comfortable. The Skagit line has a 27 ft head. Add a 15 ft sink tip and you get 42 ft, which means there is no cheater needed. The next day, the same caster casts a 14 ft rod - 14 x 3½ = 49 ft. So, to keep the same casting stroke, the caster needs a total head length around 49 ft. A 27 ft Skagit line, plus the 15 ft sink tip is only 42 ft. Plug in the 7½ ft Cheater and the head length becomes 49½ ft and much closer to the required ratio.

The whole idea is pretty confusing to a novice, but once the concept is grasped, it is very easy to understand and allows for a caster to develop a consistent style, regardless of the size of rod used.

A final note to mention on the Skagit lines is that the sink tip does not form part of the calculation for line weight. If you look at the spey line recommendation chart and decide on a Skagit line for your rod, make sure you use the weight of the Skagit body. If the chart suggests you need a 550 grain Skagit line, it does not matter which size sink tip you add on to the front end of this (as long as it is not heavier than the Skagit body). The reason for this is that the sink tip usually does not form part of the D-loop and, therefore, plays no role in loading the rod. A typical example is that someone is told that they need a 550 grain Skagit line. They know they are going to use a 150 grain sink tip, so they buy a 400 grain Skagit line (thinking that the two added together will give them the correct load). This is very wrong and will result in an under loaded outfit. Make sure the Skagit body weight is correct, regardless of the sink tip.

SALTWATER

More and more people are using two-handed rods for overhead casting in the surf these days. The length and power of these rods are great for throwing big flies out against a wind and over incoming surf.

When choosing a line for overhead casting a two-handed rod there are two important considerations.

1. The head length needs to be shorter than for spey casting so that the back loop does not drop and line speed is retained to shoot big distances.

2. The line weight should be less with an overhead cast, than with a spey cast. Here’s why:


With a spey cast, only part of the line weight loads the rod. In this example the load really comes from A to B, though B to C also helps load the rod. The piece of line from C to D really has no effect on the load of the rod.




With an overhead cast, the entire weight of the line serves to load the rod at the end of the back cast. This means that a lighter line can be used when overhead casting, as opposed to when spey casting, because the entire line length (A to B) loads the rod.






An ideal line for overhead casting a two-handed rod is RIO’s OutBound®.



The Outbound is available in several densities and sizes, but the most popular one for overhead casting, particularly in the surf, is the intermediate version.
 

TIP 2 -RIO WINDCUTTER

 
Rio's Windcutter VersiTip Linesare unique in the fly fishing world. Nobody else makes a spey line with three sections. These three sections are:

1. a body section
2. a middle section (Tip 2)
3. and the front tip (Tip 1)





There are a number of reasons for these three sections:

1. For normal spey casting simply change out Tip 1 with whichever sink tips is required for the fishing conditions. Each sink tip in the wallet will weigh the same, which ensures the casting is not affected and the line remains balanced. However, each sink tip has a different sink rate from the clear intermediate tip, with a sink rate of 1½ inches per second, to the Type 8, density compensated tip which sinks at 8 inches per second.

2. For overhead casting, when a shorter and lighter weight head is needed, simply remove Tip 2 completely and attach the sink tip, or tip 1 directly to the body.

3. Sometimes extra depth is required and many fly fishers use RIO’s long 24 ft density compensated sink tips called Big Boys. These tips are too long to simply replace Tip 1, so when using longer sinking tips like this, again remove Tip 2 and attach the long tip directly to the body.

4. One odd-looking tip in the wallet is grey and has two loops on. This tip is called a sink tip compensator. The sink tip compensator is a sinking Tip 2. Replace the floating tip 2 with this compensator when fishing in strong currents. By lengthening the sinking portion of the line, the current has much less “lift” effect and ensures that the fly stays deep.

5. On really windy days, or with big, cumbersome flies, remove Tip 1 and attach the leader directly to Tip 2. This shorter taper and heavier front end makes light work of the windiest of conditions and the biggest of flies.

T-8, T-11 & T-14

T-8, T-11 & T-14 are level shooting head materials. T-8 weighs 8 grains per foot, T-11 weighs 11 grains per foot and T-14 weighs 14 grains per foot.T-8 has a sink rate of 7 inches per second, T-11 at 8 inches per second and T-14 around 9 inches per second and.

The material is usually sold in a 30 ft pack. Anglers simply cut this level material to the length they need for a variety of fishing conditions, and then add a braided loop to each end to easily attach to the spey line. The most useful tip lengths from a 30 ft pack are 15 ft, 10 ft and 5 ft, though some anglers prefer 15 ft, 9 ft and 6 ft lengths.

The weight of T-14 makes it pretty heavy for the lighter lines to lift out. Most of the Skagit line sizes will not have a problem with 15 ft of T-14, but attaching it to the lighter WindCutter and PowerSpey lines can result in poor turnover and inefficient casts. As a simple guideline, use T-14 for the spey lines of #9 and bigger, T-11 for the #7 to #9 sizes and use T-8 for the lighter line sizes.

Which Spey line should I choose?

With the array of spey lines on the market it is a little baffling to know which one to choose. Hopefully this document has at least given you an idea behind the different line designs. Following is a description of each line we make and their particular advantages: 

Outbound®
Overhead casting - particularly useful in the salt or in lakes. It is available in 6 densities: Floating, Hover (1” per second), Intermediate, Sink 3 (3” per second), Sink 6 (6” per second) and Sink 8 (8” per second). Three adaptable versions with a level T-8, T-11 and T-14 head are designed to be cut to the perfect head weight and length for individual casting styles. The intermediate OutBound is made up to a WF14 (600 grains) size and is perfect for the larger rods of #10 and bigger.

AFS Shooting Head  – NEW for 2008
An excellent presentation line that is very easy to cast. There are four different densities available:

1. F. A full floating line between a 4/5 weight (300 grains, 19 grams - 31 ft, 9.5 m in length) and a 10/11 weight (640 grains, 42 grams – 40 ft, 12.2 m in length). The head is a subtle olive color that will not spook fish in clear water, but the rear 15 ft is yellow so the angler can gauge the line’s swing. For anglers needing an easier color line to see there is also a Steelhead Orange floating AFS head.

2. F/I. A floating line with a 15 ft intermediate sinking tip. This line starts at a 7/8 (460 grains, 30 grams – 37 ft, 11.2 m in length) and goes to 10/11.

3. S1. A slow sinking head. The same weight range as the F/I but the whole head has a very slow sink rate of 1” per second. This is an excellent choice for cooler water conditions when fishing for Atlantic salmon. It is also a very good fish catching line for summer run steelhead, particularly on the Deschutes. Sizes 7/8 to 10/11.

4. S4. A full sinking head with a sink rate of 4” per second. This fast sinking head is a great line for early season and back-end Atlantic salmon and particularly good for winter steelhead. It is one of the easiest casting and fishiest sinking lines ever made. It comes in the same sizes as the “F/I” and the “I” heads. Sizes 7/8 to 10/11.

While these lines are exceptionally easy to cast and give incredible presentation, the very best results will be achieved if a Spey VersiLeader is attached to the front end. RIO has 6 different densities of these leaders in two lengths – 10 ft and 15 ft. The leader densities are:

1. Floating (olive)
2. Intermediate (1.5 inches per second)
3. Slow sink (2.4 inches per second)
4. Medium sink (3.9 inches per second)
5. Fast sink (5.6 inches per second)
6. Super fast sink (7.0 inches per second)

Use the 10 ft leaders with rods of 12’ 6” and less, and the 15 ft leaders with rods of 13 ft or more.

Attach the back of the shooting head to a hard nylon like Rio's Slick Shooter (35 lb or 50 lb) for the ultimate in distance, or to a floating Powerflex Core Shooting Line (0.030” or 0.035”) for something a little more manageable.


AFS OutBound® Integrated Shooting Head – NEW for 2008
Built with a thin, hard running line this line is the integrated version of the AFS head. It is an excellent choice of line for casters that do not want a loop to loop connection running through their guides. The short head is very easy to cast and particularly useful in tight situations and the long front taper gives a beautiful presentation. These lines are only available with a floating head and in sizes 4/5 to 10/11.

Like the AFS head, these lines will cast even better with one of RIO’s Spey VersiLeader.

The Skagit lines are, quite simply, the easiest way to cast large flies or fast sinking tips. The mass of the head and the short body length result in incredible lifting power, making it child’s play to cast otherwise “nasty” rigs. It is a very easy line to learn to cast with and also extremely useful for casting in tight situations. The Skagit line is available in: 300 (new for 2008), 350, 400, 450, 500, 550, 600, 650, 700 and 750 grain head weights.

The Skagit lines have a thin running line extending from the 27 ft long head that aids in easy distance and shooting ability. The front end finishes with a loop and to this loop you will need to attach some kind of tip. The line does not come with a front tip of any kind, so if you purchase this you will need to add a tip to your purchases. As explained earlier, you may also need a Skagit Cheater, depending on your rod length, casting style and size of sink tip used. RIO makes five 15 ft tips to choose from:

1. Floating
2. Intermediate (1.5 to 2 ips)
3. Type 3 (3-4 ips)
4. Type 6 (6-7 ips)
5. Type 8 (8-9 ips)

In addition you can purchase T-8, T-11 or T-14 and cut to the desired length and weight.


Rio's Skagit VersiTip Kit
The Skagit VersiTip is a Skagit line, packaged with a 5 ft floating Skagit Cheater, a 15 ft Type 6 tip, a 15 ft Type 8 tip and one of RIO’s shooting head wallets. For those that don’t know much about the Skagit technique and tackle it is a good purchase as it has pretty well everything you need to start with. The only possible add on would be a 15 Foot Floating Tip, for conditions when you don’t need to be deep. The Skagit VersiTip is available in 450, 550, 650 and 750 grain sizes.


Skagit Shooting Head
The Skagit shooting head is the head from the Skagit line. It is 27 ft long and has a loop in both ends. To the front end you attach a tip as recommended for the regular Skagit line, while the back end loop is ideal for attaching your favorite RIO shooting line. These heads are available in 350, 400, 450, 500, 550, 600, 650, 700 and 750 grain sizes.

One very simple fishing set-up is a reel loaded up with either SlickShooter or a floating Powerflex core shooting line and have a wallet with a couple of AFS heads (floating, slow intermediate and Sink 4 for steelhead fishers and floating, slow intermediate and intermediate sink tip for Atlantic salmon fishers) and a Skagit shooting head with some tips. With a rig like this, each fly fisher would be primed for everything and any situation they would encounter.

Windcutter
The original and still the best all round and the most versatile spey line developed. This line is available in a full floating version in sizes; 4/5, 5/6, 6/7/8, 7/8/9, 8/9/10, 9/10/11 and 10/11/12. The head length varies according to the size. It is also available as a VersiTip Line, packaged with a wallet of tips including a floating tip, a 15 ft clear intermediate tip, a 15 ft Type 3 tip, a 15 ft Type 6 tip and a 15 ft Type 8 tip. As mentioned above, there is also a sink tip compensator, which is a sinking Tip 2. The VersiTip line is available in 5/6, 6/7/8, 7/8/9, 8/9/10, 9/10/11 and 10/11/12 sizes, though the 5/6 VersiTip does not have a Type 8 sink tip, a sink tip compensator or a floating Tip 2.
(Note: I would also highly recommend the floating Windcutter, or Windcutter Versitip with floating tip, as the best all-around spey line for dead-drift nymph and dry presentations to trout and steelhead. Its head length is long enough to effectively stack mend for better drifts. - Dean Schubert  - Leland)

PowerSpey NEW for 2008
RIO’s new PowerSpey has a medium length head between 57 ft and 71 ft (depending on the size) and with its revolutionary taper design is the easiest mid to long belly line to cast. The longer head is ideal for longer rods, larger rivers and for casters that prefer to do less stripping of the fly between casts. Fishing with the PowerSpey line catches more fish - as there is little need to strip the head in between casts, the fly fisher will make more casts in a day, thus increasing the odds.

Another advantage with the longer head lines is when winter fishing with air temperatures below freezing. As there is no need to strip the line in between casts, the rod guides do not get iced up.

The PowerSpey is available in 5/6, 6/7, 7/8, 8/9, 9/10 and 10/11 sizes and either as a full floating line or as a VersiTip version. The PowerSpey VersiTip line does not have a Tip 2, so there is only one loop in the line.

Accessories

There are a few accessories RIO makes that are worth mentioning here.
 
The Skagit Floating Tip is a 15 ft floating tip designed to be added to the Skagit lines to make a full floater, it is also a good replacement for the WindCutter floating tip. Here is a guideline of which floating tip to choose for which Skagit line or shooting head:

 #7      300 to 400 grains
 #8      400 to 500 grain lines
 #9      500 to 600 grain lines
#10     550 to 650 grain lines
#11     600 to 700 grain lines
#12     650 to 750 grain lines.

The Skagit Cheaters are “plug-in” extensions as mentioned earlier. For 2008 RIO has changed the sizes to be more applicable. Each selection packet comes with a 2½ ft, a 5 ft and a 7½ ft floating cheater as well as a 5 ft intermediate cheater. RIO also sells the 5 ft floating cheater on its own. Here is a guideline of which Cheater to choose for which Skagit line or shooting head:

      6/7/8      300 to 350 grains
      7/8/9      350 to 450 grains
    8/9/10      450 to 550 grains
  9/10/11      550 to 650 grains
10/11/12      650 to 750 grains

The Big Boy is a 24 ft long sinking tip, ideal for really getting deep and staying deep. It is great on the end of a Skagit line, or a WindCutter, but remember to remove both Tip 1 and Tip 2 if you are attaching a Big Boy to the WindCutter. They are available in sizes 150, 200, 250, 300, 400, 500 and 600 grains and the sink rate of each is as follows:

150      4.8 ips
200      5.5 ips
250      6.4 ips
300      7.3 ips
400      8.4 ips
500      9.0 ips
600      9.5 ips

The WindCutter does not have as much lifting power as the Skagit line so will take a lighter Big Boy tip than the corresponding Skagit line. Here’s a rough guideline to the maximum weight Big Boy that each line will take. This does depend on the rod, current speed, fly size and caster’s skill!

WindCutter    Big Boy           Skagit  Big Boy 





 5/6   None    300  150
 6/7/8   200 gr    350  200
 7/8/9   250 gr    400  250
 8/9/10   300 gr    450  300
 9/10/11   300 gr    500  300
 10/11/12   400 gr    550  400
       600  400
       650  500
       700  500
       750  600
         
Simon's "Modern Spey Casting" is the best instructional DVD on spey casting ever produced. Learn the basics as well as these casts: roll cast, switch cast, single spey, double spey, snap T, snake roll, wombat cast, perry poke, jelly roll, skagit casts, underhand cast, spiral spey, overhead cast, single handed spey casts and using the two-handed rods in the salt. It also includes fault recognition, a glossary of terms and a very useful biokinetic section. 

Thanks again, Simon 'SpeyBro' Gawesworth, for giving a big boost to our spey line savvy! - Leland
 
See the Rio Spey Fly Line Chart for all Leland Spey Rods.
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What is a Tarpon
The Tarpon is a giant among saltwater game fish. Although it is not the largest game fish a fly angler can catch and release, it’s known as “the silver king” throughout the warm lagoons, estuaries, thick mangrove swamps, and saltwater flats of southeastern North America, the Caribbean, and northeastern coast of South America. The tarpon: saltwater royalty. Adult tarpon can easily reach 6 or 7 feet in length and can weigh well over 150 pounds.
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desc::The Tarpon is a giant among saltwater game fish. Although it is not the largest game fish a fly angler can catch and release, it’s known as “the silver king” throughout the warm lagoons, estuaries, thick mangrove swamps, and saltwater flats of southeastern North America, the Caribbean, and northeastern coast of South America. The tarpon: saltwater royalty. Adult tarpon can easily reach 6 or 7 feet in length and can weigh well over 150 pounds.
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Megalops atlanticus
Archille Valenciennes, 1847
 

“Then the water split with a hissing sound to let out a great tarpon, long as a door, seemingly as wide, who shot up and up into the air … Five times he sprang toward the blue sky, and as many he plunged down with a thunderous crash. The reel screamed. The line sang. The rod, which I thought stiff as a tree, bent like a willow wand. The silver king came up far astern and sheered to the right in a long, wide curve, leaving behind a white wake.”

 
- Zane Grey, “Byme-by-tarpon.”


The tarpon is a giant among saltwater game fish. Although it is not the largest game fish a fly angler can catch and release, it’s known as “the silver king” throughout the warm lagoons, estuaries, thick mangrove swamps, and saltwater flats of southeastern North America, the Caribbean, and northeastern coast of South America. The tarpon: saltwater royalty. Adult tarpon can easily reach 6 or 7 feet in length and can weigh well over 150 pounds. The Megalops atlanticus is astonishingly powerful and is famous among anglers as the mythological silver beast that can walk on water. Tarpon, once hooked, are known for jumping and thrashing about, sometimes longer than 3 hours, their tails skitting across the flat.

The silver king, although caught by indigenous tribes in the Florida Keys probably as early as the 1700s, was officially discovered and named in 1847 by the French parasitologist Archille Valenciennes during his work with Georges Cuvier on their Natural History of Fish, a whopping 22-volume work published between 1828 and 1848. Valenciennes placed the tarpon within the genus Megalops (Greek for “large eye”) because of its prominent and daunting black eyes. Since the turn of the century, a great body of literature, historical and otherwise, has been developed on the subject of tarpon. Fly fishing for tarpon is now a wildly popular sporting pursuit among anglers from Georgia to the Florida Keys, and tarpon are also highly sought after throughout the coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Recently, giant tarpon in the 300 pound class have been caught on fly tackle off the southwestern coast of Africa. Tarpon have been so popular in the Gulf region of the United States that in 1955, by act no. 564 of the Alabama state legislature, the “fighting tarpon” became the state’s official saltwater fish.

Rolling and dashing through skinny saltwater flats and estuaries tarpon inhabit a range of 49°N - 44°s, 99°w - 14°e, but they have been recorded as far north as Nova Scotia, along the Atlantic coast of Southern France, and as far south as Argentina. The tarpon uses the thin water of the saltwater flats to feed on smaller baitfish and crustaceans. The deeper water of the open ocean is the tarpon’s spawning grounds. The tarpon does have a counterpart native to the Pacific Ocean (Megalops cyprinoids or Indo-Pacific tarpon), but this tarpon is a much smaller fish and not prized among fly anglers.

Tarpon are an ancient fish that has survived 125 million years of evolutionary tumult. One of the oldest living species in the ocean, the tarpon carries an almost otherworldly presence. Just catching a glimpse of a rolling school of giant tarpon is an intimidating sight even to the most confident fly angler. The tarpon’s huge bucket-like jaws and large black eyes compliment its thick, powerful body. When tarpon clear the top water during a jump, their massive set of mirror-polished scales clatter and clack audibly with the tremendous force of the maneuver. The tarpon’s fins are a dark, steely gray and the tail is deeply forked, providing the silver king with a tremendous amount of underwater leverage and speed.
According to historical accounts dating from the late 1800s, anglers have been able to catch tarpon on artificial flies with reasonable success. Since then fly fishing for tarpon has steadily increased in popularity owing to rousing tales of madly fighting fish from such popular authors as Zane Grey and, more recently, Lefty Kreh. The rising interest in saltwater fly fishing, coupled with tarpon-specific articles and books by other fly fishing greats have fueled the rush to master tarpon on a fly. Today, there is now an extensive network of guides fly fishing exclusively for tarpon from Florida to South America, and a number of tournaments and other competitions celebrating fly fishing for tarpon have also cropped up in recent years.

Fly anglers should understand that there are three classes or sizes of tarpon: baby tarpon, midsize tarpon, and giant tarpon. Baby tarpon range from 5 to 40 pounds, midsize tarpon fill the 50 to 80 pound class, and the giant tarpon weighs in at an astonishing 100+ pounds. Anglers looking to chase tarpon on the fly should think seriously about which weight class they are after before they gear up and head on that tarpon trip of a lifetime. Smaller tarpon are often found cruising on the edges of saltwater flats and in brackish inland estuaries and mangrove swamps. Larger tarpon are usually found cruising and rolling in saltwater flats.

Baby and midsize tarpon offer quite a fighting challenge on an 8 weight or 9 weight outfit. Giant tarpon, however, require much heavier 11 or 12 weight outfits. Fast action fly fishing rods are popular among tarpon anglers for their ability to assist the caster in creating the long, accurate casts (often into heavy wind) required when sight casting for tarpon. It’s important to have top-notch fishing tools when stalking tarpon of any size in the saltwater flats; an angler, even on the best day, may only get 3 or 4 good casts at fish!

Fly Rods
Loop Cross S1
Loop Cross S1 12 Weight Tarpon Rod

As with any saltwater flats game fish, spotting a tarpon can be a challenge. Sunny conditions on saltwater flats can produce some of the world’s most visually taxing conditions, and the sheer brightness of the glare on the water can be overwhelming. A good pair of polarized sunglasses with copper photochromatic lenses can – on some days – be considered the saltwater fly angler’s most useful fishing tool. Yellow photochromatic lenses can be useful for morning light conditions, so if you plan to fish from dawn until dusk, consider two pairs of shades. (Experience in spotting tarpon, or a guide perched atop the polling platform of a specialized flats skiff will also help!)

All Day Polarized Sunglasses
Low Light Polarized Sunglasses

There is a recent movement among saltwater fly anglers who chase tarpon to “dredge” deeper channels and estuaries for tarpon of all size classes. This dredging method is anchored in common blind casting techniques familiar to striped bass fly anglers of the North American coasts. Dredging for tarpon with a sinking line can be productive, but remains a relatively new and unproven tactic in the quiver of tarpon fly fishers.

Deep Water Fly Line

Perhaps the easiest way to recognize the location of a single, pair, or school of tarpon is by the characteristic “rolling” action the species exhibits. The tarpon is equipped with a swim bladder, allowing them to survive and thrive in brackish swamps and saltwater flats as well as the open ocean. Tarpon will periodically appear at the water’s surface to take in a breath, filling their swim bladder before rolling back into the salty depths. This process, although graceful, can cause quite a stir. Fly anglers should be on the lookout for large boils and bubbles in the top water accompanied by a silvery flash – this is likely a rolling tarpon.

Large tarpon in saltwater flats will aggressively chase and take a well-presented fly, adding to the species’ storied place in saltwater game fish mythology. Tarpon will respond energetically to a fly moving directly away from them. Creating this effect can be achieved with a hook cast or a reach cast, both practiced techniques used by freshwater fly anglers. Saltwater flats can offer a fly angler some of the most challenging casting conditions on earth. Long, tuned, and accurate casts of 60 to 70 feet are often necessary. Once the fly is properly presented to the tarpon, the stripping game is on. Anglers will invariably disagree on which are the most effective methods for retrieving the fly when fly fishing for tarpon in the saltwater flats. In one conversation on the subject, one might hear “fast, slow, smooth, jerky” … often in the same breath. Never fear, a local guide will often know just how to play and move a fly to produce results; listen to what they have to say! Be patient though, as tarpon have been known to chase a well-presented and retrieved fly all the way to the boat before striking!

Brackish inland estuaries and mangrove swamps offer saltwater fly anglers amazing chances to cast to, catch and release baby tarpon. Some canal systems – especially in southwest Florida – provide excellent shelter for juvenile tarpon, even through the slow winter months. When fishing these environments, work streamers as close to the mangrove roots as possible. As the tide goes out, more and more of these mangrove roots will be exposed, leaving behind an excellent feeding shelf for baby tarpon. Remember: well-presented flies will move silver kings!



Simply hooking a tarpon can be an operatic experience in itself. The tarpon’s mouth is extremely hard and has been likened to tough construction-grade concrete. Subsequently, successful hook sets are almost more challenging than actually getting an aggressive tarpon to take a well-presented fly. Practice in firm and confident strip setting techniques is extremely important when fly fishing for tarpon. When a tarpon finally chomps the fly, and the hook is set, the fish will put on an impressive aerial acrobatics show. Seasoned tarpon anglers, when trading notes on a day’s work, will often proudly include the number of “fish jumped” as well as the number of fish landed. Tarpon are consistently observed jumping 3 or 4 feet above the water after a hook up. During this aggressive jumping and thrashing, fly, fly line, and tippet are at their most vulnerable point. It is extremely important to protect rigging and tackle by keeping the rod tip as low as possible during the initial few jumps. This process is called “bowing” to the fish, and it’s no secret, bowing to the silver king will minimize the chance of losing a tarpon to a snapped line or leader.

Tarpon fly anglers presented with the challenge of keeping a tail-walking silver king on the line have developed a number of rigging techniques designed to stand up to what many think are the toughest and wildest fighters in the salt. Taking a nod from the rigging standards employed by bill fish and tuna anglers, anglers in hot pursuit of monster tarpon have experimented with extremely complex, heavy rigs. The standard 9 foot tarpon leader, however, consists of a heavy 60 pound butt section, a section of 16 to 20 class tippet, and finally a short, one foot section of 60 to 100 pound mono shock tippet. This rig is the standard for many medium to large tarpon, but there are other options for the really large fish. Be sure to ask your local fly shop about the leaders you should have ready to go before you board the plane for your chosen tropical tarpon destination. Keeping this general rigging rule for tarpon fishing can be helpful: When traveling to far-flung destinations, bring your rigging with you. When traveling to the Florida Keys, a good guide should provide all you need to jump and land the tarpon of your dreams.

Tarpon Leaders

Do not head to the saltwater flats in search of tarpon armed with a sub-standard fly reel. The stress a tarpon can place on even the strongest rods, lines, and leaders is truly impressive – to say the very least. The fly reel is the mechanical link for your connection to the fish and if it goes south, so does your time on the water. Be sure to find a reel with an iron-clad drag system and a large arbor for easy line pick up. The reel should also be large enough to store between 200 and 250 yards of backing; if you find yourself connected to a rolling fish, you’ll use it.

Ultimate Tarpon Fly Reel

When at home along the saltwater flats, tarpon will hunt and feed mostly on baitfish. When migrating and spawning, tarpon are more likely to feed instinctively on smaller crustaceans. Regardless of the situation, however, tarpon will aggressively chase a well-presented fly. Large streamer patterns are the most effective flies for tarpon of all sizes, but some smaller crab and shrimp patterns will yield good results on days when the silver kings are on the move or in a more selective mood.

A favorite classic tarpon fly from Florida to the Bahamas is the Cockroach, developed by saltwater fly fishing legend Lefty Kreh. Other proven tarpon flies include Lefty’s Deceiver, the Clouser Minnow, and the Sea Habit. When tarpon are migrating or on the spawn, the Tarpon Shrimp, Tarpon Crab, and the Seaducer are another trio of useful tarpon flies to have on hand, and the Campeche Special is a brilliant fly for baby tarpon in the mangroves of Mexico’s Gulf Coast.

Tarpon offer fly anglers a unique challenge; discovering the proper blend of power, strategy, concentration, and finesse is crucial when on the flats or in the brackish water in search of rolling tarpon. The majesty of the tarpon survives in a heap of literature from Grey to Kreh, and with good reason. Holding court, the tarpon truly is the silver king of the flats, offering excited anglers throughout the tropics the sport, the drama, the epic struggle, and the joy of the great kings of mythology.

                                                           - Evan P. LeBon  
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Fishpond Fly Fishing Luggage Review
253
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Fly fishing takes us to some of the most rugged areas in the world. You need fly fishing gear bags that can handle the varied environmental conditions, as well as luggage tough enough to get the rest of your stuff there, no matter how far "there" actually is. Look no further than Fishpond when it comes to the manufacturing of such ultra functional "tough love" fly fishing bags and luggage. Few manufacturers made a bigger splash when they landed in the fly fishing arena than Fishpond did. After less than 8 years in the industry, they have become virtual front-runners in the design and manufacturing of gear bags and luggage produced with you, the angler, in mind. 

Fishpond designs their gear bags and luggage to be as functional and durable as their tackle packs. From the perfectly sized and designed Cloudburst  to the often imitated, but never duplicated Stowaway Reel Case to “the mother of all rolling duffels”, the Stampede, Fishpond makes gear bags and luggage pieces to fit your every need. Fishpond luggage is designed to be just as rugged as their gear bags, and most still have features that are specifically designed for fly fishers, like rod and wader storage. From their "take every piece of fly fishing equipment you own and some clothes too" Chinook Rolling Rod and Gear Bag to the new, more compact Lariat, which is designed to conform to strict FFA Carry on regulations, Fishpond makes something that is essential for your next trip.

Fishpond fly fishing luggage and gear bags are designed for easy storage, maximum use of available space, and durability. Fishpond bags are cut from rip stop and/or ballistic nylon to ensure strength and durability and use non-corrosive zippers to ensure immediate and easy access to your fly fishing gear and clothing. Fishpond  fully waterproofs the compression molded EVA bottoms and then specially treats them with a 1680 ballistic nylon/tarpaulin combination that is highly abrasion resistant. There are wonderfully padded shoulder straps, where appropriate, and well placed rubber hand grips to assist with carrying. All Fishpond luggage and gear bags are covered by a lifetime warranty against manufacturing or material defects. The functional designs are summed up in unique, stylish colors with accents on much of the trimming. Fly fishing gear bags and luggage have advanced significantly in the last few years and Fishpond is leading the pack.


Key Features of Fishpond Luggage and Gear Bags:

  • Made from rip stop/ballistic nylon for weight reduction and durability
  • Waterproof bottoms of compression molded EVA and abrasion resistant treated 1680 ballistic nylon and tarpaulin
  • Large non-corrosive zippers
  • Padded shoulders and well placed hand grips
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Stylish colors and trimming
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C&F: Small System Box, Light Grey, FFS-1/lg
Small (4.9" x 3.7" x 1.3") system box allows you complete control over your flies with the use two inserts.
1084
id::1084
thumbnail::flb-cfd-smal-fsb-0000-lg00.jpg
desc::Small (4.9" x 3.7" x 1.3") system box allows you complete control over your flies with the use two inserts.
itemprice::$13.97
Price::$13.97
pricelevel::$19.95
baseprice::$19.95
Name::C&F: Small System Box, Light Grey, FFS-1/lg
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Featured::On sale
Category::Accessories
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Brand::C & F
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Primary Color::Grey
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type::item
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url::http://www.lelandfly.com/On-Sale/Accessories-Sale/C-F-Small-System-Box-Light-Grey-FFS-1-lg.html
thumb::http://www.lelandfly.com/flb-cfd-smal-fsb-0000-lg00.jpg
detdesc::Leland on the C&F Design Small System Dual Insert Fly Box


 


The ultimate in on the water fly box organization is the C&F Design Small System Dual Insert Fly Box. You simple take only the inserts that contain the flies you know you’re going to need. The combinations are up to you, but something like; mayfly dries on one side and nymphs on the other for the AM, then switch to streamers after your shore lunch, and then change again to caddis dries and mayfly dropper nymphs in the PM. Worried about trips back and forth to vehicle, don’t! The C&F Design Fly File keeps all your inserts organized and it fits easily in your vest or tackle pack back pocket so you grab the two inserts you need, pop them into the Small System Dual Insert Fly Box and you’re on the water. We can’t wait for the menagerie of hatches this summer, are you ready?

featdesc::
  • Rigid polypropylene plastic construction
  • Non-slip grip
  • Spring clips for system inserts on both the base and the lid
  • Clip holder for C&F Design nail knot pipe
  • Dimensions: 4.9" x 3.7" x 1.3"
  • Color: Dark Grey or Light Grey
Leland on the CF Design Fly Boxes The CF Design Fly Boxes, made to the highest quality specifications in Japan, are considered by many angling experts to be the best, most functional fly boxes you can buy. They are light, strong, and rigid to withstand impact. The Waterproof models, in Medium and Large sizes, not only protect your flies from corrosion with a durable silicone gasket and powerful locking mechanism, they are so strong, I wouldn't worry too much about accidently stepping on one! Each size CF Box allows you to either custom select and interchange the type of foam panels you want to match your fishing for that day, or come in a wide selection in each type to suit your style of fishing. Whether you need a trout box for organizing and protecting tiny dries and nymphs, or a robust box to keep the salt off your favorite flats flies, CF has your number. The patented CF Micro-Slit Foam has revolutionized foam-type fly boxes. The Micro-Slits hold fly hooks very firmly if dropped, or in wind, yet are extremely durable since the hook rests between the foam, not in it, so the foam d'esn't get torn up. Once you experience the attributes of a CF Fly Box, chances are that you'll dump your other fly boxes in favor of CF's!
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Simms Hard Bite: vibram stud, pack of, 20 studs
Add these studs and you can make any Simms Vibram boot a full-grip boot. And soles last longer!
3660
id::3660
thumbnail::waa-sim-repl-std-0020-0000.jpg
desc::Add these studs and you can make any Simms Vibram boot a full-grip boot. And soles last longer!
itemprice::$20.97
Price::$20.97
pricelevel::$29.95
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Name::Simms Hard Bite: vibram stud, pack of, 20 studs
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Featured::On sale
Category::Wading
Fishing::Trout
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detdesc::Leland on the Simms HardBite Vibram Sole Studs

Simms HardBite Vibram Studs are a must-have wading accessory for the fly angler with rubber soled wading boots. Sometimes you just never know what the river bottom conditions are going to like; greasy moss, or slippery boulders. These studs screw directly into the custom receptacles on the Simms 360 degree StreamTread Vibram Soles to give you greatly enhanced traction in difficult wading conditions. You can use these studs in conjunction with the Simms HardBite Star Cleats to customize a stud/cleat pattern for your soles. A hex nut driver is included with each kit so you can easily add, or remove, studs as needed when traveling. Why fall down when you can wade with greater confidence? Soles last longer and grip better. Don't leave home without em.
featdesc::
  • Designed specifically for rubber-soled wading sh'es and boots
  • 45+ Rockwell hard screw
  • 1/4" hex head sharp point screw
  • Welded carbide gripper pellets enhance traction and durability
  • Hex Nut Driver included
  • 24 studs per package
  • Patent pending
  • May be used individually or in combination with HardBite Star Cleats in any pattern that the angler chooses to best fit the wading environment
  • Made in USA
Simms on Simms Products "Why do professional guides choose Simms? Because we take pride in what we make, and products have been designed to go the distance. Our in-house design team has a combined 50 years of experience in making durable technical outerwear. We work closely with top material suppliers from around the globe, and continually test both our new and old products in the lab and out in the field to make sure we meet or exceed your expectations. Nothing pleases us more than to see our products, like those on the guides featured in out catalog and on our website, go the distance." "The thrill of discovering a pristine stream after a long hike into the backcountry, the exhilarations of being on the flats on one of those incredibly clear days, the rush of a crisp morning on a British Columbia river when the steelies are running, these are the memories that keep us tying through the dark winter months, and always find us plotting our next angling season or weekend. At Simms, we never forget that the goal of every committed angler is to stay on the water as long and has often as possible-regardless of the weather. That's why we never stop looking for new ways to keep you dry and comfortable. Whether you're waist deep in a drizzling snow on the Missouri or scouting the Keys in the sweltering heat of a June afternoon. For 2007, we're delighted to present the new zippered G4 Guide wader, the most technical wader we've ever created. We're also proud to introduce the two most competitive waders under two hundred dollars, the first GORE-TEX wader for kids and a full arsenal of new clothing. So for all those who will be out there earlier, longer and later, we've got just one thing to say: Your Gear is Ready" "Simms. The Choice of Professional Guides Worldwide". Simms on Conservation "IF YOU COULD PASS JUST ONE THING DOWN TO YOUR KIDS, WHAT WOULD IT BE?" "Fishing is dependent on clean water, healthy ecosystems and just as important, people who care about conservation and resource preservation. It is the responsibility of everyone who enjoys angling to help protect and enhance our fresh and saltwater fisheries. After all, what greater inheritance would we leave future generations? Supporting local, regional, and national conservation organizations is certainly an important role that angles can play in caring for our fishing resources. However, one area of vital concern, and one that all anglers can easily help do something about, is the spread of aquatic invasive species. These "hitchhikers", including New Zealand mud snails, Didymo and whirling disease are having an enormous effect on rivers across the United States and are directly linked to reduced trout populations. Unfortunately, anglers are part of the problem, given that invasive species are spread by "hitchhiking" on waders, wading boots, drift boats, trailers and other gear. YOU CAN HELP PREVENT THE SPREAD OF INVASIVE SPECIES IN THREE EASY STEPS: 1) Thoroughly rinse all fishing gear -including waders, boots, boats, and boat trailers- in clean freshwater upon leaving a water source. Never travel from one river to another without clean gear. 2) Air-dry gear before moving to another body of water. 3) Tell other anglers about this problem and what they can do to help."
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Sage Z-Axis Fly Rod Review
241
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THE LATEST FROM SAGE - Z-AXIS FLY FISHING RODS

Sage Z-Axis 590, 2 & 4 piece

Specifications

• Line Size: 5 

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



What’s the word. . .

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

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


Features. . .

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


Action. . .

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

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


Materials. . .

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

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


Fit and Finish. . . 

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

• Sage G5 technology graphite construction

• Very light in hand

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

• English Hopkins and Holloway guides and tip top

• Nickel silver reel seat with rosewood spacer

• Cloth sack and aluminum rod case

• Limited lifetime warranty


Reliability and Durability. . . 

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


Customer Support. . . . Company profile.

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

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

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


Overall Rating. . .

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


Reviewer. . .

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


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


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

Back to the Sage Z-Axis 590 Fly Rod


Leland on sage z-axis fly fishing rodS

 

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

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

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

  • Rod weights: 3 through 10
  • Rod lengths: 7'6" to 10' for single hand rods and 11' to 16' for Spey rods
  • Reel seats: Nickel/silver with Rosewood inserts or anodized aluminum
  • Cork handles: Cigar grip, small cigar grip or full wells
  • Aluminum tubes with cloth socks
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Beulah Surf Fly Rod Review
342
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The latest from Beulah Fly Rods

Specifications

•  Models: 7/8wt, 8/9wt, 9/10wt
•  Action: Light Fast Action/Fast Recovery
•  Length: 11 feet
•  Sections: 4
•  Reel Seat: Double up-locking, custom-designed & milled anodized aluminum salt resistant reel seat
•  Guides: Thin wire chrome over stainless snake guides & Alconite inserted stripping guides
•  Handle: AAA Grade Portuguese cork with custom cork burl ring highlights
•  Blank: High-gloss, Midnight Blue finish with a 52 million modulus carbon/glass scrim with IMA bias ply layup


January 12, 2012 (Sonoma, CA): Casting into the surf evokes a distinct sense of awe and anticipation. Standing at the mouth of the open ocean amid the sound of waves crashing and a blitz of Montauk stripers or bearing the Baja heat for the take of a roosterfish is pure fly fishing bliss. But it's not without harsh winds and difficult casts. Beulah tailored their latest Surf Series of fly rods to excel in these raw, exhilarating, and demanding conditions.

Crafted to maximize your casting efficiency and range where distance is king and weather can be taxing, the Beulah Surf Series Fly Rods are the preeminent option for coastal anglers and saltwater enthusiasts. Available in three models, the Beulah Surf Series is the result of a dedicated mission to produce two-handed rods that are not just adequate in in the surf, but refined tools that command the water in a way no ordinary Spey rod can. Simply put, the Beulah Surf Fly Rods are designed to provide anglers with easy distance. Granted, distance is not everything in surf fishing, but anyone who has dabbled in the surf appreciates how conditions sometimes make even mid-length casts difficult. A stiff onshore breeze can make getting beyond the breakers a lot to ask of your average single-hander. And double hauling a nine weight all day can make fly fishing seem like work, which it never should.

With every feature honed to better your surf casting abilities—from the elongated grips that support overhead two-handed casting to an action that lends itself to powerful casts and big flies—the Beulah Surf Series is entirely saltwater safe and backed by a lifetime warranty. These rods take the effortless power that two handed rods provide to swing fishermen, and bring it to the overhead casting arena for a hugely efficient experience. Beulah Surf Rods make surf fishing something you can enjoy for a quick evening session out at San Francisco's Ocean Beach, or a weeks-long cast-a-thon camping on Baja's gypsum sand beaches. The Beulah Surf Series has also found a dedicated base among avid steelheaders in BC, sea-run brown anglers in Tierra Del Fuego, and a slew of Salmon fishermen in Alaska, so don't let the name deter you from swinging flies on your favorite river.

The Lineup


The 7/8 Surf Series is Beulah's lightest model in the Series, and will outcast a ten weight single hander with half the effort. A super-sensitive fish fighting machine, the Beulah 7/8 Surf Fly Rod will allow you an evenly matched battle with surf perch and schoolie stripers. For blasting casts on Maine's rocky shores, or playing in the gentle rollers at Bolinas, CA, choose the Beulah 7/8 Surf Fly Rod.

As the all-rounder in the Surf Series, the Beulah 7/8 Surf Fly Rod provides a bit more power for carrying flies and beaching fish than the 7/8. Heavily weighted bunker flies and sinking shooting heads are no match for the 8/9 Surft Rod. Moby stripers from the beach, jacks on a tidal rip, or even bluefish from the bow of a bay skiff – with the Beulah 8/9 Surf Rod, the possibilities are limitless.

For the most challenging casting environments, and the hardest-charging fish around, reach for the Beulah 10/11 Surf Rod. This beastly stick is light in hand, a pleasure to cast, and a serious weapon that puts you in the driver's seat early on in a fish fight. The Beulah 10/11 Surf Rod is the tool of choice for Baja's roosterfish, powerful, fast-moving predators that have a tendency to move into – and back out of – the range of a single hander faster than you can double haul, twice.

Check out our best saltwater fly rods.

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