Sage The One rod
A few weeks ago I posted an entry in which the new Ross
Reels logo was discussed. I’m not here to dredge that up again, I promise.
But it’s the time of year when new products are being launched and images rebranded. When I saw the logo for the brand new Sage the One rod I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to the new Ross logo. You don’t have to be a logo designer, though I happen to be one, to note the similarities. See for yourself:
I like Sage, and I like Ross. I have several Sage rods, and several Ross reels. I’m not going to say whether I like or dislike either logo, but I just wanted to point out that they’re each missing something. I’m sure the same designer didn’t do both logos, and I am quite sure the folks at Sage had no idea what the folks at Ross were planning and vice versa, which makes the similarities all the more uncanny.
Even though the Unaccomplished Angler was given a new logo this past year, I’m beginning to wonder if maybe I shouldn’t rethink the design. Maybe the Unaccomplished Angler is missing something, or maybe it’s not and should be?
You just know it’s going to be a pleasant day when one of your fishing compadres is an engaging young lady who shows up with a 12 pack of PBR and is a self-proclaimed “Master of the 6-incher”.
Marck and I had met The Sage Chick a year earlier when she was sent as a dignitary from the company that makes what I claim to be the finest production rods available to man. Admittedly that may be a subjective statement, but I make no secret about it: I do love me my Sage rods and the affection I have for my 4 wt Z-Axis may be borderline inappropriate.
After waiting for a very difficult Spring to make way for Summer (sort of), we finally managed to schedule a day when the Sage Chick could join Marck and I for another day on the Yakima River aboard the Hornet. Very early into the float it was mutually agreed that the best way to describe our recent outing was “pleasant”. How so? Well, let’s look at what a normal trip on the Yakima River in mid-July can almost always guarantee:
- High summer flows around 4000 CFS. This means runnin’ and gunnin’ (frantically chucking big dries at the bank as the current whisks you downstream and anchoring should be strongly discouraged).
- Pounding the banks with hopper patterns (see above). This can result in losing a
fairgreat number of flies to the brush.
- Scorching temperatures in the 90’s (and often into triple digits).
- Howling winds that can shut down casting as they blow upstream and then downstream within a span of less than 15 seconds.
- A River full of other anglers.
- An overabundance of rubber hatchers (recreational floaters, which can be good and bad, if you know what I mean).
The aforementioned is typical, but in a year when the weather has been anything but normal, atmospheric-related oddities have come to the Yakima River as well. Flows in the Naches River, a downstream tributary of the Yakima, have been unseasonably high this year due to volumnous snowpack. Coupled with cooler than normal weather, the agricultural demands of the Yakima valley are such that the Naches is providing ample water for crops that aren’t growing like they should be. Therefore, the Army Corps of Engineers is not releasing the usual amounts of water from reservoirs that feed the upper Yakima River (the need for irrigation is what drives the summer flows on the Yakima). Without that need, the river was running much lower on our trip. That changed things from the typical summer game.
Some things about this day that made it different (and pleasant):
- Flows were running about 2800 CFS (this makes back-rowing and anchoring possible).
- Structure was visible and seams/feeding lanes were defined. Because of this, fish were not tight to the banks (not
asmany flies were lost as would normally be the case)
- The temperature hovered around 70༠ F (nobody got sunburnt, heat-exhausted, or dehydrated)
- Winds, while not altogether non-existent, were not nearly as troublesome as they can be.
- We saw only 3 other boats with fishermen.
- The rubber hatch was nearly nonexistent, save for a few brave souls who were clearly under-dressed for the cool day. One group even pulled up on a gravel bar and built a fire in the middle of the afternoon to warm up. Now that is some weird, wild stuff. Mid July?!?
Sage Chick took up position at the front of the boat and from there put on a catching clinic, demonstrating how to set the hook with all the delicate tact of a ranch hand roping cattle. She landed more fish than either Marck or myself, but she also pulled the fly completely out of the mouths of several sipping trouts. The bigger fish of the day were not hitting flies hard, and a gentle touch was needed for hook sets on those fish: a gentle touch that eluded the Alaskan native and former college athlete.
I had requested that Sage Chick try to get her hands on a 5 wt Sage “The One” rod for the trip, hoping to test cast one of these new sticks. Unfortunately she wasn’t able to commandeer one (apparently they’re popular with the staff at Sage and seem to be “in use” most of the time). That didn’t prevent her from bringing another yet-to-be introduced rod from Bainbridge Island: The Redington Torrent. This was a prototype version of a fast action rod that looked, from my vantage point in the back of the boat, to be smooth casting and capable of laying out a lot of line.
Sage Redington Chick was double hauling to her heart’s content and refused to pass the Torrent around the boat for others to fondle. Who could blame her? The rod was working for her and she was catching (and kissing) fish left and right.
She was clearly having a good old time, and her enthusiasm was infectious. It was like being at the same card table when there’s a high roller winning big.
After a while, however, it started to get a little old.
Fortunately there were times when she had to replace her fly. With her line safely out of the water it afforded Marck and I the advantage of a power play, which sometimes we capitalized on.
I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but in retrospect I’m sure the reason Sage Chick was out-catching us was because of two things: First, she sweet-talked to the trouts, encouraging them to take her fly in a non-threatening voice; Secondly, she kissed every one of them goodbye before releasing them. I wonder, had she landed a whitefish, would she have kissed it as well? What about a sucker?
All teasing of the Sage Chick aside, fish were cooperating nearly all day. We fished hoppers above Lightning Bugs and the fish seemed to prefer the dropper. This was a revelation not so much that they wouldn’t take dries, but that they wanted smaller fare than a hopper pattern. Things (and fish) were looking up after we switched to PMDs and caddis dries. The majority of the fish were smallish, with a few in the 12 inch range. But there were plenty of bigger fish sipping an abundance of bugs throughout the afternoon to keep us engaged (and a bit frustrouted). Getting them to take the fly was the challenge, and Sage Chick would have landed the big fish of the day (a 15-16 incher) had she simply let the fish get a good grip before setting the hook.
We anchored up whenever we approached good looking water, worked seams, caught a bunch of fish and generally had a grand old time. A herd of Bighorn sheep revealed themselves fairly low on one of the cliffs above us. It’s always a treat to see the sheep, whereas deer are just so…common.
Our float concluded at the
Squaw Creek Lmuma take-out around 7 pm. Normally in mid July this would be the pleasant time of the evening as the sun dropped behind the canyon walls. On this otherwise pleasant day, fleece would have been welcomed had we continued downstream.
We pointed the Fish Taco west and headed toward home, but not before a detour in Roslyn for a bite to eat at The Brick (the oldest and longest running saloon in the state if I am not mistaken). With bellies full we proceeded westbound, hoping to avoid a 3 hour traffic snarl as we had encountered the year before. On this day of seasonal oddities, we were able to maintain the speed limit the entire way, and as we sped toward the summit at Snoqualmie Pass, the more the weather deteriorated until we were driving through drizzle that fell from low clouds. The weather would continue to be far inferior than it had been on the Yakima River on this day. It may not have felt like summer, but it was at the very least a pleasant fall day if the weather and water levels were any indication.
The internet has been all abuzz with the announcement of Sage’s new stick, “The ONE”.
I first heard about it on Midcurrent and Angling Trade, which is not surprising because I often find out breaking news at these two sites. Then I saw a lengthy discussion about it on Washington Fly Fishing. It was also discussed in a LinkedIn group, and elsewhere. Surprisingly it even popped up in the webstats for this blog: to date, 30 people used the search phrase, “Sage One Rod” and ended up landing at The Unaccomplished Angler. I found that to be rather interesting since I hadn’t posted any mention of it here. I’m sure that whomever landed on the UA, expecting to find some inside scoop on The ONE, was disappointed. And so the reason for this post is simply to address that matter: if anyone else lands here after searching for “Sage One Rod”, I’d like to be able to provide them with something of value. Of course, I can’t do that because I know nothing about The ONE other than what I’ve read elsewhere, so consider this a redirect. Here is the Press Release.
I will say that since The ONE will replace the love of my life, the Z-Axis, it must be a REALLY great rod. I absolutely adore my Z-Axis rods, and that’s a pretty bold statement since I never use the term “adore” (because it’s not very manly). I have a Z-Axis 4 weight which is my go-to rod in every possible situation. I love casting that thing. When the wind is howling and I’m chucking big junk to big fish, then I employ my 6 weight Z-Axis. I also have a 7136 Spey rod which needs no introduction as it is a ridiculously popular two-hander. I’m a terrible hack when it comes to Spey casting, but the Z-Axis 7136 makes me be all that I can possibly be, barring any talent and ability. According to the press release from Sage, The ONE will only be available in single-handed models: “The ONE rod will be available at Sage authorized retail locations in August / September 2011 with a selection of 22 single hand models. ONE rods range from 3-10-weights and will be priced from $715 to $740.” Makes one wonder what will become of the Z-Axis Spey rod models- will they remain as such? Your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps we should ask the Oracle, for she is a wise old sage. *NOTE: within minutes of this entry hitting the feeds, The Oracle chimed in with insight: The Z-Axis line of two-handed rods will indeed remain for the time being.
So, what of The ONE? Well, it’s built using modern Konnetic technology: it’s light and strong. It’s said to be an extension of your casting arm, and deadly accurate. It’s ominously cool with it’s black blank. It has a name that is a bold declaration of it’s impending status. If you believe what Sage tells you, it will be the real deal. When first hearing of the name of this new rod, one cannot help but reflect upon the Matrix movies, in which the main character, Neo, was also known as The One. He was a pretty incredible dude with amazing abilities that made him the last hope for saving reality from virtual domination. If The ONE can give me even close to the powers of The One, then I’m definitely going to want to test this rod out some day.
Morpheus: I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.