Sage set the standard for Euro-style nymphing rods when they first created the ESN. It has been the benchmark since its creation. In typical Sage fashion, leaving well enough alone was not an option. “Perfecting Performance” has been the Sage motto for years. With growing interest in European nymphing tactics, Sage recently set out to improve the original tool fine-tuned for Euro nymphing.
I was invited to work with rod designer, Peter Knox, to help refine the design. Leveraging the advantages of Konnetic HD technology, Peter improved the previous rod by combining a lighter weight blank with high speed recovery and a medium-fast action. Also, he swapped the up-locking reel seat for down-locking to improve rod balance. Further, he changed the double foot guides to single foot guides to reduce the tendency of a long, knotted leader to hang up in the rod guides. In sum, the result is the finest Euro-nymphing rod available.
I spent much of the winter testing Peter’s iterative prototypes and providing him with feedback. After Peter put his finishing touches on the new ESN, he sent me a finished 10′ 3 weight. The next generation ESN arrived just in time for me to fish it a little on my home waters before heading to the 2016 National Fly Fishing Championship. The new ESN is fantastic, and I was fortunate to be able to use it in the Championship. The rod enabled me to win the event by providing exceptional accuracy and efficiency. Doing so helped my team take gold, which is the 5th time I’ve been part of a gold Nationals team. And it made me the first, 3-time individual American National Champion. During the last World Fly Fishing Championships here in Vail, CO we finished in Bronze as a team and I brought home the individual bronze as well.
I’ve used Sage rods in Regionals, Nationals and World Championships for many years because I’m confident that they make the highest performing fly fishing rods on earth. The newest ESN is one of many arrows every angler should have in their fly fishing quiver. If you are considering a rod-specific to Euro-style tactics, look no further than the new ESN. (BTW, you’ll be impressed with the ESN’s hidden ability to fish dries too. Try it, you’ll like it.)
A soft Irish rain falls on the surface of the River Nire as Cathy moves carefully into a casting position. Ahead three brown trout are lined up elevated and rising to small BWO’s as our guide Andrew Ryan points out that the lower fish looks like the best one. Cathy’s cast lands a bit left of the feeding trout, but the next cast is on the mark and we watch as her fly disappears and she sets the hook. Continue reading
I like to fish light for carp and a #5 is as heavy as I’ll go. Because carp can teach us so much about fighting fish I also like to fish lighter tippets and 4X is as heavy as I’ll fish on most occasions. Consequently, I’ll fish rods that have a more moderate action and the Accel fits this category perfectly. This rod will take on a big bend without compromising the tippet, which is very important. I want to be able to hold that fish high in the water column with a high and deep bent rod that’s capable of absorbing the sudden surges of power a big carp can put on.
I also want a silky smooth drag on my reel, and I think the 3250 has the sweetest drag of all the Sage freshwater reels. Whether in a river or a lake, when that fish comes along that really wants to run you well out into the backing, and they do, this reel is perfect.
I prefer the In Touch RIO Gold as my flyline for this fishing.
Yes, the birds are working, they have been for the entire afternoon. I have been watching them. It’s time. The boat ride is quick, but the anchor position decision is long. What line should I take? It’s evening so not a lot of time to explore. How about river right along the flats where the channel is tight to the shoals. Continue reading
There’s no single rod angle that is ideal for all flyfishing situations. Sometimes circumstances call for a vertical cast while others may require that the rod be angled sideways to some large or small degree. The most accomplished flyfishers are versatile and equally adept when casting at any angle regardless of whether the rod is held vertically, horizontally, or somewhere in-between. Here are 3 basic rod angles, or casting slots, along with a few of the advantages that each offers. I’ve also included some description of what I like to call the “natural slot”. Continue reading
King salmon rivers are special ecosystems. Each one is specifically characterized by a variety of habitat features – riffles, runs, eddies, backwater sloughs, and pools that distinguish them from others thereby establishing their own identity. For years, we converged to the river presented with the challenge to pursue our favorite species in its natural environment. Continue reading