Loyal To The Brand

Loyal to the Brand


Loyal to the Brand

By Barry Beck

I grew up with a father who would drive anything as long as it was a Chevy. When I was old enough to drive I took a different path and fell in love with Land Rovers which I still drive to this day. I will shoot any camera as long as it is a Nikon. Fly any airline as long as it is Delta and I’ll fish any fly rod as long as it is Sage. Sound stubborn? Maybe, but there is something to be said about being loyal to a brand and the older I get the more I appreciate quality in workmanship, in performance, and in pride of ownership.

Board a Delta jet and watch CEO Richard Anderson on the monitor describe his airline to you. This is a guy who is obviously proud of his company and his people and the job they do. Anderson makes you feel safe and welcome to be aboard and I have felt safe for the past million miles that I have flown with Delta. Land Rover ads have forever taken us into the deepest parts of Africa and beyond. I’m talking about Land Rovers not Range Rovers – the trucks that have a mystic and personality about them. Tank-like and just plain ugly to some, others like me fell into a cult-like love affair with the darn things. When it comes to cameras my Nikons have rarely let me down even when I have unfortunately abused them. There is a certain feel and ruggedness about my Nikon SLRs and an distinct love-that-sound when you click the shutter. As Paul Simon once sang – Give me a Nikon camera I love to take a photograph….well, enough said.

Watch any of the Sage videos with rod designer Jerry Siem and you immediately know that this guy loves what he does. Siem is totally into it, ask him about any of the Sage models and we enter Jerry’s world of rod tapers, exotic materials and rod actions. Cast a Sage and you know in your hand you have the state-of-the-art in fly rod design and it is totally Siem. When I did my first Sage factory tour, I was overwhelmed by the amount of hands-on attention required to finish a fly rod. Certainly there is automation but the bottom line is a well-organized team of individuals who are as committed as Jerry is to producing the finest graphite fly rods in the world.

Last year my wife Cathy and I were hosting a group of anglers on the Bighorn River in Montana. We had arrived at the Billings airport three hours ahead of our group so we sat in the airport arrival area. Across from us a young man and his father were waiting for their checked bags to come out and I noticed that the boy had a Sage ONE rod tube across his lap. Cathy and I have worked for Sage for over twenty years and we fall loosely under the Marketing Department which means that we get paid to promote Sage. I know – not a bad gig. Our job includes saying thank you to customers that we meet and who like us are Sage fans, so I got up and walked over, introduced myself to the father and son and said thanks for buying the Sage rod.

The young boy’s father told me a story that eventually morphed into this blog. His son decided that he was going to buy his first fly rod. He had been using a hand me down from his grandfather that turned out to be an old Sage RP. After visiting the Sage web site and then a trip to his local fly shop he decided on a Sage ONE . His dilemma was the price, he was a senior in high school and had a part-time job after school but funds were short and the price was high so the fly shop clerk suggested another brand that he said would work just as well as the Sage and was much more affordable.

The boy said no thank you it was going to be the Sage or nothing at all, so he took a second part time job on weekends and in time saved enough money to buy the ONE. This was his first trip to Montana, a graduation gift from his parents, and it was also the maiden voyage for his new rod. The look on his face told the whole story, the excitement of the trip and the pride in the fly rod that he held across his lap. I went back to my bag and pulled out two Sage hats, a couple of decals, and a few extra flies to use with his new rod. I gave them to the young man and thanked him once again for his support and watched them walk away to collect the luggage.

This was not the first time that I’ve seen this kind of loyalty, but at the moment it made me think of my own life and my commitment to a brand. I think it simply boils down to the pride we have in owning and using a product that really means something to us. Maybe something that we’ve sacrificed and waited for, for no other reason than we wanted the best. Knowing that behind the brand there is also a commitment from the manufacturer to provide us with the best of the best. So I will continue to drive Land Rovers, shoot Nikons, fly Delta and of course fish Sage. Still sounds stubborn doesn’t it? Maybe. But I think not.


Fly Fishing Team USA takes 3rd overall at The America’s Cup

Fly Fishing Team USA takes 3rd Overall at the America's Cup


Team USA member and Sage employee Russ Miller wanted give us an update on the Americas Cup Fly Fishing Tournament that happened this past weekend in Vail Valley, CO. Have a look below.

Having a fishing competition during one of the biggest water events that Colorado has seen was a bit of a surreal experience. As rivers were reaching upwards of 10,000 cfs a group of 75 anglers were gathered to compete on some of Colorado’s best fishing venues. Watching the news made me wonder why we would be fishing in flood stage conditions, but the waters around the Vail Valley were in great shape and the massive flooding was isolated to the Northern Front Range. In fact the lower blue river flows dropped to half of what they were before the competition started, we were fishing low water about 225 cfs to be exact.

Since Vail announced that they are going to host the 2016 World Fly Fishing Championships the group of international anglers has increased. This year there was a Czech team, a Polish Team, and a dream team of ex-world Champions from around the globe. They were all there to do get a feel for what the 2016 Worlds are going to look like. These great teams are in addition to the top teams from around the country and also extending up into Canada. Needless to say that the competition in attendance was fierce.

This year there would be two river venues both on the Blue River, two loch style venues, one on Dillon Reservoir and one on Sylvan Lake, and to round things off there was a bank session on Black lake at the top of Vail Pass. Between the variety of water types and fisheries it would test anglers in a number of different situations and require top anglers to be well versed in a variety of techniques.

After five 3 hour sessions of pounding the rivers and lakes with everything from dries on 6x to streamers on sinking lines all who attended were totally exhausted from performing at peak performance. I know that I was. Why would one ever want to put themselves through the ringer instead of enjoying a day on the water? Its different for everyone, but for me its all about learning new ways to catch fish and innovating on the go. Plus its way to much fun, especially when you look back on it all.

I was lucky enough to be packing the best gear on the planet. The ESN rods in the 10ft 3wt and 4wt make the perfect river dry dropper rods and nymphing rods for the wild browns and bows on the Blue. I used my 5100-4 ONE with the In-Touch type 3 as my streamer rod on the rivers and predominately used the 5100-4 ONE in the lakes as well. Most fish were between 28 cm and 42 cm. The lighter rod helps protect smaller tippet and prevents me from losing smaller fish when fishing barbless flies. For the bank venue I brought along the 7100-4 ONE for more distance in an effort to cover more water, but found myself on the 5100-4 ONE, as I was using ultra-light tippet. This decision would eventually lead to my demise. As for reels, I have transitioned over to the new 2200 reels for all my RIO lake lines and they are proving to be a perfect solution for a great lake fishing reel. I can carry all the lake lines I need to target feeding fish in all the different water columns at an unbeatable price.

In the end, one fish on Black lake kept me out of the top 4 or maybe 3 and kept our team from getting a team Gold medal. I had her buttoned up with a dry on 6x and was bringing her in, after some aerial acrobatics, she was calm, under control and heading toward the bag when she surged one last time 6” from me. I decided to hold my ground and try to land her, the 17 in bow was stronger than my tippet. Sigh… Instead Team USA finished 3rd and we brought home bronze. Devin Olsen from Team USA got to take home the Cup this year and Team USA Youth continued their domination on the water and earned Gold. The international Naranja Dream Team tied Team USA in placing points, but edged us out on fish points . When all the dust had settled all the competitors shared many laughs, exchanged secret flies and techniques and cheered each other on waters well fished.

Team Finishes:
Team USA Youth – Gold
Team Naranja Fly Fishing Academy – Silver
Team USA – Bronze

Individual Scores:
Devin Olsen – Team USA – Gold
Yann Caleri – France – Silver
Pat Wiess – Team Freestone – Bronze

What an amazing experience and a BIG congrats goes out to all of the Medal earners that attended and made this a ultra-competitive memorable event . A full list of top finishers can be found at www.theamericacup.com

Until the next comp….

Russ Miller

Chasing Silver in San Felipe

Tarpon Cay


Chasing Silver in San Felipe

By Pete Humphreys

Tarpon Cay Lodge is in San Felipe, Mexico; a quaint fishing village nestled on the Northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The bays and mangroves are home to a prolific population of baby tarpon between five and thirty pounds. Marco Ruz and Jesciel Mena met us off the plane at Cancun with hearty welcomes. They are partners in Yucatan Fly Fishing Adventures which owns and operates several lodges with exclusive rights to the fly fishing in the region, one of which is Tarpon Cay.

The three hour drive north to San Felipe was sobering. We crept through extremely poor Mien villages, annoyingly slowed by the endless procession of apparently unnecessary speed bumps. As I gazed at the thatched huts and run down shacks, I found myself thinking about things we take for granted in America. We passed packs of stray dogs wandering the streets spoiling for scraps, men and women going about their daily chores and laughing children wrestling and playing in the dirt. They struck me as happy and gentle people with smiling faces.

Safely at the bay side lodge we rigged gear and prepared for an early morning. I strung a pair of Sage ONES in 9 foot 8 weight with a RIO tarpon taper and also an Outbound Short for fast loading and quick shots. Marco advised we rig 40lb shock tippets and opt for smaller flies in neutral colors. I went straight for the San Felipe Special, created by Marco it has a foam body and a tail that looks like a shrimp. The schedule set – breakfast at five thirty am and in the boats at six, lunch at the lodge for noon follow by siesta, back in the boat at four and fish till around seven thirty.

We woke at five to a knock at the door – Beto the friendly, avuncular host had bought us coffee in bed – what a kind fellow. My partner in crime on this trip was my dear friend Andy Nelson. Andy is an expert fly angler, ace caster and a great companion. We polished off our Huevos Rancheros and headed out front to the waiting boats. The morning was perfectly calm, the sun clawed slowly above the horizon, Frigate birds and Vultures wheeled and mewed above us. A short run from the lodge our guide Chris killed the outboard and silently poled us in closer towards the mangroves. Andy was first up on deck as he stripped handfuls of line off and readied for battle.

Chris motioned with his hand and whispered “tarpon ahead”. It took me a second to focus; the glass calm of the bay, a steady rhythm of sickle shaped backs cut through the glare, one after the other. It was a huge, seemingly endless school of rolling tarpon, gulping and crashing bait. Chris glided us closer and Andy prepared for the first shot of the trip. Chris was a man of few words but he spoke good English. “Ok Andy – see the fish?” “Twelve o’clock, Sixty feet”. Andy sent his fly singing its way to the target preceded by a steady strip back to the boat, his fly making a small v wake as it limped along in the film – no grab. More fish showed and again Andy hit the mark with clinical casting but still no grab. This continued for some time and then finally he boiled one on the fly but it didn’t eat it. A heart stopping swirl but no pull. We quickly realized, this was no duffer’s game.

Then it happened – Andy, working hard, covering fish in front, suddenly a pod broke at ten o’clock travelling left. He made a quick cast 6 feet in front of the roll and began the strip. This time he ate it. The line drew straight; Andy gave a good strip to set the hook and game on. In a nano second, eight pounds of pissed off tarpon came rocketing out of the water, twisting and turning in a silver blur. I may exaggerate, but from my angle, sitting in the boat I would have sworn it was 15 feet in the air. Andy handled the fish with skill, bowing his rod to the multiple jumps and trying to keep his rod down during the fight. After a dogged five minute battle, Chris gracefully swept the leader in his gloved hand, quick photo and released with no harm done. What a fish! They are beautiful; rows of silver mirror like scales, a shining suit of amour with a slightly menacing stare and boxers jaw line.

Then it was my turn. I had fish rolling in front traveling right at sixty feet. I sent the cast to where the fish had shown and began the strip. The pod broke again 15 feet past my fly. First lesson – lead them like shooting a crossing pheasant. It wasn’t too long and I had my first take – strip, strip, strip – sharply, the line drew tight in the boil like a bulldog tugging at your dressing gown, I gave a good pull on the line to set the hook and off to the races we went.

We jumped about 8 fish the first morning landing 1 each. This is a pretty typical session at Tarpon Cay. Over lunch with fellow guests Sy and Nancy, a delightful couple from Wyoming, we discussed the mornings sport; both boats had similar experiences. I must mention that Nancy landed her very first tarpon that morning – it was one of many more she would land in days to come. We relived it with her and enjoyed the photos. I’m not sure who was prouder, Nancy or hubby Sy. We dined on fabulous home cooked meals that were rustic and hearty. Lots of fish on the menu – if you don’t like fish, you may be out of luck. A highlight for me was day two; host Beto proudly produced an appetizer plate of locally caught crab claws cooked in garlic butter. Luckily, Sy and Nancy don’t eat crab, so Andy and I scoffed the lot.

It would be repetitive to recount each hook up but on day three something special happened as we woke to an overcast sky with slight breeze adding a light chop. This was helpful to our cause as it made the tarpon less spooky. We found a huge school of fish rolling, feeding on shrimp. We got stuck into them, jumping around 25 and landed 6 up to 25lbs. Some of the success was due to Andy and I getting the hang of it; our casting was improving and we were leading the fish and presenting the fly quickly, combined with great conditions and happy fish made for an incredible morning – a highlight of my angling life. I annoyingly found myself popping fish off by holding my rod too high – a hard habit to break for a lifelong stealheader and trout angler. Chris would gently tease me “rod too high, must keep lower”, he smiled. Chris had eyes like a falcon with his years of experience he could smell tarpon and possessed a sixth sense – he always knew where to find fish and set the boat up to give you the best shot and usually down wind – a great skill.

The fishing was challenging, rewarding, exciting, visual, explosive, violent, heart stopping, addictive and great fun. 3 days wasn’t enough and I wish I could have added a couple more. The friendly staff was helpful and kind, serving delicious meals, clean rooms with air conditioning and private baths. I can’t wait to go back and highly recommend a visit to chase silver in San Filipe – you will not be disappointed.

For information on booking at trip to Tarpon Cay please contact Fly Water Travel at www.flywatertravel.com.

Sage’s New METHOD Fly Rod Series Combines Technology with Ultra-Fast Action

METHOD Fly Rod

METHOD Fly Rod Series Combines Technology with Ultra-Fast Action
June 13, 2013 (Bainbridge Island, Wash.) – This summer, fly fishing industry leader, Sage Manufacturing announces the release of its 2014 premier collection of high performance rods called the METHOD series. These ultra-fast fly rods use Sage’s proprietary Konnetic technology. The METHOD delivers high line speeds and tight loops for extreme distance and wind-cutting casts all while maintaining critical accuracy and feel.

“Being able to offer fly rods that perform to the expectations of the most demanding anglers in any casting situation is the main reason behind designing the METHOD. Sage’s DNA is synonymous with fast-action rods, and through Konnetic technology, we’ve taken seriously smooth, ultra-fast action performance to a new place entirely,” comments Sage Chief Rod Designer, Jerry Siem. “Our newest high performance rods will make any caster better but will help experienced casters notch exceptional casts with regularity.”

The magma red colored shaft of the METHOD is complemented by rust colored primary thread wraps and pewter trim wraps. Fuji ceramic stripping guides and robust guide sets round out the features of this high-end rod series. The rods come in a black rod sock with a red silk-screen and are protected in a fusion red powder-coated rod tube with a silver colored medallion and gloss black end caps.


“Overall, the fast action ONE rod is still and will continue to be our flagship series for a wider range of anglers,” notes Sage Marketing Manager, Eric Gewiss. “The METHOD series makes it possible to take casting abilities to whole new level. It performs quickly and accurately close-in, but if anglers are looking for an ultra-fast action rod that is lightweight, exceptionally smooth yet has the extra punch for farther casts and windy conditions, this rod is for you.”

Twelve single-hand models will be available in 4-6 weights for freshwater with a cocobolo wood insert and black reel seat components paired with a snub-nose, half-wells grip. The saltwater capable 6-11 weights feature a black aluminum reel seat and a full wells handle and fighting butt. Nine Spey and switch models feature a high-grade cork fore and rear grip. The METHOD rods will range in price from $800-$1,050 and will be available August 1, 2013. Blanks will also be available for each model.

About Konnetic™ Technology:
Konnetic technology, the most recent and significant evolution in fly rod innovation, uses new materials combined with pioneering manufacturing methods and processes. This technology incorporates an optimized ratio of Sage’s proprietary resin to exclusive high modulus aerospace-grade carbon fiber.

The latest construction methods include Sage’s Advanced Modulus Positioning System (AMPS); a process that precisely aligns and positions carbon fiber materials to exacting tolerances for the greatest blank strength delivering extremely efficient energy transfer throughout the shaft. Using Sage’s High Compression Molding process, carbon fibers are compacted for optimum density and precise alignment while simultaneously fusing the 50% lighter all-carbon fiber inner core.

Sage Reimagines Reel Design with the EVOKE

EVOKE

Sage Reimagines Reel Design with the EVOKE
June 17, 2013 (Bainbridge Island, Wash.) – Fly fishing industry leader, Sage Manufacturing, introduces a completely new reel design called the EVOKE. These reels provide anglers with all of the drag strength and adjustability they desire coupled with a unique structural design that offers distinct fishing benefits. The reels feature a modified full frame design that contains the line while at the same time allowing access to both rims of the spool for palming while fighting fish.

“In our ongoing effort to push the boundaries of innovative reel designs, our R&D team developed this amazing modified frame,” notes Eric Gewiss, Sage marketing manager. “The top part of the frame is closed which eliminates the possibility of errant line mishaps while the bottom of the spool is exposed so the angler can apply palming or fingertip pressure to either side of the reel.”

The large arbor EVOKE reels use the same proven Sealed Carbon System drag design as Sage’s popular 6000 series reels. The large, easy-to-grab, one revolution drag knob has detents from 1 to 39 for more finesse when dialing-in the desired drag resistance.

EVOKE reels are fully machined and will be available in both 8 and 10 weights. The reels come in three color options including: stealth/platinum, bronze/platinum and stealth/blaze. The 8-weight reel retail price is $575, the 10-weight retails for $595 and the spools retail for $275 and $295, respectively. Both reels will be available in August 2013.

Two New Reels From Sage Offer Anglers Affordable Quality

reelweb

Two New Reels From Sage Offer Anglers Affordable Quality
June 13, 2013 (Bainbridge Island, Wash.) – This summer, fly fishing industry leader Sage Manufacturing reveals the 3200 and 2200 series, two new fully-featured fly reel designs offered at prices every angler will appreciate.

The fully machined, durable 3200 series is based on the proven 4200 reel design. These reels include a custom stainless steel clutch bearing inside Sage’s reliable Sealed Carbon System for a drag that performs every time. The large arbor design allows for quick retrievals, and the large, one revolution drag knob ensures the drag is set correctly at a quick glance. Available in three sizes to accommodate 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8 weight lines, 3200 series reels come in two colors including black/platinum and platinum. These reels range from $199 to $239 and will be available at retail stores in August.

Sage’s new, large arbor 2200 reel series are machined die cast aluminum, but thanks to a refined machining process, these reels have exacting tolerances resulting in a more finished look than traditional die cast reels. The reels feature fully machined handles and drag knobs and are highlighted by Sage’s Sealed Carbon System drag technology. Anglers will appreciate the technical design features at an attractive price. Available in line four models for line weights 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10. The 7-8 and 9-10 sizes are ideal for Switch and Spey anglers thanks to ample capacity for larger line diameters. 2200 series reels come in black/platinum and black/blaze for a surprising retail price of $129-$159. Available at retail stores in August.