A weekend with the Sage MOD, CLICK reel and RIO Single Handed Spey flyline

Wombats, wallabies and wild brown trout were our bedfellows for the morning of New Year’s day 2016. It’s not often that I get to fish with mates during peak season, so it was pretty cool to have three days at our Western Lakes wilderness huts, complete with the usual array of Tasmanian animals, as well as Australian fishing legend and Sage Fly Rod Ambassador, Peter Morse. The fact that it is the peak of the mayfly season didn’t harm either!

It was good to see that Pete had done his research – I like medium-actioned fly rods, and two of the new medium actioned Sage MOD fly rods were strapped to his pack, along with matching 2016 CLICK fly reels and RIO Single Handed Spey lines. All of the gear that I’d wanted to test out west!

While brewing the morning coffee, I took the chance to grab the five weight MOD and spey line, and have a bit of a warm up cast. Short casting (under 20 foot) was efficient, with a short stroke and medium tempo – pretty good considering that the Single Handed Spey taper doesn’t really begin to kick in till 25 feet. Next cab off the rank was medium length (30-50 foot) casts into the wind, starting with a 20 foot pickup, which was shot to 50 foot with one false cast. It went like a rocket! The MOD bends fairly low down the blank, and it was a good match to my naturally open casting stance, and longer casting stroke. The taper of the Single Handed Spey line, featuring a lot of weight and thickness between 27 and 35 feet made an excellent combination for effortless casting, and generated high line speed at this range.

Casting at a finishing trout. A low-profile was key.

Casting at a finning trout. A low-profile was key.

The casting tempo of the MOD is well suited to a casual medium pace – you can certainly speed up the tempo for a fast presentation to a cruising trout, and the MOD handles it well, but medium pace brings out the best in the rod. The biggest difference between the Sage MOD and the other favourite medium-action rods that I own was the recovery speed – the 5wt MOD unloads the medium taper with a faster line speed than I’ve experienced in similar modern tapers, which would later prove to be great for controlled, accurate presentations.

And what about the fishing? To say that the fishing was close-range would be an understatement. With fish tailing on shallow water mayfly nymphs, the fishing was super visual, super-subtle, and super close. The majority of the fish targeted were in the 10-20 foot range, with the odd fish at 40 foot. As part of our tactics, we’d keep the line stored on the reel, and the leader in hand. As soon as a tailer or finning trout was spotted, we’d sprint towards the nervous water, adopt a low profile and peel off line as quick as possible, and present (hopefully) within three foot of the trout’s snout. The new super-large arbor CLICK reel was brilliant at this – ripping line off the reel was made simple by the large arbor. Smaller diameter reels would have been left in a birdnest of line, or worse, it would have cost crucial seconds to get the line off, and opportunities would have been missed. And the old-school drag is pretty cool, just ask Morsie who saw his backing on a three-pounder, as it rooster-tailed off the flat and into the distance.

Peter Morse hooking up to a tailer with the new Sage MOD

Peter Morse hooking up to a tailer with the new Sage MOD

One final thing. At the end of the last day, we took some time to put single-handed spey techniques to test with the line­–primarily simple roll casts and more complex snake-rolls. The RIO Single Handed Spey line was brilliant, the taper enabling us to shoot from 30 foot to 55 in a simple roll. Add a single haul and it flies out past 60 foot with loads of line speed. While mucking around with it, I couldn’t help but think about all the anglers that struggle with a roll cast, and how good this line is for not only casting rolls and spey casts, but how good it is as a line to learn roll casts. The taper, which features a thick and weighty mid-taper, enables the caster to feel the load of the all-important D-loop, keeps the belly riding high on the water, and makes the basic techniques a cinch. I can’t recommend it highly enough as a learning tool for anyone wanting to improve roll-casting, or get into basic spey techniques.

Western Lakes trout

Western Lakes trout

Daniel Hackett, RiverFly 1864

Photo credits Peter Morse / Daniel Hackett

New Sage MOD rod, Sage CLICK reel and Aquasoul DVD just added.

For all the gear junkies out there, we’ve just added the new Sage MOD medium-action fly rods to stock, and the new 2016 Sage CLICK large arbour reel. We’ll be testing out the Sage Mod over the next month, and I’ve already bought myself a CLICK reel for my go-to trouting. The new design is aesthetically brilliant, and the larger-arbour (compared to the previous model) is a really great idea for smoother retrieves. We’ve also added an excellent new film called Aquasoul, filmed entirely in Australia and featuring Peter Morse and Brett Wilson. Check out the preview below:

 

Sage Mod Fly Rod

New Sage for 2016 – Available at RiverFly 1864 from August 2015

New Sage for 2016 – Available at RiverFly 1864 from August 2015

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Sage MOD – Best New Fly Rod EFFTEX 2015

I’m predicting that this taper will be the new go-to river rod for Australian anglers, and lovers of the classic SLT range. A high-performance moderate action rod, somewhere between the fast action ONE and the deep-loading CIRCA, this should be a cracking taper for hatch-driven fly fishing where a bit of extra power is needed from time to time. The MOD will be available from 2-6 weights, and uses SAGE Konnetic Technology for class-leading rod-tip tracking and accuracy. The MOD just took out the Best New Fly Rod award at the European Tackle Show for 2015.

Sage LITTLE ONE

Many creek anglers will be mourning the loss of the classic TXL range of fly rods. But never fear, the ‘LITTLE’ ONE is here. This top-of the range, ultra-light ONE again uses SAGE Konnetic Technology to deliver an ultra-thin, ultra-light specialist creek rod. Another noticeable change is to the available length. I always felt that the TXL-F rods were at their best in the 7’10’’ models; the extra length helped mend around grassy tussocks, and delivered a slightly slower taper for better line control. So I was excited to hear that the LITTLE ONE rod range are available in 0-4 weights, at a perfect length of 8’2’’.

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New Sage MOD fly rod

Sage BOLT

There’s no-doubt that fast action rods are this decade’s new black. And for good reason – nothing beats fast-action for quick and accurate casts when sight fishing. So with this in mind, the new Generation 5 Technology BOLT rod from Sage should prove to be very popular. Available from 4 thru 8 weights, the BOLT is a mid-range ultra-fast action rod, which should prove ideal for sight fishing techniques.

Sage PULSE

Featuring the tried and tested Graphite IIIe Technology, the new PULSE is a fast action fly rod, with the usual quality fixtures, lifetime warranty and made in the USA badge as to be expected from SAGE, all for under US$500. These are great rods for anglers looking to upgrade their basic fly rod, or get into fly fishing with some quality gear that they can grow into.

Sage CLICK Series fly reels – Best New Fly Reel EFTTEX 2015

The CLICK series of reels has always been a favourite of mine. In fact, the last fish I caught this season was a cracking double-figure brown, which was a bundle of fun on my decade-old CLICK reel. So it is cool to hear that the range is getting a cosmetic and performance upgrade. Now available in Bronze, Stealth and a new Lime colour, new features include a concave spool design (for cleaner line-storage and increased capacity), a larger palming ring and an ultra-large arbor. The CLICK series of reels just took out the Best New Fly Reel award at the European Tackle Show for 2015.

Give us a call (03) 6334 8386 or drop us an email if you would like to join our customers in receiving new season rods and reels from our first SAGE 2016 shipment, which will be arriving from August 2015.

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