September 9th, 2002

My 'NEW' Favorite Rod
By James Castwell


We fished for salmon from our beach for five hours yesterday morning, the LadyFisher and I, (it was now about five in the afternoon), on the way home we had stopped at Sage, not far from us here, and picked up a new fly rod, their newest in fact. We didn't take it out into the street here right away, it was raining. We took the time to put it together and string a line on it. It had been about four hours since we had been casting our regular salmon rods.

I got out ahead of her by about five minutes, plenty of time to make a few casts. She came down the driveway and I handed her the rod. As was usual, I offered no comments and she expected none, that's the way we do with any new rods. We each make our own judgements and then compare thoughts. Her pet fly rod has been for many years a nine-foot six weight, she uses it to teach with and give demonstrations, her loops with it are as good as they get.

Sage TCR

I backed off a few yards and watched her make a few short tests loops. I said nothing, just watched a few certain things; her face, the tip of the rod on the stops for any recoil, the shape of front and back loops, the amount of effort needed to cast, consistency of the loops as line was extended, whether she could maintain line-speed, could she hold a 'wedge' as line-length was increased and did the line flow smoothly and without waves in it. Like I said, I just watched a few things.

Her very first cast was made as smoothly as any I have ever seen her make, ever. I, in fact, think she is a better caster than I am, she is not as strong so she has to be smoother. What struck me, was the cast she had just made with an eight weight was as effortless as she does with her pet six weight. She made a couple more casts, glancing over at me between them. She would make a presentation, pull in, pick up and start again. She was amazed to say the least, and grinning very broadly.

I can't print here what she said, not considered polite, and for her, a great digression of decorum, but, it was a compliment in the extreme. It was followed by something to the effect that it was the absolutely best rod she had ever cast. Strong stuff coming from her. I have the street marked out in feet, every ten feet actually, up to a hundred feet. She was five feet short, line straight, leader straight, no tailing loop of the hundred foot mark. She did it again with about the same results. Not surprisingly, we agreed. I too had never cast a fly rod like this. I was not looking for a rod of this type to come from major manufacturer, possibly from a 'custom maker,' but not from a commercial rod company.

But, please remember, for you or many others, that may not be necessarily a good thing, it may not be the rod for you, yet. I like a full functioning rod for small stuff, but, when it comes time to reach out with and get the job done I want strength and power. Do not confuse that with stiff, there is a big difference between those two. Envision this. When we are casting for salmon, we make a cast, then strip the fly back to us, a streamer representing a bait-fish. With about twenty feet of line on the water, we start over. The first amount of line is short with each succeeding double-haul extending line with as much control as necessary. A stiff rod will not perform at all line lengths properly. A strong one will, that is the difference. The loops have to be tight at all line lengths with only reasonable effort, not compensated for by the arm or wrist. This rod gives correct loops at all line lengths with no compensation. THIS IS A CASTERS ROD.

I felt it not fair or proper to write this until I had fished it. I did that today. A twenty mile drive to a place where I knew I could give it a thorough work-out, I know, 'tough job, but someone has to do it.' The wind would be from straight at me to a few degrees to my left and blowing about fifteen to twenty knots at least, it was, perfect for a right-handed caster. I needed a place where I could expect some salmon, where I would be concentrating on 'fishing,' not casting. Very soon I was in the swing of things, casting and retrieving, concentrating of fishing. I had plenty of room for my back-casts and could also vary the angle of my casts as per wind direction. Never before have I had the control of all loops at all lengths as I did today. Forgive me, I even impressed myself, the rod made look better than I really am. Actually, I was proud of how my casts looked, even though there was no one to notice. I noticed and that was enough. The 'Fishability Factor'? One hundred percent.

I won't bore you with details of modules and all the extra steps which are required to produce the TCR series now. I can tell you that the next time you see either of us fishing for salmon, ask to see the 'Chili-Pepper Red' fly rod. We'll be using them, yes, 'them.' They will be introduced this week at the Fly-Fishing Retailer World Trade Expo in Denver. Sage has allowed us to break the story on FAOL before the show. The TCR rods come in only two models, both nine foot, four-piece. One with half-wells grip is a five weight for $700, the other with a full-wells is the eight weight for $725. Yes, a Lamborghin is more expensive than a Ford.

Watch for the distinctive red colored rods, they will soon be in the hands of the top casters, under the best loops and behind the longest lines. ~ James Castwell

Note: There's more. Check the Product Review on the Sage TCR HERE.

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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