As a teenager growing up in Western Washington,
there was a gang of us who were inseparable.
Mike, Danny, Steve, Bryan, and I. We stomped
all over Cougar Mountain, and one of our favorite
places to spend a night in the outdoors was a
little creek, which, at the time, had no name
(at least that we had heard it called.) We'd
head back into the brush behind Steve and Bryan's
house, through Buttercup's pasture, into the old
orchard, and down a deer path to the little stream
(no more than four or five feet at the widest)
I later learned to be Lewis Creek. We'd yank
little 8 inch trout out of the water with a
piece of mono tied to an egg hook. Slide on
a Pautzke and lie down on the creek bank over
the under cuts. No room for a rod. The arm
was all that was needed. "It don't get any
better than this," was the refrain. Unroll
the sleeping bags, build a little fire and fry
up the little buggers. Ummmmmm!
The creek is, for the most part, in a pipe now.
Houses now cover the north side of the mountain,
stacked in tighter than sardines in a can. But
how I loved fishing that little stream. I still
love to fish little streams like that. And thanks
to FAOL and Sage, I have the perfect rod, reel,
and line to do it with. I was the very fortunate
winner of the September, 2004 drawing. I almost
missed it, but that's another story. The prize
was a Sage TXL 00wt rod, a Sage 3100 fly reel,
and a DT00F line. Wow!!
The outfit arrived a couple of weeks after the
drawing, after Marc Bale of Sage, e-mailed me
several times to confirm my address and to
question me about my personal preferences. If
I recall, the finish on the reel and its handedness
were the only options, but he was eager to make
sure I got what I wanted.
Of course, on arrival, I immediately headed
for the lawn in the back yard. This thing
is feather light, weighing only 1 7/8 ounces.
The reel comes in at 2 ¾ ounces. A perfect
balance. I was a little unsure of the grip
on the rod. Seemed awful small for my meat
hook hands, but I was very pleasantly surprised.
It feels great. I had the opportunity to try
this rod at the Idaho Fish-In last September
on the lawn. I must say that at that time it
felt uncomfortable. It is not a fast rod, and
I'm not the best caster. Deanna said, "Slow
down, relax." I tried, but it just didn't feel
quite right. I handed the rod to whoever was
next in line (Z, I think). When I called JC
to respond to the winning e-mail, he suggested
that it might take a little getting used to.
Fast forward 3 weeks. I'm in the backyard. I
have no choice but to make this thing work. I
remembered what LadyFisher had counseled.
"Slow down, relax." Words to live by when
using this rod. I finally got it down. Put
the rod away, quick, before I forget. I took
it out a couple more times on the lawn before
finally getting the chance to get it wet.
Veteran's Day, November 11th. A beautifully clear,
cold day here in Eastern Washington. I had a couple
of errands in the morning, but around noon I headed
west to Crab Creek, a little stream at this point
in its journey to the Columbia River, tucked against
a steep break in the Channeled Scablands. Pretty
desolate, but truly beautiful. There was not a
soul around. I headed downstream with a plan.
Interestingly, the wind was only slight. Most
of the time it howls pretty good through here.
Let's get busy.
My oh my! This rod is perfectly designed for
this type of water. Tight quarters and spooky
fish are the norm here. The creek is about 8
feet across (on the average) in the section I
worked. It is very shallow in most places with
some undercuts where the elusive fishies like
to hide. I had rigged up with a furled leader
I got from Kat Scott in Maine, tied on 5 feet
of 6X and a size 16 red butt Adams-like thing
I tie for cutthroat. This little stream can be
tough because of all the brush along the bank
(and behind you). The rod kept the line up well.
One of my favorite holes has a tree growing over
it and one must tuck the fly in under it to get
to the top of the drift. It requires a pretty
tight loop without a splash at the end. My
forward cast gently rolled out and the phony
insect on the end very quietly landed on the
water. I was also pleased with the distance I
got with the line in this tight spot. I couldn't
let too much out behind without a reverse hook-up.
I had to shoot a few feet out in front to get it
where I wanted it and it performed perfectly.
Only caught one little fish (LDR'ed, but that
was my fault) and I had a blast!
The whole outfit is perfectly balanced. The reel
is a precision piece of machining. Absolutely
smooth. It's a large arbor affair which makes
for nice big coils of line and winding up goes
pretty fast. My only complaint is the size of
the crank. Too small for my big hands, but not
at all impossible. This is my first really
quality reel, and it does make the fishing
better. Don't have to worry about unwrapping
line all the time. Really a jewel!
Some more specifications. This rod is 7'10",
3 pieces, and made with Sage's new Generation 5
(G5) technology. Ask Sage what that is, 'cause
I don't have a clue! The rod has an uplocking
wood insert reel seat and comes in a sock and a
durable aluminum tube with brass fittings. The
Sage 3100 reel is light, machined out of aluminum
bar stock. It has a click and pawl drag and is
designed for 00, 0, 1, and 2 wt lines. It comes
in pewter or black. The line I got with the rod
is a Sage Quiet Taper DT-00-F that Marc said is
made by Scientific Anglers for them. Apparently
it is the only 00wt line made.
This is a super rod for a special purpose. Having
the right tool for the job really makes a difference.
And this is the right tool for small streams and tight
quarters. The rod is also very well appointed with
a beautiful reel seat and beautiful, simple wrappings.
I will be using this rod a lot. I love little,
secluded streams and this rod will make the fishing
even more enjoyable.
Sage is a sponsor here at FAOL. You can find a
link to their site on the sponsor's page. ~ JW
Sage Manufacturing Corporation
8500 Northeast Day Road
Bainbridge Island, Washington 98110
E-mail SAGE firstname.lastname@example.org