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Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia defines Z-AXIS
z-ax·is ('ăk'sĭs)
n., pl. z-ax·es ('ăk'sēz).
One of three axes in a three-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system.
The idea of this system was developed in 1637 in two writings by Descartes and adapted to fly rod design by Jerry Siem – Sage Fly Rod Designer and Father of the 3rd Dimension of Fly Rod Technology and introduced in 2007!

The bottom line is a continuing commitment from Sage to introduce the highest performing fly rods that technology will allow. By combining a graphite core with aligned fiber, as dictated with the modulus positioning system, and molding this together under heat and pressure, the result is a single section module of which the Z-Axis begins to tell only a part of the tale. Sage Z-AXIS rods are lighter in weight and easier to cast with.  They have a noticeably better feel for more accurate loading which allows the caster to generate more line speed for added control, distance and accuracy.

To start with, Sage's exclusive analysis software helped them to better evaluate the performance requirements of every inch of a rod blank, allowing them to eliminate all unnecessary material. At the same time, they made significant advances in their Aligned Fiber Technology, which, most significantly, replaces traditional glass hoop fibers with lighter, more responsive graphite. This, of course, required Sage to develop new construction techniques to align and compress these rods for maximum strength.

To take advantage of these developments, Jerry Siem went back to the drawing board (and out on the water) to create improved taper designs for each Z-Axis rod. The G5 process gave him an opportunity to reach previously unattainable levels of line feel, response and performance. It also allowed him to design rods that better fit the modern casting style, with the tip strength to bail you out on a missed stroke and the power to more easily punch flies into the wind. The result? An entirely new level of fishability.

The Z-AXIS is one of the lightest, smoothest, most accurate fly rods that I have ever cast. Trout models are very forgiving with softer tips to save light tippets, but high line speed is achieved with a minimum of physical effort. The 7-weight and larger models have faster actions, but load easily when casting short and create blazing line-speed for longer casts. You will be surprised how little effort is required from the caster to make long accurate casts.

We spent several days on the water testing the two new Z-AXIS spey rods that most fit Pacific Northwest steelhead and salmon fishing situations.  First tested was the 9143-4 Z-AXIS.  This big water rod is an unusual mixture of power and fineness.  It is very lightweight for its length and line designation. I used a Rio 550 Skagit with a 10-foot Cheater and 9-weight tip. At first the action reminded me of of the 9150-4 Traditional action Sage.  It seemed to bend into the butt for easy loading, but it was also easy to cast short, which is usually a trait of tip actions rods.  As the cast was extended and the line became heavier the rod seemed to still bend the same amount.  After a while I was throwing line the width of the river, but exerting no more energy than with a short line.  This rod is very forgiving and easy to time.  After a while my fishing partner, Leroy Teeple fished this outfit and I was able to observe the rod in action.  To my surprise the 9143-4 bent totally different than I thought. Only the top third of the rod was bending under load during each cast.  There is a tremendous amount of reserve power built into the action.

As usual with Sage, all Z-AXIS rod handles are lathe turned so every cork ring fits the blank perfectly and handles are perfectly aligned with each rod.  Wraps and finish are both impeccable and very durable.

My last week:
The first two days were spent at the shop dealing with budgetary planning.  Wouldn't it be easier if we all had an unlimited amount of money to spend.  Thanks to the efforts of my hard working crew, I got to spend Tuesday before daylight to after dark on the river with Leroy Teeple testing a new Z-AXIS spey rod.  Wednesday I spent before daylight to after dark guiding two clients.  Thursday was spent before daylight to after dark with my old friend Derrick Fergus and his friend Brady.  We got several steelhead.  Friday I spent before daylight to after dark teaching in and on-the-water winter steelhead school with two other instructors (Ron Lauzon & Josh Linn) and six students. Saturday (yesterday), I helped George Cook and Leroy Teeple teach The Elementary Spey Casting School in a howling east wind.  That took before daylight until after dark too.  I was going to write a lot more about Z-AXIS in this installment of "The Insider", but somewhere I ran out of time (I guess I must be getting old).
The subject is important enough, that it deserves a second installment next week.  Besides I learned a lot of new things about Z-AXSIS while teaching the Elementary Spey Casting School, yesterday (such as - the 8110-4 is an incredibly SERIOUS FISHING TOOL with winter steelhead applications...)  More Z-AXIS next week.

Get Ready For
The Greatest Spey Rod Party On Earth !!!
The Sandy River Spey Clave, May 5-6, at Oxbow Park on the Sandy River
Free on-the-water demonstrations, free lessons, free food, and the largest collection of spey fishing tackle ever assembled in one place next to running water.  You can touch & try all of it.   Meet all the pros up close and personal.  Two of them are listed below.  This years show is expected to draw spectators from both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific.

George Cook
"Northwest Original Spey Casts"
The Pacific Northwest is a hotbed of spey casting innovation.  
George has been researching these developments and will help us put the "Northwest Style" into perspective.
George Cook is the guy in the Sage "Tight Loops" poster of the 1990's.  He taught the "Sage Fly Fishing Schools" in the 1980's and has great casting and
communication skills. 
He is a manufacturers representative for Sage, Simms, Rio, Ross & Tibor.
He is pictured at right with a fine
fly-caught Alaskan King Salmon.
George is always at the fly fishing epicenter in that adipose rich band that reaches from Alaskan arctic in the north to the Rogue river in the south.
George Cook

George was one of the chosen ones to appear in Rio's new epic DVD, Rio's Modern spey Casting.  It probably won't surprise you that all of the chosen ones for this tutorial DVD have given key presentations at previous Sandy River Spey Claves. 
See George Cook, May 5, 10:30am-11:00am and May 6, 1:00pm-1:30pm. 

Oregon Convention Center
Portland, Oregon
February 17, 18, 2007
Show Hours:
Sat 9 – 5:30; Sun 9 – 4:30
Admission – Adult:
$14 for one day,
$24 for two-day pass;
Children under 12:
Nor-Vise & Automatic Bobbin Kit. “Tie Better Flies - Faster”. A unique, precision engineered tying system developed by a fly tier who was also a professional research engineer. Comes with an instructional DVD

February 11, 2007, Sunday, 1:00pm - 5:00pm
FREE Program!  Learn all about Tying Stinger Flies for Winter Steelhead.
This event has been changed from February 4 to 11 because of Super Bowl Sunday.

This program starts with a short PowerPoint presentation featuring productive
methods for fishing Stinger flies for steelhead.  Then tying procedures for several proven local favorites will be demonstrated.  String Leech, Metal Detector and Intruder patterns will be tied
 by guys that use them in their guide services.
 The programs and instruction are free.  So are the coffee and snacks.
All of the latest tools and materials used in these demonstrations
will be available for sale.  Feel free to bring your own tools and materials and tie along.
 Or just hang-out and watch.  Bring snacks to share if you want to.
This program will be held in our state of the art class room which is equipped with
close-circuit TV, PowerPoint Digital projector, story board and
superb lighting for tying flies.  Please call and let us know you are coming.
Group Leaders: Josh Linn, Marty Sheppard and Hawkeye Hawkins
At: The Fly Fishing Shop - Welches, OR

Metal Detector Flies
Blue and Black Chartreuse and Black Red and Orange

Marty Sheppard is one of the most talented and personable guides that works our local rivers.  Last season, he filled our counter book with client pictures during the toughest winter in the last ten years.  Low, extremely clear water, and sparse numbers of fish, made for unbelievably tough conditions.  Yet, Marty was able to get his clients into winter steelhead nearly every trip.  He said his secret, was the flies that he developed with his good friend Josh Linn, the Metal Detector series. 
Special materials make these flies glow from the inside out and give them a lot of enticing action.  The goal of the Metal Detector series was to develop a big fly without all the materials that soak up water and make casting such a chore. Bucktail

makes  up much of the bulk of these flies and it does not absorb water to weigh it down during the cast. Bucktail is somewhat buoyant and has a ton of action because it does not clump together while it fishes. The polar chenille body makes these flies translucent and once again it has very little water absorption, The collar is marabou and everyone knows Steelhead love the taste of marabou! Metal Detectors are stinger flies.  A short shank, red Gamakatsu hook is trailed in the rear of the fly on a special cable attachment.  There are few short strikes on Metal Detectors. 

Metal Detector Fly, Blue and Black
These colors are proven for winter steelhead under any overcast weather conditions and is especially effective for late winter fish. This color combination is a consistent producer with good to fair water clarity and is also a good choice when the river is off color. 

Item Description Size Price To Top
06573-02 Metal Detector Fly, Blue and Black 2 3 For $6.50


Metal Detector Fly, Chartreuse and Black
Spring Chinook love the color chartreuse and this fly was tied to fish for the returning Salmon. At the end of the season it did its job on the "springers", but the surprising result was how very effective it was on the fresh run of spring Steelhead! A must have color for April through June.

Item Description Size Price To Top
06574-02 Metal Detector Fly, Chartreuse and Black 2 3 For $6.50


Metal Detector Fly, Red and Orange
This fly is proven in hooking steelhead in all weather conditions with good water clarity.  Red & orange is extremely effective in bright sunlight. As with all "metal detectors" the polar chenille body makes all of these flies glow from the inside out, and with this one, it is electric!

Item Description Size Price To Top
06575-02 Metal Detector Fly, Red and Orange 2 3 For $6.50


The Fly Fishing Shop HOME. The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR

1(800) 266-3971

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark Bachmann, Patty Barnes

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