Sage ONE Spey Rods, Pale Morning Duns

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Sage 7136-4
Sage ONE Spey
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A PMD Speaks

He is Affectionately called: Georgie
If you want to find the center of Anadromous Spey Power in the Pacific Rim, look up George Cook. He has been standing in the cross roads of Northwest Spey communication from the beginning of the Graphite-Age. All things Spey seem to find Georgie. He is the Farbank (Sage, Rio, and Reddington) Company Rep for Oregon, Washington and Alaska. He relentlessly patrols this territory, visiting all the best fly shops several times a year. He is connected to the best lodges, knows all the guides, and all the distance casters. He has a penetrating method of intelligence gathering, and perfect memory for the important stuff. He knows who is on the cutting edge and those who just thinks they are. George ran Sage's Casting School for several years and spent time as the Company's poster child in the famous "Tight Loops" poster. George is a brilliant casting coach and his presentations on casting and fishing are illuminating and are wildly entertaining.
George Cook will perform twice at the Sandy River Spey Clave 2012.
Friday, May 18, 2:30pm - 3:00pm,  "Basic Skagit Casting"
Saturday, May 19, 11:00am - 11:30am "How to manage multi-part fly lines"
Georgie will also have the complete battery of Sage ONE Spey and Switch rods for you to fondle and cast in combination with all the best Sage reels and Rio Spey and Switch lines. Be sure to line up in front of the Sage booth early, because these fancy toys will be in demand.

Sage 7136-4 Generations
By: Mark Bachmann
I've owned and fished four generations of Sage 7136-4 Spey rods. The first ones were brown from the RPL Generation. After a love, hate, love relationship, which went like: bought one and caught several steelhead with it, didn't like it, sold it, regretted it, and bought another one. Then fished that rod for three summer seasons as my go-to rod for windless-days. This generation was parabolic and  somewhat wobbly in action. It would throw long casts, but with the lines available at the time, it needed quite a bit of room to form a reasonable D-loop. Because of the slow action it was a pain in the wind, but was the right size for the water and the fish. This rod became my morning rod on the Deschutes, but cluttered up the boat during the windy afternoons. Next came the dark green SP Series. These rods were more responsive than the brown rods. I sold the second brown 7136-4 rod, and bought a green one. It filled the roll of the brownie as a morning rod, and occasionally it was used in the winter. It was superior to the brown rod, but in my opinion only marginally so. However, there are a number of experienced anglers who believe that the dark green 7136-4 is the best all around Spey rod that was ever made, and there are many of these rods that are still in action. Then there was a tiger-eye colored version that actually was called an 8136-4. It worked better as a Skagit rod, but lost the edge as a greased line Deschutes rod. Once again there are long term believers in this version.
Then in 2006 came Z-AXIS and everything changed. The Skagit/Scandi shooting head craze came into full bloom and the 7136-4 Z-AXIS fit the new lines perfectly.
A year ago, my best fishing buddy Bob said he wanted to refine his steelhead skill-set by simplification. He wanted to be able to present the fly better and realized that being able to cast better was the key. He wanted one rod that would fish both summer and winter steelhead. What would be his single best choice? My reply was, "Buy a Sage 7136-4 Z-AXIS". He did, and the improvement in his catch became noticeable almost immediately. A year later he says he has no regrets about his rod selection. This winter Bob has scored at will, and it is because he is covering more water better. My own 7136-4 is battered and bruised from five seasons of constant use. It is the best big water gun I own for fishing Skagit style heads with sinking tips to 175-grains and it throws average size Intruder flies with ease. At 13 1/2 feet, the extra length maximizes control.
The 7136-4 evolved slowly, over a period of many years. I think the method is called incremental change. Little by little the handle changed, the reel seat changed, the guides changed, and the cosmetics changed. But when the parabolic action changed to a progressive action, line speed and casting accuracy improved dramatically. Sinking tips came out of the water easier allowing the anchor for the next cast to be placed more precisely, which made loop length and tension more predictable, which made all facets of casting easier, which cut fatigue, and ultimately brought more fish to the hand. During this period of development, graphite technology improved, and the traditional parabolic Spey rod taper design was finely discarded in favor of a more responsive progressive taper, which generated more line speed and allowed fishing in tighter quarters.
Sage has always been an innovator in graphite rod blank technology. Their latest masterpiece is called is call Konnetic technology. It involves placing the graphite fibers in each rod blank in perfect alignment to gain casting accuracy and recovery time. Single-hand Sage ONE rods made with Kt have been well-received in the market place, and on the water. A series of two-hand rods has been under development for an extended period of time (under very tight security). We got a sneak peek at a couple of these rods last summer. They were killers. We knew our readers would want to know about them. So we posted a little Sage ONE Spey video to YouTube and imbedded it in the next The Fly Fishing Shop "Insider" weekly newsletter. That act made Sage nervous and we apologized. We then took the video off line. It had been online for about ten days and caused quite a stir. (It is once again posted below).
Last Thursday, Bob and I got our hands on a new Sage 7136-4 ONE "prototype". This rod is not on the market yet, but presumably will be around June 15. Bob got to go first, and spent a full fifteen minutes casting before he gave it to me. After a twenty-cast tune up to gauge this rod's personality, I dropped downstream a hundred feet and went fishing. Twenty casts later a brand new native steelhead conveniently impaled herself on the fly and ran into the backing. After a short, but determined fight my buddy Josh was kind enough to slip the net under it for me, and after a couple of quick clicks of the camera the fish went upon her merry way. I surrendered the rod back to the other boat, and Bob and I proceeded to fish our Z-AXIS rods for the rest of the day.
So how does this new rod compare to the currently available generation?
The cosmetics on the new series is distinctive, but the finish on all top-line Sage rods has been superb for years. In the cosmetics department the difference between the two series is a toss. The color of the ONE Series rods is called "black ice". Wraps are black with metallic bronze accents; very subtle and very traditional, and sophisticated, kind of like pearls and gold against a black dress. The reel seat on the prototype were plain and very functional anodized aluminum without extra grooves to collect grime. The handle is similar in shape and size to the previous generation, but is plainer looking, which is okay with me, but the production rods will undoubtedly be somewhat different. I'm more interested in what the cork will look like after three years of hard use. The cork on the sample rod looked good. Sage handles have always stood up well.
Forty casts and one steelhead doesn't tell a person everything about any rod. While playing the fish, there was little noticeable difference between the old and new rods. They seemed to bend about the same and both rods are very forgiving. No improvement in this category is needed.
Casting, however was a different story. Once again both rods seem to bend about the same. (Josh Linn who got more water-time with the ONE, thinks it is slightly faster in action than the Z-AXIS). Both rods are easy to load. Yet the new rod lifts sinking tips easier, and allows for a more accurate placement of the anchor. This, of course makes all the rest of the cast easier. Where I was fishing, there was no need for extreme casting distance. The cast that caught the fish was about 65' from the rod tip to the fly. The cast had landed very straight with very little slack in it, so the fly came under tension immediately and the fish took after the fly had travelled less than twenty feet.
Fly speed can be everything and slack in the line can be your enemy during certain water flows. Unintentional slack in the line is created by poor casting technique, and rod designs that create tip wobble. If you are a smooth caster the Z-AXIS throws a very tight line with a minimum of bounce-back. But the ONE is even better in this department. The High Compression Molding (HCM) process in the Konnetic technology that makes the ONE single-handers the most accurate casting rods on the market, definitely improves the effectiveness of the 7136-4 as a fishing tool. The density of the (HCM) blank construction isn't lighter in weight than the Z-AXIS, but you are so much more connected to your fly through it. The feeling is really startling. The take of that fish was transmitted with incredibly sharp detail, which created a heightened awareness of the whole event, which is indelibly etched into the steelhead archives between my ears, a pleasant memory amongst a myriad of other pleasant fly fishing fishing memories. The full ONE Spey line will be at Sandy River Spey Clave May 18, 19, 20, 2012!

This Video Was Shot Last September On the Deschutes River In Oregon

Sage ONE Two-Hand Rods - Switch and Spey - Rods and Blanks
Sage ONE Switch and Spey rods and blanks will be available approximately June 15. The initial production will be of limited number available on a first come first served basis. We are extremely confident that this new series will be a winner, and are willing to take pre-production orders. be the first on your water to own one or several.
Item Description Price TTo Top
2012-4116-4 4116-4 ONE SWITCH ROD 4PC 4WT 11' 6" $850 SALE ENDED
2012-5116-4 5116-4 ONE SWITCH ROD 4PC 5WT 11' 6" $850 SALE ENDED
2012-6116-4 6116-4 ONE SWITCH ROD 4PC 6WT 11' 6" $850 SALE ENDED
2012-7116-4 7116-4 ONE SWITCH ROD 4PC 7WT 11' 6" $860 SALE ENDED
2012-8116-4 8116-4 ONE SWITCH ROD 4PC 8WT 11' 6" $860 SALE ENDED
2012-5126-4 5126-4 ONE 2HD ROD 4PC 5WT 12' 6" $900 SALE ENDED
2012-6126-4 6126-4 ONE 2HD ROD 4PC 6WT 12' 6" $905 SALE ENDED
2012-7126-4 7126-4 ONE 2HD ROD 4PC 7WT 12' 6" $915 SALE ENDED
2012-7136-4 7136-4 ONE 2HD ROD 4PC 7WT 13' 6" $950 SALE ENDED
2012-8126-4 8126-4 ONE 2HD ROD 4PC 8WT 12' 6" $925 SALE ENDED
2012-8136-4 8136-4 ONE 2HD ROD 4PC 8WT 13' 6" $960 SALE ENDED
2012-9140-4 9140-4 ONE 2HD ROD 4PC 9WT 14' $995 SALE ENDED
2012-10130-4 10130-4 ONE 2HD ROD 4PC 10WT 13' $970 SALE ENDED
2012-10150-4 10150-4 ONE 2HD ROD 4PC 10WT 15' $1,025 SALE ENDED
Sage ONE Two Hand Blanks
2012-4116-4B 4116-4 ONE SWITCH BLANK 4PC 4WT 11' 6" $425 SALE ENDED
2012-5116-4B 5116-4 ONE SWITCH BLANK 4PC 5WT 11' 6" $425 SALE ENDED
2012-6116-4B 6116-4 ONE SWITCH BLANK 4PC 6WT 11' 6" $425 SALE ENDED
2012-7116-4B 7116-4 ONE SWITCH BLANK 4PC 7WT 11' 6" $430 SALE ENDED
2012-8116-4B 8116-4 ONE SWITCH BLANK 4PC 8WT 11' 6" $430 SALE ENDED
2012-5126-4B 5126-4 ONE 2HD BLANK 4PC 5WT 12' 6" $450 SALE ENDED
2012-6126-4B 6126-4 ONE 2HD BLANK 4PC 6WT 12' 6" $452 SALE ENDED
2012-7126-4B 7126-4 ONE 2HD BLANK 4PC 7WT 12' 6" $457 SALE ENDED
2012-7136-4B 7136-4 ONE 2HD BLANK 4PC 7WT 13' 6" $475 SALE ENDED
2012-8126-4B 8126-4 ONE 2HD BLANK 4PC 8WT 12' 6" $462 SALE ENDED
2012-8136-4B 8136-4 ONE 2HD BLANK 4PC 8WT 13' 6" $480 SALE ENDED
2012-9140-4B 9140-4 ONE 2HD BLANK 4PC 9WT 14' $497 SALE ENDED
2012-10130-4B 10130-4 ONE 2HD BLANK 4PC 10WT 13' $485 SALE ENDED
2012-10150-4B 10150-4 ONE 2HD BLANK 4PC 10WT 15' $512 SALE ENDED

A Pale Morning Dun Speaks
By: Rick Hafele   (photos by Rick Hafele unless noted)
It’s cold on the bottom of a trout stream. Of course, as a cold-blooded mayfly nymph adapted to cold-water trout streams I find it rather comfortable. I’m sitting, along with a half dozen other nymphs, on the bottom of a gentle riffle among golf ball to baseball size stones lazily grazing on diatoms and bits of algae like we’ve done every day for almost a year now.
I find it hard to keep track of time since every day is much like the one before, except that every day there seems to be a few less of us grazing. I’ve also noticed lately that most of my brothers and sisters around me now have odd growths on their backs shaped like two dark brownish-black slippers. I can’t see my own back, but it feels different and my skin seems to be getting tighter.
Suddenly a call goes out that an important meeting is scheduled and all the nymphs in my neighborhood must attend. Apparently the chief nymph has something critical to tell us. My buddies and I on the rock can hardly eat as this is the first time such a meeting has ever been called, and we have no idea what could be so important. Hundreds, hell thousands, of nymphs start moving towards a hollowed out area surrounded by waving aquatic plants. The afternoon sun reflects off the water, and the sky looks like spilled paint in the water’s mirror-like surface. Crawling along the bottom may look safe, but moving from the rock crevices to the meeting location is risky.  If you loose your footing the current quickly takes you away, and we’ve been told from our first days as nymphs to stay out of the current at all costs - when you drift away you never come back.

Once gathered together around the aquatic plants we all settle into a comfortable resting place. Some hang on the leaves of the plants. Others sit in the sand at the base of the stems. I find a nice flat stone off to one side to crawl onto just as the chief nymph stands up on a piece of dead wood lodged in the bottom and begins explaining what is happening.
 “Dear brothers and sisters this is the day you’ve all been eating for,” he begins. “Within the next few days you will change in ways you can’t imagine. You’ve all seen the dark slipper-like growths on everyone’s back. And you’ve felt the tightness of your skin. In the past such feelings meant you needed to find a safe place to hide while your tight outer skin fell off and a new looser skin took its place. That was then, this is now.” The head nymph pauses waiting to make sure we are all paying close attention, then goes on, “The next time you feel the gentle warming of the water, when the late morning sun slowly raises the water temperature, you will have an uncontrollable urge to let go of the bottom and swim towards the surface.”
“Yah, right,” I say to the nymph on my left. “That’s the last thing I’m going to do. See those fish just above eyeing us? It would be suicide to leave the stream bottom.” The head nymph keeps talking, “You will try to resist, but resistance is futile and only prolongs the inevitable. It is the destiny of every nymph here and across the entire waterway to let go of the bottom and swim for the heavens above.” He now stands straight up on his two back legs using his tails for balance, “I repeat, every nymph here and across the entire waterway will let go of the stream bottom and head for the surface.  Many of you won’t make it. Some will be eaten just as you leave the cover of the bottom. Others will get swept up in swift currents and carried downstream to waiting trout. Many of you, however, will make it, and for those the most amazing thing will happen,” he yells at the top of his gills.  “Just before you reach the surface you will slip out of your tight skins, and instead of a new nymph skin underneath, you will find you have two pair of wings unfolding from your backs. You will also notice that you are as mute as a clam, as you now have no mouth with which to talk, eat, or even drink a drop of water.”
“Whoa, this is getting a little far out,” I say as I look over at my buddy on the rock next to me. He looks back and quickly adds, “Why in the world would we all do something so dumb? I’m not going.”
The old nymph continues, “Why would you do such a dangerous thing? Well, you may have heard stories that someday you will be able to fly through the air like birds. Of course you didn’t believe these fairytales, but I’m here to tell you now they are true. If you get to the surface and poke your body through the tough film, you will take off into the air like snowflakes rising up to the clouds.” The old nymph’s gills twitch up and down, “Then fly quickly to the nearest tree to hide and wait, for within another 24 hours you will molt your skin one last time.” His large eyes sparkle now as he prepares to finish his speech, “Once you’ve lost your last skin you will take to the air one more time for a great orgy in the sky. Wild sex for all, after which the ladies will lay their burden of eggs back onto the water’s surface. Then all will sleep.”         

With that the old nymph drops down onto all six legs, walks slowly down the log, and disappears. “That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard,” my buddy says, while flicking his tails up and down. But just then he lets go of the stone he’s on, and with a shocked look on his face he begins swimming up. When I look around dozens more, then hundreds more, then thousands more nymphs start swimming up. That’s when I feel my own legs let go of the smooth round stone on the bottom and I’m floating downstream in the current. “Holy crap!” I yell as a nymph next to me disappears into a trout’s mouth. Other trout are swimming by with mouths open, darting left and right. Nymphs are disappearing left and right as well. I decide it is swim or get eaten, so swim I do. I swim like there’s no tomorrow, and then suddenly my skin begins to split open. I’m still a foot or so below the surface.

“Just like the old nymph predicted,” I yell, when suddenly I’m unable to speak.
Short crumpled wings poke out of my back, and I notice my body is no longer brown, but a beautiful pale yellow color. It is either by luck or grace that I make it to the surface, then through the surface. Others are there too, but not for long. It’s crazy. From above swallows dart down grabbing my kin off the water. From below trout keep coming up sucking my buddies back down. I flail my new wings until they feel stiff, then cross my tarsi hoping beyond hope to escape the attacks from above and below. I flap hard, and suddenly, like magic, I feel freedom. I’m flying.
Once in the air swallows keep coming. One barely misses me but gets a similar looking brother right beside me. As I head for the nearest tree I see a strange creature in the water waving a long slender stem in air. He seems to have one of my kind attached to a thread and is throwing it on the water. It doesn’t look much like me I think, but a trout sucks it down and he lets out a yell like some wild creature. I’m not going to complain if there is one less trout eating my buddies. I land on a leaf and sit perfectly still. I’m so unnerved I don’t move a muscle the rest of that day or all that night. Late the next morning I once again have the strangest feeling when suddenly my my skin splits open, and within just a minute or two my pale yellow wings are clear as glass and I feel lighter and quite excited.
The late morning air is mild and calm and I can see that many others of my kind also look different than yesterday and have already started to fly off their leaves back into the sky. I think, “Well, no sense in stopping now, let’s go for it,” and fly off with the others.   We now fill the sky twenty or thirty feet above the water. A swarm of millions, nearly all males, we dance up and down in the sunlight. The swallows are back too, but to be honest I don’t care. I feel light as goose down as I flap my paper thin clear wings and dance up and down several feet through the air. Thousands, maybe millions of us, dance in unison.  While flitting up and down I strain all thousand facets of my huge red eyes to find a pale rusty brown female any where in my vicinity. There she is. A few feet above and just ahead of me. I gave it all I have and fly in from behind and wrap my long front legs around her thorax. She knows just what to do and in seconds we are dropping slowly towards the water while we hold each other in our one and only embrace.
Just before hitting the water she lets go and flies away. I never see her again. I start twirling in the breeze. I can see a swallow change directions and head my way. Then I see the swallow’s mouth open......
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