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Sage Z-AXIS Rods
Campeche, Mexico
Steelhead Journal
Missouri Trout
Brown Trout Streamers
All pictures are Mouse-over.

Sage Z-AXIS Fast Action Fly Fishing Rods Are ALL NEW for 2007!
Wild Steelhead...
Z-AXIS rod and Sage reel...

Replacing The XP Series, what was quite possibly the most popular fast action fly rod in the world takes a lot of ... well, research and development.  It also takes something so good you can confidently move forward without a backward glance. In short, it takes a fly rod with nearly magical properties.  Introducing the incredible new Z-Axis Series F a s t A c t i o n R o d s Available in line weights 3 through 10.  So, how did Sage do it? How did They create a rod thatís significantly lighter, stronger and easier to cast for anglers of all skill levels? The answer, much to the marketing guysí dismay, isnít a simple buzzword or an easily described new material. In fact, the latest version of Sage's Generation 5 (G5) Technology is defined by improvements across the entire rod-building process.  To start with, Their exclusive analysis software helped them to better evaluate the performance requirements of every inch of 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 them 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.  But donít just take our word for it. By all means, visit your nearest fly shop and take the Z-Axis for a test spin. We think youíll find itís the lightest, longest-casting, most accurate fast action fly rod youíve ever tried. It might not be magic, but itís pretty darn close.

Simon Gaweswort testing a Z-AXIS Spey Rod...

Every year The Fly Fishing Shop does its highly acclaimed Summer Steelhead PhD School on the Deschutes River with Simon Gawesworth as lead casting instructor. 
This year Simon brought a hot-off-the-press 6126-4 Z-Axis Spey rod.  It was used by nearly every student and by every instructor with favorable commentary.  All Z-Axis rods are very lightweight, fast and authoritative.  They will appeal to highly skilled casters who expect superior performance from their fly rods.  More reports will be given to keep you up-to-date as we test Sage Z-Axis rods on such demanding adversaries as steelhead, salmon, tarpon, dorado, trout and who knows what

else.  Currently we have an 890-4 & 990-4 Z-AXIS and a are comparing them to 890-4 & 990-4 Xi2 Sages somewhere along the coastline outside of Campeche, Mexico...
More about: Sage Z-AXIS

Campeche, Mexico    (Pronounced: Cam-paych-ay)

Judith O'Keefe with a baby tarpon.


Patty and I first heard about Campeche from Judith and Brian O'Keefe.  They had fished there in April of 2006 and recommended that we get in touch with Raul Castaneda, who is a Campeche native and skilled fly angler. We contacted Raulís company, Tarpon Town Anglers via the internet and were immediately rewarded by friendly reply. Next we were sent a whole packet of travel & fishing information.  Ensuing emails convinced Patty and I that the combination of world class dining and hotels, Mesoamerican ruins, and a hundred miles of pristine Mangrove shoreline

full of baby tarpon was something we had to check out.  So as you read this we are in Campeche area under the care of one Raul Castaneda.  There will be a full report in the next "Insider".

Keeping A Steelhead Journal
By: Marty Sheppard

My Steelhead Journal was started four years ago to better understand the success and also lack of success that goes along with swinging flies for Steelhead.  I was inspired by the thorough data 
Marty Sheppard with a Sandy River Coho. compiled in Bill McMillan's book on "Dry Line Steelhead" and the descriptive writings of Roderick Haig-Brown. My hopes are that this article also would inspire some of you to collect memories of you own and find the same rewards as I have by creating a journal of all of your fishing adventures.
The journal itself is small enough to carry with me most times and large enough to include photos that go along with technical data, heroic battles with fish, and random writings of the experiences. 10" x 6" is a fine size. Mine is carried in a zip lock bag to keep water out.
Photos are a major entertaining factor that are included in my journal. I carry a small digital
camera while fishing (also in a zip-lock).  That makes it easily to take quick shots.  This allows me to record action that would be missed with a larger camera that was in the car or boat.  I download to the computer and print small 2x2 prints that are pasted in the appropriate dated entry. Sometimes the creative writing mood isn't there and I will just enter the technical data, slap a photo in there and leave room to make an entry later. While sharing my journal with friends they mostly just look at the photos.

Technical data included is divided into many areas and each entry starts out with the same template.

Weather: WeatherUnderground
Water Flow: USGS Sights
Water Temp: Thermometers
Flies Successful: Steelhead Flies
Flies Unsuccessful: Check our competitors web sites.

It has been important to include the fishless days in my journal as well. They are not as fun to write about but still have proved to be a major part of the learning curve. Comparing the good fishing to the not so good fishing and trends start to compile. One things is for sure and that is that I will never figure these fish out 100%. That is part of the fun of it . Just when you get a theory it can can be dashed by some crazy Steelhead out to prove you wrong.

One of the best pleasures are the good memories you can document and look back upon later. Writing about the good times had with great friends is priceless. Telling tales in descriptive creative writing is a rewarding hobby. After four years my journal is very much a reference and it has increased productivity of hooking Steelhead.

I've had the privilege of reading Marty's Fishing Journals.  What marvelous adventures they portray.  Pictures of steelhead, salmon and small mouth bass are accompanied with faces of happy anglers.  All are back-dropped with beautiful rivers, each in their natural glory.  The template is there for each day of fishing.  Beyond that there is free-form writing and each adventure takes on a personality personality of its own.  Marty's Journals are unique.  I have seen nothing else like them.  The editor: MB 

Marty Sheppard photo. Marty Sheppard photo.

Marty Sheppard photo.

Marty Sheppard photo. Marty Sheppard photo. Marty Sheppard photo.

Missouri River Trout
The Mighty Mo.

The Missouri River figures heavily in the journals of Lewis and Clark.  From St. Louis it was their highway west to the Great Divide.  It is at St. Louis that the Missouri joins the Mississippi to form the longest river system in North America.  Much of this river system is suited to warm water fish species such as bass and cat fish.  However, in Central Montana, around the small town of Craig, the Missouri is one of the most 

Me with brown Trout.

prolific trout streams in the western hemisphere. The Missouri is formed near the town of Three Forks the  by the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin Rivers (all famous trout streams).  Then a series of giant man made reservoirs tame the river and turn the free flowing sections into a giant spring creek complete with a bottom carpeted with trailing weeds that produce blizzard hatches of tiny mayflies and caddis. Hatches come off year round.  In the thirty miles from Holter Dam to Cascade there are about 3,500 trout per river mile.  There are both Rainbow and Brown Trout, neither of which are native to the  

system.  Average trout caught by fly anglers are 12" to 20".  Some brown trout have been landed to 32".   Patty and I were invited by the  Rio Products Company to join 

them at Craig, Montana for a three day fishing trip October 17, 18 ,19.  Our job was to help test several of their newest fly lines and leaders...and we were happy to volunteer our services.  In Craig we were joined by the Rio Staff and the owners of three other fly shops.  We stayed in a beautiful chateau style lodge.  It had  access to a long stretch of the river.  Our plane landed in Hellena, MT about 4:00pm.  By 5:30 Patty and I are on the camp water armed with a pair of nine-foot five-weight Winston BIIX rods rigged with

Patty landing an average Rainbow while guide Tim Plaska controls the boat.
Mark Bachamnn with a nice Rainbow that ate a #20 Paradun.

identical Rio Selective Trout lines in camo green color.  The weather is over-cast, cool & calm.  It was toward the end of a Baetis Mayfly hatch.  There are just a few fish rising to duns.  Lately we had been fishing mostly for steelhead and saltwater fish and it has been awhile since we have done any trout fishing. We both missed several nice fish during our period of adjustment.  The remaining risers fell for a #20 Blue Wing Olive Loop Wing Paradun.  Few came to the hand.  A 19-incher is released just before all the trout stopped rising.  The next morning we eat breakfast in Craig and join our guides at The TroutShop. Four drift bats were provided for our group.  The plan is to float a different 6-mile section of river each day.  Much of the fishing is to be 

done from the boat with an angler at each end and the guide rowing in the middle.  When mayfly hatches come off each afternoon we will park our boat and stalk rising trout while wading.  The first morning we launch right in the middle of the town.  It is cold as hell.  We start off fishing nymphs under strike indicators from the boat.  Patty lands a 15" Rainbow almost immediately.  Within an hour the hatch starts to come off.  Fish are rising.  We get a few good shots with dry flies.  Most notable is savage refusal by a big Brown.  Then the weather worsens.  We fish Streamers for a while and land several Brown Trout to 17".  In the early after noon we park the boat and fish 

Our guide Mark hunts for risers during a day of freezing cold.

a flat for some very picky Rainbows.  A few are landed, but only after we lengthen our 6X Rio Fluoroflex Plus tippets to at least four feet.  Then the Whitefish turn on to the hatch.  Dozens were rising steadily.  We catch several to 20" and note that they are much stronger than Deschutes whitefish.  The rest of the afternoon is spent fishing 

This Brown Trout a Bunny Streamer.

streamers from the moving boat.  Patty and I each landed several nice Browns.  A white Zonker proves to be the best evening fly.  We arrive at the take-out frozen stiff but very satisfied.  The next day is more of the same but much mellower weather.  We start out stripping streamers and the Browns are really on.  The Best fly is a #6 Conehead Western Bunny Streamer, presented with an Aqualux tip line.  Later in 

the day a Deep Eyed Minnow in Sculpin colors fished in the deepest holes with a 200 grain, 24' sink tip proved to be even more effective.   The second day was better fishing than the first.  It was a warmer day and we were dressed better.  If you fish Montana in October, be prepared with lots of warm clothing, including extra layers of under ware, gloves and a warm hat.  The third day there were mayflies coming off as we launched the boats.  We fished dry most 

Steve Schidt lands a trout that sipped a Baetis Emerger.
John Harder is General Manager at Rio Products.

of the day.  The trout were very picky  however. Emergers and cripples proved to be far more effective than dry flies.  Right after lunch Zack Dalton, Rio's customer service guy, loaned me his Sage 590 XP to try on a back eddy full of rising trout and whitefish.  Tied to the end of the tippet was a trailing shuck Baetis Emerger pattern tied by John Harder, Rio's hard working general manager.  The next hour was the best dry fly fishing of the trip. It made me wonder what the days might have been like if I had had this fly sooner.  We finished our last day fishing dry flies into the dark.  Montana can be proud of it's Missouri River trout fishery.  We will be back; possibly during the same time next year.  No doubt Rio will get rewarded for showing us such a great time and by educating us about some of their

products.  We got to use their new Nymph Line which has a bright colored strike indicator built into the tip.  These lines proved their worth and some are on the way to our shop.  The Aqualux Clear Tip Line is great for streamer fishing.  Always carry a selection of lines with different sink rates so you can cover all the water.  Amazingly, not very many Oregon anglers fish with streamers for trout.  Although they might if they knew how productive it could be.  Of course we already knew before the trip that Rio makes great leaders and tippet material.  No doubt Fluoroflex Plus is some of the best trout tippet in the world.  

Useful Missouri River Links
National Parks

Zack Dalton is in charge of customer service at Rio and is our main contact guy.

Streamer Fishing For Late Season Brown Trout
Bachmann with another Brown Trout.

Where we fished on the Missouri River, the Rainbow Trout inhabit the main flow and feed mostly on aquatic insects.  The Brown Trout live in the edge water.  One of the fun ways to catch Brown Trout is to cast streamers toward the bank from a moving drift boat.  Each stretch of river has its own character and Brown Trout adapt to many different types of water from under-cut grassy banks or  bouldery edges of rapids or glassy ankle deep glides flowing over weed beds.  They seem to like holds where they can capture a variety of aquatic and terrestrial insects and some larger specimens like to kill a smaller fish now and then for desert.  In October most Browns display brilliant colors.  These fish are putting on weight so 

they can survive the rigors of spawning which will happen in November.  This means that they are looking for big bites.  We tried all manner of flies.  The best ones were 2"-3" long.  We varied the weight of our flies to match the depth and speed of the water.  Dark colored flies produced best in the morning and the best evening fly was white, seemingly the opposite of steelhead.  We only fished with sinking tip lines.  However numerous Browns were spotted in very shallow slack water and looking back, I wish I had tried a floating line and light weight fly rigged with a weed guard.  Listed below are some of the flies that worked well for us.  

Zonker, White and Silver
A white streamer moved fast is worth trying in many situations. This well known saltwater method is a sleeper for both trout and bass in lakes. Bull Trout can be extremely aggressive toward the fast white fly.
Item Description Size Price To Top
06267-02 Zonker, White and Silver #2 - 3" 3 for $7.50


Deep Eyed Minnow, Sculpin
Well it's call Sculpin color.  We have never seen a Sculpin this color, but this was the best middle of the day fly that we used.  During the bright light hours all the fish seemed to move to deeper water.  We also caught several nice rainbows with this fly.
Item Description Size Price To Top
50077-04 Deep Eyed Minnow, Sculpin 4 3 for $5.85

50077-06 Deep Eyed Minnow, Sculpin 6 3 for $5.85


Western Bunny Streamer
This cone-head fly sinks quickly and has a lot of action. It could mimic dark colored Sculpins or other dark colored bait fish.  It was the best morning fly we used.
Item Description Size Price To Top
02107-02 Western Bunny Streamer 2 3 for $5.85

02107-06 Western Bunny Streamer 6 3 for $5.85


Bead Head Flash-A-Bugger, Olive
This fly mimics a wide variety of aquatic insects and baitfish.  Many experienced Montana fishing guides claim this pattern is their number one Brown Trout streamer.
Item Description Size Price To Top
9005-04 Bead Head Flash-A-Bugger, Olive 4 3 for $5.25

9005-08 Bead Head Flash-A-Bugger, Olive 8 3 for $5.25

9005-10 Bead Head Flash-A-Bugger, Olive 10 3 for $5.25


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Fish long & prosper,
Mark Bachmann, Patty Barnes


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