Prom Dress Flies, Sage ACCEL 7136-4, Spey Reel Comparison Chart, Outlaw's Revenge

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Prom Dress Flies In Wiggle Wart Waters
Text and photos by: Mark Bachman

Late-season summer steelhead fishing is often about waking flies and rising fish, but not on this trip. Last night's hard rain had turned my favorite summer river gray with glacial silt. Visibility in the water had dropped from five feet to two feet. Past experience told me that the great floating line and waking fly fishing we had experienced for the past several days was over. Steelhead in many rivers stop rising for surface presentations when the visibility in the water drops below four feet.
When the next two clients showed up in my camp on the river, I explained the fishing situation to them, "Sinking tip lines will be the order of the day. I brought along an extra dozen Copper Color Prom Dresses. These ought to bale us out."
Client #1 said, " Okay, let's do it!"
Client #2 said, "Now wait a minute, I came to fish this river because it is famous for its floating line fishing with small flies. Those ugly copper flies look to be very hard to cast, and besides, they look more like lures than flies."
"Have it your way", was my reply.
Meanwhile Client #1 was rigging up a Skagit line.
After a couple of friutless sessions with his floating Scandi Line, Client #2 also changed to a Skagit head and sinking tip, which put the "Ugly" Copper Fly on the level of the fish. Both clients caught a few steelhead, and although fishing wasn't hot, the "In Your face Method" with the big flashy flies made both clients productive (and happy).
Sometimes the difference between flies and lures is hard to fathom. Basically a lure has enough weight to be cast with a spinning or casting reel. A fly needs the weight and momentum of a fly line to be casted effectively. Prom Dress Fies are made almost entirely from strips of flashy Mylar (Flashabou) . They are attractor type patterns, which don't imitate anything that ever lived, but simulate flash and movement of many things that fish eat. Prom Dress Flies are for fly anglers, what wobbler spoons, and diving shiny plugs are for gear fishers. They force fish to attack or flee. They are big and easy to see in dirty water. They are made to fish at depths in the middle of a steelhead's lunch room. Big attractor type flies have been a staple for fishing for anadromous fish since the sport began in the British Isles. Classic full dressed Atlantic Salmon Flies are all attractors, and many are large and heavy. While Prom Dress Flies don't have the artistic nature or complexity of the classic built-wing salmon flies, they do have much in common with them as far as fish are concerned. What Prom Dress Flies lack in tradition and artistic snobbery, they more than make up for in fish appeal. Many different salmonid will eat them, including Steelhead, Resident Rainbows, Bull Trout, Kings & Cohos.

On a somber cloudy water mornig, Doug Robertson sticks a steelhead with a Copper Prom Dress Fly. This is the same kind of water where gear-fishers might fish a Wiggle Wart with a side plainer. When water conditions allow, steelhead often settle into tanky edge water. Wade close to the edge. Wade quietly.
The evidence is clear, this and two other steelhead, which had already ignored more traditional flies, were landed with Prom Dress Flies. There are a variety of fishing methods that are available to every angler in all situations, and catching fish is more fun than not catching fish. Adaptability is often the key to success, and survival. The steelheader who can adapt to changing situations is usually successful.
Everyone likes to land fish, even if unusual flies have to be employed. Often the trips that start out being difficult, then force each angler to adapt to new flies and techniques, are the ones that anglers remember the longest. Adversity conquered, leads to personal satisfaction.
This steelhead fell for a Purple Prom Dress. Often changing colors will wake the fish up. The original Prom Dress Flies were tied by Oregon fishing guide, Scott Howell, who admittedly patterned them after lures he had successfly employed for steelhead, during a "gear-slinger" stage of angling development. Which, kind of proves that all methods of angling leads to deeper understandings in humans about nature. More information on Prom Dress Flies...
Item Description Price To Top
PROMSET-2 Prom Dress Flies Complete Set, 3 OF EACH COLOR, blue, blue and copper, copper, fuchsia, purple, 15 flies in all. $51.25 Sale Ended
Sage 7136-4 ACCEL Rod
Text and photos by: Mark Bachman
The Sage 7136-4 saga continues with the new ACCEL rod, which is new for 2015. As outlined in: Sage 7136-4 Generations, I have owned and fished every model of Sage 7136-4 rod which has been produced (6) since 1992. The progression of this design offers some insights in rod designs and how they have been accepted in the market place. In 1992 a 13 1/2' rod for a #7 line was considered to be lightweight and shorter than average. Now, rods of the same length and weight are considered to be "big-water" rods popular with winter steelhead anglers. The progression of the Sage rods reflect this change as well. The newer 7136-4 are heavier than the older ones, because they are designed with more muscle for throwing bigger flies further (which they do). They also throw Scani lines and smaller flies remarkably well also.
When I got to camp with my new 7136-4 ACCEL, it was rigged with a Sage 6010 reel and a 450-grain RIO Scandi shooting head line. The stroke was easy master, and the performance was smooth. A small steelhead was hooked and landed while I was warming up. The ACCEL proved to have plenty of range with this line as well. Then I changed to a 550-grain RIO Skagit Max rigged with a T-14 M.O.W. tip, and larger fly. In my opinion, this is where the ACCEL rod realy shines. As the rod became more familiar, it was found that a heavier reel was needed for balance, and a Waterworks 3.5 ARC filled the roll. The ARC and the Sage 6010 weigh about the same, but the ARC holds more line, so when full it weighs a little bit more.
Yvonne (pictured above) arrived in camp with a Sage 7136-4 Z-AXIS rod, which she could cast pretty well. With it she landed her first ever steelhead. The Z-AXIS is still a popular rod, even though it has been discontinued for a number of years.
Later on, I asked her to fish with my new ACCEL rod, and to let me know which she liked the best, and to tell me why. After a full day, she said that the ACCEL was the better rod for both distance and accuracy, and was less fatiguing as well. After casting both rods, I would concur.

I took a Sage 7136-4 Z-AXIS, a Sage 7136-4 ONE, and Sage 7136-4 ACCEL into our shipping department and weighed each on the postage scales. This is what I found:
Sage 7136-4 Z-AXIS: 8 oz.
Sage 7136-4 ONE: 7.8 oz.
Sage 7136-4 ACCEL: 6.8 oz.
There may be some difference in the weight of each rod blank, but the actual difference in rod weights is probably cork. The Z-AXIS rods had a fairly large rubberized cork ball incorporated into the butt grip (a feature I always liked). This feature was discontinued on the two new rods. The ACCEL rod has a shorter, smaller diameter handle that neither of the other two rods have, which is comfortable, but which takes a larger reel to balance. The reel seat, cork and finish on the ACCEL rods are as good as anything on the market. The ACCEL costs $200 less than a 7136-4 ONE. Is there a difference in performance...maybe? Will you be able to tell the difference...maybe...if you are a real accomplished Spey caster. The Sage 7136-4 ACCEL is a very fine rod.

Item Description Price To Top
7136-4 ACCEL Sage 1736-4 ACCEL, 13' 6", 7-WEIGHT, Rod complete with case and sock $750.00 Sale Ended
Reels for Spey Rod Fishing (A comparison).
All of the reels listed below are steelhead proven!
Large diameter reels are an advantage when retrieving large quantities of backing. This is especially true when a fish turns and runs at you. Reels should be selected, not only for price and backing capacity, but also for the right amount of weight to balance with the rod(s) you are going to use the reel with.  Large, heavy reels are often an advantage when balancing stout, long rods.  Lighter reels might feel better with shorter, lighter rods.  Your Spey reels can often be used with your 9 to13 weight saltwater rods. If you are planning to use your new reel for this dual purpose, saltwater proof anodized metal, and a stout disc drag are worth your consideration. If you intend to use your disc drag reel for steelhead, using a drag that is waterproofed is a big asset.



Capacity Diameter Weight Price
Abel Super 9/10 N 6/7/8 + 150 yd. * 4.220" 8.50 oz. $825

Super 11/12 N

7/8/9 + 150 yd. * 4.700" 10.50 oz. $880


5/6/7 + 150 yd. * 3.700" 8.50 oz. $480


6/7/8 + 150 yd. * 4.050" 9.00 oz. $500
Echo Ion 8/10 5/6/7 + 150 yd. ** 3.900" 8.80 oz. $99.95
Echo Ion 10/12 6/7/8 + 150 yd. * 4.700" 9.60 oz. $99.95


Bouglé MkVII 7/8/9 + 225 yd.* 4.000" 9.0 0oz. $595


Marquis Salmon No. 1 5/6/7 + 150 yd. * 3.870" 7.75 oz. $275
Hardy Marquis Salmon No. 2 7/8/9 + 225 yd.* 4.120" 9.62 oz. $295
Hardy Marquis Salmon No. 3 8/9/10 + 300 yd * 4.120" 10.37 oz. $325
Hardy Perfect Taupo 6/7/8 + 150 yd. * 3.875" 9.90 oz. $695
Hatch Finatic 7+ 6/7/8 + 150 yd. * 4.000" 8.60 oz $600
Hatch Finatic 9+ 7/8/9 + 225 yd.* 4.250" 10.60 oz. $750
Lamson ARX 3+ 5/6/7 + 150 yd. * 3.750" 7.00 oz. $439
Lamson ARX 3.5 7/8/9 + 225 yd.* 4.000" 8.80 oz $469
Lamson ARX 4 8/9/10 + 300 yd * 4.500" 10.50 oz. $499
Lamson Guru G4 7/8/9 + 225 yd.* 4.250" 7.30 oz. $269
Lamson LS3.5 6/7/8 + 150 yd. ** 4.000" 7.75 oz $369
Lamson LS-4 8/9/10 + 200 yd. ** 4.500" 9.75 oz. $419
Nautilus NV Spey 400-550 6/7/8 + 150 yd. ** 4.250" 8.10 oz. $690
Nautilus NV Spey 450-750 7/8/9 + 150 yd.** 4.500" 9.10 oz. $790
Nautilus CCF-X2 8/10 6/7/8 + 150 yd. **   8.6 oz. $525
Nautilus CCF-X2 10/12 7/8/9 + 150 yd.** 4.100" 8.9 oz. $550
Ross CLA 4 6/7/8 + 100 yd. * 3.750" 7.6 oz. $250
Ross CLA 5 8/9/10 + 150 yd. ** 4.000" 8.1 oz. $275
Ross CLA 6 9/10/11 + 150 yd. ** 4.250" 9.0 oz. $270
Ross CLA 7 9/10/11 + 200 yd. ** 4.500" 9.7 oz. $315
Ross Momentum LT 4 6/7/8 + 125 yd. * 3.750" 9.3 oz. $470
Ross Momentum LT 5 7/8/9 + 150 yd. ** 4.000" 9.8 oz. $525
Ross Momentum LT 6 8/9/10 + 150 yd. ** 4.250" 10.3 oz. $570
Ross Momentum LT 7 9/10/11 + 200 yd. ** 4.500" 11.0 oz. $620
Sage 2210 6/7/8 + 150 yd. * 4.300" 7.8 oz. $159



6/7/8 + 150 yd. * 4.250" 7.5 oz. $319



6/7/8 + 150 yd. * 4.300" 8.7 oz $650
Sage 6012 9/10/11 + 175 yd. ** 4.700" 9.6 oz $700
TFO Prism 9/11 8/9/10 + 150 yd. **   8.7 oz $99.95

Capacities are listed with Scandi and Skagit shooting head type fly lines.
* = 20 pound test Micron    ** = 30 pound test Micron    *** = 50 pound test TUF Line XP

Outlaw's Revenge

If you fished the Deschutes for steelhead this season, no one has to tell you that it has been a little tough, and very spotty. It seems that every fish has been hooked before. Nearly all of the fish we landed through the month of October had net marks from the Columbia River Indian gill net fishery and hook wounds from being caught and released by other anglers. (Note that the picture above, the hook is stuck in an old wound or possibly two wounds). After being landed a couple of times, steelhead get a little shy. The last full day of my season found me fishing with Bruce Berry, who tied on a Johnson's Outlaw fly and went 3 for 5 in about four hours. The Outlaw was a consistant producer throughout the season. We have a good supply in stock. More Outlaw information...

Item Description Price To Top
37-0810 Johnson's Outlaw Steelhead Fly, SIZE 6 3 for $7.49 Sale Ended

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