2003 Gear Preview [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: 2003 Gear Preview

09-16-2002, 08:28 PM
I just got back from the Fly Dealers Tackle Show...where to start?
How about with Sage. One of the show high lights was the new Sage TCR( for "technical casting rod"). Any one else sick of rods with names like "Tech 2000 XL Tii"? Any way, the rod comes in two 9" 4pc. models. A five and an eight. This rod is supposed to be for"advanced casters only". Sage has been sweetening up their rods the last few years, replacing clubs like the RPLX and RPL+. Both the XP and RPLXi are eazy loading, fast action rods with realtively soft tips. Excellent fishing rods, but in the parking lot war, they where easily beaten.
When I asked Jerry Seim(Sage's rod designer) what he was thinking, he said," I wanted to make a rod that would be challenging to cast and as the caster gets better, there is always something more."
Many had said that this would be sort of like an SP+ redux, but I can report that this rod is every bit as fast, and much more sensitive than the old green monster, which I think feels a little dead. The tip of the TCR is flexes more than many so called "fast" rods, but the flex pattern is balanced in such a way that it doesn't collapse when pushed. I was surprised at how well it roll casts. Again,unlike some super fast rods. Although this rod needs a full 30' of line befor it starts to feel sweet it never feels vague. Words that come to my mind when I cast this rod are, "possitive", "direct", and "charged up". I should say that both the five weight and the eight felt very similar(consistant).
So, how much? Around $750. I asked why so much and was told that beyond the finer grade of cork, and nicer bling blings, the actual lay up of the prepreg carbon fiber is much more exacting, with many patches of the cloth placed through out the blank.
So, how does it fish? I don't know. I can't wait to find out.
On the other side of the railroad tracks is a new "price point" rod. It will cost about $180. For the money it casts well, and doesn't look too bad. I asked Jerry how they design "cheapness" into a rod, and aside from components, he said that the taper was simpler and less complicated to build.
More later...

09-16-2002, 08:43 PM
Very cool news Eddie! I can't wait to cast the TCR. By your description, it sounds like a rod I would like. I favor the RPLXi and XP actions for my casting style in single handed rods, and I am not a fan of the recent influx of "sticks" from some manufacturers that are so void of telegraphing load points they feel like an antenna off a mack truck. Sounds like Sage is moving in the right direction as far as design is concerned. The low-end rod will be worth a look-see, I talk to a lot of people who are in the market for an entry rod and I would love another good rod to recommend in that bracket.

Tell us more! :p

09-16-2002, 11:45 PM
Sage has also introduced a new long belly flaoting line to match up with the TCR. I cast the rod with both laong and regular tapers, and it cast well with both.
The well loved 14' 9 weight traditional(brown) spey has been reintroduced as the VPS. A great rod at a good price. They are also coming out with a 12 1/2' 5 weight spey rod with it's own line. What's that for?
T&T is coming out with a new line of rods called the Helix. It will be a very sweet trout rod. Nice soft action but still crisp. Not wobbly like a "full flex" rod, it has a moder, slower action. It replaces the Paradigm. They also have a new reel(it looks kind of funky).
Orvis has a new Batenkill reel that is small arbor, machined from bar stock, and will go for about $120. Very nice. They are also replacing the old "Clear Water" line of rods with tapers and materials that are post Space Age. For around 150 buck, they will be hard to beat @ that price.
Winston has introduced a budget rod line too. It's called the "Ibis". Around $180. It has a faster action that Winston thinks will be easier for begginers to learn how to cast. This rod is not as pretty as a premium Winston, but it is still very nice. It is interesting that most of the Majors are scrambling to introduce sub $200 rods. It's not as if they were losing any sales to TFO/Redington/St.Croix, but the cheap three will now lose sales to the Majors. Winston also had some Ibis two handed proto types(a seven weight and a nine). The trend to less expensive spey rods will help grow that side of the sport.
more to follow.

09-17-2002, 12:45 AM
One quick correction, the Ibis runs $295, not $190.

The Ibis in the two weeks I have been selling the rod has been a hot item and has been very well liked by many customers and co-workers. It is one awesome rod for the money.

I had the oppurtunity to cast the TCR and wasn't overly impressed with the rod. I do feel though part of it was due to that funky Performance Taper I was forced to cast on it. Being a proggessive yet fast action rod, I am excited to try a Rio Grande or SA GPX on the rod.

All my accounts from the show are second hand but I will say, from what I've heard and the pictures I have seen, the new Simms G3 waders ROCK. They are suppose to be 20% more breathable and 20% more puncture resistent plus come with wicked features like built in gravel guards, a built in handwarmer pocket and a large inside flap which will fit a flybox, tippet spools etc. They are pricey $425 I do believe, but I guarentee I will be the first to have a pair or atleast that is my goal.

A cool benefit of the G3 waders is the price reduction in the standard Guide Weight which is now being called the Classic Guide. They will run $330 and will not go through any modifications.

09-17-2002, 09:18 AM
Right...$295 forn the Ibis. So much for my Pulitzer Prize.
Those Sims G3 waders looked like they are going to be great. The Guide Waders were so much better than anything else, and the bar has been raised again.
On the GoreTex front, they are introducing new insulation technology that uses inflatable air bladders to regulate the insulation. I was imagining the possibilities with waders, but the image of floating feet up dashed those thoughts. Marmot and Burton will use it first.
Ross has introduced a new reel that is like the Big Game reels, but really thin and light. $295 ish. I forget what it's going to be called, but it looked like it will be a price class leader(@ $300, you would hope industry leader).
Speaking of three hundred dollars, Abel has reduced the price of their .5 reel(for a five weight) to about three hundred dollars. They also lowered the price on much of their Super series too. Lower prices? Do I hear a rumbling in the sky? They also will be bringing out a Super Seven, Spring loaded pliers and all reels will now come with an out going clicker(do I hear a rumbling in the sky?).
More later...

09-17-2002, 09:51 AM
It would have been nice to have had a place to actually cast the TCR. I didn't feel that I could really put the TCR through it's paces with a fence at 75' in the back cast. The new Sage line was having some troubles matching the shooting capabilities of some of the main line factor lines like SA and Cortland. Still if you really lay your thumb into it the TCR was capable of casting in excess of 100'. We were bouncing yarn flies off the signs at the end of the casting pool without too much trouble. I'd like to see what that rod could do with a shooting head.

I sat and visited with Lon about the new Helix rod line. Once again those guys are the lead dog in making fly rods in my opinion. We had some long discussions on the difference between "casting rods" and "fishing rods". I hope T&T doesn't cave into the pressure of ever faster rods and the hype associated with them. By the way we were bouncing flies off the sign with the Horizion series too. They were within a few percentage points of each other.

I noticed that almost every rod/line combination I picked up was on the line heavy side. I had some discussion with one of the line manufacturers about in passing. He indicated that all of the manufacturers this years are reaching the upper end of AFTMA. Apparently a standard set by Airflo a few years ago. He said "We were tired of hearing that their line didn't cast as well as the other guys". I can see a long future of "underlining" for the rest of us.

All in all, not alot of innovation and genuinely "new" product line. About the only thing that I saw that I "had to have" was Scott Sanchez's hat. :hehe:


09-17-2002, 02:36 PM
Thanks John,in all, I agree that there wasn't much new stuff. Powell closing and price points moving down were the big news. With the fires, droughts, job lay offs and atmosphere of uncertainty, the industry seems to be slowing down.
The line ratings remind me of what the golf club companies have done. Club faces are steeper than they were in the past so six irons today have a face angle closer to that of five irons in the past. "Our clubs hit the ball farther than ever befor"....
If I can, I always try to find out what lines the rod designers were using when they made the rod. I think it gives insight into all kinds of things.
What did you think of the one piece rods from Loomis? I would love to try and get a nine foot rod on a plane to the Bahamas. They are marketing them as "guides rods" that never get broken down. Making a rod for a group of anglers that only buy on pro deals doesn't seem so smart. Who would stock them? The rod was very powerful and I'm not sure I have ever cast as tight a loop for as far. This one would be good in a stiff wind or on a day with really good visability. I wouldn't mind fishing with one off a flats boat.

old man
09-17-2002, 04:15 PM
Just thought I would ask. But I don't thimk that I have ever seen a 9" 4 piece rod. :p . Are they hard to cast with?:confused:

09-17-2002, 05:44 PM

I'm not sure I can be considered a true judge of what the new rods are capable of. With a fence set 75' behind us to limit a back cast I felt like I had been given the keys to a Ferrari but had to stay in the "School Zone". That being said there was not a signifigant difference between the Sage TCR, T&T HE, Scott S3, GLoomis GLX pro, or the Redington Nano. I didn't get a chance to cast the Winston rods I hate to admit. I wound up talking to Joan Wulff for about 20 minutes. :tsk_tsk: The Loomis rod (as well as the others) are all true "cannons". There are some real "casters" rods on the market these days.

I am really stoked about T&T's new helix. I love the guides and the way the tip feels. I can't wait to see another 25lb trout bending the tip and see how it can protect a 2lb tippet.

Does anybody know who makes the lines for Sage? I am sure it was just me but I could carry all the taper easily but I was having a hard time getting the line to shoot as well as other rods. Plus the fact that it had been a long night before I got one of the Sage rods in my hand. That was one of the first rods I picked up.

B3 products has introduced a prototype net that has an aluminum frame, is foldable, a long handle, and a "built in" IGFA certifiable scale. I could only think of one word....FINALLY!!! Pretty is one thing but I am much more of a functional type of guy. Now if I can just talk them into a black matte finish my life will be complete. I know I have a card on them somewhere here.


09-17-2002, 06:02 PM

SA builds all the Sage flylines.