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Great Lakes Steelhead & Salmon Amazing "Inland ocean" fisheries

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  #1  
Old 02-07-2005, 07:11 PM
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two hander

Iam looking at getting into this and would like to know what kind of rod,reel, and line to use for great lakes steelhead. I like sage rods and ross reels, so this might help you guys out.
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2005, 08:13 PM
peter-s-c peter-s-c is offline
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First, I'll put my answer into perspective. I'm a huge fan of Sage single handers and I've owned more Sages than any other brand of rod. I have never owned a Sage two-hander (though I've casted many) and it's doubtful I ever will.

You fish the Catt and I've fished it enough times to have some feel for the creek. Except for a few places like the bridge at Gowanda, distance is not an issue. We need a rod that'll handle short to medium distances plus one that will handle a range of lines and terminal rig. The best rod I've found to meet that set of criteria is the Loop Blue 8124. I also own the the lighter version, the 7116, and it would be a good choice too for the narrower stretches but the 8124 is the more overall versatile rod.

There are other excellent rods in this category, the CND Custom 1308, the T&T rods in the same range, etc. -- I'm just recommending the Blue 8124 as it's a rod I own and I know what it can and can't do. Black Francis inhabits this spot too and he's a local store owner of yours. I'm sure he can point you in the right direction. However, before you lay down serious cash, I strongly suggest that you extend your search criteria beyond Sage.

Last edited by peter-s-c; 02-07-2005 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 02-08-2005, 08:19 AM
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Have to agree with Peter on this one. Sage has a very limited selection of rods for the kind of fishing and casting you will be doing on the Catt. and for that matter most of the tribs in the area. I use the Sage 12 5wt. In the early fall when the weather is good and the fish are small, but as the season progresses the weather gets worse, the fish get bigger and the 5wt. Is a bit out classed. I would look for a rod in the 11 13 foot range in a 7/8wt.

Charlie.
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  #4  
Old 02-08-2005, 09:36 AM
Gillie Gillie is offline
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Spock,

I would agree that Sage are not the greatest rods for the region. Especially for someone who is entering the spey arena. Unless you are fishing the bigger rivers, which for me means the Niagara, Genesee, Oswego, and Salmon, 12-13'6" 7-8 weight is probably a good range to be in. This will also cover a lot of the fishing in the aforementioned rivers also.

I noticed that your home page is for Buffalo Outfitters. You should have access to Orvis rods then ? The 12'6" 7 weight and 12'6" 8 weight are both nice rods. I should clarify that my 8 weight is the old Trident. I have not cast the newer line but understand the action is similair. My 8 weight does very well with a WC 7/8/9 for casts in the 65 - 70 foot range. This covers most fishing situations in the area. If you have good technique you can push these rods out to 90 ft plus. I have not cast the 7 but would imagine a 6/7/8 WC to be a good starting position. These rods really come to life when there is a light reel under them so don't put too big of a monster under them. I am very disappointed that Orvis stopped the Trident spey, they were much more pleasing to the eye. If you want a more detailed review of these rods Dana did a review of the Orvis on the spey pages.

http://www.speypages.com/orvis.htm

T+T, Winston, CND and Loomis (just to name a few) all have rods that are nice for the area and some are tuly more capable rods than the Orvis. I chose to encourage you to try the orvis only because of your association with Buffalo Outfitters which I believe is an Orvis dealer and because it is an under appreciated rod. The Orvis line is also very nicley priced for the starter or someone who wants an additional rod at a good price.

Good Luck
Gillie

Sorry, just notice that Orvis has redone their line a little this year. I would reccomend the 12'6" 7/8. They no longer have two different 12'6" rods. I'm guessing that this rod is closer to my 8 weight than the old 7.

Gille

Last edited by Gillie; 02-08-2005 at 09:41 AM.
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  #5  
Old 02-08-2005, 03:37 PM
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BLACK FRANCIS BLACK FRANCIS is offline
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i would have to disagree at least a little. i think sage makes at least two darn nice rods for this area. the first would be the 12.5' 8 wt euro. which i like a lot and is not too much rod for the catt and not too little for the niagara. if you like med action rods it is really a nice casting rod. the other which i learned to cast on is the 13.5' 7 weight. i think the existing one is a little different than the old (7-8 years?) one that i borrowed from a friend. this rod is slow but it is actualy a great rod to learn on as it really lets you know what's going on. definitly not a weight rod but for the catt lots of people use it. it loads on short casts very well and is darn near impossilbe to break a fish off on. the distances here don't usually require a cannon of any sort and if there is one area sage can cover it's here. btw i don't own or regularly fish any two handed sage rods, but i have cast the mentioned rods quite a bit. i am a T&T fan myself but i like the faster rods.
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Old 02-08-2005, 04:30 PM
Gillie Gillie is offline
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B.F

Those rods would certainly do the job, and probably do it well. The reality is that almost any manufacturer makes a decent spey rod these days. It really comes down to preference and casting stroke.

I know that for me it took a little bit to get used to how fast my T+T is but now I absolutely love it.

Gillie
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  #7  
Old 02-08-2005, 04:56 PM
peter-s-c peter-s-c is offline
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BF, it's not whether or not these rods will "do the job OK" but at what price? There are rods on the market at half the price that will do the job better. Why pay more to get less? I'd choose a St. Croix 13' 7/8 over a Sage 7136 brownie at the same money, so why pay two to three times as much? I've spent time with both rods and the St. Croix is a better all around rod, IMHO. The best Sage Catt rod is the 6126 -- that's a decent rod. Stick a 6/7 on it and you're away to the races, but you could spend half as much and still get a rod that is just as good if not better. If somebody is bound and determined to toss $700.00 USD on a rod, then get them to buy a T&T or GLX.

Last edited by peter-s-c; 02-08-2005 at 06:59 PM.
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  #8  
Old 02-08-2005, 05:42 PM
Gillie Gillie is offline
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Peter,
I'm curious if you have had the chance to try any of the Orvis rods ?

Gillie
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  #9  
Old 02-08-2005, 06:12 PM
peter-s-c peter-s-c is offline
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I owned the new 13'6" 8/9 briefly as it transitioned from payment for work performed into another Daiwa (a new blue 13'6" - 9 wt.). At the time, my biggest problem with it concerned it being a three piece instead of four. I found the rod to be moderately stiff, but not overly fast on the recovery, and a bit 'numb' as far as response and transmission of info to the casters hands. It felt middle of the pack as far as weight-in-the-hand goes. Casting effort was moderate. Not overly powerful but very serviceable. It was a decent performer for the price and better than some of the high priced rods out there. I'd rate it well in the medium priced brands, ahead of the St. Croix, but behind a Loop Blue. I'd buy it in a heart beat vs. a 7136 brownie or 7141 at even money. I found it equivalent to the new Sage 8136.

Compared to my new blue Daiwa 9 wt., it ain't close -- but then I prefer my sticks on the fast recovery, light & stiff side. You have to be a Loop Green, GLX, or T&T fan to like these new Daiwas.

I think anyone who would buy these new Orvis rods will get value for money and will have a rod that will perform well across a broad spectrum of fishing situations.

Last edited by peter-s-c; 02-08-2005 at 06:21 PM.
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  #10  
Old 02-08-2005, 08:28 PM
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BLACK FRANCIS BLACK FRANCIS is offline
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Peter, with all due respect to you, especialy on rods and actions, i was merely suggesting some sage's i liked as per spock's preference in manufacturers. there are undoubtedly many cheaper, arguably better rods on the market and i think some fine examples were mentioned by all.

Gillie, all these rods mentioned can certainly cast better than the people holding them (myself included) can make them cast. we have many choices these days and should be thankful for it. the research is more enjoyable than most.
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  #11  
Old 02-09-2005, 06:22 AM
peter-s-c peter-s-c is offline
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Don't mind me, I just get a bit carried away when the subject of Sage two-handers arises.
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  #12  
Old 02-10-2005, 09:29 PM
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Stampsteelie Stampsteelie is offline
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Unhappy Sage bashing

Spock,
you have a very interesting search in front of you. The spey market has exploded in the past few years and there are so many wonderful rods available. A great deal will depend on what you want from your rod. Do you like fast rods or slower? Do you tend to fish very heavy tips or lighter ones? Do you like to shoot line with a short head or do you want a longer belly? As you will see mentioned on here and other sites you need to take a bunch of rods and lines for some test drives to determine what fits you best. If you haven't cast a two hander before I would recommend you hook up with your local spey guy or find a good casting instructor. Trust me it will save you lots of money and frustration in the long run.
While I now live in BC, I grew up fly fishing the Great Lakes and have some experience with the rivers there. I would agree that you want a rod between 12-14ft that casts a line weight between 6-8wt. If I had to have one rod for the GLs it would be the sage 8136. This rod has some guts and will cover most situations you will encounter. BF mentioned the 7136 which is one of my favourite rods. Unfortunately sage discontinued that rod for this year. If you like slower action rods like me then thats an awesome rod and there are still some around.
All my spey rods are sage. Yes there are tons of rods that are just as good if not better depending on taste but there are many that aren't even close. The reason I buy sage is the incredible customer service that they have given me. Just last fall I broke my 7136 two weeks before a big trip to the Nass. I shipped the rod and called them to explain my situation. For no extra cost they had my rod rebuilt and returned intime for my trip. That and several other experiences like it have made me a sage fan for life. The warranty is not the only reason I use these rods. I think my rods cast very well...and they'd cast even better if I was a more proficient caster.
One direction I would recommend you investigate is the Skagit style. Rio and Airflow are comming out with Skagit lines this year. If you spend most of your time with tips its an amazing way to go. While I have not cast them yet I've been told the new GLoomis rods are amazing. They allow you to throw heavy tips while using sporty little rods that are a blast to fight fish on.
I wish you luck in your search. You will encounter many different opinons that are all very valid. You need to see what fits you.
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Old 02-11-2005, 01:36 PM
peter-s-c peter-s-c is offline
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Out of curiosity, regarding your 7136 -- is it a brownie, greenie, or the new IIIe? What lines do you use on it? What casts do you use? Continuous water loading (Skagit) or conventional D-Loops? Do you tend to use a lot of top hand in your casts with a lot of arm motion?

I'm asking the questions as I'm trying to understand what people see in that rod. The new IIIe isn't a bad rod and if it wasn't so pricey, I might be interested. I find it to be like the new Loomis Dredger series and I've already ordered the Kispiox 7/8. However, I've tried the other two 7136s and found them to be weak, wobbly noodles that have to be underlined before they begin to cast more like a conventional rod. I realize that they were optimized for shooting head work, Skagit style, but apparently, not every 7136 owner uses them this way. Some guys really crank the grains on these rods and I can't figure out how they're able to cast them this way.

To me, a 7136 brownie is a 300 grain rod, max. Last time out with the 7136 brownie, the owner had an SA 7/8 short head on it that just folded it over. We backed it off to a 6/7 short head and we could cast it if we gently feathered it out there, but the 6/7 was maxing it out. If I owned that rod, I'd probably fish it with a 5/6.

Love to see a 7136 affecionado cast the rod properly -- maybe then I'd understand.
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  #14  
Old 02-11-2005, 02:27 PM
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I also like the traditional Sages. While I don't have any experience with the 7136 (I do have one for sale in my experienced rod rack), I have fished a lot with the much maligned Sage 9140. This is a greenie and I can cast it better and farther then any rod I've ever fished, I think even better then my much beloved CND Expert 1409 which I really, really, really like. For me the line that makes both the 9140 and the Expert 1409 sing is a Delta 7/8. I am doing normal spey casting (or at least my "wham/bam" version of it) using mostly the Circle C and the Double Spey casts and flies up to 1/0 (mostly #2s). To me both of these 14' rods are a joy to cast and fish.
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Old 02-11-2005, 07:31 PM
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7136 brownie

Peter,
my 7136 is the older softer version. It is a very soft noodle that is a blast to fish with. I do not launch huge casts off this rod. I would say it is effective out to 80 feet or so. In the hands of a better caster it could probably fish farther.
I tried a mastery spey 8/9 on it but that was overkill. Now I'm fishing the Midspey 6/7 w tips. This line is a great match for this rod. The only comment I would have is that the type VIII tip is actually an 8 wt. Thus it is a tad too heavy and you can feel it when you cast. This is the line I use for summer fishing. If I was back home in Ont I would consider using a windcutter as I would be fishing more tips.
Although this rod is soft, don't think it has no guts. Last winter I brought some nice winter runs to hand and this summer it subdued a surprise spring that attacted my fly while fishing summer runs.
From my understanding the 7136 was not designed as a shooting head rod. It came out well before that. It is a rod designed for light dry line fishing. The 7136 green (2001) and the following lt brown model were of the same action just a different colour.
When fishing my rod with a midspey I cast in a traditional style using both my upper and lower hands (probably using too much upper hand but I'm working on that). I use a mix of casts: single, double, circle, and spiral speys.
One of my friends Mark McAneeley is a guide here in BC. He was pictured holding a 26lb steelie in the last issue of Flyfisherman. The fish was caught by Lani Waller using Mark's 7136. Mark has the newer 7136 and he was using an Airflow line. He says the newer 7136 launches the Airflow Delta(can't remember the weight).
Like MJC I own a 9140 green that I built. I really like this rod. An 8/9 midspey fishes well on it. This winter I've been using an 8/9/10 windcutter modified to Ed Ward's instructions to create a Skagit line. I have been blown away by the way this outfit fishes. I can only imagine the new GLoomis rods matched up to proper Skagit lines! The 9140 will do it all from summer to winter. Again like the 7136 it is a softer rod. The 9150 is a completely different beast that is much faster. While still considered slow by many it is much faster than most traditional sages. When it comes to big water I love my 9150 but I can see few uses for this rod on the GLs besides the Niagra.
My point is not that Sage rods are the best out there. There are lots of great rods and lots that are cheaper. Just don't rule the Sages out. If I was moving back to Ontario tomorrow my rod of choice would be my 7136. I really wish Sage hadn't discontinued them.

Dan
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