Our coverage of the new gear at the Fly Fishing Retailer show continues this afternoon. If you’re getting tired of the ‘new gear’ posts, don’t worry – we’ll be back to our normal posting schedule on Sunday.
This morning we got our detailed walkthrough of the new lineup from Sage, Rio and Redington. We also saw some cool new stuff from Buff Headwear and Smith Optics. Here are the highlights from Sage and Rio – tomorrow morning we’ll tell you about Redington, Buff and Smith.
Sage Xi3 Rods
We posted about the new Sage Xi3 saltwater rods last week. We like ’em a lot. Today we cast the production version of the 7 weight, and found it to be…just like the prototype we fished on South Andros this past winter. It’s light, a little faster than the Xi2 version and a great choice for a lighter bonefish rod. $700 for the 790-4 Xi3.
Sage 7126-4 TCX
We also got to fish the prototype of this guy on the Dean in August. George Cook, the Sage rep for the Northwest, calls this thing the ‘Death Star’. Yeah, it’s a powerful weapon. Like all the two-handers in the Sage TCX line, it’s really fast and really light. It throws a Skagit head in the 525 to 575 grain range a mile. If you prefer a fast, powerful butt section to a ‘deep bend’ kind of feel, you’re going to want to check this rod out. $865.
Sage DXL Typhoon Boat Bag
Sage has added some waterproof bags and packs to their lineup, and it’s certainly an understatement to say that they’re feature-packed. The DXL Tyhpoon Boat Bag has multiple closure options allowing you to flop the top shot to keep out rain, close a magnetic flap to hold gear in, or zip the top shut at the end of your day. It’s also got an inner clear top pouch that will be a great option for you if you choose to commit the mortal sin of bringing your Blackberry with you on the river. $225.
Sage DXL Typhoon Waist Pack, Large
This waist pack looks like a winner. It combines a large, completely submersible pouch with easier-access storage options, including one pocket that uses that ‘flop the magnets closed or zip it shot’ system described above. Why is this good? You can put your SLR camera in the submersible pouch and all your fishing gear in the easy-access pockets, and fish all day in the rain without fear. $200.
Sage 99 Rods
We also cast the Sage 599-4 ’99’ – Sage’s new purpose-built nymphing rod. It’s 9 feet, 9 inches long which allows better line control while mending. It’s got a relatively fast tip combined with a moderate-action butt section, and this combination produces a relatively open loop, which is a good thing when you’re nymphing – especially with multiple flies and/or lead. $699.
Value alert! This $9.95 piece of plastic from Rio makes all those left-over line spools in your basement useful. It’s a handle that slots into the center hole of those spools, and makes it much easier to wind a line back on there. The Cranky was released last year, but it’s new to us.
Here’s another nice little product that will make your life easier if you do things like making your own T-14 tips. Rio’s making their braided loops in orange and camo now. Why do you care? Using an orange loop on the back of a head or a long sinktip will help with visibility. Using a camo loop on the front end of a T-14 tip will save you from having to color it with a Sharpee when you’re done. Nice. $5.95 for a pack of three.