Tag Archives: sage one

I’m Alive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not much to say here… The season is tapering off and I need to put forth more effort into editing some things. Here is a snack.

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Mud, Guts and Glory

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Fly fishing is for the sophisticated, the rich, the people who define class. As Johnny Cash would say, “They’re probably drinking coffee (whiskey) and smokin’ big cigars”. For most of us, this could not be further from the truth. Well, maybe coffee and cigars… People tend to view fly fisherman as a fine sort, a lot are, but most fly fisherman get down and dirty. Even further down the line, a select few get downright muddy. No matter how you try to glorify it and put it on the pedestal for those who only fish dry flies, the attempt can only be futile. Those who are “trout only” turn their noses and think of you as living in a sod house as they say, “Oh, I’ve heard that can be fun”. Please, allow me to get my straw hat, flannel shirt (or no shirt), and overalls. It is time you finally went a carpin’.

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The trip started out as a normal seven mile exploratory search around the lake shore. I was looking for trout who have remained unpressured for years along a section far too dangerous for boats. Fishing went very well, almost good enough to write about. I’m sure that you are reading this because you are not interested in 20″ trout. Right? On my way back, I found shallow water and saw fins drifting amongst the waves. I have read about this before. They call it the “freshwater bonefish” because you can see their fins moving about the surface, doing whatever it is that carp do. At times they would hurl their bulky bodies into the air so far that I would wonder how. Super-carp, that is the only reasonable answer. I stood in the mud awestruck, thinking how I could catch a beast like this. Digging through my fly boxes, I remembered tying a fly that I deemed curious looking. The Backstabber. Why? I have no idea. What does it look like? Well, like a classic poem, it is up for interpretation. In fact, you are wasting precious carp fishing time trying to figure it out. Buy one (or a dozen) and fish it.

Please take some time to read this letter that I am sending to the creator of the Backstabber.

Dear Jay Zimmerman,
You are the man!
Thanks,
David

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Where was I… Oh yeah! The brilliance of the fly is unparralelled. The secret is in the physics. Eyes on top of the hook shank put added torque on the fly to make it ride hook point up, but if you affix dumbbell eyes without any dressing, it will lay on its side. The marabou is what aligns the hook vertically, no matter how it lands in the water, it will right itself on the bottom. If you play with this fly in the sink, or take it with you to play with in the bathtub, you will clearly see what this fly is all about. It is a delivery mechanism for a hook to ride point up cleverly disguised as a… ummm… Well, whatever it looks like, a carp is about to be bamboozled. Think about it. Carp, mouth down. Backstabber, hook up.

I tied on the fly and in seconds I was into fish. Time began running away and I was still a mile away from my car. A mile through the mud. It was dark and I had caught more carp than I could fit into a couple hours of fishing. I was bursting with joy and excitement. I had to tell my friends. I received the typical blow off from some and others gave me a heck yeah, but one remained keenly interested. Sure enough, he’s English. A man who goes by the name Adrian, who happens to be a fellow guide. We had loosely planned a trip to chase these fish around the flats, but never really got around to it. In the mean time, I continued fishing after work until sunset, giving carp their daily workout. Also catching those pesky trout and pike.spotless rainbowpiked

The day finally came where Adrian and I both had some free time. We hiked down to the ol’ carp hole to give it a whirl. I told him that he would and showed him how to fish the fly. In no time, I saw a bent rod out of the corner of my eye. I smiled, knowing his feeling. “Absolutely incredible”, Those were his first words upon landing it. I needed no other words. I knew. I had spread the disease of the grungy fisherman.

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The moral of the story is (if you are still reading), if your friends make fun of you for carp fishing, you need new friends. It takes guts and a strong forearm, the payoff is glory even if it is just in your own head. This post is out of the norm for me, but the only life changing thing about carp fishing is catching carp. I’ll take the easy way out and post a big carp picture.

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Death Between Lives

The thermometer in my car read -3 degrees. The snow fell relentlessly as I curled up in my driver seat, praying that my heater would miraculously spring back to life to warm bones that reflected the outside temperature. I shivered knowing that I shouldn’t, my body had no sugars to process for heat. Hours ago, the sun had already made its way over the pass with ease. Something that, in the moment preceding hypothermia, my car and I envied. If I could just make it over the pass and get moving, heat would slowly pour through the vents and save my life. That was only a wish. I covered myself with a slew of winter gear and waited for the sun to make its way over the pass yet again to warm not only the road, but my slowly fading body heat.Vailsnow1

Years ago, while running a guitar shop in Las Cruces, a very warm day brought on a cold revelation. Sitting outside I watched a truck barreling down the road driving at a speed around 70mph in a 35mph zone. Before I could contemplate what a terrible and careless driver this man was, I heard something that sounded like an explosion. I ran to the sound and aid of someone that I had never known. When I had arrived, it was too late and the speeding driver opened his door to find the man who I never knew lying in his own back seat, passing into another world. The man was probably on his way somewhere, never thinking the place he was headed would no longer involve a car. The driver sat on a curb waiting for judgement to be passed upon him as well. I turned and walked away after a short statement. It was in that moment I realized no matter how safe you think you are, your card can be pulled in an instant at any given time.Pansnow1

The thermometer read -12 and inside my car was not much warmer. I rubbed my hands together to generate heat for my slowly numbing fingertips. Out of nowhere, I felt an audible chuckle become an uproar of laughter. The movement helped and the laugh originated from the thought of the previous day. The thought of laughter with my friend on the Frying Pan River and my freezing fingertips that day. In fact, the whole trip and the reason I was stranded here in the snow was due to wanting to test a new fly on a river filled with extremely picky fish. John suggested that we fish the Colorado that morning because he had left his waders in another state, in another car. I somehow talked him into fishing the Pan without the use of waders. While we stood on the banks of the river, fish flew out of the water and we cursed each fish for the taunting. It took a while for us to get into the swing of the river again. For John, it had been three months since he wet his line. For me, I had been fishing the Arkansas tailwater too much. As we changed flies, we picked up the occasional fish, but nothing seemed to work until John switched to a dry, and I to a streamer. The two dumbest flies we could have ever chosen. A “Chewbacca Bugger” and a Parachute Adams were our flies of choice and neither of us expected what was about to happen. Laughter exploded from the walls of the canyon as we began catching fish that we never thought we would catch on flies we never thought would work, on a snowy February afternoon.IMGP0542

That night, John and I ate dinner joking about the waitress the evening before and “Seasoned Fries” that were ordinary fries coated in black pepper.When John asked, she called them “Regular Seasoned Fries” and our confusion as to whether or not they were seasoned or regular was quelled. The food packed my stomach full. As John and I departed, I sat in my car. The last thing I wanted was to drive home in the snow. I threw on my winter gear and drove away unknowingly into a storm. By the time I had pulled out of Glenwood Canyon, I was already worried and running low on gasoline as well as funds in my bank account. The snow began to collect on the road and my car slid aimlessly down the highway, in chaotic control with a white-knuckled driver behind the wheel. Through the town of Eagle, the snow began worsen. My foggy headlights barely piercing the veil of white that fell before me. Vail pass was next, but before I reached the city of Vail, my car nearly spun out of control. Driving time was over and the only thing possible for me to do was wait in a Safeway (ironic, right?) parking lot. As the hours ticked away and my body temperature dropped, the thought of the previous day eventually put me to sleep.fryingpan1

4:00am -17 degrees… I woke up from the cold with a gasp and subsequent cough. Unable to feel my lips and finding it difficult to move, I got out of my car and walked a lap. With feeling once again in my extremities, I had to move. I had to drive. Leaving the Safeway parking lot was difficult, knowing that I might be stranded on the side of the road rather than a parking lot where I could call for help. Even the snow on the road made it tough. With only a couple of hours of sleep, I found myself spinning my tires up the onramp. Inching closer and closer to my destination, I rocked back and forth trying to push my car up the hill. Movement meant heat. As my car skittered onto the icy highway, I heard a familiar sound. A sound I had not heard in over a month. My heater had kicked on! I turned all of the dials to the hottest possible settings. Slowly, the cab warmed to a temperature capable of baking bread. I basked in its heat and breathed a sigh of relief. It was not my time… yet. With a little bit of determination and a lot of luck, I made it over the pass and down into the town of Silverthorne. At 5am, I knew of a place to sleep until it was warm enough to fish. I did just that.IMGP0554oldbuddy2

This new day was never supposed to happen. I should have been dead, or at the very least, at work. This day was a new one, the day after I didn’t die. As I cleaned my waders, I thought about the man I had never known. I wondered if he had passed on a day that he truly enjoyed, that was full of love and fulfillment. While fishing that day, I asked the same to myself. The answer was a resounding, “No”. My love is the river, and my heart belongs there, I was born to die on it. With the fresh thought of death in my mind, I realized that the only value of life is to find your fulfillment. The only way to accomplish fulfillment is to chase your dreams. The following day at work, I wrote a letter of resignation.IMGP0548


A Review: The Sage One…

I don’t ever do reviews. In fact, I’m reasonably sure this is the first that I wasn’t asked to do. There just isn’t artistic freedom in a review, they are very black and white. I want to color. I want hues of blue and green at least…

It all began on a cold dreary morning. The clouds rolled in like a stampede of wild buffalo, charging to a place called nowhere and maybe beyond that. I walked the streets of Gunnison, Colorado alone. My footsteps the only sound. The frozen city slowly passed by, the lights painted their reflections against the ice. My goal was to fish the Taylor, -8 degrees pushed me away. The thoughts of fish flooded my head, but I knew I couldn’t, or could I? Pushing forward my joints began to stiffen and slow. The sidewalk pulled my feet down, begging me to stand still. I couldn’t. Restless, I moved just to move, I couldn’t fish but had to walk. I stopped into a local sporting goods store to warm up and there it was, emitting light from another dimension, or pulling it in from this one. I stared as the cold from my body fell to the floor. “You came in on the right day! We are having a sale”, a voice from behind me called. He didn’t even have to tell me. I was staring at my new rod, no matter what the cost was. Before I knew it, I was walking down the street with a Sage One in my hand and in the blink of an eye, I was on the Taylor. Still -8. I fished. The One wondering if this was its fate. Truth be told, this was its fate. To be used thoroughly, but never abused. For 15 years I fished that old Chinese rod, because I could find no better. The actions were too fast, rods were too short, fads came and went. Even frozen, the One still fought fish well, but still had no idea how it cast at the time. It threw 30 feet of ice with ease. After landing a few fish I knew i had found my new partner. image

That was February of this year, now to get to the meat and potatoes of the review. I love this rod with all of my heart. I really do. It will cast a mile and ask for more, constantly challenging my abilities to throw further. It is really amazing how well it presents a fly at 50-60 feet. Usually, there isn’t enough energy for that. You will also ask when you need to cast that far, I fish a lot of stillwater. With that being said, I use Rio Trout LT. It casts and roll casts very well, and with the energy from the One, it almost doubles that. The Rio line has never cast well under 15′ but the rod compensates a bit for it. A super fast action rod would throw a short cast like that, sloppily (like the horribly stiff Z-Axis). One of my favorite things about the rod is that it spans a distance of rod weights. I have the 5wt and it feels and reacts like a 4wt and it will cast like a 6wt if you get into the meat of the rod, it gives you back the energy you put into it. When you dig into the butt section of the rod, it seamlessly transfers that energy to the tip without that old school rod flop. Sage boasts that the rod is about accuracy, but i beg to differ here. It is accurate, but I think the rod has a lot more to offer in the direction of fighting a fish and casting. I can pull in a small 10″ fish like a 3wt would, or a 20″+ like a 6wt. However, without the drawbacks of either. The upper third of the rod is soft and quick enough to not allow a fish to shake slack into your line and the lower third offers the power to pull, and pull hard without a head shake snapping a 6x tippet. As far as everything else? The case is VERY small and another perk of its design. They can make a smaller diameter rod with the “Konnetic” process that also makes a smaller case. It does require a bit of a trick to fit, but the benefits of the smaller case are well worth it. Did I mention that it is black!? Now you have heard all of these great things, time for the bad stuff.

THE CONS:
#1: The One takes some getting used to. For years you have probably been fighting that natural wobble in the rod you have. You won’t have to compensate here. This results in a lot of loops thrown a bit too tight.
#2: The grip is really short. I’m sure there is a reason. I found myself grabbing the reel seat of my old rod to cast longer distances, I haven’t done that with the One yet. The grip is right, but when you get into a big fish, you want to choke up. There is nowhere to choke up. Which leads me to…
#3: Be prepared to get worn out! Because of how it is designed, its actual weight/length ratio, its natural need to not twist when bending, and its low profile guides, you will work different muscles when fighting a fish. Be warned, a 20″ fish will drain you faster than the fish wears out. This makes things exciting, but at the end of the day, leaves you with a sore arm. Very much like bamboo in that regard. You can cast all day and not feel a thing, but even when it is a lot of 14″ fish, you will feel it. #4: You need to realign your guides a few times during the day. You will know when by your loss of accuracy. It doesn’t happen much when you have room to cast, but when you are laying out 30-40 foot roll casts all day, you might toss half of your rod into the river after a while.
#5: …nope, that covers all of the negatives. Seriously, there is no other con to this rod.

If you don’t already have one, get the One. This is the future of fly fishing that merged with the old school bamboo. It isn’t what you may think. It is so much more. If you bought one and can’t get it in the rod tube, here is some help…

You want to have the grip and tip on the same side.image

The other 2 sections should be thin side up. In the middle slots of the sleeve.
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Fold over the top flap, roll both sides to the middle, and tie a knot.
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Insert into tube knot side first, otherwise you might have trouble stuffing the knot in and getting the cap on. Be gentle while doing this, the tip has a very small diameter and is fragile!!!
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That’s it!! If you have any other questions about my experience with the Sage One, feel free to comment.


Guess Who’s BACK!!!!!!!!

CHI-KOW!!!! For those in the know, that’s a karate chop. After all of this time i finally found the app to upload a blog post… From my phone! How amazing is this world we live in? This thing we call technology. Just wow. I’m a pretty happy camper right now and i feel the need to recap this entire year. Granted, I’ve probably lost all of my readers, but it’s like a new beginning for me into an era of technology. My “konnetic” rod has been giving me advice on the future and says that i should really get with the times. Heck, even Sanders has begun the “neofly” slang without me.

It all began on a cold night, the kind of night fishing dreams are made of. I remember it perfectly. March something, 2012 was the date originally a pristine white on the calendar now carried the burden of a big black “X”. The gravestone of a buried day. The screams of drunken teenage skiers pierced the quiet dead cold night. I tied on the desk lit by a tiny lamp in the ancient hotel room. “The Usual” seemed to be the bug of bugs this winter season. The more I tied, the more i grew tired. My winter gear was in the laundry below the party. No sleep, the gear will find new legs.

The morning began and i was off to a late start so I figured, “why not do some fact finding at a local shop?” After shopping for a few, I saw it. My new fishing buddy. The one that would be with me for the rest of my life, the one to talk to me when I’m feeling lonely, the one to pick me up when I’m down. “The One” Who says you can’t buy love? Some may call me a sellout, Nate, John T. In my defence, I’ve had my old rod for the past 15 or so years. Time for a new one, and Nate, you have broken more 100 dollar rods in your life than this one cost.

When I finally made it up the Taylor, it was -8 degrees. Some may say that is too cold for fishing, but they were rising. The One was at home fishing with me, it new it’s fate. Since then, The One and I have…

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Caught Blue River brutes,

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11 Mile maniacs,

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Crystal River crazies,

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Frying Pan-handlers,

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And participated in the g-town beat-down.

Also, not pictured was a natural tiger trout and some other assorted very large fish. The One was also with me when… I slid down the side of a mountain, was sucked into a river, almost broke my leg and hand and arm (all different occasions), nearly froze to death, attacked by bees and ants, and nearly struck by lightning.

This is what you have been missing and I apologize for the stories that I couldn’t tell, but today begins a new beginning. A very exciting and fun beginning. I’m ready? Are you?