Tag: sage

Sage Fly Fishing Guatemala

| March 28, 2013 | 0 Comments

Okay, so go ahead and watch this.

Monday Morning – Push and Pull

| October 29, 2012 | 1 Comment

Good morning wherever you are this clear crisp North Texas morning. If you are reading from the US East Coast, welcome to our world – living on the Gulf of Mexico has served up hurricanes on Texas shores that are magnitudes greater in power than what you are facing, but due to the concentration of media where you are, “it’s the end of the world” scenario for New York, New York.

This storm just goes to show you, we (here in the Chicken Fried Nation) can survive with Washington, DC, shut down, with Wall Street shut down, and if the east coast-centric media were to go black, I think we would survive that too.

I took a look at Bridgeport, Texas, Lake Bridgeport last week, and it fulfilled my expectations – the expectation you have when reading a lake is twelve feet low. More on that soon.

Perhaps I buried the lead on that story from East Texas last week, but did you see those rainbow sows the fine Dr. caught in Broken Bow a couple of weeks ago? It’s fairly rare to catch one of those in Oklahoma, but to catch five big rainbows in one day … somebody else show me that’s been done before! I have the fly, and I have the location, but with all the meat eaters running amuck in Beaver’s Bend (poachers and law abiders), they are probably fully digested by now. That’s not to say there’s more though.

We had that cold front, the one my Mom says we always get before my birthday, last week, and the push to go to Oklahoma is countered by the pull to head for the salt of the Texas Gulf Coast. Everything I am hearing is that the coast is ON, including tarpon off the jetties somewhere near Rockport – Aransas Pass. If anyone has a recipe for tying a floating (as in suspended) mullet, feel free to hook me up. Apparently tarpon are chomping the small mullet as they suspend heads-up around the jetties. Poor little mullet.

While there’s no Blue River stocking schedule out yet, and Texas Stocker Trout schedule is yet to appear (mid November), I had a trusted friend tell me the smallmouth bite is on at Texoma. That same conventional fisher has a pretty strong opinion about Lake Ray Roberts as well, “It sucks!” Yeah, well maybe it’s time to do something about that (get ready TPWD).

Keep your eyes on the gear you’ve been thinking of buying as manufacturers are trimming their offerings to what sells the most, and we all know that may mean the best gear at the best price – just not the most fashionable color. I picked up a discontinued backpack – the Simms Full Day Pack – at Tailwaters Dallas at a very good price (thanks for the birthday money Mom) last week. The color has been discontinued – the color we need here in the hot Texas sun. I also got a few rods in my hands last week – the Winston Boron III-SX has my attention as does the G.Loomis NRX Saltwater rod series.

There’s also a new Go-Pro camera on their site, so that means there will be some softness in pricing of your (now obsolete) older Go-Pros. The new ones boast performance upgrades so great … it’ll be difficult to put this purchase off any longer. Be sure to click on the Go-Pro ad at the top left of this page for a direct link to purchase.

Don’t go running off to Bridgeport, Texas, until you read my report tomorrow. While I am still deep into getting the Airstream (mobile fly shop/shack/lodge) rolling, I can be talked into fishing just about anywhere during the week – as long as this stomach ailment is kept at bay. Feel free to contribute, ask about possibilities of stories, and click through to look at some of the outgoing links in this post. You may be glad you did.


Tailwaters Anniversary Bash Wrap Up

| June 6, 2012 | 0 Comments

Sitting on the front porch, with the rain pitter patting like a million mellow metronomes, and loving every minute of the much needed rain to finally hit us here in North Texas. It’s hard to actually wrap up the Tailwaters Fifth Anniversary Bash last Saturday, but with the help of a Partagas 1845 and a beer, maybe I can do it justice.

Tailwaters Dallas Fly Shop

If you are a fly fishing industry watcher, then there are times when you can’t help but wonder who or what is the next big thing. On a micro level, it was quite reassuring to see the vendors who were able to make the Tailwaters party last Saturday, and personally stumble upon some interesting finds.

Howler Brothers at the helm
Howler Brothers at the helm.

Texas fly fishing businesses like Howler Brothers not only provided the much needed edge in outdoor casual and fly clothing, but they also were the killer musical guests – Wrinkle Neck Mules as well. Realistically, I ask myself just what can’t they do? If you haven’t taken a look at the Howler Brothers clothing line, you should. Their clothing is original, uses unique design and fabrics well, and has the common thread of being well made and durable. I put the Pescador shirt to the test at Matagorda, and not only did it perform well, the fabric, drenched in surf saltwater after going BTB on a kayak ride, dried more quickly than any top-of-the-line fly shirt I have ever owned.

Wrinkle Neck Mules are the Howler Brothers
Yes, the Howler Brothers really are the Wrinkle Neck Mules. I heard it for myself.

Between representing their line in the Howler booth, the erstwhile Wrinkle Neck Mules braved serious heat to play an acoustic set that everyone should have paid good money to see. Unfortunately, my poster arrived in Denton while I was at the party, so the “Let The Lead Fly” shotgun blasted poster will go without autographs for now. With permission, I will post a video of their performance at a later date.

TFO owner Rick Pope at Tailwaters anniversary party
Rick Pope talks to Clay Knight of Safarious.com about TFO fly rods.

Temple Forks Outfitters, famous for their affordable line of fly rods, reels and other items under other names, was solidly represented by none other than owner Rick Pope, and he was backed up with dozens of rods and outfits to give those interested a chance to cast their rods and see what newer lines like the BVK line of rods are all about. Of course they also have the new zero BVK fly reel as well, and that is a reel to consider if you are looking for a new reel for your small trout small stream rod.

At the other end of the spectrum, and a place I tend to spend a lot of time actually, Hardy saltwater rods left a very large impression on me. I threw the six weight in the saltwater line, and was impressed at how relaxed and slow the casting speed was for such a fast stick. It seems like its spine reaches all the way up to the third guide down (very high tip flex), and doesn’t seem to like to be hauled or manhandled with a power stroke. I wasn’t wearing my typical magnifying glasses, but I did spy a little round sticker on the rods which I later came to find out said, “Made in Korea.” That hurts when the rod I was casting is priced in the $700-dollar range. That little bit of information leaves me with more questions than answers, but at least it’s a British company doing the importing (rationalizing a bit to justify purchasing one?). Mark Shelton, of Redtail Sports Manufacturer’s Rep casted the rod with me, and talked me down from the driving power stroke to a more tame cast that rod seems to like.

A Texas juggernaut YETI Coolers had a well stocked booth, and I saw at least three coolers sold and one won as a prize (heck of a win!). Looking at some of the accessories on site lead me to purchase a lockdown for my coolers so that I can put them in the back of a pickup and not worry about being a passenger with an expensive cooler in the back bed. It kind of does away with the main comment about YETI, “So expensive someone would steal it.” I ordered some YETI swag from Austin the very next day.

The other unexpected thing I found at the Tailwaters Anniversary Bash was a booth by some up and coming flip flop folks. Hari Mari, a Dallas, Texas, based company, has these cool looking, simple straight forward flip flops with a twist. My main complaint about flip flops is the footbed gets slippery when they’re wet, and what fly fisher doesn’t get their feet wet? I certainly don’t want to spend nearly $100. for the leather flip flops. The guys at Hari Mari have brightly colored flip flops that have a fabric footbed that feels so good on the bottom of your feet that … I splurged and bought a pair – bright safety orange (easy to find in a dark old house) – and put them on and wore them the rest of the day. Tailwaters has a brand new display of Hari Maris in the shop.

I had one of the increasing popular Diablo Paddlesports boats to show and tell at the party, and answered plenty of questions about the boat and tentatively scheduled some demo rides of the Adios.

crowds wait in line to get to the register at Tailwaters
Crowds wait in line at the register.

Of course Tailwaters always uses their anniversary parties to move some merchandise at sale prices – Hatch reels were going for $350., clothing was as much as 40-percent off, and I even saw a couple of Sage fly rods depart at $100. each. I snagged a pair of soon to be discontinued Simms Flats Boots at 40-percent off. This is the boot you want for wading flats for carp here in Texas (sizes run pretty true on these).

Something completely different, a new website that focuses on the broadest outdoor genre of photography – Safarious – was demoed to me by creator Clay Knight, and as a professional photographer, I really liked what he showed me. The site has the ability to upload addresses, group them, distribute new photographic portfolios to those groups individually, and also participate in a voting system that pushes good work to the forefront of the site. The organizational capabilities alone are impressive, but take a look for yourself at www.safarious.com. Clay said that more functionality is on the way, and they are working on modules that will allow for uploading from mobile phones as well as other exciting features.

I saw, with my own two eyes, significant numbers of top shelf rods being sold – as well as more than a few top shelf reels, like the Tibor Reels, finding fresh new owners as well. Honestly, they were selling a lot of everything, and I later heard it was their best ever birthday party.

Sean Polk talks to the crowds at Tailwaters Anniversary Party
Sean talks to customers at Tailwaters Anniversary Party

Lest I forget, the Fifth Anniversary Party also saw the official rollout of a new member of the Tailwaters crew as well – Sean Polk, who moved just last week from the Orvis store on Preston in Dallas, was working hard to answer questions, and socialize with their largest crowd to ever attend a Tailwaters Anniversary Party event. Look for a story on Sean coming out later this week.

Huge crowds and free mudbugs at Tailwaters Dallas
Free food and drink at Tailwaters Anniversary Party.

If you missed the party, make sure to put it on your calendar for next year, and tell the Tailwaters crew where you heard about it. This really appears to be the event that puts Tailwaters over the top as the leading fly shop in North Texas.

Excalibur Meets Its Maker

| January 5, 2011 | 1 Comment

I waited until the holiday rush was officially over to ship off my Sage fly rod today. The rush is over isn’t it? Anyway, the form is an easy .pdf download from Sage’s site, and the only thing I saw that could trip a fellow is the fact they want the pieces of breakage, and the entire fly rod when it comes to rod repairs. If you haven’t read the story of how my rod arrived at this pitiful juncture, please feel free to read “I Stepped on a Rock and it Rolled.”

Of course I couldn’t resist enclosing a letter with my Sage XI2 seven weight when I dropped it off at the nearby Pack-and-Mail. It does make me nervous just dropping something like that off, and I guess the letter will serve to entertain the “lucky” Sage employee on the other end. It did help to put the rod in proper perspective as you will read.


To: Sage Rod Repair
re. Sage XI2 7904

Dear Repairs,

It is with extreme sadness that I return my newly purchased, barely used Sage XI2 rod to your repair department. You see, I already consider it my daily driver, and drive it does! This is my favorite rod, and does everything I want it to do in warm water.

Unfortunately, I was scatting along some riprap rocks recently and took a nasty spill. At first I was extremely upset about the rod, but then I realized I should be glad to escape with as little injury as occurred. Still, my heart aches for my once tall and beautiful Sage Fly Rod.

When you hold it in your hands, see if you don’t feel the power of “Excalibur” coursing through its cork grips. There’s something there, perhaps faint, but I do feel it. Although rocks were involved in its breakage, rest assured I did not try to stab a boulder to see if the tip would somehow penetrate and hold the rod for the next young fly fishing knight to come along and try to pull from the rock. Alas, it was only a simple slip that lead it into your trusted hands.

Now, as you inspect this superior technological wonder, you should know that before it stopped at the end of a long fall, it was pristine – spotless. You will now observe it to have deep wounds on the butt section and what I fear to be a contagious rash on the cork handle. The breaking of the tip is painfully obvious.

I must assume you test a rod before returning it to it’s humble owner; for fractures perhaps unseen, but also just as deadly. If not, I would implore you to do so, as the fall was so consequential that I fear for hidden fissures or fractures.

Once my sharpest rod rejoins the quiver, you can expect it to make short work of common carp, largemouth bass, stripers, sand bass, gar, redfish, speckled trout, ladyfish, palmetto bass and even flounder.

Please, for all that is the love of fly fishing, return my rod to me at your earliest convenience. I feel luckless without it, and outmatched by the aforementioned fish in every way. The puppies of our winter will soon grow to the dogs of summer, and I need my rod to do battle with the greatest of fish, and wash away the tragedy of its absence.


And so it goes on this fine day in January’s cool grip, that a superior fly rod begins another journey, home, and back home again. My luck has been so dastardly that I am tempted to hang this rod on the wall when it comes home so that I may admire it through the cold months and save its magic for springtime harvesting.

Perhaps you are battling your own weather – feeling under the weather, as you read this. There aren’t too many healthy people in my sphere right now. Vicious colds have gripped the household, and spread throughout the area without contact. Dallas-Fort Worth is under a “Flu Advisory” and apparently the weather is turning bitter Saturday.

In the interest of the ever growing geographic regions reading Texas Fly Caster, I have begun to move the weather information (located in the right hand column) around the State of Texas. We are now looking at South Padre Island – read it and weep.

I Stepped on a Rock and it Rolled – Goodbye XI2 For Now

| December 23, 2010 | 0 Comments

Needless to say, if you fish a lot, you’ve done some damage at one time or another. I have carefully been waiting for the day that lightning strikes, and something breaks. Today was the day.

To make my painfully, literally, long story short, I decided to make another quick run out to Ray Roberts Dam to see if the weather, or time, or the fish gods, had increased the quality of the sand bass that were obviously there two days ago. I was scatting along the water’s edge, stepped on a rock that seemed good enough, and it rolled like a ball bearing in grease. Face first non-stop with my hands pinned under me and my rod held with the involuntary kung-fu-death-grip.

It took about fifteen seconds just to realize what happened, as the cold water soaked through. I managed to roll off, unfold my backward taco-ed self, groan get up and strip in what line was left out to sink. Sure, there was an audience. There was also something caught in my fly – my rod tip. I’m pretty sure it whipped the surface of the water so hard, that’s what broke it off. Instant replay, still going on, is inconclusive, so the call stands.

Of course I was carrying my newest favorite Sage XI2-7, yes, glad you asked. Two days before Christmas, and the big lady named luck deals me one more hand to remember 2010 for. So this year’s luck will end (now, right now, please) with a bang and a whimper.

We have all heard about the fantastic guarantees by TFO, Sage and others. TFO really is fantastic because I could go in on Monday and get a new tip. So, there’s work to do, and I figured this lemon stinging my scrapes, has to be turned into lemonade somehow. The only thing I can figure to do is take readers along on the Sage Warranty ride, and see how smooth it goes.

All told, there’s a pretty good set of gouge marks that have lifted some of the cork on the grip, dings on the first section – paint missing, and of course the four made into five piece with a removable tip. My first question is, do I even bother to send in the butt section to see if it’s worth replacing the grip, and do the cosmetic changes deserve any attention to find out of they are more than cosmetic? It seems pointless to deal with any of this until after New Year’s since shipping, holidays and vacations basically gum up any company’s works. I would expect things to go wrong until after the folks at Sage have slept off the New Year festivities.

I am still wondering … if I would have had the time, would I have taken a bolder to the face over injury to my XI2? I don’t want to have to make that choice – ever.

Heck, maybe I am lucky. Except for bloodied clothes, and a broken rod, I still have all my bones and teeth unbroken. Luck is such a fickle mistress.