August 22, 2011
Slim, Powerful High-Tech Rod: Sage's New "One"
By John Merwin
The oysters were Rockefellered. The crab was caked. The shrimp were sautéed to perfection. That's how it was last week at the fly-fishing trade show in New Orleans, a city famous for seafood. In between bites, though, one of the coolest new things I saw was the "One" rod from Sage. Click here for Kirk Deeter's take on the "One" on the Fly Talk blog.
This company has been making high-end, high-performance fly rods for a long time. I've known Sage rod designer Jerry Siem, at least casually, for just about as long. So this year I quizzed him pretty closely on just why the world needs another $700 fly rod.
My first fear was this would be a high-density, thin-walled blank, the kind that snaps readily when it hits a drift boat gunnel, or when inadvertently high-sticking a fish. Not so, says Siem, who explained that while the One's butt diameter is substantially smaller than most comparable rods, that's not because of reduced wall thickness. It is instead the result of some kind of extreme compression applied around the outside of the blank while it is being heat-cured. This is apparently a more compressive force than other makers can obtain with standard heat-shrink tapes. Siem politely declined to tell me just how this was done.
The result is an unusually slim, powerful high-tech rod. I have not yet cast one. My friends who have done so, people such as Ted Leeson and Marshall Cuchin, tell me they're impressed. Find out more here.
Meanwhile, let's talk rod prices for a minute. It seems like every time I, or anyone else around here, mentions a high-priced product, a great farting sound comes down from the bleachers. I know lots of people can't afford these rods. So sometimes I write about inexpensive stuff. But when I write about the high end, maybe you could keep all the warm wind to yourselves. And as to $700 fly rods specifically, if I could afford it, I'd get four of them...