From those humble roots, I've now learned that you can spend way too much on fly fishing tackle...
- Sage Z-Axis, 9 foot, 5 weight - Nickname "Zed" - An amazing rod that far exceeds the abilities of the angler! American made and I'm happy to say that touring the factory on Bainbridge Island near Seattle is an inspiring experience. I started with a Rio Gold line on this rod, but recently switched to a Scientific Anglers GPX with surprisingly positive results. This rod was purchased on sale after the Z-Axis was discontinued. Lucky me! Loving my new Sage 3800CF reel with a super smooth drag.
- St. Croix Imperial, 7 foot, 3 weight. American made in Wisconsin. I asked for this small stream combo for my birthday when Cabela's put together a package deal comprised of the rod, a Scientific Anglers GPX line, and a Cabela's Prestige Premier reel in size I. Very nice for small streams where a 9 foot rod doesn't make sense. Softer, more delicate feel. The little Cabela's Prestige Premier I reel is an awesome value. Lightweight and inexpensive.
- Redington Butter Stick, 7'6" 4 weight - Nickname "Mellow Yellow" - Unfortunately, NOT American made, but I wanted an inexpensive option to try fiberglass. Still experimenting with this floppy noodle.
- Swift Epic 686 (6 weight, 8 foot 6 inches) in "So Blue" - Nickname "Monday" - My first custom built rod, by Bill Hickey at W. Jude Fly Rod Company. More details soon.
Other Rods In the Family:
- My Wife
- Sage VXP, 9 foot, 5 weight. This is her first, and it's hard to get her to fish with anything else.
- Sage Grace (the Pink Rod), 8' 6", 5 weight. A Mother's Day present, sporting a silver "titanium" Orvis Access II mid-arbor reel, now sporting the pink Rio Gold 5FWF.
- Sage ONE Elite - Nickname "Rebar" - She's a "fast action" woman who's always wanted a ONE. When I found this on sale for an unbelievable price, I decided I could make some "easy monthly payments." The titanium reel seat and spare tip made this an uncanny package. We're going to try overlining with a pink Rio Gold WF6F line.
- My Son
- Echo Gecko, 7' 10", 4-5 weight. He's borrowing my Lamson Velocity II with a Rio Gold WF4F.
- My Daughter
- Sage Grace (the Pink Rod), 8' 6", 5 weight. A kick-ass birthday present. Rio Gold WF5F in Pink on an Orvis Access II silver/titanium reel, which makes this outfit absolutely gorgeous. Used for the first time on the Missouri River above Wolf Creek Bridge in 2014 to bring in some really, really nice Rainbows.
- Other Rods
- Sage Approach, 7 foot, 3 weight - Nickname "The Little Monster" - Sage's entry-level (by price) rod. I wanted another 3 weight for small stream stalking with my wife. Definitely a faster action rod that takes a lot of line to load. Considering overlining this with a 4 weight line.
Sunglasses - Maui Jim polarized shades are my choice.
- Peahi model with HCL bronze lenses - Full coverage of the eyes, blocks glare from the sides and bottom. Heavy but effective. The full coverage can cause fogging on extremely humid days, but this has only happened once.
- Lighthouse model with HT (High Transmission) lenses - super-light, unexpectedly stable, and much better for morning, evening and hazy conditions. Only filters about 68% of light versus 80%+ for the HCL lenses.
Waders & Boots
- Orvis SilverSonic Convertible Waders - When it's warm out, just "drop your top."
- Simms Vapor Boots - I tried 6 different pair of boots in 2014, and these were the most comfortable of all the Simms and Korkers I laced up. Comfort was the paramount consideration because I hike quite a bit. Surprisingly, they were also the least expensive of the ones I tried!
- Simms Wading Socks - neoprene "socks" that you slip over your feet to wear inside your wading boots when you don't want to wear waders. I've found that this kind of "wet wading" is much better than wearing a pair of Keen sandals, because the water that eventually gets inside the wading sock is quickly warmed by your body heat, keeping the feet much, much warmer than with 50 F water running swiftly between your toes.
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