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Sage XP Travel Rod

Previous Reviews
Filson Strap Vest


The Ultimate Travel Rod

Sage XP Series

While rummaging around the Internet for the perfect travel fly rod, the adjectives used on various reviews to describe the Sage XP series started to catch my attention - magical, alive, powerful, canon, workhorse, finesse, and exceptional sensitivity. All this in one rod? If all this were true, my search was over. Maybe if I used some of those words on my wife, I would be able to own one myself.

For the perfect travel fly rod, I wanted a utility player with the power to handle adverse casting conditions without sacrificing the finesse that makes fly fishing enjoyable. I chose the 9 foot 5 wt. 4 piece Sage XP for versatility and packability. The four piece rod weighs slightly more than the three piece model, but at 3 1/2 ounces, who's counting?

I chose my home waters of the Guadalupe River in Texas for my testing grounds. Here we have deep, slow runs that call for long casts with large wooly buggers and helgramites down deep, and fast runs that require heavy mending to keep dry flies under rocky undercuts.

The term "canon" came to mind immediately as I began to familiarize myself with this rod. The progressive taper really came into play as I pushed a helgramite far upstream against a the headwinds that frequently gust through the Guadalupe canyon walls. I started thinking about what an 8 wt. XP might be capable of along the windy Texas coastline. I could really feel the helgramite bouncing along submerged rocks and knew I had a take before I noticed the line moving slightly sideways. The light weight and sensitivity of the rod made playing the small brown all the more exciting. Every shake of the head reverbrated along the length of the rod. It's too bad that was the only fish I landed that day.

As the sun sank low, I moved for shallow waters to give the XP a good test on the short course. Kneeling behind a boulder, I made long casts upstream to my favorite bushy overhang. We don't have very good hatches here in Texas, but the fish will rise to all of the evening mosquitos and such that come with dusk. The XP has the control needed to consistently drop the fly where you need it. As I said, this is my favorite spot, and nothing ruins it like an overcast into the bush. This rod seems to transform from a heavy loading rod in mid-cast to a crisp finish when precision is needed most.

The Sage XP series is a nice looking rod with it's mossy-green blank, brown/gold wrappings and British high gloss snake guides. At just over $500, Sage asks for a heavy commitment from their customers. It's a good thing they ask for so much more from their engineers.

Sage XP Rod
Flyfishing Strap Vest by Filson
This great vest is a minimalist's dream! Filson's no-nonsense flyfishing strap vest is suprisingly roomy; and since it carries the Filson logo, you know it's rugged.
Filson Fly Fishing Strap Vest