Simple But Good – the Saga of the Sage

Back in October I made one of those purchases. You may know the kind. Your mouse hovers over the ‘Confirm Bid’ button for a small eternity before magically clicking, with apparently no proper authorisation from your brain. There follows a few moments of suspended animation whilst the required payment is authorised, and moments later you are brought back to something like proper consciousness. Bugger. How the hell did that happen?


When my eyes de-glazed last October I found myself the owner of a Sage XP fly rod, a 9′ for a weight 5. There are worse things to be lumped with, granted. The odd thing in my case was that I’d never cast a Sage XP, or owned a rod as fast. But something told me this was the rod. I’d been working on my casting quite a lot, and having cast a few other rods I was pretty sure I needed to go faster. There was bugger all wrong with my old rods, in fact one of them was a lovely rod to fish with, but something just wasn’t quite right. Possibly this was my head.


I’d landed a pretty nice deal. The XP had been recently discontinued, replaced with some kind of new direction axis, and I found a seller letting them go for closer to my kind of money. Even with shipping charges, buying from the US was cheaper than anywhere in the UK. A week or two later and the rod was here. I was looking forward to casting with it over the closed season, honing my loops to sickly tight sharpness. Upon the first waggle of the stick, however, something was clearly not right. Click, clickity, click she went, all the way to Amarilo. Not only was this a Sage, it was a musical Sage. The joints sung little tapping rhythms every time they were flexed, quietly taking the piss out of me for being so outlandish and buying a rod from 4000 miles away.

To cut an increasingly boring story short, the replacement rod has finally arrived. She’s sitting over there by the door right now. What a beauty, folks. Crisp. Like one of those early spring mornings where the dew still lies thick on the ground but the climbing sun assures you of a nice hatch 😉


I went out for a cast this lunchtime on the roof of my building. Holy moly. This is what I’m talking about. Responsive, and did I say crisp? This is the kind of rod I’ve been looking for. The first thing I noticed was how easy it was to create insane line speed. Just a nice abrupt stop and the line goes wizzing past like a hungry greyhound. I’m badly out of practice, but some of the loops were definitely tasty. I’ve heard some folks comment that the XP isn’t a great rod for roll casting. Well, I don’t know what a good rod is, but I’d like to try it. I found the XP fantastic for spey casting. Very little effort and a screaming delivery. I just KNOW that fishing zonkers and sculpin patterns this season is going to be great fun. I shall laugh in the face of wind, and I don’t mean the kind that emanates from the ass. It’s going to be good.

All this got me thinking. Among other things this Christmas I’ve had to move flat for the 6th time in five years. I’m the sort of person that seems to own an inexplicably large amount of crap, which makes the whole procedure feel like trying to turd out car tyres. From today I’ve got a new philosophy. Simple But Good. It’s time to slim things down, sell off some crap, concentrate on what’s important. The new rod fits in nicely. It will do loads of types of fishing very well, and is portable too. The more life I live, the more I realise that a Simple But Good philosophy is where it’s at. Less time moving shit, more time fishing.

So this brings the first part of the Saga of the Sage to a close. The next part is of course the massive trout I’m going to catch with it. Stay tuned 🙂


  1. opax’s avatar

    You surely have a way with words Mike… Excellent, but now I wonder will your blog rank 1 for fly fishing shit searches.

  2. Mike’s avatar

    Thanks Olli 🙂 We’ll see, but I’m sure it’ll be up there for a while yet..!

  3. Ed.’s avatar

    Very nice. So the faster rod, is more of a tip flex, right? Does it have a number for the flex like Orvis rods do?

  4. Mike’s avatar

    Hi Ed. That’s right, it’s a bit more tippy, and somewhat stiffer in the butt section compared to my previous rods. It’s certainly not rediculously fast. To me it feels just about ideal for my casting style and fishing requirements on the larger rivers. The biggest difference is that it just feels like I have so much more control, and can make the line do what I want.

  5. Mike’s avatar

    Oh, and there’s no specific detailing of the level of ‘fastness’, the only thing is that it was marketed as a fast action rod before it was dicontinued. If you’re interested, I’d check out

    which lists the rod along with many others.

  6. Mike’s avatar

    … using the Common Cents System, which seems to be quite well respected amongst those who know better than me.

  7. matt’s avatar


    A late addition to this post….I have the same rod – I was always a confirmed ‘middle-tip’ man before and worshipped my SLT, but the XP is something else.
    I think a few of us are put off by the ‘for experts only’ label. The rod is good, very good, and makes even my casting look shit hot!


  8. mike’s avatar

    Hi Mat,

    thanks for making a comment. I’ve tried my pals SLT, and it certainly feels a bit wobbly compared to the XP. But, I must say, I think I’d probably be more happy actually fishing the SLT more of the time that the XP these days. I’ve gone a bit soft again…

  9. Thomas Züllich’s avatar

    Brilliant. I know exactly what you are talking about. Which lines are you using on it. I like he SA MED and the Snowbee XS.

    Cheers & tight lines


    Big grayling? come to Sweden 😉 – I’d love to go to Scotland – time is there but not the money …

    1. mike’s avatar

      Hi Thomas, I like the SA Expert Distance, which I bought with the rod from Ebay in the US. It’s actually a great fishing line, and I don’t really bother with the distance casting any more. I like double taper lines normally, and it feels a bit like one for most fishing distances.

      Thanks for dropping by Thomas, have a nice day. One day I’ll make it to Sweden, it’s high up on my dream destinations list. I’ve seen a number of articles with giant grayling which have wet my appetite.

    2. Thomas Züllich’s avatar


      yes – it is great fishing line. For most jobs it feels like a DT in a way as he Belly is 20m long. The distance casters hold this in the air. Fascinating to watch.

      Sweden is not far. You can use Ryanair to Stockholm Skavsta. Dirt cheap. I live close to that airport. From here one can go to many destinations within a days drive. Drop me an email if you want to hook something up.

      to fuel the appetite – 🙂


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