Nov 11, 2014

Sage SALT - An Interview with George Cook

Gorge Fly Shop Owner Travis Duddles getting the insight from Sage's Chief rod designer Jerry Siem

I must admit while holding the new Sage SALT at the 2014 IFTD show I couldn't help feeling a little remorse for the inevitable end days of the exceptional Xi3. I became quite the fan over its course of reign. But from my first encounter with the arrow shooting ability of Konnectic Technology in the Sage ONE I knew the days were numbered for the vulnerable Xi3. This Konnectic technology would go hand in hand in salt angling were accuracy is more often than not the deciding factor in a days success.

We answer a lot of questions about saltwater rods and listen to many different opinions about what a saltwater rod should be. The action of a saltwater rod is hard to nail down to the perfect equation because what your rod needs to be is what fits at that moment in time when your target has been acquired.

While I have my opinions of what a saltwater rod should be and I'm also more than impressed with the new Sage SALT I want to turn the attention of this subject to a much more credible source than myself. George Cook (Northwest Sage Representative and Fly Fishing Expert) helps us answer some very important questions about saltwater rods and the new Sage SALT.

George what makes a saltwater fly rod a saltwater ready fly rod?

Action: To be sure, the action truly matters folks. In this to become the needed, trusted tool the rod action has to be such that it will perform at all ranges and do so with both touch, line speed and authority. It is not an easy task to pull all 3 of these aspects together but Rod Design Guru Jerry Siem has indeed done so with the New SAGE SALT Series.

Components: Salt Specific, be it guides, reel seats . Jerry (Siem) was ultra crafty on this series in that he placed the specific Rod Weight Number (Example: 890-4 would show the number 8) on the TOP of The REEL SEAT for quick, easy Rod I.D. no more looking upside down to spot your stick, now just shout out….. Hand me the 8 weight Captain!

Strength: This is where the Jerry Siem magic really shows. The delicate balance of providing the needed-requisite factors of Blank Strength/Fighting Power/Cast-A-Bility, miss just one here and we have problems that we get you somewhere along in the brine. Sage has a long history (1989 On ward) of unique, laser focused Saltwater Specific Rods dating back to the original RPL-X which brought a true saltwater rod to the market and boy was it a welcome hit as I worked in house back then and recall the dealer reaction that fall at the Fly Tackle Dealer Show, amazing times that have lead to this wonderful rod today, the New SAGE SALT.

George do salt rods make good freshwater rods…if so what techniques?

Streamer: No doubt there is crossover here. My first run at it with the New SALT was back to back 4 day excursions to the Bahamas for Bonefish immediately followed by a jaunt into the low country of South Carolina for Largemouth Bass. I had a 790-4 SALT and it was fantastic in both endeavors. Both fisheries required touch, accuracy and at times line speed with an array of fly types and sizes. Sitting here on November 6th I could easily see that same 790-4 at work on the Yellowstone as a Fall “Brown Town” streamer stick. I think by this time next year we will have witnessed the SALT conquer many a fishery be it Big Trout, Alaska Salmon, Argentine Freshwater Dorado and many others .

George is the Sage SALT just a Sage Method dressed differently? 

Now Greg, it’s election time here in November and the nation like these rods has both Blue and Red districts and just like these two rod series they are indeed VERY DIFFERENT.

George many fisherman think that the SALT will just be a Method in disguise…what makes the Salt different? 

Naw buddy, different animals! While both series feature SAGE’s exclusive and wicked Konnetic Technologies The METHOD Series are the supped up, king pin tools of the all out line speed enthusiast. I always tell people that the METHOD is not for everybody but all angler’s at some point, somewhere will wish for one as it will be a difference maker in challenging conditions be it fresh or salt. The SALT is way different in that it is a tool that covers a mammoth gamut of potential scenario’s. A great example is that of Bonefishing where in the course of a single days fishing can face the angler with many different casting challenges. For instance, first thing in the AM you may have a longer (60’+) cast in calm like conditions put you to task. 3 Hours later, brisk wind and a fish sighted close say sub 45’ that suddenly is a mere 25’ away and in your lap. In order to own the day in these situations you will need all of the following performance attributes….Touch and accuracy, both near and far, line speed to cut that pesky wind, true feel for the right number of false cast needed and the moment of truth in that “Presentation” lay down, get it done cast. Furthermore you may well need the ability to pick up and take that second shot at that fish that as luck often has it did something other than ideal . The other aspect that I’d throw out there is this Greg….when you get a given match up of rod and line there is a casting-fishing sense that the Magic Rod Fiery has sprinkled the oh so lovely perfect star dust upon you and when this feeling is upon an angler no matter the situation, the location, the weather that Angler is blessed with a sense of confidence that will have his or her head in the game at the highest level.

George what lines do the SALT rods favor? 

Line weight marked on reel seat
In the Bonefish Theater (7 thru 9 Weight equation) I love RIO’s General Purpose Tropical Salt Water Line. The RIO Bonefish Quickshooter is a straight up get it done performer for many an angler who steps to the plate wading or from a boat. The RIO Redfish line is a great call for that increasingly popular pursuit. The New Award Winning RIO Permit Line will be an important cog in that pursuit and is dead on in that all important 9-10 weight rod range. Tarpon chasers will love the RIO Tarpon Quickshooter as it simply delivers when your guide says CAST. Streamer slingers will enjoy the Outbound Short series for banging the banks and the Puget Sound and Alaskan beach crowds will throw Mega far with RIO’s Outbound Coldwater Floater or Intermediate lines (Outbound Coldwater being the original 37’.5 Outbound line that is an amazing distance tool).

George how will Konnectic technology help our saltwater fishing?

Accuracy: Yes Accuracy, nothing cast straighter than rods engineered with the Konnetic technology format (ONE/METHOD and SALT) . Point and shoot, done deal, get ready for fish porn photo’s.

George - Novice, Intermediate or Pro – where does the Sage SALT fit in? 

Glad you asked…..this might be the most beautiful aspect of all Greg in that the Sage SALT series with it unique Moderated action is simply good to go with all levels of casters. In fact during my fall run of introductions I saw in many instances folks who straight up cast the SALT better than anything else that was placed in their casting paws some of these casters needed help and this action brought it their way in spades. No body really gets enough water time and even less pure practice casting time. I saw novice casters who would go from “Hope” which isn't a strategy by the way to “In The Game” with the 790-4 and 890-4 SALT, combined with RIO’s Bonefish Quickshooter and everyone is a plane ticket away form a holiday to remember!

Thank you George...I agree with you that this rod is very different than any other saltwater rod I've had experience with. It's truly impressive how the Konnectic technology can instantly improve your cast and was also surprised at how well this new rod cast short (something that I have struggled with in the past).


Sage SALT - 2014 IFTD Show (Casting Pond)


Gorge Fly Shop Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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