Aug 12, 2015

Fishing Big Alaska Bows with Sage ONE Trout Speys

LEFT: Scott O donnell - the "O" in MOW...mccune odonnell ward = MOW4
RIGHT: Ted Larsen - AZ Cards
A week at Royal Wolf Lodge
All spring I looked forward to a return to Royal Wolf Lodge in Alaska—fly fishing for rainbows, char and grayling with dries, streamers and mice. With a lower snow pack this year and the weather gods smiling, June 26 to July 3 was shaping up to be epic. Flying out to a different river each day and fishing like a rock star would be fun and engaging.

Sage has two new “Baby Speys” a 2 and 3 weight. Both are in the Sage ONE series of Switch rods at 10’6” and 11’. They relate to singlehanded rods in the 4-6 line weight range. It was my good fortune to fish with the 3 wt prototype this week, along with my ONE 4116-4 and 5116-4. Fishing with “live ammo” like cone headed leeches, sculpins, and mice for wild trout is the best way to learn what these three rods were about.

All three rods were fished with the Rio Skagit Short heads with sinking and floating tips. The running line was the OPST Lazer line, which is made in smaller diameters that match up well with the lighter heads. (I did not have access to the new Rio Skagit Trout Max 11’ heads.) Guidelines for head weights are #3, 275-300; #4, 325-350; and #5, 375-400 grains.

Fun, Fun Fun!

These are not toys or rods for kids. They are very efficient fly rods that make effortless, precise casts. One afternoon we floated and fished mice mostly from the boat. I fished the 4 wt with ridiculous ease. With a larger trout on, like the size of summer steelhead, it was BENT, but not overpowered. To cast any of these rods, you do not need to change your casting stroke, but just listen to that little voice that says “sloooow the %&#! down”. The sheer number of fishing casts made in a broad range of water, various flies, wind, along with near constant action made for relaxed fishing with no conscious thoughts about the mechanics or the tools. After awhile I forgot what rod I was fishing. You look at a spot and it goes there.

The typical single-handed line up for Alaska trout fishing is 5, 6 and 7 weights, fished with a floater and a sink tip or two. The two types of rods complemented each other well. The Sage Circa 589-4 was by far the best and most fun dry fly rod.

Royal Wolf is one of the top fly-out lodges in Alaska. Their staff of very experienced guides, pilots and chefs make for an extraordinary week.

Jerry Swanson
Fish Head Expeditions

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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