I saw this week that Sage has a new rod on the market, and of course this one is the rod to beat all rods. They are so confident in the ability of this new technology driven tool that they named it “One”. Time for a little sacred cow tipping here...what makes it any different than any of the other magic wands on the market today? And while I am tipping I may as well throw this out there...why do you have to have space age technology to do what has been done with $3.00 cane stick and a coffee can full of worms?
Before you think I am on some anti Sage kick, or am ready to preach the undying power of traditionalism, let me say that I would be willing to guarantee that this is one awesome rod, but unless I either find one laying on a stream somewhere or get a product endorsement from Sage, odds are I will never use “One”. The price point on this new age of fly fishing has just about killed my dreams of any upgrade. I'd love a new pair of waders and boots, but even then if you want the best you are locked into a hefty investment.
I have stumbled on some sweet deals from time to time and have been given gifts that I could not have afforded on my own, but for the most part I either build it or buy an old used version of what I want. Frugality in fly fishing equipment is not something that I automatically turn to without thought. Given to my own desires I would have top of the line everything. I fish with guys who do have top of the line everything and here is what I have learned.
My waders leave me a little damp, my rods are heavy, my boots actually have the soles glued back in place...but I still catch fish. I still absolutely love my sport. And on a very, very rare occasion I will catch more than they do.
I also wonder what Sage will call their next upgrade. I mean, once you have gone ahead and called your rod “One” and basically referred to it as the one...do you stop? I doubt very seriously that Sage laid off their entire R and D department as soon as this rod hit production.
So much of our sport has become an endless marketing merry go round. It has been promoted both as an elitist sport for rich snobs and as the cult of Trout Bums who live in renovated school buses and spend all their money on beer, weed, and gear. Don't be fooled. Fly Fishing companies are making a ton of cash marketing to both ends of the spectrum.
I like to think that I am somewhere in the middle. Hanging with guys who work, make enough money to survive, and occassionaly will pick up some new gaget or rod for us to ooh and aah over for one or two trips...after that he's just a kid with a toy he got for Christmas two months ago. The guys I fish with are not ashamed of TFO's or older Sage and Orvis. They will pull out an old Fenwick fiberglass and cast it for a while. Its all the same to us. We are out there because in the quiet moments away from the river, we are dreaming about that same river. We are the type who are planning our next trip before we even say our goodbyes.
I would love to be a product tester/reviewer. Honestly it would be nice because of the gear I would get, but also because it would keep me in touch with the direction our sport is headed. At the end of the day though, no matter what product I am using to try and fool a trout, it is all about me, a trout, and a fly that I hope will fool him. He really doesn't care how the fly got to his spot in the river. He does not care that my left foot is soaked and my right boot it coming apart. He is indifferent to the fact that I am casting a hand me down rod that is heavy and slow. As a matter of fact, he really gives me no thought at all as long as I keep a respectful distance, or on the rare occasion he is sternly resisting the pull.
Perhaps one of my buddies will venture out and buy “One”. I'll give it a cast or two, and if on those two casts I catch two fish that take me into the backing and will not even fit in the net...I will respectfully retract my post and eat my hand me down Filson.