Sage ESN - "European Style Nymph Rod" Field Test
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the new Sage ESN "European Style Nymph" rod in a 10' 4 weight as well as a 10' 3 weight a couple of weeks ago and have spent quite a bit of time testing every facet of this amazing rod.
My favorite rod for fishing the European Nymphing Methods was always a Z Axis 10' 4 weight which performed beautifully on just about every river I have taken it to but I always wished that the tip was a little more forgiving when fishing the French Method as well as the Czech Method. I have had numerous fish pop off right after you hook them becasue the tip recovered too quickly and with that heavy tungsten bead on the front of the fly, it was bound to happen.
The new Sage ESN 10' 4 weight has a nice supple tip that will all but eliminate fish popping off as it is super forgiving yet strong enough to land larger fish with ease. The most amazing thing is the incorporation of Sage's new Konnetic Technology graphite in this rod series which decreases the overall blank diameter resulting in a lighter rod. This makes a huge difference at the end of the day when you have been holding you arm out in front of you fishing these methods.
The 10' 3 weight is a new venture from Sage as a rod in this line weight and length has never been produced until now. Built from the ground up by chief rod designer Jerry Siem with Sage's new Konnetic Technology featuring a thinner diameter blank resulting in a superlight European Style Nymphing rod that will truly amaze you. I LOVE THIS ROD and it works perfect for each of the 4 main European Nymphing Methods. From lobbing super heavy Czech style nymphs upstream to casting long (20'+) French style leaders, this rod just flat out performs!!! The most notable thing is how accurate both of the rods are. There is hardly any deflection in the tip section, even with the super supple action and the flies just go where you want them. That was always an issue with the Z Axis as well as some of the other manufacturers 10 and 11 foot offerings. I have fished the Grey's offerings as well as the Cabelas and Echo rods and there is just no comparison between these and the Sage ESN. This is a bad ass rod that will do exactly what it say's it will do and more!!!
The supple tips on the entire line-up of the Sage ESN rods is the key. You can feel every little bump and irregularity of the bottom while nymphing and the takes are definate. There was no doubting when a fish at the flies as the tip transmitted it quicky into the mid and butt section like a loud speaker. When setting the hook, the compund tapers of these rods quickly burried that size 10 grud style nymph right int he top of the fishes mouth and protected the 6X tippet like a mother would protect her child. Absolutely amazing!!
With any of these European Methods, the traditional style of casting is pretty much nonexistent. I wanted to see how these rods casted on the grass as well as with a traditional two fly set-up with split shot and an indicator. With the rods being specifically designed for the Euro styles, I was skeptical but leave it to Sage to curb any and all skeptics. These babies will flat out cast with the best of them and turn a heavy traditional style nymph rig over without blinking. The most notable thing here was the ability to mend a ton of line due in part to the supple tip section. It took little or no effort at all to mend 25' of line on the water.
My true love is fishing the European Style Nymping methods, not the traditional indicator set-up and these rods performed beautifully!!! The nice thing for the angler who want to fish the European Nymphing methods on occation but also enjoys traditional nymphing with an indicator, Sage has finally developed a rod that will do both with ease!
The bottom line with the new "European Style Nymphing" rods from Sage? They are designed to do exactly what they were built for and do it in style. If you enjoy fishing the European Style Nymping methods, you owe it to yourself to at least try one of these incredible rods. A lot of time and effort went into making these right and my hats off to the wizard, Jerry Siem