Sage "ESN" 10 Foot 2 Weight Fly Rod Field Test
After a long and anticipated weight, I finally received the Sage ESN (European Style Nymph) rod in the 10 foot 2 weight model. I have had the chance to fish the 3 and 4 weight Sage ESN rods for about a month now and absolutely love the action and weight for fishing the European Nymphing Methods. The 10 foot 2 weight is a new venture for Sage as they have never made a rod this light in this length.
I received the rod last Friday and put it through the paces this weekend fishing Clear Creek with a long French leaders set-up (leader was 18' total length) and this rod performed amazingly well. Cast were deadly accurate and playing and landingfish in the 8" to 14" range was a breeze. The supple tip on this rod protected light tippets and the inevitable pop-off from a fish jumping or thrashing around never happened.
I wanted to see how the Sage ESN 2 weight performed with heavier Czech style nymphs fished right under the rod tip and was amazed again at the casting accuracy (lobbing accuracy) this rod has. No adjustments were needed in the cast to get the flies to go where you wanted them and the hook setting power of this rod is superb!!
One of the nicest features of this rod is the weight. Coming in at 2 11/16 ounces, this baby is light right out of the tube and balanced perfectly with a Sage 4230 reel. After a long day of fishing, you typically notice a little tenderness in your shoulders from holding your arm/rod out in front of you, but not with this rod. I use a RIO Trout LT WF2F line with about 3 feet of the front taper removed to aid in turning over the longer French leader as well as the heavier Czech rig. I used a RIO Braided Loop Connector - Camo on the end to make tying the leaders/indicators on easier.
There were a few fish that started rising mid morning and I would typically just lob the nymphs just in front of them and hold the rod high to try to pick a few off but I decided to try a tapered leader with a larger stonefly pattern on the end to see if this rod would cast dries. To my surprise it cast amazingly well and is deadly accurate!!! As the day progressed, there was a little Baetis hatch that began so I paired down the tippet to 6X and tied on a #20 Parachute Adams and again, was amazed at how accurate and delicate this rod put down the fly!!!
I never pictured fishing this rod with dries but it will do it and do it with style!!! Sure is nice to have a rod you can lob heavily weighted Czech nymphs with, fish super long French style leaders and then swith to dries when the need arises.
Here are my ratings for the Sage ESN 10' 2 weight:
French Method - 5 stars
Czech Method - 4 stars
Spanish Method - 3 stars
Dry Flies - 5 stars