When Sage released the ESN (European Style Nymphing) rods in the Fall of 2011, they were immediatley on track to top the European Nymphing specialty fly rod market!!!! Super light, responsive with a tip that would protect the lightest of tippets with ease. Most anglers who were in the market for a Euro specific rod rejoiced as there was finally an option that would not feel like you were fishing with a club or better yet a wet noodle!!! The only thing missing was the 11' model which seems to be one of the most sought after lengths among this incredibly small but growing community.
Well I can tell you that the wait will be rewarded with a super light, incredibly responsive 11' version offered only in a 3 weight. Most anglers will question fishing a 3 weight with heavy flies or attempting to land larger trout with a 3 weight. Rest assured the Sage ESN 11' - 3 weight will handle it with ease!!!! This rod is unlike any other 11' 3 weight on the market today. Most anglers who wanted an 11' rod were willing to sacrifice action and or sensitivity for length. The Sage ESN 11' 3 weight has covered all of the bases.
I have been fortunate enough to have the prototype of this rod and can honestly say that it is one of the finest European Nymphing rods I have held and fished. First impression for me was the solid looking blank. The only thing that screams 3 weight is the super supple tip section and the weight in your hand!!! The middle sections of the rod resemble more of a 4 or 5 weight and the butt section more along the lines of a 6. Your eyes are not deceiving you, that is exactly the way the rod is built using Sage's proprietary Konnetic Technology that allows them to construct a thinner walled blank with little or no wasted space between the fibers making them incredibly light and extremely responsive!!!
The extra length provides a better degree of stealth, makes the Long Line methods a breeze and has plenty of backbone to land big fish with ease. One of the features in the ESN 11' 3 weight was the snub wells handle that Sage uses on all of the Sage ONE series rods. This grip is incredibly comfortable and will not cause hand an forearm fatigue like a cigar shaped handle causes due to your thumb always being pushed down a slope as slight as it may be.
A couple of other noticeable changes from the original ESN Series was the incorporation of a 1" fighting butt at the end of the rod which allows me to rest the butt section on the underside of my arm while fishing with an outstretched arm position. This aids in fighting larger fish as well as achieving perfect form of having the rod as an extension of your arm!!!
The last addition was the addition of an aluminum reel seat to add extra weight at the rear of the rod which helps achieve a better balance point. Paired with one of the new Sage 4660 reels, the 11' 3 weight will balance right at the front of the cork which is ideal for Euro Nymphing as you can place your index finger on the blank for increase strike detection!!!
I loaned the rod to a good friend of mine, Josh Graffam - Fly Fishing Team USA member to fish for a couple of weeks to get his input as well. Josh's first response was "this is one incredible rod that is a true game changer when fishing the European Methods, especially in competition settings! The sensitivity is dead on and the incorporation of the new grip with fighting butt makes this the Ultimate Euro Rod" The only question he had for me was "when are they avaialable and whatever that date is, I will take two"
If you are in the market for a Euro specific nymphing rod or just want to add another soldier to your assault, you need to take a long, hard look at the Sage ESN 11' 3 weight. Others may disagree or baulk at the price but I can honestly tell you that there is nothing else like it on the market today!!!
Length - 11'
Line weight - 3
# of section - 4
Handle - Snub Nose Modified Wells
Reel Seat - Anodized Aluminum with locking reel seat and 1" fighting butt
Weight - 3 1/2 oz
Retail - $699.00
Available - NOW!!!