FOR the past few weeks Sage’s dry fly stick the Trout LL has taken up residence in my boat rod racks for the caddis season.
It has put some great fish in the boat, survived some abusive treatment from trout and anglers, and proved to be one of the most fun rods you can get your hands on. And yes dry fly caddis is a blast.
Sage might have a reputation for fast and powerful The Trout LL series was built, and named, to harken back to one of Sage’s most beloved models, the moderate action Light Line series, but with current technology. It has turned out to be a classic in the making, with enormous feel and precision.
I’ve stuck in the hands of a couple of our guides, Gabe Levin, who enjoyed it a lot and Mike Sexton who didn’t take long to declare it better than the original.
It’s a rod you don’t lean on, instead lighten up, slow down and think it into place. There is effortless efficiency in this rod delivering a caster’s loop with minimal inputs. Get it right and it delivers delicate darts.
On the other hand the Trout LL won’t suffer a heavy hand easily, indeed a rod which points out clearly any ill treatment, listen and you will be rewarded.
The most popular models for most watersheds are going to be the 3wt and 4wt. But the White and its caddis eating brown trout is really a task for the 5wt. Curt was the angler to blood the rod, nailing two 20″ fish in about 4 casts. The first I asked him to slide the fish into the net, until I glanced up and noticed the rod was bent all the way to the butt. I wish I had the photo to send back to Bainbridge Island.
No this rod isn’t going to kick brown trout tail like a Sage X but there is a simple pleasure in exercising patience, using the rod to protect lighter dry fly mono rather than skulldragging the fish to the boat.
But Gabe Levin’s 23″ brown, featuring in the image at the head of the page, while a strong and stout fish still didn’t leave us feeling he was undergunned.
I’m not sure I’ve cast a finer dry fly rod: but it’s not just a one trick pony. The Trout LL would have excelled at the small midge/soft hackle/sowbug game which was so popular here before minimum flow, when 50cfs was wading water. Slow, quiet and 6x was the name of the game and the Trout LL would have been right at home. Low water wading on the Fork would be a lot of fun with this rod as well.
The only problem is they might be hard to find for a few weeks, but if you want one after this review call the guys on the shop and we will get you a Trout LL on order. The rods are scheduled to be back in stock in June, and there could be some sulphurs about.
Thanks to Darin and Jeff from Sage for letting me use their rod for the season, together with the built for it RIO Technical Trout line. Get them both