Sage 7136-4, Hardy Bouglé Mk.VII, Airflo Fly Lines
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Hardy Bougle Mk.VII
Airflo Fly Lines
Sage 7136-4 Generations
By: Mark Bachmann
A Spey Legend goes from lightweight summer rod to big water assasin!
This article was first published 04/23/12,
and like the Sage 7136-4 Rod, it is still evolving.
|The Sage 7136-4 Two-Hand Fly Rod evolved in the Pacific
Northwest of North America, which is a geographic area with lots of
steelhead. In the 20-years that the basic 7136-4 design has been
around, it has landed thousands of (Oncorhynchus mykiss). In
the Pacific Northwest there is a vast array of snow-melt rivers that
fall precipitously from rain drenched mountains to the sea. These
watersheds are wild with vegetation to the water. Here the terrain
is some of the most challenging in the world for fly fishing. Many
rivers are large and hard to wade.
Some steelhead eat dainty little flies, but most prefer flies that are as long as your middle finger, and are often tied on shanks or tubes that are equipped with heavy metal eyes. Sinking tip lines rule here. Two-hand rods (Spey rods) started to become popular in the Pacific Northwest around 1990. Most rods used in the Pacific Northwest during the early 1990's were 14' - 15' nine-weights. These big rods had evolved in the parts of the world where Atlantic Salmon are the main target. These fish average twelve to thirty pounds.
Steelhead average six to twenty pounds.
Around 1992 Sage offered what they termed a "summer steelhead rod", the
7136-4 RPL. At 13 1/2 feet, for a seven-weight line, it was long and lean. The first model 7136-4 was produced and fished in an era before Americans had acquired much experience in fly fishing for steelhead in their home waters. As more and more Northwest Anglers entered the steelhead-fly-fishing sport, their tackle was adapted to the unique personalities of their own rivers and fish. Rods and lines were adapted to cast large flies to moderate size fish, which live in hard to fish places.
Seven weight rods took the popularity from the nine weight rods. During the last three years the best selling steelhead rods are for seven-weight lines and are from 13' to 13 1/2 feet in length. The Sage 7136-4 was the first popular rod in this category.
I've owned and fished four generations of Sage 7136-4 Spey rods. The first ones were brown from the RPL Generation. After a love, hate, love relationship, which went like: bought one and caught several steelhead with it, didn't like it, sold it, regretted it, and bought another one...then fished that rod for three summer seasons as my go-to rod for windless-days. This generation was parabolic and somewhat wobbly in action. It would throw long casts, but with the lines available at the time, it needed quite a bit of room to form a reasonable D-loop. Because of the slow action it was a pain in the wind, but was the right size for the water and the fish. This rod became my morning rod on the Deschutes, but cluttered up the boat during the windy afternoons.
An angler lands a wild Sandy River steelhead with a 7136-4 SP.
This rod series was produced between 1994 & 1998.
|Next came the dark green SP Series. These rods were more
responsive than the brown rods. I sold the second brown 7136-4 rod,
and bought a green one. It filled the roll of the brownie as a
morning rod, and occasionally it was used in the winter. It was
superior to the brown rod, but in my opinion only marginally so.
However, there are a number of experienced anglers who believe that
the dark green 7136-4 is the best all around Spey rod that was ever
made, and there are many of these rods that are still in action.
Then there was a tiger-eye colored version that actually was called
an 8136-4. It worked better as a Skagit rod, but lost the edge as a
greased line Deschutes rod. Once again there are long term believers
in this version.
Then in 2006 came Z-AXIS and everything changed. The Skagit/Scandi shooting head craze came into full bloom and the 7136-4 Z-AXIS fit the new lines perfectly.
In 2010, my best fishing buddy Bob said he wanted to refine his steelhead skill-set by simplification. He wanted to be able to present the fly better and realized that being able to cast better was the key. He wanted one rod that would fish both summer and winter steelhead. What would be his single best choice? My reply was, "Buy a Sage 7136-4 Z-AXIS". He did buy one, and the improvement in his catch became noticeable almost immediately. Years later he says he has no regrets about his rod selection. During the following winters, Bob has scored at will, and it is because he is covering more water better. My own 7136-4 Z-AXIS is battered and bruised from six seasons of constant use. It has been the best big water gun I own for fishing Skagit style heads with sinking tips to 175-grains and it throws average size Intruder flies with ease. At 13 1/2 feet, the extra length maximizes
|my control. The 7136-4 has evolved slowly, over a period of many
years. I think the method is called incremental change. Little by
little the handle changed, the reel seat changed, the guides
changed, and the cosmetics changed. But when the parabolic action
changed to a progressive action, line speed and casting accuracy
improved dramatically. Sinking tips came out of the water easier
allowing the anchor for the next cast to be placed more precisely,
which made loop length and tension more predictable, which made all
facets of casting easier, which cut fatigue, and ultimately brought
more fish to the hand. During this period of development, graphite
technology improved, and the traditional parabolic Spey rod taper
design was finely discarded in favor of a more responsive
progressive taper, which generated more line speed and allowed
fishing in tighter quarters.
THE ONE from Sage
Sage has always been an innovator in graphite rod blank technology. Their latest masterpiece is called is call Konnetic technology. It involves placing the graphite fibers in each rod blank in perfect alignment to gain casting accuracy and recovery time. Single-hand Sage ONE rods made with Kt have been well-received in the market place, and on the water. A series of two-hand rods was under development for an extended period of time. We got a sneak peek at a couple of these rods in the summer of 2011. They were killers and they created a lot of excitement around camp.
|May 19, Bob and I got our hands on a new Sage 7136-4 ONE "prototype". Bob got to go first with the new rod, and spent a full fifteen minutes casting before he gave it to me. After a twenty-cast tune up to gauge this rod's personality, I dropped downstream a hundred feet and went fishing. Twenty casts later a brand new native steelhead conveniently impaled herself on the fly and ran into the backing. After a short, but determined fight my buddy Josh was kind enough to slip the net under it for me, and after a couple of quick clicks of the camera the fish went upon her merry way. I surrendered the rod back to Sage, and Bob and I proceeded to fish our Z-AXIS rods for the rest of the season.|
Handle comparison between Sage ONE and Z-AXIS models: The fore-grip on the ONE is longer and slimmer. The reel seat on the ONE is down-lock, which moves the reel toward the butt slightly for better balance.
|Several months later
the new 7136-4 ONE became available, an Bob and I each obtained one.
So how does this new rod compare to previous generations?
The cosmetics on the new series is distinctive, but the finish on all top-line Sage rods has been superb for years. In the cosmetics department the difference between the old and new series is a toss. The color of the ONE Series rods is called "black ice". Wraps are black with metallic bronze accents; very subtle, but sophisticated, kind of like pearls and gold against a black dress. The reel seats are plain and very functional anodized aluminum without extra grooves to collect grime. The handle is similar to the previous generations, but is plainer looking, which is okay with me. I'm more interested in what the cork will look like after three years of hard use. The cork on the new rods looks great. Sage handles have always stood up well.
It takes a lot of casts and a few fish to tell what the personality of a rod is really like. While playing tha first fish on the proto-type ONE, there was little noticeable difference between the old and new rods. They seemed to bend about the same, and both rods are very forgiving. No improvement in this category was needed.
Casting, however was a different story. At first, both the Z-AXIS and ONE rods seemed to bend about the same. Both rods are easy to load. Yet the new rod lifts sinking tips easier, and allows for a more accurate placement of the anchor. This, of course makes all the rest of each cast easier. Where I was fishing at the time, there was no need for extreme casting distance. The cast that caught the fish was about 65' from the rod tip to the fly. The cast had landed very straight with very little slack in it, so the fly came under tension immediately and the fish took after the fly had travelled less than twenty feet.
Fly speed can be everything and slack in the line can be your enemy during certain water flows. Unintentional slack in the line is created by poor casting technique, and rod designs that create tip wobble. If you are a smooth caster the Z-AXIS throws a very tight line with a minimum of bounce-back.
But the ONE is even better in this department. The High Compression Molding (HCM) process in the Konnetic technology that makes the ONE single-handers the most accurate casting rods on the market, definitely improves the effectiveness of the 7136-4 as a fishing tool. The density of the (HCM) blank construction isn't lighter in weight than the Z-AXIS, but you are so much more connected to your fly through it. The feeling is really startling. The take of that fish was transmitted with incredibly sharp detail, which created a heightened awareness of the whole event, which is indelibly etched into the steelhead archives between my ears, a pleasant memory amongst a myriad of other pleasant fly fishing fishing memories.
After a thousand casts and several more steelhead, my perception of the ONE has changed slightly since my initial introduction. The ONE action is quite different from the Z-AXIS. The bend in the rod is less tip action and is more spread out over the entire blank, maybe even slightly parabolic. Lines and reels are totally interchangeable between the two rods. They both like Skagit heads that weigh between 540and 560 grains. My favorite pick at the moment are 550-grain Rio Flight and iFlight with T-14 M.O.W. Tips. With this line set up the ONE will launch more line than the Z-AXIS, as a matter of fact A LOT MORE! The ONE action comes under load quicker than the Z-AXIS, but spreads bend more evenly along the entire length of the blank, putting more load closer to your hands, making the rod more easy to control. The ONE is easy to load, but because the graphite material used in the construction of the blank is so resilient, the rod kicks hard and straightens instantaneously to build tremendous line speed. Because the main design criteria in Konnetic technology is "Translated Accuracy" (the elimination of tip-wobble), slack-producing/energy-robbing standing waves in the forward cast are virtually eliminated, resulting in higher line speed for more accurate and farther reaching casts, with less energy drain on the caster.
The Sage ONE rods were incredibly popular at the Sandy River Spey Clave in May, 2012! George Cook brought a huge supply of samples, but there were hardly ever any in his booth to try. They were always on the water being flogged by loving hands. There will be plenty of Sage ONE rods at Sandy River Spey Clave 2013. Stop in at the Sage booth and check them our, or stop in at The Fly Fishing Shop and get your hands on one now. We get rods continually, and we ship every day!
Length: 13' 6" Line: 7 Pieces: 4
|Item||Series||Line Wt.||Action||Handle||Price||To Top|
|Hardy Bouglé MkVII||Buy a Bouglé|
|The first Hardy reel patent was registered in 1888, and since then many patents have followed. One of Hardy's most popular reels appeared in 1891. It was understandably called the "Perfect". It included most of the improvements that fishermen had been asking for up to that time. The spool was narrow and deep. An adjustable check supplied the friction to keep the spool velocity from over running the line while playing a fish. Up to that time most fine reels were made from brass. The first Perfect reels were also|
made from brass. After a short period
they were machined from an aluminum castings. This made the Perfect
very lightweight for its time. Please realize that aluminum smelting
and casting technologies were very new at the invention of the
Perfect Series of reels. The Hall-Héroult Process of smelting
aluminum with electrolytic methods had only been invented in 1886.
Hardy Perfect reels were very high-tech during the time of their
introduction to the market place. Metal technology has change
continuously for the 125 years that the Perfect has been around, but
the basic design has remained the same. Some anglers feel that the
design was Perfect from the very start.
A great contributor to the reels success has been its ease of disassembly,which is accomplished by rotating the side plate backwards. Both ends of the reel turns. This allows the angler to palm or finger a side plate for more friction while playing a fish.
The "Perfect" can rightly claim to be the most successful fly reel of all time, having remained in production for over of a century, during which time many dozens of variations and improvements to the original design were made.
In 1903, Louis Bouglé, a French tournament caster, asked Hardy to make a lighter variation of their Perfect reel for competition casting. It became known as the Bouglé. The Bouglé MkVII is most advanced version yet of the reel that the legendary Monsieur Bouglé asked Hardy to make in 1903. It comes in five sizes of click check reels for freshwater fishing.
With the MkVI Hardy has taken a classic reel, made it more beautiful and brought it pounding into twenty-first century. It is now machined from aluminum alloy bar-stock. With its ivorine handle, the Bouglé looks as lovely as ever on a rod, but now performs like the most modern of reels on the market. Looks? Its stunning, hard anodized, clear frame combines strikingly with the anodized clear spool and side-plate. Practicality? The deep spool gives you big line and backing capacity, vital for those facing ever bigger, faster running fish both home and abroad. The ventilated spool and frame has created a model that is the lightest Bouglé yet whilst still retaining its legendary strength. The aluminum spindle has only reduced weight further.
|Bouglé Reel Specifications and Prices|
|DT2F||70 yd.*||3.6 oz||
|DT4F||100 yd.*||4.1 oz||
|DT6F||100 yd.*||6.8 oz||
|DT8F||100 yd.*||7.3 oz||
|DT10F||225 yd.*||9 oz||
|* #20 Backing ** #30 Backing|
which hand you prefer to wind your reel with,
so we may set the retrieve direction for you.
if you wish us to install a fly line on your new reel or extra
spool. Then make your selection from
the Fly Line Section. We will install the proper size
and amount of Micron Backing at no extra charge.
|Airflo Spey Lines available at: www.FlyFishUSA.com|
Fish long & prosper,
Mark, Patty & Crew
P.O. Box 368 - 67296
East Hwy 26
Welches, Oregon 97067, USA
Voice: (503) 622-4607 or 1(800) 266-3971 FAX: (503) 622-5490
© 1981-2012 The Fly Fishing Shop
We have been in business since April 21, 1981.