Sage Z-Axis Spey Rods

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by poirierpro, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. I guess this question is for all of you that own or have casted a Z-Axis spey rod. I'm looking at getting into a higher end spey and want to get some feedback on this series of rods. I mainly fish the Ronde, Methow, and Clearwater rivers...floaters in the summer and early fall...but do most of my fishing in the late fall/early winter throwing various tips. I will obviously test cast the rod before I buy but want to know your thoughts on were to start and maybe some line recommendations.

    The Pro
  2. Well Sage are good rods, made in the USA (local to most people on this board), but to me, a factory built Sage, say 7136 for $800, verus $700 for a hand made rod from Meiser? Unless you are a Guide and getting that $800 rod for half off (Meiz doesn't give many if any discounts) why a Sage?
  3. I like to support my local fly shop. :)
  4. I purchased a used Sage Z-axis 7136 and have a set up that has a running line, then the matching AFS head for floating lines and a Skagit head for tips. Had it out this past weekend for some practice (since I didn't catch anything) and really like this setup. I still need to cast a heavier sinktip to see how it will cast, but it cast the sinking Versileader wonderfully with the Skagit. Nice rod with lots of power. And the AFS head with the Versileader was very fine as well. I don't think you can go wrong with this line of rods.

  5. :thumb:Z's are good rods. But Meiser is second to none :thumb:

    In all seriousness, the quality these days is top notch. For that price, the big names will have something that will sort you out. Depending on the rod, I have HEARD that a number of people like the Delta's, but if you are thinking tips, I might suggest a skagit.

    Might help if you explained the line wt. in question, types of flies, and preferred casting (Skag, Scandi, long belly, etc.). I would guess a 13-footer in the 7/8 range?
  6. I will be throwing a Skagit head may switch to a compact Skagit...looking at the 7136 or the 8134...I guess I'm looking for the "do it all" rod...if there is such a thing. I throw a lot of tips with bugs ranging from traditional steelhead patterns to MOALs and Larimer leeches...
  7. You can go ahead and get the Sage, but eventually you will list it in the classified section here or on fleaBay and buy a Meiser, or at least wish that you could. Chukar and Rogue answered your question frankly and honestly. I'm with them. Their advise is good.
  8. Thomas & Thomas should try one out.
  9. Loved my Sage. 7136 w/compact 510 gr. throws nicely, according to Bryan. I love Meiser rods a little more. Look into an MKS or a Highlander. Both are great....There are so many great rods out there from Winston, Loop, Sage, T&T, etc. I really like Meiser Rods for some reason.

    The best part is figuring out which one YOU like.

  10. I bought a Mieser and sold after using it a couple of times. To soft. I own a number of Sages and love them all. I have never cast a Sage I didn't like. I have bought and sold many brands of rods and I always come back to my Sages. I am done with what I call boutique fly rods.
  11. Sage 7136 Z-Axis is an awesome rod. I've become very partial to this rod, and have found none quite like it. The Meiser rods are great and there are other great rod makers out there, but "I" prefer the lightness and feel of the Z-Axis. For instance, I have two switch rods, one system 4 Meiser and the other a 7110 Z-Axis; I don't really use the Meiser, because the 7110 is just a blast to cast.

    Lines I like for the 7136 Z: Airflo Compact Skagit 480 and the Airflo Compact Scandi 420.

    I find the best tips, for the Compact Skagit, to be sections of T14 in 6',8' & 10' lenghts, not that it won't handle more, I've just never had a need for my 12' sections of T14. As far as the Compact Scandi, I used to think floating poly leaders were the best, have since grown to hate them and just build 13-15' mono leaders. Just a side note: At this time I do feel the 14' sinking polys still have value in the right situation...your welcome to talk me out of it, i'm just looking for an excuse to totally abandon the "Poly Leader" ship.

    Anyway find what feels good to you and go fish!

  12. Spend an extra $100 and get a Burkheimer 8134-4 sweet rod with 480 scandi head and the best skagit rod i have ever cast. I was using a 570 and 600 grain air flow compact skagit. GO GET IT
  13. Thanks James!
  14. I love my Z-Axis 7136 but don't have anything else in my quiver to compare it to. I wanted an all around spey rod and chose this one, with no plans to get another two hander - yeah, said that when I got my first single hander, too ; ) The action feels perfect for me. I use an Airflo Compact Skagit 510 (tried a Rio Skagit 500 and was OK, but the compact is better). Also have an Airflo compact Scandi 480 that is a good match. I'm still getting the hang of spey casting, but every time I go out I feel like I'm getting a little better. The rod is a blast to cast.
  15. Pro, I do not think you are going to find a rod that will be ideal for all three rivers. The Clearwater has some big water where distance makes a big difference. It can also have some real windy days. Most of the time I grab my Meiser 15' 7/8/9 and an 8/9 long delta. Then there are the days where the water level is high and it is a place with no backcast room and a shorter rod is called for.

    The other two rivers are more "intimate" and lighter and shorter works as well or better. So, where are you going to fish the most? You said that it will be mostly tips, at what distance, and what backcast room? What line? If it is mostly tight and tips, then a Skagit and a shorter rod will probably do it.

    Get to the Clearwater Clave this month and try some of those rods and line combos out. In the last analysis, it is what you like best for the conditions you fish most of the time.
  16. Gotta agree with the above...2 of those rivers are small and the fish not that big...If you just gotta have a sage z I would be looking at the 5126 or 6wt version...loved my 5126 but sold it....I won't get into the "what's the best rod" jingle...I own meisers...they work for use whatever you want...My favorite stick at the moment is a 5/6 11'7" switch..Thing can handle fish up to 15lbs but little guys like Pinks and trout are still fun..Handles a compact scandi well, a compact skagit well...I switch tips for what or where I'm fishing...

    I am starting to explore lighter rods for more applications, I don't think you need the big gun rods as we aren't catching any 20+ lb steelhead ...granted if I go chum wrestling (which I love) the big rod is a necessity..but for most of what I fish locally and in b.c. I'm finding it a helluva lot more fun fishing all day with lighter rods...

    So much has been made and said about how you have to have a big rod on big rivers and I don't think it's true..IMHO...If your new and suck at casting then a big rod and line might help you but your only putting a bandaid on the real problem...13-13'6" rods again IMHO are the max of what you'll ever need...they can throw 140' when you know what your doing so distance isn't an issue...
    More important to learn to cast, stay near the bank and fish close in then to wade out throw a big loop and scare all the fish away...
  17. First, let preface my post by saying I've never cast a "Z", but I have owned 2 Sage spey rods and still own a few of their single handers. I like their rods. But I think the previous advice to get to a clave and test as many as you can is spot on, especially for the price of a new Z. There are just way too may good rods out there besides sage anymore, especially in the spey category. For that kind of money, I would take a look at the Burkie's for sure. I cast the CF 7133-3 after casting a Meiser and others at the Sandy clave and liked it the best. It would be a good consideration for the 2 smaller rivers you mention. It would be a good "do it all" rod for both summer and winter work. If you think you are going to fish the smaller 2 rivers more and want more of a summer rod, I would look for something in a 6 wt. The new Beulah Platinum Series are great rods and come in under $600. Lots of choices, just try to get to a clave and cast, cast, cast.
  18. Golfman,

    Seems everything I read says how using 'big rods' are overkill. I nearly completely agree with you. Except for the 'need' part. Steelhead fly fishing is a 'want' so people should do as they 'want'.

    Is it impossible (not whether its more fun, less fun, ideal, overkill...those are personal choices) to use a longer line on a longer rod and somehow still stay close to shore (so you aren't wading on the fish)? Especially at the distances you are casting with a skagit setup on a shorter rod.

    Are you going to be on the CW this fall? Do you mind if I spend some time following you through a few runs if you come over? I am eager to see your casting stroke, fishing style, and how you break down the water.

  19. I would love to take you up on your offer...I know a couple "mikes" over there so that would be a welcomed break and invite...

    I do fish the Thompson though not likely anymore for steelhead in the winter...(they aren't going to open it again or not for awhile anyways) I have and do fish that river with a 13'6 8/9 doesn't have to be a skagit, only use that when the wind is up and you hit a deeper hole..mostly use cnd's, delta longs, guideline scandi. etc.

    Bottom line is this...I am lucky to fish that river maybe two times a year for steelhead..otherwise it's only summer time trout...TWO times a year to take out the big stick doesn't warrant a big stick or the punishment throwing a long line on it for a couple days...98% of my fishing is coastal and local here and in lower rainland...I've seen 6wt z bring in big wild steel....not recommended maybe but not like the rods can't handle it...
    When I talk with the boys down in Oregon they have shifted to lighter rods for awhile now..more enjoyment on your body, more enjoyment on your fishing etc.
    I have caught a dime bright 8 pound steelhead on an 14' 8 wt rod...You know what?? It sucked!!! I especially didn't enjoy the part where the fish came skimming across the top of the water with it's mouth open...

    What I do see way too much of are guys without a clue yielding 14' 8/9 wt rods wading out to their chests and ripping up the water all around um trying to throw there big open loops across and up stream....Why? because some yahoo told um that's what they need to overcompensate for either lack of skill or because they wanted to sell that brutal set up and get something lighter..

    The more I see spey rods, (which is more often then single hands now) the more often I see the above...Nothing like it, especially when your fishing a run and someone walks in below you, wades out past the fish and scares the shit out of anything with a hundred yards of them...

    I personally would rather see guys fish a spey rod like what it is...a FLY rod...instead of something to relieve their boredom of not catching any fish..(see above for reason) and instead practice casting and scaring whatever fish might be in the river away...

    One thing I've learned is the longer I've done this, the more I realize I don't know...When you get the guys who know their stuff, two things have sprung out at me...1. most shocking of all maybe...allot of these guys can't cast all that great...but they catch more fish then the guys who can....which leads me to #2 If big rods and long casts means you'll land more come I see the opposite happen more times then not?
  20. Agreed .
    I`ve fed the addiction enough to be able to fish with various lengths and weights of rods . Next week I`m leaving for a three week trip to fish the Copper , Skeena , Kispiox , Bulkley and Morice rivers (and maybe the Kitimat , if the coho are in ) . So far , the rods I think I`m going to take are ... 16'1" CND Solstice , 14'3" Burkie , 12'6" Loomis Stinger , 12'6" Amundson , and maybe my 12' Snowbee . I could get by bringing only one or two rods (take yer pick , they`ll all work) , but I`d rather fish different rods on different waters . The 12 and 12 1/2 foot rods will be used on the Morice where the 16'1" might look out of place , but would be perfectly serviceable for that system . On the Skeena however , the little rods just won`t be as effective as the CND or Burkie will . The Burkie will be the rod of choice on the Copper . Not because I need the length , but because it`s a higher gradient system than any of the other river I`ll fish , and I can use the power . And I just love fishing that rod . It will also be the weapon of choice on the Kispiox .

    Next rod purchase for me will be the 14'6" 7 weight Decho . Not because I need one , but because I want one .

    Back to the original question .... If I were looking for a rod to use primarily with a Skagit system , the Loomis Dredger would be the first I`d look at , but would also be taking a serious look into Meiser MKS and CND Skagit Specialist rods .:beer2:

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