Re: Any Sage TCR Fans?
I'll be happy to ... Let me say first that I am so far from being rich I could be called poor, so all my reviews depend on the cooperation of the manufacturer. Some will help, others will not. I offer them truth and trust ... If I don't like a product, I simply return it with my recommendations for change. Sometimes, if the product is sufficiently outstanding, I will complete the review but mention and simply mention the shortfall I noted.
For example, when I reviewed the G.Loomis StreamDance GLX Maximum Line Speed ... I thought it was then and now a surperb rod; in fact it's the fastest 5 I've ever thrown and the first 5 I would take into the Salt. But Loomis had seen fit to use a new model of REC stripper guides ... because it has a slightly larger inside diameter than what you and I might call the "standard," they elected to go with a size 12 as the first stipper. Once of those MBA type "esthetic" decisions, I suppose ... As far as I am concerned, the small size of the strippers limited the cast; simply stated, I couldn't clear the line through the first stripper the rod is capable of throwing. I argued the point with G. Loomis. In short, Steve Rajeff thinks it is just great as is; I don't!
There are, of course, many differences between casters - certainly, Steve Rajeff is a master - but not that many. What is true about this example is most that most fly fishers could not or would not want the Maximum Line Speed flavor, and on a softer rod the smaller REC is satisfactory.
I really don't think many folks who do reviews do what I do; in fact, some of them just take the boilerplate provided by the manufacturer, change a few words and publish. Those friends I have in the industry know that I do not do that. I have been commended over and over again for what I do...
With the Grace of God, I have a large inventory of rods, reels and lines, not to mention all the other junk that goes with them. That gives me the opportunity of comparing one rod to another side-by-side. Besides, there are some things most folks are not aware of ... For example, some rods experience a breakage rate that's "uncomfortable" to the manufacturer ... soooo ... they fix it; they announce a new "improved" model or, in some cases, a new rod painted a different color. It doesn't matter a hill of beans if the former rod is/was better than the "new" version -- what matters is they "fixed" it so it wouldn't break as often.
The truth is ... there isn't all that much that's new except our egos. In graphite it all has to do with the dry powdered graphite (modulus), the glue or resin, the scrim, and the creator's idea of taper, length and wall thickness. Beyond this, best I not go further ... The next time you are in a fly shop, take a close look at the rod tips ... the differences are apt to surprise you.
Besides having a rod go side by side against its brethern, I also make it a point to throw a variety of lines, from a variety of reels, on and off the water, with and without wind, and using a varied selection of fly imitations.
It takes awhile to do a review, but at my age there isn't all that much left to do. I suppose the reward comes when someone sends me an e-mail thanking me for my help. I never ceased to be amazed that most are in places like Australia, Bosnia, New Zealand, the UK, Norway, etc. Bet you wouldn't guess that according to one fan in Perth, Australia, he couldn't have won the fly fishing tournament without me...