Okay, when these rods first came out, I though they were the ugliest rods I had ever seen. I mean, who ever thought of a rod blank in that color?!? Well, through the months, the color of the rod has kind of grown on me. Kind of like a fungus, but a fungus I have come to admire nonetheless. Having recently come to be in the market for a new three weight (yeah, like when are we NOT in the market for a new rod?), I started weighing my options. I pretty much narrowed my rods down to the Sage Lauch and the Scott V2. Since I have a V2 in a five weight, I already know that these are fantastic rods. Only issue was that they are a very moderate actioned rod and I wondered what that would translate into in a three weight. I want to be able to throw big bugs with the three weight so I decided to check out the Launch. Read some reviews first on the web and EVERYTHING I read was glowing. Next called and talked to Nate at Fishtech. He was very complimentary about them also so I decided to go and test them. The one I was looking at is the 7.5 foot two piece. Well, Nate strung her up with a WF4 since the reel foot broke off the 3wt reel. DANG CAST REELS!!! Went to the grass and Nate gave her a couple casts. He was amazed obviously with her performance. He handed her to me and I have to say, I was feeling the same way. VERY light in the hand. Almost like it was not even there. Very comfortable grip with the typical primo SAGE cork that is not too narrow or fat. Well, she was loading beautiful with about five feet of line out and then casting into about 50 feet of line like it was the same five. The rod is a medium fast action but VERY sensitive. You could feel every move you made with it. Cosmetics are great too, once you let the coppery, greenish, orangy, something color get inside your skin. Great nickel silver hardware top off a very functional piece of wood for a spacer. Guides are all stiff snake and the wraps are as good as on the TCR. No sloppiness here. And in this day and age of rods not having a tube with them, this one goes beyond with a very attractive green cordura tube with partition on the inner sock. Unfortunately, Nate only had the rack model and I am kind of leary about buying them as I see how some people thwack them against everything in the store. I checked around and found this rod at High Country Flyfishers in North Salt Lake and went and picked it up. $170 for a very nice stick. Another bonus is that High Country also threw in a very nice looking hat with their logo on it. Since I collect fly shop hats, this was a welcome gift.
With that said, I must say, if you are in the market for a new rod and don't want to spend the kids inheritance or if you do but want money for the fishing trip, check into the Launch series. You cannot go wrong.
I just bought a Launch series rod (2 piece, 9', 5-weight). I'm very happy with it. Everything Curtis wrote to describe the rod is very accurate. If you need a new rod and don't want to break the bank, consider the Launch series.
Curtis, I also own a V2 and a launch in my rod collection. In a three weight mod fast action I have a FLI also. Like you I will use a 4wt line on it from time to time. Another 3 wt rod I have been eye balling is the AVID. It is not as fast as the FLI or Launch but the action has a nice feel to it. All of these rods come with a lifetime warranty and tube. I have been in both locations of that UT fly shop. I found that the gentleman in the Ogden location was also especially helpful.
You sure bought the rod at the right time now that the October cadis hatch has started on the mid Provo. Good luck and great fishing with your new toy.
Curtis... I am glad that you like your new Sage. Welcome to the club. I have used Sage rods for over 20 years and never regretted buying a Sage. I still fish my Sage Graphite III RPL in a 6 weight and I am now the proud owner of a Sage VT2 in a 3 wt!
That was my first fly rod when I got back into the sport a couple years back. Since then, I've sold it to a co-worker since I wasn't using it. Still a pretty doggone good rod for the money. I have 2 SLTs (3 and 5 wt), a 3 wt TXL, and a 10 wt Xi2. They're all fantasic rods, but I've gotten to love the 3 wt SLT. I've also gotten a couple of older 'boo rods, but haven't had the chace to use either yet. Maybe this weekend.
I started this season with a 5 wt. Launch. I liked it a lot. However, the rod that I bought came as a 2-piece; not the best for travelling. So, when my wife and I went out to Montana this Fall to find some bigger fish, I traded the Launch for a 4-piece 5 wt. VT-2. Not such a good call on my part. I like the action of the Launch better than the VT-2, which has a softer tip and doesn't work as well for me when I'm looking for distance. However, I have heard, as others have said, that the Fli is worth the step-up from the Launch.
I have a 6 wt. Launch and I love it! I just got in to the sport 7 or 8 months ago but its pretty much taken over my life and fly fishing/tying is just about all I do. It casts well and its durable. The only draw back for me is sage's warrantly policy which requires $40 for a repare in comparison to TFO and Orvis who charge $25. Defidentally worth the money though!
The Sage Launch in a 9 ft 5 wt was my first rod. Yes, the color is ugly. Guess what it looks like from a distance? Bamboo. I've been stopped three times while walking along a river, by fishermen asking if it was bamboo. (They were all in the water about 30 feet away, so they had no idea what it really was.)