My Trusty Sage RPL+: I bet you have a “go-to” fly rod, the one you reach for first. In the salt, I do. And that rod is a 9′, 2 piece, Sage 10-weight. Over the years I’ve have caught more fish on it that any other fly rod I own. I trust it.
Now, if you’re a veteran of the brine, you’re thinking my rod has to be the old Sage RPLX. Well it’s not. Granted the RPLX was a very good rod that – at one point – took the salt scene by storm. Everyone had to have one. It was built with a brand new patented rod construction method developed by Fenwick. This method, as I remember, employed a coil of graphite that ran the entire outer length of the blank. It gave the rod great hoop strength, making it a very durable and powerful rod. Fenwick called their creations “Iron Feather’ rods and licensed the design to Sage. Sage took it and called their rods RPLX. In turn Fenwick refrained for selling “Iron Feathers” in larger line weights in the US.
There was only one problem with these rugged Sage rods; they cast like a club. Too stiff. In fact most anglers had to go up one or two line weights in order to make them comfortable to use. Or end up with a tennis elbow or sore shoulder; your choice. Eventually Sage made another rod using the same process. But this baby had a more sophisticated compound taper that allowed the rod to load deeper into the midsection. It was designed by Jerry Siems, I believe. Sage called it the RPL +. Wow, this rod was smooooth distance machine, a great improvement. But most anglers shunned it, because it wasn’t the famous RPLX. Mistake.
My trusted rod is Sage Graphite III, RPL +. I got a blank and had it custom wrapped by noted rod builder Kevin Pelletier. Most importantly, I wanted special guides that would enhance line speed. The butt section has a 20mm, and a 16mm Fuji stripping guide. Huge compared to some salt water fly rods. Hell the biggest stripping guide on my first 10-weight was 10 mm! The tip section starts with a 14mm,and then drops to a single foot 12mm stripping guide. This brings the fly line down closer to the blank and more concentric with the snakes guides.
Eventually my big fat thumb busted through the cork grip. I taped it over and still fished the rod. But then the reel seat’s threads eroded away. Ugh. After that the rod sat in a basement corner for a couple years. Recently I replaced the grip and the reel seat with REC components. Quality stuff. Hope to get many more years out of this terrific old rod.