Grumpy McMurdo Fishing News


The Warnes boys go ultra-light with two new Sages.

It was Mark Bantich’s ‘Ultra Light’ piece (FL#38) that got us thinking about adding a lightweight fly-rod to the armoruy. This was reinforced by a couple of days on little alpine streams where even a good presentation with the 4-weights seemed to leave bow waves across the crystal clear, dead calm pools. Using the Web as our research tool the newest, lightest rods available appeared to be the Sage TXL’s and we just had to give them a try. The models selected were a 2-weight and 1-weight, both 7’10” and three-piece.

The first thing to strike you about the TXL is the appearance: golden olive in colour, a six-inch cigar grip and a nickel-silver reel seat with a Vera wood insert. In short, they look fantastic. The next characteristic is the weight: they are so light, with the 2-weight at 2 1/8 oz and the 1-weight an even 2 oz. In Sage speak they are built on ‘Generation 5 (G5) Technology’ and a ‘Modulus Positioning System (MPS)’, breakthroughs that allow them to build this rod in weights from 00 to 4. We just couldn’t wait to see what this all meant to a couple of average fly-fishers.

Dave Warnes: I chose the 2-weight and headed across to the oval for a spot of casting. I was immediately impressed with the power of the rod. It was fast and crisp; a 40 ft cast was easy and a 20 ft pick-up and drop, effortless—no noodle here. I couldn’t wait to take it to the water. The first opportunity was a quick stop off at the Yarrangobilly River which was very low. Typical for the high country, we were greeted by wind. I slipped into the water and flicked a Humpy into the rapids ahead. The TXL was a pleasure to use and handled the breeze with ease. I would like to say it attracted a trout or two but that was probably more to do with me than a fault of the rod.

Andrew Warnes: Dad has always been the heavy handed one, so I was more than happy to take the 1-weight for a flick. It performed admirably at the oval but I knew the real test would come on the water. My favourite section of the river is long and narrow and the wind always blows from the side, meaning an uncontrolled cast ends up in the grass. Whilst a fraction lighter than the 2-weight, the action is similar and the line laid out along the narrow corridor with ease. The rod handled the windy conditions better than expected, although it loaded better with a 2-weight line.

Dave: My next trip to the water was for the season closing on the Tumut where I had promised to find a fellow FlyLife forumite a trout or two. After meeting this obligation I set about giving the 2-weight another workout. The river was low and I chose a small tungsten-head nymph, a tall order for a 2-weight. I shouldn’t have worried because the TXL handled the job with ease, and I had soon landed and released three small rainbows. This session was in pouring rain with frequent strong wind gusts.

At $895 the TXL is not an inexpensive rod, but they were too good for us to re-sist the purchase. They are a pleasure to fish with, even when the weather turns, and I can’t wait to test them further. We confirmed Sages recommendation that a line match is important, and mine really goes well with the Quiet Double Taper, Sage designed for the rod. These rods are not toys but serious fishing tools.

Andrew: The son always gets the last word and I have to say I am very impressed with my TXL; it’s a fun rod that has unlimited possibilities and will get a lot of use this coming season. My only concern is that my 4-weight may become redundant.

Sage rods are distributed in Australia by JM Gillies: 03 9646 4745 or