Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New From Sage

Sage has two exciting new rods and reels coming for the 2011 season. The old saying if it works don't change it certainly doesn't ring true at Sage. Jerry Siem, Sage's rod designer, is constantly thinking of ways to make the best better.

The VXP which replaces the VT2 line is the most powerful fast action rod Sage offers at a mid-price point with plenty of high-end features. With ultra high line speed and a slender shaft design, the VXP is exceptionally smooth and responsive. The rods come in Shadetree Green with dark green, silver & black wraps. Fresh and Saltwater modes in line weights 4 through 10. All 4 piece. Price range $495 - $595.

The TXL-F surpasses the TXL series by being the lightest, most responsive rods to date. With ultimate sensitivity, the TXL-F family is reduced in weight from the TXLs by 33% with the use of Micro Ferrule Technology and an exclusive ultra-light guide package. Bronze anodized reel seat with walnut insert. This is your rod for fishing tiny flies with ultra light tippets. 000 through 4 weight. All 4 piece.  $625.

While we all know that Sage creates the world's finest fly rods, we are pleased to announce they now have a line of reels designed to match that level of perfection. Using materials and technology like carbon fiber and their unique SCS (sealed carbon system) drag systems anglers now have consistent performance whether fighting a steelhead on the Bulkley with iced up guides or hooking a acrobatic Tarpon in the heat of Belize. The new 4200 series reels

 4200 and 3800 CF Series

From the small ultra-light delicacy of the Click I to the stand-up work horse performance of the 6000 series, Sage offers the perfect reel for every rod.

With the exception of a few models, most rods and reels are now available. Stop in to your local Sage dealer and take a look.

In our next issue, we'll take a closer look at all the Sage rod families to better understand the niche that each one fills. If you have a favorite rod or rod question, we'd love to hear it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Better Packing for a Trip 

Ever had a bottle of shampoo burst in your checked luggage? Or suntan lotion? How about your container of split shot spilled inside your fishing vest? The handle broken or bent on your favorite fly reel? Ever had your rod case go AWOL? Sooner or later it will happen to anyone who travels, but there are some things that we can do to help lessen the chance of accident.
The first thing to consider would have to be the piece of luggage you choose for the trip. We have several hard bottom/soft top roller duffel bags in different sizes that we love. In particular are the Sage DXL Rolling Duffels. We have them in two sizes, one for short trips without fly rods and the other larger one for fishing trips.

Maybe it's my age, but a couple of things have become glaringly clear to me after a lot of years of traveling and carrying luggage. The first thing is that I don't want any luggage that isn't a roller bag anymore. Yes, the roller and handle add some weight to the bag but it is so much easier to move your luggage that I will gladly deal with the extra weight. Carrying all that weight on my shoulders doesn't work anymore.

Secondly, for anything longer than a weekend, I want a hard bottom which most roller bags have. The hard bottom protects fragile items, keeps things in place and gives shape to the bag which is important if you want to leave it standing for a second while you find your passport, or if you have to use it as a portable desktop while standing in line trying to take notes while on your cell phone.

Now that we have the right bag, let's talk about packing it. There are certain items that always go in the bottom of the bag: binoculars, fishing reels, fly boxes, shampoo, sunscreen and other liquids, and anything valuable that I can't put in my carry on luggage, anything fragile. So, you might be saying, 'she puts her shampoo with her fly reels, is she crazy?' The most important item next to the luggage that we use are resealable plastic bags. Every liquid, gel and cream is put in a sealed plastic bag. Sometimes double bagged and placed on the bottom of the luggage with socks, buffs, or a fleece vest across the top of the bottom layer for cushioning. 

The fly rods go on the bottom of the bag in the cloth sacks, no hard tubes. We stagger the ends so the reel seat of one is against the ferrule ends of the next rod. The bottom of the duffel is sectioned and the rods lay comfortably and safely in these sections. This is also where the reels go in the neoprene cases with handles up. On top goes some soft items as mentioned above, gloves, hats, socks, a fleece vest, flip flops, etc.

One other thing that is especially nice about the hard separate bottom section is that TSA has never inspected it. They riffle through the top of the bag but never the bottom. Maybe this makes the items a little safer I don't know, but I do know that when I open it things are where I put them when I packed.

All my clothes go in the top section. My shirts go in one Eagle Creek Pack It Folder and my skirts or trousers go in another one. I like the 15" size but Barry prefers the 18". These folders keep the items neatly stored and organized. My smaller items I place in a mesh draw string bag. Larger, crushable items like a fleece jacket, rain coat, fleece pants, are stuffed around the edges. My shoes go in the large end zippered pocket. 

The one item that stays packed at all times (I have a copy in each piece of luggage that we own) is a laminated copy of the inside pages of our passports. If the passports are stolen, this copy will provide us with identification, numbers, and information necessary to get out of the country. It will still be a big hassle, but the copies will make it somewhat easier - I'm told.

When I'm on a tropical trip and don't have a lot of fleece and my bag is not full, I can easily cinch down the size of the bag by pulling the adjustable straps on the outside of the bag.

In all the traveling that we do, our bags are only rarely over the 50 pound limit. This might happen when we are out for three weeks or more and/or carrying gifts for people at the other end. With careful planning and today's easily washable quick-drying fabrics, we don't have to take a lot of extra clothes. Oh yes, a small 4 oz. bottle of liquid detergent goes in that bottom compartment - in a resealable bag, of course.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Choosing a Digital Camera

Choosing a  Digital Camera

As trip hosts and photographers for  Frontiers International,, we're often asked about cameras and lenses and what's a person to do when it comes to selecting a camera or camera system. Considering the investment involved, we offer these tips and pointers to keep in mind if you're in the market for a new camera.

Remember when you went back to your film lab and waited for the prints to come back from processing and then waited again for reprints to send to family members and friends? Well, those days are gone, thank goodness. With digital we now preview the images in the camera and delete any that we don't like. The memory card in the camera stores the photos that we later download to our computer. The card is reformatted and ready to be used again and again. We can easily share photos by email or online galleries or choose photos we want to print, and with one or two clicks, print them at home! With easy-to-use software editing programs, we can have our own digital darkroom right in our computer. This software can brighten, straighten, get rid of red eye and crop with minimal effort. And, if we don’t want to print at home, there are online print labs ready to help.

We are frequently asked which to consider, a point-and-shoot or an SLR? This question is almost always followed with how many pixels are needed? A point-and-shoot has a fixed lens. With an SLR (single lens reflex) you have the flexibility to interchange lenses. We use both in our travels. Many  point-and-shoot models are the size of a cell phone yet produce stunning images - and shoot video. These cameras are perfect to keep handy in a pocket, purse, fishing vest,  or fanny pack It's a perfect camera to use for instantaneous or impromptu shots

If you want to take it to the next level and are serious about landscapes, portraits, wildlife or bird images, then the flexibility of being able to switch back and forth from a wide-angle lens to a longer focal length (80-200mm or more) to pull in your subject becomes very important. When photographing people it's nice to have the option of a longer lens at times so you don't have to get in their face. On the other hand, if it's your grandson's first birthday, you do want to get close. In wildlife photography, you wouldn't want to walk up to a black mane lion - you'd want a longer focal length. So, we have choices.

Our choice in a point-and-shoot camera today is a Nikon COOLPIX S8000. This slim, handsome camera sports a 3-inch high resolution color display which makes previewing easy, is extremely fast for a point-and-shoot (ISO settings of 1600 are possible) and it offers a 10X zoom with VR (vibration reduction) image stabilization which equates to a 28-280 lens. Also included is Nikon D lighting for better exposures and a High Definition movie mode with stereo sound. The S8000 offers an advanced on board flash and a macro setting that allows focusing as close as 1cm or 0.4 inches. All of this and 14.2 mega pixels gives you a incredible point-and-shoot camera.

When it comes to an SLR for the more serious photographer, take a look at the Nikon D90. Add a 18-200 DX Nikor zoom lens with ED glass and Vibration Reduction and you have an affordable combination that you can travel the world with. The D90 offers 12.3 mega pixels (not as many pixels as the S8000 but bigger), high ISO (200-3200), HD Video with live view, Nikon D lighting and advanced scene modes that automatically adjust exposure for superior picture quality. The D90 comes with NikonView NX Software that makes image browsing and organizing easy.

On a pro level the Nikon D300s is the real deal, offering a 12.3 effective megapixel camera that
fires 8 frames per second in a durable magnesium body. The 300s D-movie function includes an external microphone input for clear stereo sound recordings while the large bright view finder is easy to see for previewing. We own three D300s Nikon cameras. It's our go-to camera. It's probably obvious by now that we are loyal Nikon fans and there is good reason. Nikon helps us make great images and they never let us down. You may agree that money can't buy happiness, but it can buy quality. With our Nikon cameras and Sage fly rods, we know the rest is up to us.

 If you want to photograph wildlife then you’ll need a longer lens (300 mm or longer) for your SLR. There are a lot of choices in lenses and good glass is on the expensive side. Our 200-400 comes in at about $7,000 and our 80-400 at $1,650. But a lens that is a real sleeper is the Nikon 70-300 VR at $590. This is an extremely sharp lens and although it’s slower than the big glass in the 200-400, with the higher ISO’s on the D90 and the D300s, it will give you magazine quality images. Get all the technical information on these cameras and lenses at 

On another note, a good, personal, hands-on camera store is getting hard to find and most of the
big box stores are great on price but lack the kind of service we all long for. We have used
Roberts Distributors in Indianapolis for all of our photographic needs for the past seven or
eight years and we highly recommend them. Our contact there is Jody Grober at or 800-726-5544. Roberts is price competitive with all the New York and California dealers but their personal service is simply golden. Jody is also a fly fisherman and just a great guy who is always there to help us with our camera questions. If you have a local dealer that you’re happy with that’s great; but if you don’t, please feel free to use our name and give Jody a call.

Good pictures generally have three basic ingredients: Good light, good composition, and capturing
the moment. Think about all the times that we have looked at something and thought,
“Wow, that would make a great picture” or “I wish I had a photo of that to show my friends
and family.” We’ll have that treasured moment if we remember to take our camera along on
our next trip and, of course, if we take time to make the shot.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Water Levels At Home

We are waist deep in summer here in northeastern Pennsylvania. Although the fishing has slowed down here due to rainfall levels that are way below normal, there is no lack of talk about how the Marcelus gas exploration will affect our environment. We're all sitting on pins and needles as the first wells are being drilled nearby and will soon be fracked. We hope you're all having a great summer and getting in lots of good fishing.

Monday, June 21, 2010

On Our Way Home

Well, we're stuck in the Atlanta airport for 8 hours. Isn't much fun. The last two days at Isla Holbox were something else. The ocean was like liquid glass on Friday and tarpon were rolling everywhere. Everyone who went out (some went to the lagoons for baby tarpon) had shots at big tarpon in perfect conditions. It was incredible to see. The day was truly a gift after a tough start to the week. Saturday was not as calm a day but nearly perfect again, a little ripple on the water which probably helped the fishing. We watched Ted Reznik jump two big fish. I didn't boat any, but it sure made us want to go back! Next year seems so far away now. Luciano, we miss you already!