Sage Fly Rod Care

I just received two new Sage Xi3 rods and these care instructions. They would apply to any rod manufacturer.

Sage recommends the following:

1 Take extra care when stringing your rod. Thread a loop of fly line through the guides and tip top and pull the line and leader straight through without bending the rod .
2 Avoid placing or transporting your rod against metal or abrasive objects. Small nicks and scratches damage the graphite and lead to the cause of most broken rods .
3 When using weighted or large flies, adjust to an open casting stroke. This allows the fly to pass over the top to the side of the rod. A fly hitting the rod can also cause damage to the graphite .
4 Avoid severe rod angles when fighting and landing fish. Snagged flies should be broken off by pulling on the line wiH, the rod tip pointed at the snag .
5 Periodically wax the ferrules lightly with paraffin to ensure a firm fit and proper function. Take the rod apart when you are done fishing to avoid stuck ferrules .
6 Completely air dry your rod, cloth bag and tube before storing. The rod tubes can trap moisture, which can swell reel seats and ruin the rod finish. To protect the tip, it is best to bag your rod with the tip top and cork handle up .
7 Occasionally clean your rod with warm water and soap and completely dry. Apply furniture polish to shine and protect the rod when done.
8 I'll add a third, especially for those in warmer climates with ceiling fans.. Just as "the dog ate my homework" didn't work while you were a youngster in school, "the rod just broke while casting it" doesn't fly for the warranty work. I've ditched the overhead fan in my tackle room and opted for a floor standing oscillating one.

Outboard Motors and Ethanol Fuel

I received this note from Yamaha... It may be helpful for those utilizing outboard motors and the new ethanol based fuel.

Yamaha recommended steps for dealing with ethanol fuels:  

1.      Keep your fuel tanks as full as possible allowing for expansion
2.      Never mix non-ethanol and ethanol fuels
3.      Condition your fuel when it's fresh
4.      Service your separator filter at least two times a year, or every 50hours
5.      On small motors, dump the fuel from your portable tank into your tow vehicle. This will allow you to have fresh fuel on your next trip.
6.      Use major brand fuels, as the additives they add far exceed the quality of the fuel discounters.

Fly line management

    One of the most common obstacles to overcome while flyfishing in salt water is the wind. If you find yourself having trouble with line management on those windy days on the flats, try taking off those boat shoes. The longer casts needed on the flats commonly result in many coils of fly line at ones feet as they wait for the fish to arrive. Removing your shoes allows you to feel the line underfoot before you make your cast.

Try using your spouse's laundry basket. I haven't found those stripping baskets that are worn around the waist to be very comfortable. They restrict my movement while casting and just feel so cumbersome.  If they work for you fine, but if not, try a large laundry basket left on the deck in front of you. Their large opening makes it easier to strip line into while trying to keep your eyes on the fish coming at you.

    The guide should have the boat positioned so that you've got a downwind cast. There are modifications that should be made to your cast to take advantage of the wind. First, keep your back cast low to the water. The water creates friction and can actually slow the velocity of the wind. I'll usually sweep the rod tip back low and parallel to the surface of the water. The higher above the surface you get, the stronger the wind feels. Keeping this in mind, make your final cast high and overhead, while opening up your loop just a bit. This open loop will help to catch the wind and "sail" it downwind to your target.

      Last, step back a foot or two and strip the line into the cockpit behind you. Be sure the area is clear to prevent snags on any gear bag buckles, shoes or cooler handles. If it's really cranking, it might be helpful to stand in the cockpit until the guide spots the fish for you.

Get a Grip!

     One of my Clients, Mark Kuyana brought along a plain cotton glove during an afternoon of fly tarpon fishing. He had the fingertips cut off for comfort as the expensive "mangrove" gloves do. Every afternoon, after a charter, I'm amazed at the amount of sunscreen left on the cork grip. Keeping your hands (and flies) free of sunscreen is good practice as well. A proper grip is very important especially when using an eleven or twelve weight. I thought them a terrific alternative providing an absorbent, sure grip on the rod.

Anchor Overboard

     Attaching a quick release clip to your anchor as well as a float, will save valuable time when a tarpon heads for the bridge pilings. While tarpon fishing under the old bridges, sometimes the fish head straight for the concrete pilings. A stainless steel snap shackle will allow you to get after the fish quickly. An attached float will allow you to retrieve your anchor and return to your spot after you catch Mr. Tarpon. Attaching a reflective strip to the float will help you to locate it in the evening.

Choosing Sunglasses

     If you plan to do any kind of sightfishing, where you are looking for the fish before you cast to it, polarized sunglasses are a necessity. I've many clients step on board with VERY expensive sunglasses, only to find they're not polarized. UV blockage is a great feature for the health of your eyes, but it's worthless on a bonefishing trip. The truth is you can find a very good pair of sunglasses under fifteen dollars. As the quality of the lens and frame increases, so does the price.  If you just fish a trip or two a year, it probably doesn't make sense to invest in a high quality pair of sunglasses. As with fly fishing tackle, buy the best you can comfortably afford. Some manufactures have many tints available. On the flats, an amber or brownish tint works best. I personally recommend the light vermilion tint available from Costa Del Mar. In the ocean, the blue and green tints seem to help with visual acuity.  Whichever you decide to purchase, be sure they are polarized. If you are not sure, place one pair on your  head and hold another pair a foot or so in front of you. Looking through both pairs, slowly rotate the second pair (keep looking through both pairs) so that the lenses are facing vertical. As you turn the second pair, you should notice a point where you can't see through both pairs. The polarized lenses cancel  the effect of each other out, leaving you unable to see through both pairs. That's how you know if those glasses are polarized.

Fly Casting into the Wind

     The trick to casting into the wind is to throw the line (or more properly, the rod tip) horizontally into the wind, not down at the water. Most clients have a habit of breaking their wrist on the back cast, throwing the line down at the water. The rod then fails to load for the forward cast, losing line speed in the process. First time in the salt? The casting should be done with a minimum of wrist involvement. While practicing your casting, tie a bandana or use a piece of velcro backed cloth circling the rod and your wrist. The rod should work as an extension of your forearm. Most anglers have been taught to "arc" cast from "10 to 2".  Although fine for short, finesse casting on a river or stream, it promotes the angler to cast downward at the water at the end of each rod stroke. I'll usually tell my anglers to imagine the water level is five feet higher and to cast at the surface of it. The casting stroke in either direction, should be fairly parallel to the water surface. Watch the fly line, and you'll learn plenty about your casting technique. A bit of practice, and you won't find yourself  intimidated by a 12 or 15 knot breeze.

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Florida Keys Flats Fishing
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Capt Barry Hoffman fishing guide

A few tips and tricks to help your fishing.. If you have some you'd like to share.. drop me an email.. I'll credit you with the info!

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305 393-2587 cell or email

Specializing in sight fishing for bonefish, tarpon, redfish and permit on fly or light tackle.

Capt. Barry Hoffman's

tips & tricks