Ultra-lighter The Final Time?
Sage unveils its Ultralight Triple Ought Weight!

In 1982, Orvis rod designers Howard Steere and Jim West brought us the Orvis Ultrafine 2-weight, then the Orvis Superfine 1-weight. With those two rods fly fishing truly became ultralight. A few years later, rod designer Jerry Siem who came to Sage from Winston Rod Company made his place in ultralight design history. Jerry moved us ever farther into ultralight fly fishing by designing the first of three revolutionary families of truly unrivaled ultralight fly rods. LEFT is the last of Jerry's creations -- the Sage TXL Double Ought Weight rod.

In the fall of 1997, ultralight fly fishing enthusiasts worldwide were presented the newest "LIGHTEST" weight fly rods in the world at that time. The whole family of Sage SPL ultralights were ground breaking. They were made of the latest newest materials with considerable strength and plenty of backbone but were the lightest in hand I'd ever fished. The result: marvelous performance from a low weight, low mass rod and co-designed line!

The Sage Ought weight flawlessly cast its 54 grain Quiet Taper line co-developed by Bruce Richards and Jerry Siem. That combination created the perfect marriage between rod and line.

When the Ought weight first hit the market I called Sage and ordered an Ought-weight. I immediately began fishing it like I had done the Orvis 1-weight when it first joined my ultralight rod collection. I didn't fish either as "specialty" rods, I fished them hard, every day. I found my new Sage SPL Ought weight to be incredibly light weight, AND found that it had plenty of backbone. It has also held up in demanding circumstances.

I have landed several bass over 4 pounds (RIGHT) with that rod, plus many panfish and fat trout. My largest Ought-weight bass weighed 7 pounds! The SPL Ought-weight isn't wimpy, and it will protect light tippets WELL! When Sage announced the discontinuation of the SPL series in late 2001, I purchased an SPL 1-weight. I just had to have one in my UL rod collection. Research and Development moves on constantly. Each succeeding year I wonder "What will be next? These rods can't get any better!" Then they get better.

The SLTs

In 2002 the next generation of Sage ultralights -- the SLTs appeared in major fly shops, so I cast the 3-weight four piece version, and fished an SLT 1-weight. My impression was that although the color and materials had changed, the Ought through 2-weight rods had the same feel, performance, and dimensions as the SPLs. I weighed my SPL and compared it to the new SLT 1-weight. They weighed the same. In on-water fishing, I believed they fished the same.

Jerry Siem and Sage had moved in a slightly different direction with the SLT rods. To understand what this move to Sage SLTs really meant, I spoke with Jerry Siem, Sage's rod designer and father of the SPL series rods. This interview contained Jerry's evaluations of the new (at that time) SLTs for us. Click here for my 2002 SLT article.

Rod designers can't quit pushing the envelope. When Jerry and I conducted his SLT interview, we discussed the next lightest rod -- the double ought weight. He had a prototype built and was developing the rod even in 2002. Jerry sent me a 43 grain double ought weight prototype line to fish and compare on my ought weight rod. I found it was a little lighter but the ought weight cast it well. I couldn't wait until the next new lightest rod and line were released.

The TXLs

Click for Sage TXLs

Next for 2005 Jerry Siem had created another generation of incredible ultralights -- the TXLs. The double ought weight rod was this new rod family's new star ultralight weight member. Click on the Logo above to go directly to Sage TXL information.

In December 2004 my double ought weight arrived! First I weighed and compared the new TXL to my Sage SPL 0 weight. The two rods weighed about the same on my postal scale -- with the 00 just a little lighter at 1 7/8 ounces. At 7 feet 10 inches the 00 is the perfect length and power for the 00 line.

Then I cast the 00 with my 43 grain prototype 00 weight line and the rod loaded and cast the line smoothly. This new generation rod was designed to perfectly cast the Double ought weight line -- a Double Taper for the quietest presentation possible. It had the familiar feel that I want in a fly rod even at this LIGHT weight.

In the right circumstances being able to cast such a fine diameter line can make the difference in catching spooky fish or not. I have fired a three weight line over fish in clear water and watched them scatter. I test cast over other schools of fish in that same water with an ought weight line and the fish didn't even notice. Fine lines can make a huge difference in the right circumstances!

We had freezing temps and possible snow coming to Atlanta. Timing is everything isn't it? On the afternoon of December 4th, I went to the water. Talk about mid winter reprieves. There was enough air temp to be shirt sleeves with a polar fleece vest on. My graph left show a water surface temp of 49F. I fished water that was as cold as 47.8F. The fish I released were physically COLD! There weren't many other fishers on the water that day - just me and my new Sage TXL 00 weight. The rod was amazing!

Jerry Siem on TXLs

In late 2005 Jerry Siem (left) and I discussed the TXL series rods that had just included the Double ought weight and the following includes some comments from that interview:

Byrd -- Jerry what are the differences in the TXLs as compared to the earlier generation SPL and SLT rod families?

Siem -- "I believe that the SPLs and SLTs required a little finer hand (more feedback and casting skill) to cast them. Many casters used more power than they needed to and applied more power to these very light rods to cast them, because they felt a little soft in the middle and top sections of the rods. In the TXLs there is more power in the center and upper sections that makes today's casting a little easier. The TXLs track straighter, are physically smaller, weigh less, and exhibit more sensitivity to the light weight lines."

Byrd -- Jerry, you certainly have worked hard to create three families of Sage rods that have set the benchmark for ultralight fly rods over the past eight years. First the SPLs in 1997, followed by the SLTs, and now the TXLs. Ultralight fly fishing must hold a special attraction for you.

Siem -- "I've always felt that the ultralight fly fisher out there includes quite a group worldwide that takes great pleasure in fishing ultralights, so we took no short cuts in putting this whole TXL package together. It is evident that the TXL package was well thought out."

Byrd -- Finally, with the TXL double ought weight rod, we have the lightest ultralight fly rod in the world again - at this moment in fly fishing. Is there still a lighter rod on the drawing board for the future that may come from Jerry Siem?

Siem -- "In my imagination there could be, but for all practicality I believe that this gets down to as light as necessary right at this time. Until there is a major change in rod materials or fly lines change a lot, I believe the double ought will be the lightest rod there is. I will keep the option for a new design open, that's for sure."

The Sage TXL Triple Ought weight fly rod is spreading to ultralight fly fishers everywhere. This 32 grain line casting Triple Ought weight rod is available on the Sage website. I fished my new Triple Ought Weight and found that it is close kin to its Ought and Double ought weight brothers.

So what did I find out fishing my new Triple Ought weight? The Ought and Double Ought weights are very similar in feel, but the sensitivity of this rod is amazing. Best of all just like the Sage Ought and Double Ought weights, the Triple Ought has plenty of backbone.

The water surface temperature was 59.6F today at noon when I hit the water. There was a bluebird sky and 10 mph wind from the NW. It was a beautiful late fall day. With the water surface temp at below 60F I expected that a subsurface presentation would be the ticket. Fishing the Triple Ought weight with a small #14 sponge body spider I managed a few strikes on top, but switched off to a size-14 nymph imitation and immediately found much more action subsurface. The big surprise was that the Triple Ought weight cast that leggy, wind resistant, water holding nymph readily!

Even in 10 mph crosswinds I had no problem shooting out 30 foot casts. On the strip retrieve I could feel every little peck and less subtle strikes showed up fast! The lighter, low mass line and rod transmits very subtle pecks, pickups, stops better than any other rod I've ever fished. The Triple Ought weight outfit physically is so light that I can merely move my rod up for a hookset.

The Triple Ought weight line being so small diameter it offers less wind resistance than so many bigger lines, so it actually cuts through the wind with surprisingly little resistance.

In very marginal conditions fishing an hour and a half, I caught and released 74 fat bluegills and 1 surprised bass. I felt that I was not missing very many fish because I could feel everything. I picked up the rod a few times when I just had a "feeling" that there was a fish looking at my fly, and caught several that way! I had plenty of rod to handle fish to 4 or 5 pounds if necessary. I could use .006 inch diameter tippet and have no fear of breaking the tippet. This is stealth fishing with backbone at its best.

Do you need one? I don't know but I'm VERY glad I have a Triple Ought weight.

Triple Ought weights were on sale in the 2007 TXL rod line up. Sage ID number for the Triple Ought weight is 000710-3 TXL.

The Triple Ought weight was added to the TXL rod lineup in 2007. To go to the Sage website, click on the TXL logo just below:

Click for Sage TXLs

The Sage Ultralight arsenal of rods Triple Ought weight to 3-weight can be matched with at least two families of Sage lines for 2007 to enhance performance and fly fishing fun.

In 2007: Quiet Taper II line, the direct decendant of Sage's original Quiet Taper lines (available 0-weight and 1-weight thru 3-weight and retailing at $51.00) is now GONE. It has been discontinued.

The latest generation of line is Quiet Double Taper II and is available 000-weight to 3-weight retailing for $65.00. It is a double taper line bound to re-set the benchmark for lines designed for true ultralight fly rods.

Sage's Performance Taper II line is a WF line available in weights from 2 to 9 retailing at $65.00. There currently are NO WF lines available for 3/0 to 1 weight rods.

In an age when many rod manufacturers are not manufacturing even 1 and 2 weight fly rods, Sage TXL rods will now include DT line choices from Triple ought-weight to 3 weight, and WF lines from 2 to 3 weight, all designed to match Sage light/ultralight rods.

The Sage TXL family of rods is a joy to fish, will not physically tire us, will allow us a marvelous QUIET presentation, will give us unbelieveable feel and casting control, and will protect our light tippets needed in today's fly fishing. Then they'll allow us to put MORE pressure on our fish to land them faster!