Sage Method vs Sage Igniter Fly Rod..a review

This review is written by Blackfly Outfitter associate Nick Way,

We just recently received our first shipment of Sage’s latest fly rod offering the Igniter. This rod replaces the Method in their line as their “Ultra-Fast All Water Rod”. The 7wt Method has been a favorite of ours in the shop for some time for our local fishery and occasional trips to bonefish in the Bahamas when conditions allow or present the need for a lighter presentation. Personally it is the rod I am holding on the bow 9 times out of 10 and is one of the best rods in that line class I have thrown. I was anxious to get my hands on the 7wt Igniter to see if it was a worthy replacement to my go to stick.

Sage Igniter
After casting both side by side paired with a Tibor Backcountry and Rio Flats Pro it’s easy to see that the Igniter is an upgrade to the Method. With the use of Sage’s Konnetic HD technology the Igniter is even lighter and more responsive than its predecessor. It puts the best attributes of the method in raw power to turn over heavy flies and punch through the wind in a much more user friendly package by improving the feel of the rod allowing less experienced caster to feel the rod load and is much more controllable and accurate in close.
Overall I think Sage hit a home run with this rod as they did the Method and it is sure to become a fan favorite. Not only will it excel in our local fishery but throwing large streamers for trout or throwing to spooky bones in a stiff breeze. Pair up the 7wt with a lighter reel such as the Tibor Backcountry and you truly have an all water setup that can excel in many different fisheries.
Check out the brand new Igniter Fly Rod here: Sage Igniter

Why You Should Go to ICAST

By Mike Hodge

Vaughn tries out a fly rod at ICAST.
Vaughn tries out a fly rod at ICAST.

The pages of the calendar have turned. June has bled into July, which means it’s almost time for ICAST.
The world’s biggest fishing trade show is set for July 12-14 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
Representatives of the Blackfly Outfitter and Lodge will be there along with scads of outdoors companies, CEOs, reps, celebrities, writers and guides. It’s a once-a-year who’s who gathering of the fishing industry.
Why ICAST? Because it’s THE place to network and check out all of the new gear —- before it debuts at your local fly shop —- new rods, reels, lines and assorted apparel. You name it, it will be on display. Among the companies you can expect to see: Patagonia, Simms, Costa, Nautilus, Tibor, Hatch, Sage, G. Loomis, Thomas & Thomas and TFO among others. It’s akin to Christmas in the middle of the summer.
Orlando is a mere two-hour drive from Jacksonville. If you can go, don’t miss it. If you can’t go, the Blackfly Blog will keep you up to date on the must-have gear. Stay tuned. For more on ICAST: http://www.icastfishing.org/

Why you need global rescue insurance

By Mike Hodge

Ever been fishing, when an accident happens? Maybe you sprain an ankle? Even worse, maybe you break a bone? Maybe you get sick?
If you’re fishing locally — and with a buddy — you’re probably OK. You’re only a cell phone call away from help at a hospital or clinic.
But what if you’re fishing abroad, away from the comfort of home, what do you if things go wrong and you need medical help? If you think your health insurance will cover you and that all will be taken care of, think again. Chances are, your hard-earned dollars towards that monthly-premium won’t matter much in a foreign country.
Brian Jill, a co-star on GEOFISH and GEOBASS, a series of fly-fishing adventure films, carries Global Rescue Insurance to ensure his medical needs are taken care of, no matter where he or his cohorts are. It could be deep in the Amazon in search of Peacock bass or big snook after trudging through Mexico’s thickest muck. Regardless of the obstacles, Jill knew medical help was but a satellite phone call away.
“We’ve had it for a while, but never needed to use it,” Jill said. “(We) feel better knowing it’s there, though.”

Brian Jill (center) of GEOFISH fame uses Global Rescue Insurance.
Brian Jill (center) of GEOFISH fame uses Global Rescue Insurance.

If Global Rescue Insurance is good enough for an adventurer such as Jill, shouldn’t you have the same peace of mind? Odds are, your trip will go well, but it’s a good idea — and a good investment — to have a plan if you need medical assistance.
Blackfly Lodge has you covered when you visit us in the Bahamas. Global Rescue Insurance is automatically included in packages for our guests. We want you to be comfortable and relaxed during your stay. For information about medical and travel insurance, visit our Blackfly Lodge website:
http://www.blackflylodge.com/index.php?id=24

How to Get Ready for Your Big Fishing Trip

By Mike Hodge

Capt. Vaughn releases a very nice Bonefish!
Capt. Vaughn releases a very nice Bonefish!

So you’ve scrimped and saved and finally gotten enough days off from work to take that fly-fishing trip of a lifetime. Now what?
Time to plan for that bucket-list trip. Assuming that excursion is to foreign soil, you need to get with the program and get organized. If you can, start at least a month or two from your departure date.

Assuming you’ve already booked your lodge and airfare, let’s go over the basics. You’ll need a passport. If you have one, make sure it’s up to date.
There’s medical prep. Make sure you bring your personal medications and get immunized, if you need to. That, of course, depends on where you’re going.
File an itinerary with the embassy of the country you’re visiting. Not every foreign country is welcoming and if they’re not, you want someone official to know your whereabouts.

Before you start packing, ask the lodge what you should bring and what you’re responsible for. Don’t assume. Ask.
A couple non-fishing necessities spring to mind.
1) A satellite phone. You can’t always count on cell service.
2) A small wall charger, since some hotels may only have one outlet.
3) Batteries. You can never have enough.
4) Condiments. Ketchup and mustard are a given in U.S. restaurant. No so in other countries.
5) Toilet paper/Kleenex. Not as prevalent as you might think.
6) Last, but certainly not least: Trip insurance (in case of a last-second cancellation); and medical evacuation insurance (Global Rescue) in case emergency care is needed. Global Rescue is included in the Blackfly Lodge package price, rare for most lodges, but certainly comforting for Blackfly Lodge guests.
The above items should get you started on your preparation. But what about the fun part of the planning? The fishing stuff? What kind of fly-fishing gear do you need if you go to a foreign country?

Let’s start with rods. Bring two. There’s always a chance one could break. Go with a four-piece setup, if possible. It’s easier to carry on board an airplane.
Bring two reels with the appropriate line and leaders. Take both with you, already rigged, on the water.
As for flies, better to bring your own, because they may not be available, at least at a reasonable cost, at your destination. Check with your guide for particular patterns to bring.

As for clothes, study the weather and prepare for every possible scenario. If it may rain, it probably will.
All of this planning is easier, of course, if you’ve visited your intended destination previously. If not, you’re going to need guidance. And there’s no better staff to accommodate your needs than the anglers at the Blackfly Outfitter in Jacksonville.
Owner Vaughn Cochran and Blackfly travel ambassador Matti Majorin have fished world-wide and can answer your questions about preparing for that fly-fishing trip abroad. They know where to go, where to stay, where to fish and what to expect. For more information, visit our Destinations and Fly Advisor pages. Or you’re welcome to call us at the Blackfly store: 904-997-2220.

Safe travels!

It’s True: You can Catch Reds in the Surf on Fly

This post is submitted by Mike Hodge

I admit it. I love redfish. Pictures of them adorn my living room wall and kitchen. It doesn’t matter where or when, I will try to find them.
I’ve caught them on the flats and in the river; on high tide and low tide; in spartina grass and turtle grass. Last summer, redfish in the surf on fly became my focus.
I heard rumors of redfish on the Northeast Florida beaches for years, but most of my buddies scoffed at the notion of fishing for reds in the surf. But as it turns out, redfish do indeed make their way to the surf and yes you can catch them on fly.
It’s not easy, but, if the conditions are right and the stars align, it’s very doable.

 James Ferguson battles a red in the surf.   (Photo: Andrew Mizell)
James Ferguson battles a red in the surf. (Photo: Andrew Mizell)

Most of the Northeast Florida beaches, from Fernandina to Flagler, from Matanzas Inlet to Little Talbot Island, hold reds at some point during the years. It’s matter of identifying the right conditions.
The good thing is you don’t need a boat. Grab a rod, a reel, a small backpack for the essentials — a bottle of water is highly recommended — and you’re good to go.
Chances are, you will cover a fair amount of ground walking the beach, so a good, low-impact workout is guaranteed, and with a little luck, you will find a fish or two along the way.
Try to find a fairly secluded beach near an inlet. Fish a low incoming tide on a sunny day. Watch closely as water fills the sloughs. Baitfish will sometimes show first, followed by the reds and jacks. Fish a Clouser with the sun at your back and keep your eyes open.
It takes a little legwork, but when you hook a beach red, you will be rewarded. Just ask for James Ferguson or John Bottko at the Blackfly Outfitter in Jacksonville. Stop by and we’ll set you up with accurate information and the right gear.

— Mike Hodge