Product Review:Sage Vantage Fly Rods

Sage Vantage Fly Rods

I am the type of fly fisherman that thinks if one or two rods will do, then you better own 37 of them. Actually my own personal quiver numbers somewhere around a dozen but there is always room to expand. If you hang around Rosy long enough, he can assist you with whatever excuse you need to buy another one. What I found this year was a need for another 6 weight fly rod. I have a great six weight, but it broke during some violent streamer ripping last fall and I was in need in a bad way. I also needed a 9 for six that I could hand to a client in the boat and not worry too much if they strip that 16 inch whitefish all the way to the top guide and then lift the fish out of the water. I was looking for a forgiving medium action rod that a client could easily cast. I was also looking for a rod that I would enjoy fishing myself until my other one was repaired. If you pull into Sweetwater fly shop on a slow day, chances are you will find Rosey, Andrew, or myself out on the lawn either perfecting that line shooting double haul or trying out the sweetest new rods to hit the market. We have cast every rod in that shop and have defiantly formed our opinions.

I have cast the old launch rods, which was the Vantage’s predecessor. I was never very happy casing one of these and wondered even more how difficult it would be for a newbie to cast one. Sage did their homework in redesigning their entry-level rods. The Vantage has a sweet taper that is delicate enough for the smooth and easy strokes but with plenty enough backbone to turn over a double nymph or dry attractor rig in the wind. This is a go to stick for the hopper dropper rigs that we fish on the Yellowstone, especially for clients who need a little extra help with their cast. The 9 for 6 weighs only 3 and 5/16 oz. and feels good in the hand. It is probably a bit heavy for delicate dry fishing but the 4 or 5 weight would do the trick just fine, at least that’s what I thought casting them on the lawn out back. I have been fishing this rod for 6 months now, still have not sent my other six weight in for repair and have not really missed it. I have a buddy of mine who purchased the 9’ 7 weight as a streamer rod that I did get a chance to fish. He lost his Z Axis overboard in the stone and found himself in need for a backup, quick and on the cheap. Per my suggestion, he went for the Vantage and has been
happy with it so far after fishing a rod 3 times the cost of his new rod for years. I found it to be a great stick that wouldn’t hurt my shoulder casting a sink line and articulated streamer all day.

I see a lot of Temple Fork, Echo, Cortland, and Cabellas rods out on the river and I know they do the trick just fine. I feel an entry-level rod should cost $100 to $150 but for the fisherman who really wants a fine piece of Sage craftsmanship made in the USA, it is worth the extra hundred or so dollars. You get to own a rod that will be with you for a lifetime or a backup rod that will make you forget you broke your 600 dollar stick on a rip rap snag.

The Vantage has 8 rods offered ranging from a 7 ½ 3wt up to a 9’ 9wt and offers them in combos for 5,6, and 8 weight rods. The Vantage also comes with a nylon covered PVC combo rod tube meaning you can leave your reel on your rod when you put it away. Sweetwater Fly Shop carries several of the Vantage rods and Vantage outfits as well as any rod Sage builds at

The Real Turd Ferguson.

Ok, we only have a cheap imitation of the man himself.  Sweaty Waders would like to share with you the original Turd Ferguson.  Thanks and enjoy!

Guide School Confidential: Where are they now?

Over the years we have had hundreds of students attend the Sweetwater Guide School. So we have decided to periodically check up on our guides and see what they are up to.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to catch up with one of our most highly decorated guide school veterans. Carl Evenson was 1999 Guide School graduate and since then he has spent five seasons Guiding for Taimen in Mongolia, instructing the Guide School and he currently resides on the banks of the Big Wood river in Idaho. In addition to guiding on the Big Wood he also frequents Silver Creek and various Sun Valley area creeks and lakes. Carl can also be found in the spring guiding for Steelhead in the Stanley, Idaho area. To say the least he has it pretty dialed in.

If you have worked or fished with Carl then you know that he is fishy as hell. You may also know that he is ingenious as hell to boot. That is why I could not pass up the opportunity to highlight his killer diggs in the Stanley area. Yes indeed Carl resides in a homemade Tivek Tipi when he is guiding for Steelhead. Right on Carl and great catching up with you earlier this month.

Modobi Wins Backcountry Tournament

Our good buddy, esteemed colleague and Scott Rod Rep.  John “Modobi” Dobson has brought home the hardware from Islamorada.  Congratulations John!  Check out the details as reported by the Florida Keys official website.

Montana Man Wins His First Backcountry Fly

ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys — John Dobson of Manhattan, Mont., caught 92.25 inches of redfish and snook while fly-fishing in the Florida Keys to win the Backcountry Fly Championship that ended Feb. 26.

Tournament anglers competed to catch the most inches of snook and redfish on fly. Rules mandated that only one catch of each species over the two days of fishing could be counted toward an angler’s total inches.

Dobson earned the title of grand champion angler fishing with Captain Drew Kleine of Islamorada, and also caught and released the tournament’s largest snook, measuring 29.5 inches. Dobson’s second snook was 26.75 inches, and his redfish were 17.5 and 18.5 inches.

Chris Maroney of Stuart, Fla., was awarded runner-up angler for scoring 70 inches of fish. He fished with Miami Captain Mick Hutchinsson.

Mark Cockerham secured the largest redfish at 30 inches with Captain Mark Gilman. Both are Islamorada residents.

Twenty-three anglers caught 10 snook and 22 redfish over two days.

Dobson Shows off the Goods!

More Shootout!

There is a reason that Turd and Beattie Outdoor Productions only won the Shootout by one vote,  the others movies were awesome.  So we thought it would be unfair to our readers not see them here at Sweatywaders. The movies were presented by some of the best Fly-filmmakers in the world.


Fishbite Media

Brian Huskey who showed the coolest views of the Shootout, from the oar,  anchor and wading boots. I am surprised he didn’t get a camera on a fish. Combined with Angler John Herzer who lived up to his reputation as one of the fishiest guides in the state.   Herzer rolled into town and delivered some the most impressive fish of the Shootout.

Ice Out/Shoot Out from bryan huskey on Vimeo.


Lance Gleason (LG), Black-belt fishing guide and film maker did what he does best, caught a bunch of big fish and immortalized them in style on film.   LG and Matson Rogers owner of Angler’s West and fellow SuperCock, lit up the Missouri in a way that would make any Mo-Bow leery in their presence.  Great Film!

Detonation Studios

Ian Majszak put together a great film fighting the odds the whole way.  He had to play injured throughout the shootout due to some bad luck technical difficulties.  However, Ian, Bryan Gregson and Angler Greg Bricker put together a killer film and they all walked away smiling. Look out next year, I have a feeling that when Detonation is full strength they will be hard to beat. Right on Ian!

SIMMS shoot-out submission. from Detonation Studios on Vimeo.

2011 Simms Shoot Out

Sweetwater’s own Turd Ferguson took home the Simms Shoot-Out Title on Friday night at the Ellen Theater in Bozeman. Turd along with filmmaker, Beattie Outdoor Productions  wooed the audience and fellow competitors with a revealing account of Turd’s life and fishing skills. The Shoot-Out competition was fiercely contested between four team of guides, anglers and filmmakers, all charged with producing a six minute film in a matter of just over two days. The winners of the competition won a nice stash of cash along with, of course plenty of Simms products and Galvan reels. Turd’s crew took home the gold by one vote. The votes were all submitted by text message.  Sweetwater guide Aaron Hansen only learned how to text during the last minute of voting and may have very well proved to be the difference maker. This now makes it two years in a row that the Sweetwater team has a major presence at the Simms Ice-Out event. Last year our crew  led by Scott Schumacher won the now discontinued Fish Bowl.

Special thanks to Turd,  RA Beattie, Austin Trayser, Clark Smyth and Simms for the laughs.

Fly Fishing Mystery Theater from RA Beattie on Vimeo.

Caption Contest

Please join us in celebrating the greatness that is Steve “Sweet Cheeks” Wilson.  The winner gets a dozen crappy flies.

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