Friday, April 13, 2007

TXL ultralight rod first impressions

The UPS man came by and dropped off my new Sage 7' 10" TXL 2wt today. My son took the box before I knew about it and opened it thinking it was a wooden sword I had ordered for him and instead shouted from the living room in a somewhat disappointed voice saying, "Mom, it's ANOTHER fishing rod for dad!".

I proceeded to inspect the new rod and reel and put it together. The TXL comes in a black aluminum tube with a black rod sock. I feel like a professional hitman for some reason carrying the tube though the rod itself is a wispy thing with a beautiful golden olive colored blank. The micro-stripper guide is tiny but then again so is the line that passes through it.

The little Lamson LS1 reel was a good choice as it balances very well on the rod.
The dark gray Hard Alox satin finish on the reel is much nicer than the light gray Guide finish on the pre-2007 Litespeeds.

I took the kids with me to a park they like that I'm not too keen on because the pond there has too many trees surrounding it and far too many ducks. The ducks are one reason they like going there. Regardless, the kids and I were there to hopefully have some fun.

While at the park I talked to a spin fisherman who pointed me to some logs in the water that he said held a lot of bluegills. I had to cast at a 45 degree angle to it from shore in order to avoid too many trees around the log and behind me. I wanted the line to fall as close and parallel to the log as possible to increase the chances of hooking up to a gill.

Casting wise the TXL is amazingly easy to load and shoots line effortlessly. It tracks very well and can lay the line just where you want it. Even though the day was pretty windy and gusty, I had no problem laying the line where I wanted it. I was very impressed!

I originally tied a #16 Humpy but it wasn't drawing strikes so I switched to a dark helgramite (kind of black/olive with red highlights) colored #14 BH Hare's Ear nymph. I wasn't sure how the rod would cast the heavier fly on the 5X 7' tapered leader but it had no problem.

After a cast or two, I felt a subtle strike. I really felt it! When I swept the rod, I could really feel the flutter of that sunfish as it tried to get away. When it came closer to me, I could see the tip of the rod whip around as it continued to fight. This was the feeling I was wanting from a brim rod! It truly heightened the experience of catching a 5" fish to a level I had not experience before! I'm really wondering now what a 8" or 9" fish will feel like!

I only had 45 minutes at the pond but I did catch a few more brim that were all about the same size but even the smallest one was truly enjoyable on the TXL. I intend to give it a good workout at one of the other ponds that I catch bigger fish and I expect more fun then!

So, to summarize the first impressions, this is one sweet rod! It was worth every penny and I will post additional impressions of the rod as I get to fish with it more. I think my XPs will be jealous that I will be spending a lot more time with this new rod!

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