Evaluate: Sage ESN Fly Reel | Hatch Journal


Excessive bonding, Euro-nymphing, contact nymphing, tight line nymphing, Czech nymphing, line nymphing, mono-rig nymphing, Polish nymphing, and so forth. It’s doable that there have by no means been so many various methods of describing what’s, basically, one technique of fishing. For our functions right here, much less accept Euro-nymphing which, very similar to flat-brimmed hats and leather-based bracelets, has taken the fly fishing neighborhood by storm in recent times. That is by far the quickest rising section of our sport and for good cause – as anybody who pays consideration to a few of the numbers of fish caught by aggressive anglers who use this method will let you know.

Euro-nymphing includes being in direct contact along with your nymph (or, extra generally, nymphs) as they bounce alongside the underside whereas utilizing a lighter-colored mono line that means that you can take away using a conventional “suspension kind” indicator, aka the “bobber”. Euro-nymphs usually use lengthy strands of stems 10 to 11 toes lengthy – 3, 2, 1, and even 0 weights. Whereas doable along with your father’s 9ft 5 weight rod, longer rods with softer ideas enable for higher attain, higher drift management, and the power to “really feel” the nymphs bouncing off the underside. .

Till just lately, there had been a proliferation of rods particularly designed for this method, however by no means a particular reel for the duty.

Enter the brand new Sage ESN reel. That is the primary reel particularly designed for contact pupation functions and contains a design that appears destined to ship numerous euro-nymphing aficionados (and possibly a number of reel makers) right into a why-i-don’t-think-of-this-tizzy.

What works


the Sage ESN reel is constructed from machined T6061 aluminum and is available in one measurement (weight 2-5) and two colours: Stealth Black and Chipotle. Each are stunning reels, however when you desire most stealth on the river then black is the best way to go.

Closed body

The ESN reel is designed with an ultra-thin, closed body that eliminates each contact nymph fisherman’s recurring nightmare – having the mono line or chief sliding underneath and thru the body and wrapping across the path in them. bowels of the reel. Contemplating the closed body and tight tolerances that the ESN reel is made from, Sage could have eradicated this frequent frustration altogether.

The purpose of equilibrium

That is the place the ESN reel shines. It comes with three counterweights, 1/2, 1 and 1 ½ ounce, that are used to regulate the overall weight of the spool. The weights are machined with an “octagonal” mounting bracket that means that you can “index” the steadiness level of your rod by transferring the burden up or down the reel. Total, it is a system that successfully provides you 24 doable choices for distributing the burden of your reel.

The interior mechanism for putting the burden is easy to make use of, simply take away the spool and unscrew the lock nut ring. Select the specified weight, screw the locknut ring again on and exchange the body. Examine your breakeven level and repeat the method to actually dial in your setup steadiness.

Picture Credit score: Sage

The coil’s steadiness level, for individuals who could also be confused by this, must be in direction of the highest of your grip. That is vital as a result of longer stems imply extra weight. Extra weight means extra arm fatigue. Extra fatigue leads to your arm falling. Dropping your arm prevents a profitable drift. And so, the necessity to steadiness the longer rod-reel configurations frequent within the contact pupation world turns into paramount.

Till now, the usual has been to steadiness the butt part of longer rods with outsized reels, shifting weight from the center and tip sections of the rod to the butt part of the rod within the hope of ‘Land the steadiness level close to the rod grip. Now, with the brand new ESN reel, not solely has Sage taken the guesswork out of balancing your Euro-nymphing setup, however you’ll pull it out with no reel that appears extra comfy on a tarpon. skiff.

It is also price noting that the weights come packaged in their very own lovable little neoprene case, making it simple to retailer spare elements.


A completely enclosed SCS (Sealed Carbon Drag System) has been a part of Sage’s reels for a while and Sage’s drag bundle has been examined and confirmed over time. Whereas we are able to all actually agree that the braking energy of Sage’s carbon drag system will not typically be put to the take a look at on most trout streams, that does not imply its cranking inertia will not. . Sage’s SCS system gives a silky begin that’s paramount in defending the ultralight spikes generally utilized by Euro-nymphs (suppose 7-10x typically utilized by aggressive anglers).

But on a latest outing the place sport was imagined to fish solely for ten inch trout – I got here throughout a shock 5lb carp that had nothing to do with an apparent lie about trout, and even in that cove, by the best way. The previous boy ran downstream about 30 yards of present and put the drag, my 3 weight cane and my 6X nipple to the take a look at. After the worst ten minutes of my life the fish got here to the online and let me let you know the drag is working truthful superb.

Sage’s signature one-turn numbered brake knob can also be price mentioning – making changes simple and foolproof.

Giant arbor

One of many different issues you’ll discover concerning the reel for the primary time is its compact and slim body and really massive arbor, which makes it simple to set a line shortly. Whereas you should use a traditional fly line on the reel, it’s actually designed for thinner diameter comp strains. The capability is roughly 75 meters of 20 lb media along with your customary RIO FIPS comp line. I do know some individuals are obsessive about having no less than 100 yards of help on their reels, however, actually, actually, was the final time you wanted that a lot help on a trout?

What doesn’t work


At $ 425, the reel actually would not come low cost. However for all of the specialty bells and whistles you get the ESN reel, this is among the few freshwater trout reels that I can comfortably justify spending over $ 350 for – if just for one more reason than the truth that it has design options that provide actual fishing advantages that you simply will not discover anyplace else.

Slap restoration

Full body coils, because of their design, have a tendency to limit slap restoration. Historically, I have a tendency to choose up line this fashion the overwhelming majority of the time, particularly if a fish is operating in direction of me or I need to usher in a stack of strains and shorten my solid. However there are all the time costs to pay, trade-offs to be made when designing fishing gear. Within the case of the ESN reel, the disadvantages of not with the ability to use slap restoration are greater than outweighed by some great benefits of not having to frequently disassemble your reel and get your rig out of the center of your path. And, it is price mentioning that the aforementioned massive arbor goes a great distance in offering an virtually equally fast choice for row pickup. In different phrases, I am most likely increasing on this criticism, but it surely’s price mentioning nonetheless.

Final phrase

The Sage ESN reel is a marvel. Lately chatting with one other Euro-nymph fisherman, we each agreed that we could not perceive why, given the glut of Euro rods in the marketplace as we speak, no reels meant for this area of interest market had been made. launched earlier than.

Different reel makers shall be taking part in catch-up with Sage on this one. Along with his ESN reel, Sage hit the goal first – and hit it straight into the goal.


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