The Case of the Mysterious Ticking Sage Fly Rod

This story starts not when I bought my new Sage rod while on holiday in New York but some time before when Mike bought his XP off eBay. He reported a “ticking” noise from the top ferrule which was driving him around the bend. After some advice from other people he waxed all the ferrules and found over time the noise worsened. He contacted Sage and even Gary Coxon the Sage UK rep who sent him a new tip – none of this worked and he eventually got a replacement from the seller He made a posting on Sexyloops where some people stated it was a major problem and some people stated their rods had done this for years. The solution was never really found

What was making the tick ?

When I picked up my new SLT from The Urban Angler I vowed to make sure there was no noise after Mikes experience so was utterly paranoid when I got back to my hotel room to hear a faint ticking noise when I waggled it around.

Swoosh Tick Tick Swoosh Tick Tick

My lovely wife shot me a demon glance when I mentioned it, I understood immediately that if I made a big issue it would ruin relations; consequently I kept quiet and returned to the shop the day we were leaving. I can’t fault Urban Angler as they were happy to exchange the rod even though they could not hear a noise in the shop. The exchanged rod appeared fine and I was happy to take it home.

Tick Tick Tick Tick

On returning home, every now and then when waggling it experimentally I began to notice the “tick” again. Paranoia set it. I decided that I would look at this scientifically and try and glean as much information as possible to try and rectify the problem before deciding the rod was faulty. There was no way I was going to take this personally; I mean it is not as if I have some sort of HEX hanging over my head after my “Don’t Bow to the Lords of Tackle” post.

for the love of god

Investigations – Swoosh Tick Tick Swoosh Tick Tick

Much information gathering was attempted – I phoned Mike for his run down – it sounded exactly like his experience and he was the only one who commiserated appropriately. I spoke to another friend who said he had the same problem but it was easily fixed although he could not remember how – possibly an exchanged rod (not so simple for me as the shop was over an ocean) People on Sexyloops began to say that rods with ticks might have serious flaws and may well explode one day (I think that was a little dramatic although well intentioned)

I telephoned Gary Coxon the UK sage rep. I would like to say he was helpful but instead he warned me of the dangers of buying rods stateside and then bringing them back here !! To be fair I bumbled my words a fair bit in my nervousness so possibly he thought I was a bit odd. He advised adding wax – I had already done so and the tick got worse. It now appeared to be coming from all the ferrules.

I already knew I might have to send the rod back and Gary just confirmed it – paying duty both ways and a massive postage cost. Yikes! I am sure someone warned me about this but I cannot remember who?

The Solution – Swoosh Tick Tick Swoosh Tick Tick

I then received an email from Sage –

Hello Alistair

Thank you for your email.

I am sorry to hear that your new rod is giving you some trouble. Here is a tip that mite fix the problem. Please clean all the wax of all male ferrules of the rod and if you have a small round brush also the inside of all female ferrules. We have noticed in the past that excessive Wax buildup can cause the clicking noise we may hear. Please use a clean cotton cloth with some rubbing alcohol or just soapy water. If this doesn’t do the trick then I would ask you to check how long the distance is in inches that the male ferrules can be inserted into the female ferrules. It should not be longer then 2 1/4 inches. You may check it by fitting the sections together and marking it with your finger where the female ferrule ends. If all of this is ok and you still hear that clicking
noise then we will have to bring the rod back to us and have it evaluated by our engineers.Please let me know if I can be of further assistance to you.

Swoosh Tick Tick Swoosh Tick Tick

With this advice I started a cleaning process that took a couple of days – after the first clean the ticking noise was still there but not as bad. It was only coming from the top ferrule. I was not happy with the way I had cleaned it out the first time so got myself a cotton bud (in the US you call them Q tips) and cut it in half. Then gently I rubbed it down the insides of the female ferrule effectively scraping any excess wax off.

cotton bud

Rod together – quick wiggle – no tick.

Applied wax – quick wiggle – tick

Clean ferrule again – quick wiggle – no tick.

Conclusion – Swoosh Swoosh Swoosh

It was the wax – too much wax at that. I have since spoke to other people with Sage rods who state the ticking is commonplace and eventually went away over time – this makes perfect sense when you think about it as the wax gets worn away. It also makes perfect sense for the noise to get worse when wax was added – it all makes perfect sense now but hindsight is a wonderful thing! I now know it is not a fault – it is a common issue- something to do with the manufacturing process or something similar.

I promised I would not become a tackle tart but the lure of a cheaper rod in the states caught me – it is a lovely piece of kit and I just know I will enjoy it. I hope anyone who is as paranoid as me regarding ticking sage rods finds this post and uses the info. If you are thinking of buying a sage rod in the states and bringing it back it might be worthwhile considering the cons as well as the pros !

Anyway, I cannot convince Mike to add wax to his exchanged rod – I even dared him but I think like me he does not want to tempt fate any further.

[tags]gary coxon,sage fly rod,ferrule problem,wax ferrule,ferrule tick,ferrule ticking [/tags]

6 days to go….

6 days to go before the broonie (thats brown trout to my US cousins)  season starts.

The weather forecast is for rain for the next few days making sure we will all be gazing miserably at swollen rivers…..

Ari T Hart – for those that can afford them ?

Now, I quite like a bit of angling jewelry but this I think just goes that wee step over the line into sheer extravagance.These reels are hand carved from space age material and the website states “for those that can afford them” without giving an actual price.


I pretty much know I cannot afford them, can you? Would you want to?

Check out the site here.

Even More Friends and Fish

AlexTree by the DonmushroomAlbertothistleLoch Lomond

A Fly Fishers Ten Commandments

  1. ” Thou shalt not share sweet spots disclosed by friends
  2. ” Thou shalt defecate in that service station before going near water
  3. ” Thou shalt impart one nugget of wisdom to every brother of the angle that you meet.
  4. ” Thou shalt only kill when needed
  5. ” Thou shall not cover another mans spot nor try to crowd him out
  6. “Thou must be prepared to blank and not be bitter”
  7. Thou must not be convinced whiskey is a good idea while fishing (unless it is just the one) nor smoking anything funny (unless it is a nice day and no trout are rising)
  8. “Thou must congratulate a friends trout”
  9. “Thou must drink water”
  10. “Thou must pay attention to ones wife/girlfriend”

Choose a River, any River !

Had a very good session at our little fly tying night last night. It was a presentation by David Downie (Dangerous Dave if you are a Rainbow at the Lake of Monteith). He tied up his “bread & butter” flies for catching record breaking fish as well as showing us how to tie up some plastic things for bass. To be sure it has made me think about other possible angling exploits….

Choose a River, any River !

Alberto, the organiser of the class and sometimes fishing buddy asked me to organise a trip to a river for the class. I knew the minute I was asked that no matter where I chose as a venue it would be changed. You see Alberto -fly fisher extraordinaire -is a fly fisher of great experience; he is a casting instructor and fly tying instructor as well as being well known in the UK competition scene. Additionally, he has this ability to engage with just about anyone when it comes to fishing. He told me of the time he gave casting lessons to a couple of local Kelvinators who were flailing about with fly rods after a booze session beginners whilst out for a walk “Cheers pal” they shouted as he walked away (no doubt they are now casting like pros) “are ye wantin’ a can o’ lager fur yer trouble” (Tom that is how people from Glasgow speak)

eman casting

Anyway, after talking to a few people eventually I came up with The Tummel. Inevitably the venue was changed to the Upper Clyde by Alberto. I say inevitably as Alberto has this uncanny ability to change any set in stone plans that you may have(After inviting himself along). This makes it all the more amusing when we ask him to impart some of his great wisdom to us in the ways of catching trout. “I cant be bothered going trout fishing, I only go after Salmon these days” he will say “I am playing tennis instead” or “I am teaching a group to Spey cast that day” or even “Oh yes, I have been invited to fish The Lake in a competition” I take great delight in teasing him relentlessly about competition fishing “Bag up did you?” I will ask.


This has all backfired however when Alex let slip we are both fishing in a competition sometime in the summer – It is a The Highland Wild Trout Challenge so I don’t think it counts, at least i dont “think” that is my soul tarnished… this the way it starts?- just a wee fun competition – by next year will I be using a slime line with a string of booby nymphs bagging up big time with slabs of lard ? Alberto however now takes great delight in pointing out every fly he shows me how to tie as “Going to be good for your competition”

When he does go fishing, he inevitably takes his time and catches lots more fish than we do – on one memorable occasion to The Tummel he actually accused us of scaring all the fish away.

being stealthy

Looks Like Spring at Last

Dare I say that it feels like spring today? This morning we had a light frost and by the afternoon the sun was good enough to actually start warming this cold miserable land.

My pal Alex last night asked if I fancied a spot of Pike fishing at the weekend. Part of me wanted to say yes and part of me wanted to say no as my thoughts are being concentrated towards the delights of trout. My thoughts were turned again when I was checking through the blogs that I visit and read about Chris McCully’s recent exploits. The pictures of Pike eyeing Chris as he takes its photo is lovely to look at.

Oh to be fishing on warm summer days…

[tags]Dave Downie, Alberto Laidlaw,Milngavie Fly Tying,River Tummel [/tags]

Dakota Angler II Watch Review

I have written a review of the Dakota Angler II Watch

Dakota Angler II Watch Review

Asian Carp Invasion

Eak, at first I thought this was a spoof……it is very scary though

[tags]flying fish,asian carp [/tags]

16 days

16 Days to go and the broonie season will be upon us.

I mind it was like this last year …..and then suddenly we get snow.


I hope its not the same this year !

[tags]snow,spring,glasgow [/tags]

The Dreaded Question

 I was at my fly tying class last week and I was asked the question that I just hate trying to answer. Before I tell you the question maybe I should say that I am being slightly hypocritical as I asked this question at the start of my forays on the river bank. To be fair I only asked it a few times before I realised the answer was staring me in the face.

The Question

Where is a good place to fish on the River Kelvin?

I mumbled something about the Vet School being good only to be told that the person had read my blog and the Kelvin website and knew that I thought it was pretty poor. Well, I said, it is good at the start of the season (the truth)- the person did not seem to believe me and I gave some vague directions to other parts of the river. What this person probably went away thinking was: this guy knows absolutely nowt about the river My problem was in fact that I know so many good spots on the Kelvin how can I possibly say them all in a quick conversation before a fly tying demonstration. A lot of the nice spots I have found have been found through hard work involving trial and error, sweat, blood and torn waders and generally getting scratched by jaggy bushes. Should I give these spots up easily to someone I hardly know?

Kiss n Tell


There is also an element of ethics involved here as well, I often go fishing with other people who show me there little sweet spots on the river and I dont think its right that I give them away so easily. If I were to post specific places on the river that I have been taken to then I would surely find that the next time I go for a nice fish there could be a dozen guys all fishing my pool. The same goes for other rivers I fish. I am sure my friend Alberto is still cursing the day he introduced us to his little sweet spot on another river.  I have been sworn to secrecy and will never reveal its name or location on pain of- well whatever the hell Alberto does with people that turn up with a bus load of people to his spot. Where is a good place to fish on the River Kelvin? It is also the top question that I am asked via email as well my reply is always get your waders on, get a bottle of water and climb over a fence, mucho effort is involved but it is worth it!


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