Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Hulk

H: December 13, 2013: While doing some Xmas shopping online, I opened an email for 20 percent off everything from a fly shop website. The offer was just too tempting. With my birthday just passed, having received 0 presents, I decided to treat myself to a new 8 weight fly rod for my upcoming bonefishing trip to Abaco in the Bahamas.

It's not like I go bonefishing very often. This will be my second trip in about 2 years. The first was to Andros in 2012 (First Bone, Bonefishing in Paradise). So, with a maximum budget of $500, I researched potential rods. The Sage TCX 890-4, which was on clearance, caught my eye. While I read rod descriptions and considered the merits of a few contenders, I sent a text to easterncaster for his opinion. Turns out he has the TCX in a 7 (1 of perhaps 50? rods he owns ;). He said the 7 weight was one of the best 7s he had ever cast. So, I took a leap of faith, clicked, and purchased it.

I must confess, while waiting for the rod to arrive, I started having doubts about whether I would like it. Until now, I had NEVER bought a rod without first taking it for a test drive. Some reviews mentioned the TCX being a cannon, a beast of a rod, ultra/super fast. Others said it was difficult to cast, meant for expert casters and distance casting competitions.

10 days later, my 9 ft, 8 weight, Sage TCX finally arrived. I liked the luminous kryptonite green shaft finish and decided to call it the Hulk ;). I immediately put it together and did the wiggle test in my apartment. It barely wiggled, just the top third. Boy was it stiff! No surprise, there. I was dying to cast it. But all week, it was unseasonably cold and my schedule was super busy. So every night when I got home, I would pick it up, say hello, wiggle it, and sigh.

With a snow storm expected over the weekend, today was the big day. I left work early. With about 40 mins of daylight left, I went to the park to cast. An inch of snow lingered on the ground from last week's dusting and wind chills were near 20 degrees. It didn't bother me one bit, although my 8 weight bonefish line clearly objected as it resisted my numerous straightening/stretching attempts.

The Hulk lived up to his reputation. There's no doubt he's incredibly strong and powerful. He's also quite unforgiving. If your timing is slightly off or your stops are not firm and crisp, he's quick to show his displeasure ;). I definitely need to spend more time getting to know him. As for my first, gut impression: I heart the Hulk. I think he'll make a damn fine bonefish rod. Hope he hearts me back with some nice bones in a few weeks time ;)

9 foot, 8 weight Sage TCX 890-4, aka The Incredible Hulk
9 foot, 8 weight Sage TCX 890-4 rod, aka the Hulk ;)

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