I was fortunate enough to get a couple of loaner roads from Sage for my trip to Belize. It felt a little like Christmas when the package with two new Xi3’s showed up. I had a 7 wt. and a 10 wt. which armed me for everything I really needed in Belize.
The 7 wt. was used most and was an especially good rod for hunting Belizean bonefish, which tend to run a bit smaller in size than Bahamian bones. With the 7 wt., I up-lined to an 8 weight line, which cast very, very well at the short distances that you tend to be fishing when wading for bonefish. I am fast becoming a fan of up-lining when you know the distances are going to be short. These fast, modern rods have difficulty loading on shorter casts, say 40′ or under.
I cast the 10 for permit and for tarpon and was happy with how the Xi3 did when delivering some long casts with some bigger flies. The 10 weight I actually cast with a 10 weight line (a Wonderline provided by Orvis, which did great service as well). The 10 weight didn’t feel heavy and it had plenty of power. When I hooked into that big Jack that rod bent to the cork, which was fun to watch.
The Xi3 has a rather major price-tag, which is really the only drawback of the rod. You can feel the quality in the stick and I’d love to bring one out on the flats again at some point. When I finally move up to a top tier rod, the Xi3 will certainly be in the running.