All You Need to Know About Sage Fly Rods

By Nick Simpson | Reviews

sage fly rods reviews

Established in 1980 by Don Green and Bruce Kirshner, Sage Fly Fishing has quickly established themselves as a cutting-edge and innovative brand, all while carefully handcrafting their rods in the USA. Every rod they make is built one at a time in their manufacturing facility on Bainbridge Island, following hundreds of meticulous steps and meeting no fewer than 23 craftsmen during the production process.

World-class materials and attention to detail make Sage rods a pleasure to use, and a huge variety of rods with various actions and applications (as well as saltwater and freshwater offerings) make this company a great one to turn to when you’re looking for a new rod. And with a lifetime warranty and excellent customer service team, their reputation for quality is well-earned.

And with a diverse and varied product line ranging from slow action rods to hyper-fast offerings, Sage Fly Fishing is sure to have a rod that’s right up your alley, no matter your needs and personal preferences. Let’s take a look at the basics about their rods and some of the best-selling offerings.

Sage Fly Rods - Our Top 5 Picks

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  • Sage ONE Fly Rod
  • 8'6'' length
  • All-round design
  • Small diameter and slim profile
  • Comfortable and dynamic
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  • Sage BOLT Fly Rod
  • Comes in two weight classes
  • Preffered by experienced fishermen
  • Built for high line speed and quick recovery
  • Quality built fast-action rod
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  • Sage APPROACH Fly Rod
  • Designed for beginners
  • Graphite construction
  • Excellent balance and linefeel
  • Medium to fast action
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  • Sage SALT Fly Rod
  • Designed for saltwater use
  • Comes in 8'6'' and 9' lenghts
  • Good for high-speed casting
  • Stylish design
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  • Sage MOD Fly Rod
  • Designed for trout angle fishing
  • Short range casting with great control
  • 9' length
  • Functional, comfortable and attractive

Choosing a Rod - Application

Application is an all-encompassing term for the length, style, and weight of your rod, the recommended line weight, and the components used to create it.

Length

Determines the casting distance of the rod. The longer your rod, the farther you can cast. This is mostly relevant depending on where you’re fishing and what you’re trying to catch. Longer rods can be a bit unwieldy for newer fishermen, though they don’t cause problems for experienced fly-fishers. Rods 6 feet and below usually come in one piece, while longer rods are easily disassembled for transport.

Rod Weight

The weight of a rod is not always indicative of its strength - lightweight materials such as graphite deliver flex when you need it and stiffness when you don’t, yet maintain a featherweight. Inexpensive, traditional options such as fiberglass are heavier and usually more stiff, but still get the job done.

Style

Usually indicative of the action the rod is capable of, style refers to the generally recommended use of the rod (freshwater small, medium lake and river fish, heavy-duty saltwater fish, etc.)

Line Weight

Line weight is mostly determined by what kind of fish you’re after, and recommended line weight is usually determined by the style of rod that you buy - You can’t just slap a 14 line on a short, stream-focused rod and expect it to work in the deep ocean.

The lighter the line weight, the more sensitive your line will be, but this comes at the expense of line strength. In general, the lower the line weight, the smaller the fish that the rod is intended for.

Weights range from 00 to 14, and 00-3 are best for small fish in close quarters, 4-7 is more of a “general” weight that can handle most freshwater fish in medium lakes and rivers. 8-10 are appropriate for lakes and rivers, while 10-14+ lines are reserved for deepwater fly fishing for huge, fish like marlin, swordfish, and tarpon.

Choosing A Rod - Action

The Action of a rod is closely related to the stiffness of a rod. A “slow” action flexes quite a bit, almost all the way down to the handle of the rod, and an “ultra-fast” action has barely any flex at all. Generally, the more flex you’ve got, the more sensitive the rod will be, and it will be less prone to line snapping when working with a lighter weight, more delicate line.

Stiffer rods provide faster reactions and cast with a more lightweight, quick feel. For beginners, a moderate action is best. Once you’ve managed to master one rod, you may then move to a slower or higher action as desired.

1. Sage ONE Fly Rod

The Sage ONE is a rod that combines world class construction with an all-around design made specially for fishermen looking for a rod that can handle just about anything. A fast action, moderate length 8’6” rod is crafted with Sage Rod’s proprietary Konnetic Technology®, allowing a small rod diameter and slim profile while not sacrificing the ONE’s characteristic high line speed and smooth tracking.

 All of these features combined lead to smooth, accurate casts across a variety of different line weights, allowing this little jack-of-all-trades to become your new go-to rod. Coming in a range of line weights from 1-4, this rod is meant for smaller fish, but won’t give in if you hook a big one.

Finished with bronze trim wraps and a Super Plus tapered and shaped cork handle, it’s a great-looking rod that’s as comfortable as it is dynamic. Once you try this rod out on your small river and stream sessions, you’ll never want to let it go.

2. Sage BOLT Fly Rod

The BOLT is aptly named. Featuring an ultra-fast action, this rod is specifically built for those who need a fast-action rod due to high winds or long distance casts. Built for high line speed and quick recovery, this is the go-to rod for any angler who’s looking for peak performance in an attractive, well-designed package.

This rod comes in two main weight classes - 4-5 and 6-8. The 4-5 weight class features a Stealth black anodized aluminum up-locking reel seat with a rosewood insert, and a snub-nose half-wells cork handle, while the larger 6-8 class has a Full-wells cork handle with a fighting butt to help you reel in your large, stubborn prey.

While it’s certainly not recommended for a rookie angler, this rod is sure to satisfy anyone who’s got a need for speed, and the high quality of the rod and its parts, backed by Sage Rod’s lifetime guarantee, is sure to give you peace of mind even when you’re hunting for the big one.

3. Sage APPROACH Fly Rod

This rod, while designed for beginners, certainly cannot be aptly described as “entry level.” This rod is crafted out of lightweight, high-quality graphite previously reserved only for Sage’s higher level rods. 

A medium-fast action allows excellent line feel and control, which is very important for a beginner angler. Available from a weight of 4-8, we’d recommend the 5 rod to a new angler. Perfectly balanced, and with a great linefeel that you’ll never outgrow even after years of fishing, you’ll wonder how you ever fished without it.

Lighter weight rods have a reverse half-wells cork handle, while heavier models come with a full-wells cork handle complete with fighting butt, so depending on your grip preference, you may choose differently.

4. Sage SALT Fly Rod

If you’re looking to get into saltwater fly fishing, or you’re just looking for a new rod, the SALT rod is an excellent choice. Available in both 9’ and 8’ 6” models, with available line weights of 5-12, there’s a rod that’s right for you whether you’re taking on thelarge quarry in the deep ocean, or just trying to see what you can nab on the beach shores. A fast-loading, high speed cast means that your casts will be quick and precise.

 Allowing you unprecedented control when you need to drop a line with speed and accuracy, and every model of this rod comes with a comfortable cork full-wells grip complete with a durable and easy-to-grab EVA fighting butt, ensuring a good grip and total control over your rod when you need it most.

Additional details include the blue sapphire coated finish, black thread wraps and silver trim wraps, as well as an integrated hook keeper in the reel seat, making this Sage Rod both convenient and stylish.

5. Sage MOD Fly Rod

The MOD is designed specifically with a moderate action that is preferred by trout anglers. A modern reinterpretation of an old classic, the mod can be thought of as the short-game complement to your other rods. Crafted to deliver controllable and comfortable casts at short range with pinpoint accuracy, you’re sure to fall in love with the mellow action and great linefeel of this rod.

Featuring the responsiveness and strength expected from a rod handcrafted on Bainbridge Island using Sage Rod’s proprietary Konnetic Technology®, this 9’ rod comes in a 3-6 weight range, all of which feature a Super Plus snub-nose, half-wells cork handle.

Fuji ceramic stripper guides, and a beautiful Jade green anodized finish, making this flashy little rod quite the looker, while still being comfortable and functional, and the aluminum Gloss Black anodized up-locking reel ensure that any rod built with the MOD as its base will be steady and reliable.

Conclusion

It’s not hard to see why Sage Rods is steadily gaining ground in the fly-fishing market. With a diverse complement of rods and other gear, all painstakingly manufactured in the US, their offerings aren't cheap, but they’re certainly high-quality, and worth every penny.

Sage Rod’s lifetime warranty on their products backs up the quality of their merchandise, and whether you’re a seasoned veteran looking for a rod to replace your old reliable, or a novice just getting into the sport, they’ve got a rod (or two) that’ll be perfect for your needs. Check out our choices above, and feel free to browse around.

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About the Author

Nick is the youngest member of the team and he’s very passionate about angling. He is the member that spends most of the time fishing at different locations around the world. His main focus is to simplify the techniques as much as possible and break them down so young anglers can catch up quickly. Nick loves the great outdoors and he’s a proud owner of a vast collection of customized fishing equipment.

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