Last July while attending the ICAST/IFTD Show in Orland we lined up for our opportunity to cast the new Sage X fly rods. We are dazed by these new fly rods. It was not until the 2017 launch of Southern Saltwater Fly Fishing Magazine that we requested loaner Sage X. Faster than you can make a false cast, FedEx dropped off 9 ’ 8wt Sage X that arrived with a Sage Reel / RIO line as well. The game was on.
Unless a fly rod is a real dog or ridiculously over-priced for the performance, it’s tough for a fly rod reviewer to not talk in glowing terms about the positive attributes of a new fly rod, or for that matter fail to give a new fly rod at least some level of accolades. Reviewing Sage X loaner put us in the uncomfortable position of finding the appropriate phrases of praise that we have used time and time again in the past that frankly are cliques. We knew it was essential to tell truth—so here goes.
The fact of the matter is, this Sage X is the best damned casting 9’ 8wt our team ever laid hands on. Trust, us that’s saying a lot. Well, that’s our story, and we are sticking to it. We challenge anyone to grab one up to prove to us otherwise. Lifting line from the water our Sage X generated a lot of line speed, with little or no false casting. Collectively we were habitual false casters. Now we have seen the light. Additionally, the rod has a remarkable ability to cut through the wind, which is great when fly fishing flats where blaming the wind is our favorite alibi. To tell the truth, by our estimates, the Sage X can improve our rating as casters by 5 to 8 percent. Think about that.
Sage rods have a reputation of being high speed “casters’ fly rods,” requiring a well-developed timing. The Sage X is speedy but is remarkably forgiving of casting styles. We were enamored with our ability to throw long, parallel, picture perfect loops. In hand, the Sage X feels light and swings light, with a lot of spring in the butt section that transmits greater feel when cast. We liked the comfortable grips on our Sage X that are smaller and more contoured than the grips on other large Sage rod models in the past. We found that the grips definitely enhanced our casting precision, which is was by the way, quite remarkable.
Sage X rods feature an all-new fast action taper built with the maker’s KonneticHD Technology that delivers greater blank recovery and a crisper tip stop. This is the secret to casters creating tighter, more efficient loops throughout all ranges. Sage’s fast action taper allows you to dig deeper into the rod and access the lower sections, shifting power closer to the angler. Decreased lateral and medial movement and vibrations in the blank result in a more accurate and efficient presentation, resulting in a performance driven, forgiving fast action blank that redefines synergy.
The heart of the Sage X is its makers’ new proprietary KonneticHD graphite/resin composite that is the highest energy transferring material ever created by the company. Advanced high density (HD) fiber positioning, enhanced laminate characteristics, and optimized manufacturing techniques combine to increase composite modulus while maintaining durability. KonneticHD creates amplified strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight ratios as needed within the rod blank. Optimized fiber-to-fiber energy transfer along the length of the blank minimizes both lateral and medial vibrations, delivering accuracy in an easy loading blank with quick recovery, a crisp tip stop, and enhanced line feel for complete loop control.
According to Sage, the optimized hoop to axial fiber positioning reduces blank weight and enhances cross-sectional strength and performance. The result is superior tracking through minimized lateral and torsional movement. Focused energy transfer creates greater connectivity with less effort. In laymen jargon, this bantamweight casts like a dream and puts flies where you were hoping they might touchdown.
The Sage X can also be described as seductive eye candy. A Black Spruce blank with dark green thread wraps with metallic grey trim wraps makes it uniquely stunning. Other great features on the Sage X include Fuji ceramic stripper guides with hard chromed snake guides and tip-top, and a laser etched line weight on slide band. As you might expect, the presentation is impeccable; black rod bag with titanium logo and Black Spruce model tag in an evergreen powder coated aluminum rod tube with Sage medallion. Classy, eh?
So what do we really think about the Sage X? We like it a lot, and have schemed far too much on how to avoid sending back our loaner. Incredibly, actually purchasing the rod has even been discussed. It would be a first…