Twice a year Outdoor Retailer comes to Salt Lake City, it’s a time we all look forward to. We get to see all the new toys and connect with friends that we don’t get to see to often. One of my close friends who I’ve known since I got into the industry recently took a job with Farbank, which owns Sage, Redington, and RIO. After the winter show we took 2 days off and hit the river. We had all sorts of gear to demo and one of the things I was most excited to play with was the new Sage One rod.
At the shop we all cast rods before we bring them in to sell, but as most anglers know there is a difference in casting a rod on the lawn and fishing one on the river. For this two day excursion we were loaded with the Sage One 9’ 5 weight and RIO Gold WF5 lines. Winter finally paid us a visit that weekend, and on Sunday morning as we pulled into the bunny farm on the Middle Provo River we had the lot to ourselves. Not only was I excited to fish for the first time this year, but to have the place to ourselves was pretty epic.
We fished a variety of dries, nymphs, and streamers. I wanted to put this “all around rod” to the test, and I surely did. I usually prefer a true medium rod especially when fishing small size 24 midges with 6x tippet. The Sage One rod is a quick stick, and I figured I’d fully put it to the test and see how much pressure I could put on a fish with 6x tippet. I hook one fish fully expecting to snap it off, and as he took off down stream the rod had enough give and sensitivity in the tip to protect my tippet connection.
Like I said above my usual style isn’t to fish medium-fast or fast rods, but there are windy days when having a quicker rod makes presenting the fly much easier. I haven’t had faith in a rod with this type of action to protect my tippets, but my opinion has changed. There is no tip deflection in the rod, and I have to say hands down, it’s one of the easiest casting rods I’ve thrown and fished. I’ve been out casting this rod now with over a dozen customers and no matter their preference in action or style all these people have thrown this rod in various sizes with ease. It truly is a rod that fits most anglers casting strokes.
When nymphing and throwing streamers this rod lived up to all the hype, it has a backbone and will turn over heavy bugs. It handled a 150 grain Streamer Express with ease. I am really looking forward to fishing this rod over on the Green River or South Fork of the Snake out of a boat. With large dry flies and terrestrials on a windy day this rod will excel.
One of the other notable things that I loved about this rod is the new handle. For those who haven’t fished a wells grip, you need to give it a try. One of the things I’ve found with this grip is it really allows you to generate power for your cast from the butt section of the rod to the tip. Cigar grips are great, but because of the position it puts your hand in most people tend to use their wrist more and only generate power in the tip of the rod. This in turn means you are doing all the work and more prone to tailing loops, when you cast a rod from the butt to the tip you are allowing the rod to do the work and casting becomes a dream.
Some people have a hard time with the price of a premium U.S. made rod. If you can put your fly where you want 7 out of 10 times instead of 3 out of 10 times you are going to catch more fish. It’s that simple and with the castibility of this rod your fly will be in the hunt more often and longer.
I thought the RIO Gold in a 5 weight suited this rod perfectly. It loaded the rod, but I can also see where some people may like to go up a line weight to help load it. My recommendation would be if you usually line up your rods try a different taper fly line such as a 5 weight RIO Grande or a Scientific Angler GPX. These are a little more aggressive condensed heads and I think you’ll find they’ll load it to suite your needs.
Schmidt did a tour of the Sage factory last August when they were building these rods, if you want to hear all the techy fun stuff about these rods come in and pick his brain. Overall I was not expecting these rods to live up to all the marketing hype, but given how many we have already sold our customers thought it did. I still wasn’t sold and didn’t think this rod would be something I’d fish that often given the action, but I am eating crow here and give the One rod my full endorsement. Thanks for reading if you have any question give the shop a call or feel free to email me.
Have a good one!