Sage has done it again with the recently introduced X. The latest in Sage’s line up promises to be a winner and may be the best fly rod they have ever produced. Now this is just one anglers review but the X is a completely different feel from anything that Sage has done in a long time and is far removed from its predecessor, the One and the other flag ship model, Method. Far removed in that it is not the super fast, forgiving blank of the two aforementioned rods but rather is a top tier tool that will serve just about any fresh water situation well.
Like the Sage One, which promised to deliver accurate casts with unsurpassed recovery and maintain tight, efficient loops, the X does everything that Sage claims.
From the Sage web site.
“The X rod’s all-new fast action taper built with our KonneticHD Technology delivers greater blank recovery and a crisper tip stop – creating tighter, more efficient loops throughout all ranges of casting styles. This 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 – refining the synergy between angler, rod, line, and fly.”
The X is a beautiful casting tool that doesn’t want to be pushed. The first thing that we picked up on when casting the 590-4 was that it absolutely requires a smooth and well timed stroke. This means that the blank is far less forgiving than One or Method in terms of masking casting deficiencies but in the right hands and in fishing situations, this rod will be a better performer than the others for a couple of reasons. Sage calls the X “Fast Action” but we really felt that to be a bit off and would refer to the blank as being “progressive”. Progressive in that it loads to the handle and feels slower than it actually is, yet upon the stop, recovers amazingly fast. This means that with a smooth, well timed stroke, she really does deliver tight, effortless and accurate loops.
Dry land casting is one thing but rods need to perform well while fighting fish and we feel the X will deliver big here. The blank bends deeper than the One or Method and has a forgiving tip which is paramount during the fight. This is particularly important during tough conditions when light tippet makes the difference. As great as One was, we felt that it was just a bit too much rod in finesse situations and could let you down with 6X tippet.
As expected from one of the industry leaders, Sage has a winner with X and if you are at the top of your casting game and are looking for a true fishing tool, this is the rod for you. If aesthetics are important to you, this stick is as classy and well appointed as any Sage rod with a glossy, charcoal blank, silver (although Sage calls them grey.) winding at the farrels and as usual, the best cork in the game.
Sage X is available in 22 single hand weights from a 7’6″ #3 to a 9′ #10 and 13 two handers from an 11′ #6 to a 15′ #10.
GRO ROD RATING
Performance– While we have not yet fished the X, it would be hard to find a deficiency. (We have cast hundreds of rods and have a pretty good sense of how a rod will fight fish but we will up grade this review once we take them out.) From Rob Heal: “It takes a lot to get me jazzed about the “latest and greatest” but this rod is pretty special. It performed well beyond any expectation at all distances and really does what Sage claims. It is a rod that requires a smooth stroke but once the timing is down, Wow!” GROF Rating- Casting =5, Fishing =?.
Craftsmanship- The X is every bit as pretty as any Sage rod. Maybe a bit boring and repetitive but certainly passes the test. GROF Rating 4.5
Value– As a premium rod, it won’t be for everyone but is worth most of the $895.00 US msrp price tag. GROF Rating 4.5
Overall rating. 4.67
Note: For Ontario anglers, these rods will be available to test drive at the Grand River Spey Clave on September 17,18th, 2016.