The Sage ONE is the other 5-weight that everyone was talking about in 2012. It’s Sage’s signature rod, and when Jerry Siem (Sage’s rod designer) designs a fly rod like this – he does it right. It’s all Sage. Fast. Light. Accurate. The feel was a solid upgrade from the Z-axis as well. Keep reading to for the details.
Here's what we were casting today:
Fit and Finish
The fit and finish are top notch. The rod is adorned with a full wells grip, which I liked, Ceramic stripping guide and hard chromed snake guides. The reel seats on, and up to, the 5-weight have a wood/bronze colored aluminum finish. The 6-weight rods and up all have just a bronze colored aluminum finish. The blank is black which I also liked. All of this done on Bainbridge Island, WA!
The rod is listed at 2 ¾ oz.
The rod balanced well with the Hardy reel (which weighs in at 4.8 oz.). Swing weight was very light... but didn’t feel quite as light as the Winston BIIIX or the Hardy Zenith but very close. I immediately liked the feel of the Sage One in my hand. It was remarkably light and felt like it had good power without being overly stiff. A good start...
This is where the Sage ONE shined, in my opinion. As I started to work more line out I could really feel the power this rod has. I didn't feel as though I had to work hard at all while trying to cast further. The rod felt like it was doing the work for me. In fact, I almost had to ease back a little as I found it was creating very tight loops already. A couple hard lasers smacking the ground reminded me I had to do less. If you go to the Sage website it seems as though they are promoting the rods accuracy as its main feature, for me it was more about the "umph" it possessed. This "umph" in the rod would also help in fishing larger and heavier flies such as streamers and nymph rigs. Turning over the line would not be a problem. At times it almost felt like it had the power of a heavier rod. It had excellent tracking enabling accurate casts at longer distances. I really enjoyed casting this rod.
At shorter distances I didn't feel as though the ONE was as accurate as it was at longer distances. The stiffer feel, especially near the tip, made it made it tougher to hit targets less than 40’. As I tried to dial in my accuracy at short distances, I found it took a little while for me to adjust my cast and timing after casting my usual stick (which is a tad softer), but quickly felt comfortable throwing short to medium casts with reasonable accuracy. Nothing that was outrageously better than similarly priced rods though. In comparison to say the Winston B3X, the One was slightly less "finesse-able."
Flex & Feel
The Sage One is a good example of a “fast-action” rod. Certainly not as stiff as say the Sage TCX but it provided stiffness mixed with feel.
Again, some of the drawbacks to having less feel, at say 25', pay off with the ability to throw larger rigs and heavier flies. The Sage ONE would be a good nymphing rod while its substantial butt section would help in hauling up big fish in deeper pools. This same stiffness would help turning over multiple flies and an indicator.
I like to throw streamers. One of the first things I thought while casting it was how great it would cast streamers. If I could have/design a 9' 5-weight rod strictly for throwing streamers to trout and salmon, this would be it.
Lifetime warranty with a $50 shipping/processing fee if you need to send it back. http://www.sageflyfish.com/about/warranty/
Price: $775 (yes, the price went up)
The 5-weight class of rods is mainly a “do-it-all” group that usually sways toward one type of fishing or the other. In this case the Sage ONE's sway is towards distance and heavier flies. Although the accuracy was there, at short distances I felt I was simply aiming and hoping a lot more than usual (which is a lot). I wish I had tested it with a half-size heavier line like RIO Grand or SA GPX. The superb tracking at longer distances did not work in its favor at shorter distances. If you find yourself throwing buggers more than caddis, this might be the rod for you. I would also recommend loading it the SA GPX lines, which add a little more weight and will improve casting at short distances.
If you are also looking for a reel that would work well with the ONE – I'd suggest the lightest reel you can find. That's not always the case, but because the ONE has very light overall weight, I found the Hardy Ultralite DD to be a good fit here, as would the Lamson Litespeed.
- Very light swing weight, but doesn't lose power
- Good streamer/nymphing rod
- Lots of muscle
- Lacks feel at shorter distances with standard weight lines
- Sage price tag