The Sage Response fly rod, new for 2013, replaces the Sage Flight as Sage's "entry-level", fast action rod. The Flight, and the FLi before it, was one of Sage's best selling rods and I was eager to cast it.
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Here's what I was casting:
Fit and Finish
Chestnut in color with chromed snake guides, ceramic stripper guide, Rosewood inserts and aluminum real seat (on the freshwater weights) give the rod a good "classic" look. Overall, the Sage Response is built from high quality materials and is solidly constructed. A more substantial reel seat with double uplocking screws gave it added bonus points versus similarly priced rods like the Redington Link or Winston Passport. Half wells grip on the freshwater line weights (3-6) and full wells (plus fighting butt) on the 7-weight and heavier.
The Sage Response is listed as 3 5/16 oz. It's a tad heavy by today's standards.
With a steady breeze blowing on test day, casting was a challenge but it gave me a good idea of how this rod would preform in varying conditions. Casting directly into the wind seemed easier with the Response than similarly priced rods; the Response felt like it had better action, especially around the mid section. This gave a decent feel at longer distances as well. Although there wasn't a very noticeable load while casting, a stiff butt section helped with some added muscle.
Casting both the Sage Response and the Redington Link on the same day, the Sage was noticeably more accurate. At short distances there was not much feel. But, the more line in the cast the better the it got, still not a lot though. Again, the mid section felt like it had good action and this helped with not only power but with accuracy as well.
Flex and Feel
Fast action. Solid butt section which gave decent power and strength to fight larger fish. But the rod lacked feel especially at short and medium distances.
Like many rods at this price point the Sage Response has a solid butt and mid section which give them good power but also the ability to dig fish out of deeper pools or turn over larger rigs while nymphing.
Without the need for impeccable feel especially with larger flies, this Sage rod would be a good choice for streamers. Swinging streamers across the current or fighting a big brown that wants to run in that direction would be well match with the Response.
What the Response gains in distance and power in turn makes it less effective as a dry fly rod. The lack of feel, although better than most at the price-point, would prove to be less desirable as a small creek and/or dry fly rod. It also makes delicate presentations difficult.
Sage's lifetime warranty: http://www.sageflyfish.com/about/warranty/
The all-new Sage Response brings Sage performance to an affordable price point. Its a fast action rod that Sage fans will instantly recognize. Fans of the Flight and the FLi will feel right at home with the Response. Casters looking for more feel and a more forgiving action should look elsewhere.
- Stiff butt section creates good power and distance
- More flex in the mid section created better feel at longer distances
- Accuracy was better than most rods at this price point
- Lacked feel at short-medium distances