So…. is it IgnitOr or IgnitEr? I always remembered it with an o, but Webster says I’m wrong. That’s what spell check is for anyway. Enough of that. Sage has somewhat predictably replaced the second to last remaining Konnetic rod with their new KonneticHD blank technology. The Sage Method has become the all new Sage Igniter fly rod. They’re very similar. Both very fast and both designed to make seriously long casts.
One thing that’s very different about the rod is how it’s marketed and positioned. Sage has done a very good job of telling you when you might need or want this rod, and that’s hugely important since it may save you a costly mistake. When we interviewed Peter Knox about the rod at iCast, he called it a rod for technical conditions, which means any time you need to carry a lot of line in the air. Think making a 60’ cast to a sipping fish on the Henry’s Fork or to a tailing bonefish on Eleuthera. It also means you’re probably not using a normal fly line since you can carry 30-40’ with pretty much any rod out there.
If you’ve ever seen a Sage in the last 5 or 10 years, you know exactly what this rod looks like. There’s nothing new and nothing to talk about. So I won’t.
The new Igniter weighs in at just a hair under 4 ounces according to our scale. It balances well with an 8 ounce reel which gives it a balanced total weight of 12.1 ounces. It has a swing weight of 96 gm2, which is at least 10 gm2 more than 8-weight’s that I’d consider light. It feels more like a 9wt, because well… it kinda is one.
It’s a distance champ for sure; you can carry 60’ of line in the air and let’er rip. But only if you’re a really good caster. I’d recommend loading up the grains and using a shooting head if your last name doesn’t start with R and end in jeff.
Forget casting this rod in close. You’ve got no feel at all until you get out to 60+ feet. Then it starts to get a little better. I didn’t get to cast this in any real technical conditions, but I suspect when rigged properly, this rod is going to be able to make casts more accurately at distance (and particularly into the wind) than any other.
The Igniter is a super-fast rod. It’s been a while since I last cast a single hand Method, but I’d be willing to bet that the Igniter is faster and feels stiffer. It will have plenty of fish fighting power as well.
I cast a few different lines on this rod. I expected the SA Grand Slam to be the best – it’s a little heavy and has a long head. It was good, but not as good as I had hoped. Maybe it was too heavy at distance, but who knows. SA Bonefish was also nice, but had too short of a head to really perform at distances. Ironic as it may seem, the light- but-long, Rio Bonefish was the line I liked best. Let me be clear, it’s garbage in close, but if you want the Igniter to perform at the distances it’s designed for, Rio Bonefish gets it done.
This is a rod that does what it sets out to do: hold long headed lines in the air. It does this when paired with the correct line and a great caster. It’s also a really fast rod that can deliver shooting head lines with startling line speed. For certain specific situations, the Sage Igniter may be the finest rod out there. But you should really think hard before you decide it’s the right rod for you.