Sage has re-worked their flagship series, the Sage ONE, into a more moderate action, caster-friendly rod, the Sage X. Sage designed the X for the every-man trout angler. The X is a departure from the Sage norm of fast-action rods and caters to a wider audience than rods like the Sage Igniter or the Sage ONE. The Sage X two-handed series, or the Spey series, follows the design of the one-handed Sage X rods with some significant departures. Read on to find out how the Sage X Spey Series provides industry-leading power and castability.
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The fit and finish on the Sage X is a slight departure from the componentry on the Sage ONE. The cork grip is a bit shorter than the Sage ONE which allows for better hand placement and increased casting capabilities. The Sage X has a down locking reel seat to push the fly reel farther toward the end of the fly rod increasing rod balance. The new X also has a rubber end cap on the fighting butt of the rod.
The X features newer graphite that is a solid ½ to ¾ ounce lighter than the ONE series. The decreased rod weight makes casting all day effortless and easy.
The X Spey series from Sage is extremely caster friendly. Like many two-handed rods, more grains = more leeway. A heavier line is more forgiving on the X and allows the angler to get away with tired casts at the end of a long day on the water. The X loads nicely deep into the rod which allows supreme flex and feel. The stiff tip also contributes to the castability of the X series. This rod is one of the best two-handers on the market in the castability department.
The X Spey series is actually stiffer in the tip than the Sage ONE series. The stiff tip section loads the rod efficiently and helps anglers making angle changes on the water. The rod has a regressive feel, and loads deep down into the butt section and into the cork, but only when rigged correctly. Don't expect the X to load slow and deep every cast. The X is a much better rod for quick and powerful casts. That being said, the rod does provide tons of feel and feedback, especially during sustained anchor casting.
The particular Sage X Spey rod we cast loads best with a Rio Scandi line anywhere from 600-610, especially if you're looking for a deep load into the butt section of the rod. Anglers can also access the butt section of the rod with up to a 710GR long belly line, although that’s probably the heaviest we’d go. If you don’t have enough grains on the Sage X, you risk casting a long belly line off the tip of the rod, more work for even the most experienced angler. In terms of Skagit Lines, anything from about 575 to 650 grains draws maximum performance out of this particular model of the Sage X.
We used a Sage Evoke Fly Reel in size 10 on the 14' 8wt Sage X. The Evoke 10 weighs in at 11 1/8 ounces which we found to be sort of optimal weight for rod/reel balance.
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The Sage X Spey series is a must-have in any two-handed angler’s arsenal. Perfect for Salmon and Steelhead fishing, the X is a phenomenal combination of high-end technology and user-oriented design. The X comes in many rod sizes and is a highly versatile two-handed rod. As a result, we feel the X is a huge improvement over the ONE series and it’s one of our favorite two-handed rods on the market today.