Fishing The Fly Forum

Hamish Young

Sage X 15'
« on: 14/06/2021 at 21:47 »
Rods. I like rods, I own *ahem* one or two.
Short rods, long rods, trout rods, 'Spey' rods you name it I'll cast it.  I even cast a full spey line on a 6' pink spinning rod at the Scottish Game Fair for a bet *smiley-wink*
Haven't figured out what to do with the Tenkara rods I've got though  :z8

If the truth is told this initially seems to have very little to do with the title. But bear with me.....

I recently had the opportunity to have a Sage X 15' (with matching Rio line and a Sage 'Spey' reel) on a  short term loan to try it out. It's one of those things, Sage rods have sort of crept up on me. Sure, when I did distance casting I had a TCR 905 (who didn't :?) and I well remember when the first Sage 'Spey' rods came along - a real shock for many a UK brand. But what was the X like :?  Well I'll come to that.

It's like this.... I recently explained to someone why I sold a very high end rod from a UK manufacturer. It went like this, if you find yourself bypassing the rod to fish with something else then one or all of these things have happened:

1. You bought the wrong rod.
2. You're too set in your ways to change.
3. You just don't love it enough to use it, no matter how much you try.

That's not an exhaustive list, you get the idea, if you want to fish with it you will. If you 'love it' you'll always reach for it and - more or less - so on.

But the 'tell' of a really good rod is when you look it out over all others, when you reach for it instinctively and it just 'fits'. For the duration of it's stay with me I found myself reaching for the X, partly for the novelty of having it but mostly because I liked it.  I liked it a lot. I also liked it more than the equivalent X that Ben made up as his 'go to' rod - so for the first time in a long time I preferred the manufacturers product over a bespoke item, which was a surprise when the Method and Igniters I own are all custom and (I would argue) better specced. I digress.

What is there to say about the X :? Well the range has been around for a few years and its markedly different in character to the newer Igniter range.  The Igniter I love  - have one - but the X is possibly more 'easy going' even though it is pretty fast actioned with excellent recovery. I liked it a whole lot more than the 'One' I tried some years ago but that makes some sense if the X is the principal successor. Build quality is superb and the 'black spruce' colour I really like.

I did find that I wasn't too much of a fan of the line that came with the rod, it was OK but didn't suit the rod IMHO. I tried a couple of full Spey lines and the Barrio ISS and these it loved, but for me the best line on the rod was a 10/11 Rio AFS Tracker. Not the latest model line, but a damn good one nonetheless. What I liked about the X here was that it just felt friendly with every type of line I cared to put on it, it is weight sensitive though - go heavy and it kills the blank.
Or that's maybe my casting  :X2

I love the Sage Spey reels, they are utterly gorgeous things and with a big birthday coming up SWMBO did offer to buy me one, but I declined. Why :? Well it's just too quiet and if I'm honest I like a Salmon reel to make some noise. I also like it to be chunky and the biggest Sage reel isn't a match - in my view - to the 15' X. Mind you, one would have looked awesome on my Igniter....

Anyway, the rod. Right now I can't quite justify adding a further double hander to my collection, as the X would be top of the list if I were buying off the shelf. Would I recommend one to someone else :? Absolutely. If you're in the market for a premium 15' then the X is worth serious consideration and I much prefer the X to the equivalently priced Igniter. Like all premium products it's not cheap as I think the retail price is north of 1.2K. That's a lot, an awful lot, of whisky vouchers but - if you found yourself reaching for the X like I did - then I think you'll know you made the right decision.

James Laraway

Re: Sage X 15'
« Reply #1 on: 15/06/2021 at 11:12 »
Over 1200 for an off the shelf rod ?  *smiley-shocking*

Hamish Young

Re: Sage X 15'
« Reply #2 on: 15/06/2021 at 20:34 »
The relatively strong US Dollar does make that a big pill to swallow, no denying it.
But the X is by far and away not the most expensive out there -
A Bruce & Walker 16' Double Spey is north of 1,500  a Gaelforce G+ Equalizer 15' Graphene is still more at around 1,300 which makes the Mackenzie FX1 15' 'affordable' at just north of  1,000 with the equivalent Hardy Zephrus  appearing as value at just under the 1,000. It goes on - there's gear from a significant number of brands that are very high end - but they are very high end products.

James Laraway

Re: Sage X 15'
« Reply #3 on: 16/06/2021 at 11:18 »
shows how long it is since i looked at the price of salmon fly rods *gulp*

I remember the FX1 and thinking 1k that is a huge amount but like you say compared to 1500.......

What would me thoughts be ? At least B&W make their rods in the UK which makes it a bit better. Presumably Sage is made in the US ?

What i don't find acceptable is premium brands charging premium prices and they get their kit made in the far east on 'the cheap' - like when a certain brand says ' designed in Alnwick'  :X2