They Call them "Sage" for a Reason- Rod Review : Skinny Water Charters Blog
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They Call them "Sage" for a Reason- Rod Review

by Captain Jim Barr on 04/25/13

I just took the opportunity to test drive two new fly rods that I added to my inventory last December when I joined the Pro Guide program with Far Bank Enterprises, the holding company for Sage, Redington and RIO Products.
I bought the Sage One in a 9ft-9wt and the Xi3 in a 9ft-10wt.
Understand that I was an Orvis Endorsed Guide for the last several years and had the opportunity to own and fish with their two top of the line rods, the Hydros (now discontinued- mistake!) and the Helios, both very nice rods. But I have to tell you that the Sage rods I noted above are not only great looking rods, but they cast beautifully. Neither are as light as the Orvis rods, but the action on the One although fast, is very very smooth and extremely precise. It casts more like a trout rod with pinpoint accuracy yet it has plenty of backbone to allow casting the entire line with ease. The line on the reel was a 9wt Scientific Anglers XXD Floating with a 17 ft front taper, 19ft front belly and a 15ft rear belly... a discontinued line but one that was engineered for distance casting. (I just bought this line at a "fire sale"). It's perfectly matched for this rod and for my style of casting. Very very impressed with the One. The blank is stealthy black- very cool looking rod.

The Xi3 is a stiffer rod, it's a 10wt and although just one line up, it's action is considerably different than the One. It's not quite as "surgically smooth" casting as the One but it has incredible power, and dumping the entire 10wt floating Orvis Wonderline (a new line but also from a discontinued series)  was easy facing a slight headwind in the field. This rod is truly a cannon. The blank is "electric blue" (my term) and it is gorgeous. The rod is fast, and under the strain of powerful double hauling force with a lot of fly line aerialized, does not flex as deeply as the Helios 10wt flexes under similar casting dynamics. The Helios tip section feels softer than the tip section of the Xi3 and in my experience the softer tip bleeds power. The tradeoff may be that casting an Xi3 all day will tire you a bit more quickly than the Helios, but I would rather have increased ability to punch longer casts in the windy conditions we continuously face in Rhode Island salt waters. (Tests under engineering conditions may contradict my findings and that's OK- this was a field test and is based on the subjective "feel" of each of these rods)
I have built many Sage rods over the years, 3 weights to 10 and have always liked how they cast and how they looked. The One and the Xi3 do not disappoint. Both are very different looking rods and both are nicely appointed... not fancy like the Helios rods, but very nice. I'm looking forward to testing these rods under fishing conditions.
In my opinion neither the One or the Xi3 could be truly appreciated by amateur or even intermediate fly casters. They are very precise and powerful.

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