Have you heard the recent fly rod news yet?
Thanks to the world at large going into a state of quarantine and shutdowns, you may not have. It felt like a whisper in the black of night, with hardly a disturbance in the ripples of the fly fishing industry at large, but Sage swung and connected…hard. A new family of rods has hit our shelves and it’s a heavy hitter. May we introduce you to our initial thoughts in a little Sage SONIC fly rod review.
So what, exactly has Sage swung back with, and why should I use such aggressive verbiage? Well, the past few years have seen some fantastic rods coming out in the mid-priced rod market, dominated by the Orvis Recon or G. Loomis IMX-Pro among others. Really, really fantastic rods to be sure, but in the whisper of night, overshadowed by a pretty stressful 24-hour international news feed, Sage dropped the hammer.
This past week, Sage unveiled AND shipped a new line of rods: the SONIC. Following on the heels of another under-publicized fly rod family, the MAVERICK (which boasts possibly the best 8 weight Sage currently makes), the new SONIC was designed to be the mid-priced answer to a multi-purpose, fast action fly rod. At $550, this family of rods will be one of the best values in fly rods for a long time. Built on Sage’s Konnectic graphite technology, this price point is a steal and has the feel of a top-end fly rod.
As a reminder, Konnetic technology is the same graphite that was used on the favorite Sage ONE fly rod and currently in use on the PAYLOAD and MAVERICK fly rod families. This technology makes these rods very light and accurate for the price point and provides in-line tracking through the cast (less side to side wobble) and quick return to stop at the end of the stroke (snaps back to straight quickly).
We are really not shy to say that we are Sage fanboys. Myself, being a devoted and die-hard Z-axis lover (by which all other rods are compared), the SONIC has the feel of “coming home”. This is classic Sage, doing what Sage does best. The second we picked this rod up, it was obvious that the new graphite technology combined with rod taper made for a light, easy casting rod that has plenty of power for longer shots. Often you make the choice of feel or power in a fly rod and are fighting for one when choosing the other; however, casting at close range we found the tip is soft enough to feel the rod load with under 20 feet of line out. Casts from 30-50 feet are a breeze and you can keep a tight loop very easily, yet at a longer distance, there is enough power to deliver the fly effectively. It seems Sage may have taken a note from the Radian playbook with the “Fast meets Feel” mantra.
The 590 that we got our hands on is a great all-around trout rod for anywhere you find yourself in the Rockies. It has enough power to deliver nymph rigs, larger dries, and streamers in most situations, yet the softer tip will help fishing smaller dries as well as make roll casts and mends easier.
Our favorite fly line we paired with the 5 weight SONIC was the Rio Gold taper fly line. The Gold is a ½ line weight heavy and has a fairly long head. The extra weight allowed the rod to load at closer distances very well, but the length allows you to carry more line on false casts. If you are looking for an all-around trout rod, a slightly overweight fly line such as the Rio Gold or Scientific Anglers MPX taper will be the best match for this rod. However, if you are one who likes a truly fast fly rod action, a traditional trout taper in a standard line weight would be the best to string it up with. The Rio Technical Trout or Scientific Anglers Trout line are your best bet here.
We highly recommend getting into the shop to give this rod a test drive. We think you may feel like the Sage SONIC has the feeling of “coming home”.