The color is the first thing I noticed about the Sage Method Fly Rod, Magma Red – very eye catching. Preferring to fish high-mountain trout streams, I shy away from the epic fast rods that throw a lot of line into the wind, but lack the finesse to turn over a small dry at short range. I had already made my mind up that this would be a great rod for certain situations, but not one that I would use outside of streams or for saltwater fly fishing. Then I took the 9 foot 5 weight Method out for a test drive. As stubborn as I can be when it comes to judging new gear, I have to admit I was wrong about this rod.
Some of my favorite features of the Sage Method Fly Rod are both beautiful and functional. This ultra-fast action fly rod cuts through wind, while Sage’s Konnetic technology helps to throw tight loops – a total contrast to my predetermined expectations. A half wells cork handle provides a solid grip on the Method while a Cocobolo wood and aluminum reel seat is not only durable, but also adds to the rod’s beauty. Sage cuts the graphite with a laser to make precise size adjustments which transfers to the cast and load of the rod. Lastly, the Fuji ceramic stripping guides allow for smooth casting on what I would characterize as a stiff, yet still lightweight, fly rod.
Unlike the other fast to ultra-fast action rods that Sage has released, the Method still has a nice feel to it. Can it punch into the wind? Throw big streamers? Yes and yes. And this is where my preconceptions were wrong – the rod bends and loads like a slower-action rod and, more importantly, it allows you to feel the set when setting the hook and you feel more connected to the fighting fish. I was surprised, to say the least.
I could throw a big bug across the river with ease, but could I throw a small dry close with accuracy and still have it land gently? Again a resounding yes. While not designed for small dries on tiny trout streams, this rod was still able to perform. I put it through its paces, and over and over it proved me wrong. I wanted it to fail, wanted the Method to prove my earlier sentiments correct, but it would not give in. It humbled me. I was able to throw big streamers, big dries, nymph rigs with huge indicators, bounce rigs and still switch to small dries and dry/dropper combos.
I loaded a 6 weight line onto the Sage Method and it sailed through the guides. I would not say this fly rod needs to be overloaded. It threw the 4 to 6 weight lines very well. With the 6 weight, I was able to really power the line into the wind but it was not as graceful as with the 4 weight or 5 weight line. I still prefer my small 3 weight SLT for trout streams, and the Xi3 for the saltwater, but this Method rod has my brain running in circles. It is beautiful and functional, the perfect rod for a lot of varied situations. Sage has done a better job at creating an all-around fly rod than any others I have fished to date.
The Final Take
The big river guides are using the switch and Spey versions of the Method with equal admiration and respect. The salty waters are also seeing a lot of Methods inch their way into skiffs and flats boats. The Sage Method is a fly rod that an intermediate fly fisher can grow into and love. Love? Yes I would say I love this rod. I plan on getting the 9 foot 4 weight ordered up for next season. I will overweight the line a bit knowing now what I do. Stop into Jans on Park Avenue in Park City, UT and take out the demo Sage Method Fly Rod. Bring your skepticism along if you want, this rod will change your mind.
The Sage Method is a great fly rod that shines in the hands of an experienced caster. This is not a novice rod, in my opinion, since a fast-action rod tends to accentuate errors and is less forgivable than a smooth or slow-action option.
Technical Features: 5/5 – A flagship rod, the Sage Method has all of the technical advancements available to date, from laser-cut graphite to comfort grips.
The Performance: 5/5 – The Sage Method outperformed every expectation I had and made a believer out of a skeptic.
Travis Jay Vernon, Fly Fishing Guide & Sales Associate