I fished the new Sage “One” 8-foot nine-weight for a good part of the day on Tuesday and found it to be a silky, powerful fly rod that took the edges off of my bad timing and surprised me with its ability to cast long. Cosmetically the “One” is quite pleasing: a deep “black ice”-colored blank with translucent finish, black guide wraps and bronze trim wraps. The rod is extremely light and noticeably smaller in diameter than any other 8-weight I’ve owned or cast.
The press releases on the “One” describe a rod with “virtually no lateral or torsional movement,” but I didn’t feel a dramatic difference in accuracy on the water until I began casting more like I was on a casting pond casting to targets—taking the cant out of my standard sidearmish saltwater cast and going straight overhead. Then I did sense quite a bit of directional control, even though it only uncovered another challenge: I had a hard time controlling my casting distance once I got out beyond 50 feet.
Once or twice I thought I was throwing 60 feet or so and the fly landed fifteen feet beyond the fish. Of course you can’t expect to pick up a new rod and line and know what a given application of power is going to do, but the “One” rod is a puzzler at first—it feels like a slower action rod and you don’t at first feel how much power you’re loading into the rod.
The result for was that I could make giant casts, and short-range casts were pure pleasure, but it will take me a few more days of casting to feel confident of my range on longer casts. Is that a negative? Not at all. I sense that accurate long-range saltwater casts (60-80 feet) will come very easily once I relax into the rod a little bit, and the extra distance comes from a beast in the rod I haven’t quite tamed yet. For me, it’s a bit like having the burst speed of low gear while going 100 miles an hour.