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Fly Fishing Gear Review: Sage “Trout” Reel

Sage Trout Reel Fly Fishing

Sage “Trout” Fly Reel

Four things make this reel a standout:

Looks

I showed the reel to seven anglers, all of whom remarked on its old-world elegance, and most of whom insisted on a “hands on experience”. It’s that attractive.

Narrow Profile, Full-Frame Design

I buried two reel reviews in the recent past. The reels were in the $400 – $500 category, both were fully machined, US-made products, both had excellent drags, superb assembly and anodized finishes. They also featured prominently open bodies that allowed fly line to occasionally snag between the spool and reel body, which is a design flaw unacceptable in a budget reel, let alone one in the higher price categories. The Sage TROUT reel draws from classic, full-framed designs. Fly line stays where it needs to be. No worries about snagging.

Heft

You read that right – this is no ultra-lite series. Anyone who uses one of these reels will immediately feel a little more “command” at the rod handle, and that’s normal because a few extra grams at the handle end translates to a lighter feel at the rod tip. It’s a feel that many anglers prefer because this results in finer tip control – a huge benefit when making those extra-delicate casts as well as precision mending.

Sealed Carbon System (SCS) Drag

Controlled by a standard-bearing, one-revolution drag knob with numbered and detented settings. Take the reel apart and you’ll see the plain and simplest (looking) drag system, one that efficiently thwarts debris, requires zero maintenance and can be cleaned with a quick spray at day’s end.

I hand tested the smallest reel in the series and can report that the drag system is underrated. Sage built the series with all the smooth stopping power you could hope for, and then kicked it up a couple of notches.

Other features you’ll appreciate:

  • large arbor for fast line pick-up
  • concave arbor for greater strength and capacity
  • ergonomic handle
  • easy left-to-right conversion
  • neoprene ballistic reel case