It used to be that the two-handed method of fishing was reserved for the wealthy, and that perception limited access to us peasants who couldn’t afford to fish that way. After all, Steelheading is “The Sport of Kings.” Two-handed rods and the equipment were catered to this type of fishing. But advancements in technology and the rise of the Trout Spey rod have opened the sport to everyone. Trout Spey fills the gap between Salmon and Steelhead seasons and is a fun alternative to the typical single-handed fly rod. Gaining in popularity, there are a lot of trout Spey rods to choose from, so choosing a rod can be difficult. To help with this and narrow down the field, I am reviewing the new Sage Trout Spey HD.
Let’s pause for a moment and talk about what two-handed rods are and what this type of fishing is. Two-handed rods are rods designed for use with two hands and Spey casting techniques. Spey casting originated in Scotland on the River Spey out of the need to effectively fish large rivers, with large flies and reach longer distances. Two-handed rods allow for better presentation, distance, and control when swinging flies. Downsized for trout, trout Spey rods are shorter in length (10’3”-12’) and designed to handle today’s variety of shorter spey heads (fly lines.) And now back to the Sage Trout Spey HD.
Sage has long been an industry leader when it comes to fly rods so it’s no surprise that they have outdone themselves once again with the new Trout Spey HD. Many felt that the predecessor to this rod, the Sage One, was the best trout Spey rod on the market, so why replace it? To quote Sage “The TROUT SPEY HD rods are primarily designed for Spey casting as opposed to Switch rod-style actions previously captured within Sage’s Trout Spey category.“ Also according to Sage, “This allows for an action designed for Skagit and Scandi style casting techniques with trout appropriate sized flies.” By incorporating Konnetic HD technology, Sage has optimized the graphite to resin ratios creating a higher density (HD) fiber composite. This amplifies strength to weight and stiffness to weight ratios creating lighter, stronger blanks. The result is a lighter rod with a more stable tip, unmatched recovery, and tippet protection.
- Konnetic HD technology
- Conifer blank color
- Dijon primary thread wraps with tan trim wraps
- Tangle Free Fuji ceramic stripper guides
- Hard chromed snake guides and tip-top
- Vera wood insert with a down locking reel seat
- Super Plus full wells cork handle with decorative composite accent rings
- Cork composite fighting butt
- Tan rod bag with brown logo and model tag
- Tactical green aluminum rod tube with Sage medallion
Offered in a variety of sizes from 1 weight (YES, A 1 WEIGHT!!!) to 4 weight, Sage covers the gamut when it comes to where to fish and how. From trout species, preferred flies like soft hackles or big streamers, rivers like the smaller Eagle to bigger rivers such as the Colorado and the Mighty Mo, Sage has you covered. After casting a few of the different rods in this lineup, it is clear to me that some are better suited for soft hackles and smaller streams while others for throwing big meat and chasing large brown trout. In an ideal world, I will own two but for now, I will stick with one.
- 1109-4: Soft hackles, small streamers
- 2109-4: Soft hackles, small to medium streamers
- 3103-4: Soft hackles, moderately weighted streamers, small tight streams
- 3110-4: Soft hackles, moderately weighted streamers, best all-around most versatile rod
- 4113-4: Large streamers and the power to cast them
My Thoughts: (I own the 3110-4 model)
At first glance, Sage did an amazing job with the design of this rod. It looks like your classic Steelhead rod with just the right accents in the cork and guide wraps. The color of the rod isn’t obtrusive, and it just looks like it’s got soul, paying tribute to the rods of old in this relatively new category of sport. Matched with the Sage Trout Spey Bronze reel, a perfect tribute to the traditional classic look I like, you can tell Sage put some thought into this setup.
Immediately upon placing it in my hand, it is shocking how light this rod is. This may not seem to matter but when casting all day, it comes into play. It is super crisp and precise when casting allowing you to place the fly exactly where you want it. Once swinging, you feel connected to the tip and can feel how sensitive it is thus protecting light tippets when swinging soft hackles. This also allows you to feel the fish and the sometimes-subtle takes.
I must say having cast a bunch of different trout spey rods, I didn’t really know what I wanted unit I cast the Sage Trout Spey HD. For me and my style of casting, I immediately noticed that this rod has the fast action and backbone that I prefer. Instantly I recognized that this rod has the capability of casting streamers with ease and without the noodle-like feel you get from some rods. And just as surprising again, is how light it is with that fast action and backbone, it is almost unbelievable. Once connected to an aggressive brown that took a Platte River Spider (Who doesn’t love that?!), this rod has the guts to fight and land sizeable trout. It can survive the battle.
For someone jumping into the trout spey game for the first time, this is quite a hefty investment. What you will get out of it though will justify it. A rod that is light, fast, and capable of growing with you as your skill progresses, you will not need to upgrade this rod. The only downfall is then, what additional model to buy in the lineup, and how to fund it!
Brett Elkman, Sales Manager