Sage Igniter

Product Review: Sage IGNITER Fly Rod

The all new Sage IGNITER Fly Rod packs a punch, the fast action rod is the predecessor to the well respected Sage METHOD Rod. Which was a longtime favorite among anglers. The premium fast action rod delivers accurate aggressive casts in the most unfavorable conditions. The IGNITER is priced at $900.00, a top dollar rod and well worth every penny for the right applications. The rod is designed to throw bigger, nastier flies, leaders, lines in all scenarios. As Sage states it is “tuned for the most technical of fishing situations,” it is the all around big game rod.

For the local trout streams, the rod is perfect for a dedicated streamer setup or as a fast action dry fly setup for fishing fast moving technical water. Recently, I was able to get my hands on the 690-4 model paired with the WF6 Rio Big Nasty Fly Line to chuck some streamers here on the Eagle River. While fast action rods are not for everyone especially beginners, the IGNITER is able to throw the tightest most accurate loops with proper rod strokes. It delivered a size 4 Sculpzilla and Versileader into the soft pockets of the Eagle with efficiency and accuracy. It did take some casts to familiarize myself with the stiff build of the blank. The rod really hits the tune with proper stopping power on the forward cast. It is the ultimate streamer fishing machine for these Colorado Rivers.

What makes it different than the Method?

Unlike the METHOD Fly Rod the Igniter brings Sage’s patented Konnectic HD Technology. In short, the technology is the foundation of high density fiber positioning when the rod is built. The way that the fibers are constructed results in a cleaner smother energy transfer for the caster. Which means less wobble and more accuracy. The Method almost seemed more challenging to cast than the IGNITER, as at times it felt like a broomstick. Super stiff and hard to really get the line speed moving. Something with the Konnectic HD technology makes it seem a little easier to hit that sweet spot with the IGNITER. Resulting in a fun rod to cast.

What I love about the IGNITER:

This rod produces the tightest flattest loops ever imagined. When you hit that cast the rod sings and the slings an overly accurate cast at the target. But, what really got me was how smooth the rod performs, there is no wobble in the forward stroke and stop.

The rod is also extremely lightweight, which makes long days of throwing heavy rigs a lot more enjoyable. It’s obvious Sage hit the mark on this rod, it is the ultimate tool for anglers to target the biggest of game.

What I don’t love about the IGNITER:

The rod is stiff so, it’s not your every day fishing application rod. It can be hard to cast for beginners as with a fast action rod, proper technique is essential to create a tight loop. The IGNITER is very easy to overpower, it takes some getting used to when trying to cast accurately. It takes time to orient yourself with this rod.

Recommend Applications and Lines:

Being a specialty rod the different sizes and weights apply to different fishing applications. Here is a simple breakdown.

Rod Models: 490-4, 590-4, 690-4, 691-4, 697-4

Smaller weight freshwater applications. Can be used for fast action dry fly fishing, nymphing heavy setups, or as a streamer rod.

  • Rio InTouch Rio Perception Fly Line – for fast action dry fly fishing. The perception is 1/2 line overweighted than the popular Rio Gold Fly Line. The IGNITER excels with heavier weighted fly lines. If you are going to be using your IGNITER for nymphing, dries, and streamers this is your line.
  • Rio InTouch Rio Grand Fly Line – a full line overweighted than the Rio Gold. Would be great for more of an all around line, the perfect line for throwing heavy nymph rigs.
  • Rio Big Nasty Fly Line – a dedicated streamer line. The Big Nasty has a very short and fat taper, suggesting it can turn over big heavy rigs and bugs flawlessly. For the heaviest of situations, this line is your go to.

Rod Models: 790-4, 890-4, 990-4, 1090-4

These models are more designed for big game fishing, saltwater, pike, musky, salmon, and maybe some trout fishing in larger applications. For freshwater application, I would recommend the lines above based on what rigs you are using. Below are some recommendations for saltwater fly lines.

  • Rio Direct Core Bonefish Fly Line – More versatility in this line to be able to cast smaller flies due to the long head. If this is going to be your specific bonefish rod or for that matter, if you are going to be throwing size 8 flies or smaller this would be the line.
  • Rio Direct Core Flats Pro Fly Line – this is the ultimate all around saltwater application line. With still a shorter fatter taper, the line is built for fast action rods with single cast loading power. Whether you are throwing for bonefish, permit or tarpon this line can get it done.

Rod Aesthetics:

The rod’s blank color is tuned down from the bright red like the Method instead it is a “Chipotle” color as Sage calls it. But, it just looks like a dark red brown almost black, with a metallic finish. Really a very unique color that is subtle yet striking. The rod features cayenne thread wraps with gunmetal trip wraps that are of the highest quality. The cork is a full wells grip. The rod is made here in the USA up in Bainbridge Island, Washington just outside of Seattle.

Sage has yet again delivered the best specialty fast action rod on the market, there really isn’t another rod like the IGNITER. The rod delivers a clean, controlled cast that any fly caster can adore. Many manufacturers try to create this ultra stiff fast action rods but can’t seem to figure out how to find the balance so the angler can feel that cast. After a few casts with the IGNITER, you’ll be begging for more. So swing by the shop or give us a call to give this rod a test run. Also, be sure to check it out online here.

Patrick Perry, Former Guide and Content Contributor, @patperry