The Sage ONE Spey and Switch Rods are slowly trickling out to reps and summer destinations and are shipping to dealers somewhere around the 18th of July. They’ve garnered a lot of hype so far due to both a comprehensive breadth of models and a price tag that approaches or supersedes custom territory.
I’ll preface by saying the only rods out there that consistently carry a lot of Wow factor throughout the entire lineup to me are Burkheimers; until now. Every spey and switch rod series out there has some gems and some dogs, but the new ONE’s are consistently phenomenal.
4116 (11’6″ #4) The #4 is a much anticipated mini spey that’s applications range as far as one’s imagination (horrible pun, sorry!) It is beautifully matched with a RIO 325 Skagit Short and any range of light MOW tips. This rod is super light and crisp, and for a such a light weight surprisingly hard to overpower. A scandi in the 300 range would be perfect as well. Overall a killer light rod perfect for swinging either streamers or soft hackles for trout or fishing half-pounders to very small steelhead.
5116 (11’6″) The #5 to me edged out the 4 as the best of the bunch. A 375 RIO skagit short went like crazy and a 350 scandi felt crisp. This guy has an uber smooth flex with just the right balance of stiffness in the tip with a fair bit of flex all the way down. I wouldn’t hesitate to have this rod as a dedicated Trinity/Klamath stick. Compared the the 5119 TCX switch this was for sure softer down deep, but just as if not more smooth casting.
6116 (11’6″ #6) The word to describe the #6 switch is consistency! With a 400 RIO Skagit flight the #6 does everything you could want out of a #6 very well. It didn’t quite blow me away like the 4 and 5 but that’s because there’s so may good #6 switches on the market, and this one certainly leads the pack. If you’re looking for one rod to do it all in Northern California and Southern Oregon, then this would be a strong consideration. Again compared to the 6116 TCX, a fair bit softer in the butt with a plenty strong tip.
7116 (11’6″ #7) All I could think about while throwing the 7 was North Umpqua! With a 450 RIO Skagit Flight or 475 RIO Skagit Short this guy delvers precise casts with ease. Again a bit softer down deep than it’s TCX counter part but with a burly tip that will chug Ska-Hoppers with authority. A 410 Scandi is pretty sweet as well. Plenty of fish fighting power and enough juice to cut through the wind, I’d consider this a North Umpqua go to rod that will handle larger summer fish and afternoon winds anywhere, as well as a heck of a good winter stick that will handle pretty good sized intruders and tips.
8116 (11’6″ #8) If you want a broomstick, then this is you’re rod. Surprisingly more powerful than it’s TCX counterpart, it takes at least a 525 RIO Skagit Short to load. For the overhead/surf/striper crew an 11 or 12 weight RIO Outbound short loaded this guy up. This thing is a lot of rod so if you like that super fast and light feel then this could be a contender, for me it was too quick but I could see it possibly working well for AK salmon.
5126 (12’6″ #5) The #5 ONE spey is a nice improvement over the Z Axis. Whereas the Z had what I called a “loosey goosey” tip, the ONE tightens things up in to a crisp light package. Stronger in the tip with a nice smooth flex into the butt, it throws a 350 RIO Steelhead Scandi and 400 RIO Skagit Flight very well. A sweet go to fall rod for the Trinity/Klamath/Rogue/Grand Ronde.
6126 (12’6″ #6) Another wonderful improvement over the Z Axis line. The 6126 Z had a loose flex in the top 3rd and a fast recovery vs a stiffer tip and deeper feeling load on the ONE which felt a lot more consistently good than the Z with a wider variety of lines. I would not hesitate to fish a little longer floating line like the RIO Uni Spey or A Tactical Steelhead on this rod as well. A 385 RIO Steelhead Scandi and 450 RIO Skagit Flight were dialed.
7126 (12’6″ #7) The sleeper of the bunch, this rod caught me completely off guard in a good way. I was expecting it to be similar to the “Death Star” 7126 TCX. It couldn’t be more different! It has a strong tip but flexes smoothly into the butt (sensing a theme here?) A whole lot softer down deep than the TCX. A 500 RIO Skagit Flight is dialed for a nice consistent flex that can handle most flies. We tried a 525 flight that was workable but for sure overloaded. A Scandi from 450-485 is equally as good. For someone looking for a single spey rod to do it all, the 7126 One is a strong candidate. It wont overpower the average fall fish but has enough guts to fish most winter situations. This rod is a sweetheart!
7136 (13’6″ #7) Unfortunately for the 7126 ONE, it’s big brother the 7136 is going to get most of the attention, and for good reason. I had fished the prototype for a month or so this winter and was pretty stoked on the improvement from the Z Axis 7136 (possibly the largest grain window in spey history?!) I remember taking the prototype Z Axis 7136 to the North Umpqua back in the day and never could bond with it. The flex in the tip and strong recovery just never gave much feel of consistency when throwing mid belly’s or even scandi’s. I did like it for a skagit stick as it was a slingshot with loaded with 600 grains. The new ONE blows it away, loaded with a 525 RIO Skagit flight it throws anything you tie on with ease. A total smooth operator with a stiff tip and some flex into the cork, this is destined to be the best seller. With a RIO Steelhead Scandi 485 or a midbelly like a Nextcast fall favorite 7/8 (or 6/7 depending on your taste) it fishes a dry line beautifully. This is really a cool rod that would make a killer winter stick in the lower 48 and a do it all winter or summer rod for BC. Heading to Dean or Skeena country, this would be one rod to do it all.
8136 (13’6″ #8) Andrew Bennet already wrote a nice piece on the Deneki Blog here about this rod although I’d disagree and say that the sweet spot with a skagit goes from 575 to 625. I thought the rod maintained it crisp smooth feel at 625 grains. It reminded me of a lighter and tighter version of the old Sage 8136 Brownie from years ago. For a dedicated big winter rod that could handle light salmon duty this rod deserves a look, I wouldn’t hesitate to fish an 8/9 mid belly on it as well. It’s very easy casting for it’s size and quite a bit lighter than the 8134 Z axis.
9140 (14′ #9) I threw this guy for a bit with a Next Cast Fall favorite 9/10 with nice results. It has a ton of power and a strong tip that you can really push while still being light in the hand and maintaining a friendly feel. A good crossover winter and long belly fall rod that us mortals could fish for longer on rivers like the Clearwater.
I didn’t get to cast or get ample time to dial in the 8126, 10130, or 10150 as they’re still limited in availability.
Overall the ONE’s are the best thing going throughout the entire line. There was only one specific model that didn’t do it for me (the #8 switch) which is amazing performance and consistency for an entire lineup. As I mentioned earlier these are every bit as good if not better than the best of the best custom rods (Burkies) on the market.
As an aside Redington has a killer line of “Prospector” speys and switches coming to replace the CPX. In it is a 4 weight that much softer than the One that I think will be the nicest thing going for a truly light and affordable trout switch rod. Killer with a 275 RIO Skagit Short.