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Fly Rod Review


Truly the One?  The Sage ONE 590-4 Fly Rod

 

Date: 3/5/13
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Sage
Reviewer: Wolbugger






Total Score: 7.91 - GOOD

Introduction:
Sage has always been a popular premium brand in fly fishing, with a few of their rods over the years really setting themselves apart from the rest.  A favorite of many anglers, even to this day, is the XP series.  Discontinued years ago, these rods were explosively popular and still command a solid price on the resale market.  Of course rod manufacturers must push things forward, and after a long run they were replaced by the Z-Axis series.  Met with a bit of criticism at launch, these rods proved to be quite popular, though arguably maybe not as much as the good old XP series.

 

Sage ONE 590-4 Fly Rod Specifications

Length 9'0”
Line Weight 5
Pieces 4
Action Fast
Material Graphite
Rod Weight 2 3/4 ounces
MSRP $775.00

Sage has a well earned reputation as a premium brand in fly fishing, with a few of their rods over the years really setting themselves apart from the rest.  A favorite of many anglers, even to this day, is the XP series.  Discontinued years ago, these rods were explosively popular and still command a solid price on the resale market.  Of course rod manufacturers must push things forward, and after a long run they were replaced by the Z-Axis series.  Met with a bit of criticism at launch, these rods proved to be quite popular, though arguably maybe not as much as the good old XP series.

 
The ONE series from Sage picks up where the Z-Axis left off.

With the Z-Axis now a memory, the Sage ONE series filled the vacancy in 2012.  I call this portion of the lineup the “all around” rods, since they are built lightweight, with a fast action, and are good for many applications.  The 590-4 ONE rod fills this role perfectly, and is a shining example of their latest tech wrapped in a classy, understated package.  Utilizing their Konnetic technology, Sage utilizes the latest in materials and design to improve upon past rods, claiming to have now created a rod that is thinner, weighs less, and tracks truer.  Pure marketing hype, or the real deal?  Let's dive in!

Impressions:  I have always considered Sage rods to be a bit more on the conservative side.  Their design is typically simple, clean, and classy.  Though they might lack a bit in the “bling” factor, the quality of craftsmanship I've experienced over the years with their rods is generally well above average.  As expected, the 590-4 doesn't disappoint here.  It also feels wonderful, with a lightweight, precise feel that's evident the second you pick it up.  The lightness and thinness of the rod actually make it feel more like a 4 weight in hand.

 
The simplistic look will go well with just about any reel available.

The blank is manufactured using Konnetic technology, which in a nutshell combines new materials and manufacturing processes to create a rod that is thinner and tracks truer.  The gloss black color scheme looks clean, and matching black wraps secure the Fuji ceramic stripping guide and hard chrome snake guides solidly in place.  Dull bronze tipping wraps are utilized at all the ferrules, as well as around the logo area.  The logo features the same bronze color, with an adjacent small wire hook keeper just ahead of a silver machined winding check.  Thank you Sage for putting a hook keeper on this rod because it is just plain convenient.

 
Stripping guides are just the right size.

Moving down the rod, the half wells style grip immediately grabs your attention.  Did the new guy at the factory build these with saltwater grips on accident?   Rest assured, the newbie isn't losing his job quite yet.  This is indeed how they come.  At first I wasn't too sure about this feature, but once in hand the grip is easy to warm up to.  It fits the palm very naturally with no discomfort. The premium cork is very tight in appearance, and the overall grip design is much more petite than on a saltwater rod, thus matching the 5 weight rod size well.

 
Here the 590-4 ONE is shown alongside a 990-4 TCX.  The TCX grip is a bit more streamlined than many other 9 weight grips on the market, but this still allows you to see how compact the ONE grip really is.

The reel seat is comprised of beautiful dark walnut wood that would be equally at home on the center console of a Bentley.  Bronze hardware completes the reel seat, and provides a firm, secure home for your reel.  The test reel in this case, an army camo Abel Super 4N, felt solidly in place at all times.

 
The walnut reel seat bears an upscale appearance.

I don't have any cosmetic or quality control complaints about the rod, but I do regarding the tube.  It's quite narrow which makes storing it a breeze, but getting the rod inside is not always as easy as it should be.  An extra half inch in diameter would go a long way here.

 
The black powder coated rod tube is very narrow which makes it difficult to get the rod inside at times!  Alongside the tube of a 990-4 TCX the difference is obvious.


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