- Large arbor for fast line retrieval
- Solid construction
- Smooth, consistent drag sytem
- Heavier than others
- Limited color options
The Sage 3250 reel proved itself a powerful tool capable of handling big trout as well as delicate adjustments. The large-arbor design picks up line rapidly, but adds weight, making it one of the heavier reels in the test. Still, after several weeks of heavy use, I found the Sage 3250 well suited for nearly any fishing adventure—it is one of the most versatile reels I’ve used.
The Sage 3200-series of reels borrow a lot of features and design elements from the more expensive 4200 and 6000 series reels, but at a considerable price savings. But the lower price doesn’t mean cuts in quality—the 3250 I tested proved to be a favorite of my test team and was neck-and-neck for Best in Class honors, being barely edged out in the end (by the Cheeky Boost in split-ballot voting).
Drag and Line Management
The 3250 uses Sage’s SCS (Sealed Carbon System) drag for problem-free performance. I used the 3250 in silty rivers, in the salt of Puget Sound, and in the wind-driven grit around Washington’s desert pothole lakes. The drag never drifted, got stuck or suffered any loss of control. The large drag control knob sports easily-viewed numbers for quick setting and re-setting. There's no need to guess where you had the drag set the last time you chased big browns—just remember the setting number.
The large arbor—not Sage’s largest, but still sizable—makes line retrieval fast and easy.
Durability and Design
The Sage 3250 utilizes the open spoked-frame design that’s become synonymous with Sage reels, giving it a modern look that’s well suited to today’s fast-action graphite rods. I found the reel well balanced with any 5-wt I mounted it to, even though it was a bit heavier than most of the reels we tested. The only real design complaint I heard from my fellow testers was the lack of color options. Modern rods come in an array of bright, attractive colors and many of them wanted the option of adding a vibrantly colored reel to their favorite rods.
How We Tested It
The reels in this test were used while fishing for rainbow trout on the Upper Yakima River and the Rocky Ford spring creek (both in Washington State), as well as the Metolius and Crooked Rivers of central Oregon. We also fished small streams in eastern Washington and Oregon (notably the Lostine, Owyhee, John Day, Touchet, Tucannon, Wenaha and Walla Walla.). Testers included long time outdoor writers, game wardens, western fishing guides, and a few select blog readers.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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