Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Sage Accel 486-4

- published June 2015

93

2015

RATINGS

Weight
8
Fit in Hand/Grip
9
Casting Distance
8
Casting Accuracy
9
Fish-on action/hook-set
10
Versatility
9
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
93

SHOP

MSRP
LOW PRICE
$650.00
N/A
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

THE GOOD

  • Extremely accurate
  • Very versatile
  • Good feel
  • Great swing weight
  • Made in the USA

THE BAD

  • A bit expensive
  • Slightly less distance than others
  • A bit heavier than the Orvis Recon

THE VERDICT

After just a month of fishing the Sage Accel 486-4, I had fallen in love. The medium-fast action of the Accel offered me a smooth, progressive action that was able to push a lot of line a good distance, but with great tip flex suitable for long mends and delicate presentations. It doesn’t have the pure power of the Scott Radian, or even the reach of the Orvis Recon, but it is an all-around master.

FULL REVIEW

The Sage Accel boasts a much slower action than Sage’s premiere rod, the One, and may even be a touch slower than the discontinued Sage Z-Axis (an old favorite), but it does feel a lot like the Z-Axis in touch, and it has better feel and accuracy than the One. In testing, I found I could reach all the water I needed when casting—even the longest casts took little effort. Once out there, it laid down a dry like a feather. My team and I fought over the test rod so much that I ended up buying my own 4- and 5-wt versions. My only serious concern is keeping the 4-wt away from my wife—she’s already claimed it as her own!

Fit and feel
The slim half-well grip nestles snugly in hand, even for an angler with big mitts like me. The rod’s balance with a range of medium- and large-arbor reels proved nearly perfect. I found I could sling streamers early in the morning, nymphs in mid-day and tiny dries during the evening hatch without ever tiring—10-hour days on the river resulted in a lot of fish on the Accel but no fatigue. 

Distance and Accuracy
The Accel’s medium-fast action provided power to get line out to all the water we wanted to cover, but the sensitive tip action let us lay down dry flies without a ripple, helping us fool finicky trout when necessary. That softer upper section also provided great feedback during the ‘take,’ especially on subsurface strikes on nymphs. I frequently felt the take, even as my indicator bobbed—that kind of feedback is vital for cold-water nymphing. But while the upper section offered good sensitivity, the butt proved firm enough to fight hard-charging rainbows into the net.  

General performance
The Sage Accel has earned a place right at the front of my rod quiver. Its ability to nearly match the most powerful rods in distance, combined with the feathery finesse more commonly found in willowy bamboo or fiberglass, makes the Accel a masterful trout wand. Add its strength in the fight, and feel in the set, and it’s hard to image a better all-around rod.

The Accel is also available in 3-wt through 9-wt versions of various lengths.

How We Tested It

The rods in this test were used while fishing an assortment of trout streams, rivers, and lakes in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Our test team also included a retired Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Game Warden, two experienced female anglers, and—on occasion—a professional fishing guide. We fished each rod with dry flies, nymphs, and dry/dropper rigs, as well as the occasional streamer.

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.

About the Author

Dan Nelson

Dan Nelson

Dan Nelson is the fly fishing editor of Gear Institute.com. He is a veteran outdoor journalist based in the Pacific Northwest. Follow him at Google+.


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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$650.00
N/A
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

RATINGS

Weight
8
Fit in Hand/Grip
9
Casting Distance
8
Casting Accuracy
9
Fish-on action/hook-set
10
Versatility
9
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
93

Weight

2.5 oz

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