Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Sage Circa

- published April 2014

77

2014

RATINGS

Weight
8
Fit in Hand / Grip
7
Casting Distance
7
Casting Accuracy
10
Versatility
3
Value
2
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
77

SHOP

MSRP
LOW PRICE
$775.00
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

  • Slim rod blank is stunning in design and form
  • Soft, accurate fly presentation
  • Good reach/distance for a slow-action 4-wt
  • Lightweight
  • Made in the USA

THE BAD

  • Most expensive rod in the class
  • Least versatility in the class
  • Longer length can be a hindrance on small streams/brushy back-casting range

THE VERDICT

A beautiful new rod design, using a super-slim rod blank (significantly smaller diameter than any rod any of our testers have ever used), the Circa performs its role as a dry fly specialist perfectly. Just don’t expect it to do anything else.

FULL REVIEW

Circa uses modern technology to remaster an old, classic style—that of a slow-action dry-fly rod. The Sage Konnetic carbon composite technology helps dampen rod vibrations, thus improving casting accuracy. The technology resulted in a very slim rod blank, colored a rich olive green, that is capable of delivering dries exactly where you want them without raising a ripple.  Unfortunately, the technology drives up the price, making this the most expensive rod in our test class, yet also one of the least versatile. In short, the Circa excels at precision dry fly fishing, but you’ll pay a premium price for this single-purpose rod.

Casting Distance and Accuracy
The 8’9” length allows for a long, graceful casting stroke that, with patience, throws line accurately to 50+ feet. Only rarely is a cast of that distance needed to place a dry fly in the feeding lane of a rising trout, but when you do need it, it is nice to know the Circa can deliver. Our less experienced tester found his distance peaked at around 40 feet as he had a bit of trouble mastering the slow metronomic pace of the casting stroke after fishing the more common (now) fast- or medium-fast action rods during his entire angling career.

Versatility
While the Circa excels at placing dry flies gently on the water where you want them, don’t expect it to do the same with big dries, weighted nymphs or multi-fly rigs. The extra weight of those lures cause the slow-moving line to wobble and tangle once more than 25 or 30 feet of line is put into play. The Circa is a dry fly tool, pure and simple.

How We Tested It

Fishing for rainbow trout on the tailwater fishery of the Upper Yakima River and the Rocky Ford spring creek, both in Washington state. We also fished the Metolius and Crooked Rivers of central Oregon. 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.

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+.

Shop for the Sage Circa

MSRP
LOW PRICE

$775.00
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$775.00
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
7
Casting Distance
7
Casting Accuracy
10
Versatility
3
Value
2
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
77

Weight

2.375 oz

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