Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Sage Response

- published March 2014

79

2014

RATINGS

Weight
6
Fit in Hand / Grip
6
Casting Distance
7
Casting Accuracy
7
Versatility
8
Value
5
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
79

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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$395.00
N/A
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THE GOOD

  • Good line-speed/power for performance in windy conditions
  • Progressive taper helps with presentation of small dry flies
  • Truly a “Jack of all Trades” rod

THE BAD

  • Does not excel in any particular category
  • No alignment dots on ferrules to ease set up.
  • Grip felt a little too “full” for some small-handed anglers

THE VERDICT

When you want a do-it-all rod, compromises have to be made, and the Response makes reasonable compromises to be a true “quiver of one.” By coupling proven rod blank tapers with existing top quality carbon fiber, Sage created a rod with good casting power and good sensitivity for smooth, soft presentation of dry flies of all sizes. When you need a “do-it-all” rod rather than a quiver of specialty rods, the Response fills the bill as well as any in the class, though it costs a bit more than some with similar characteristics.

FULL REVIEW

The Sage Response seems tailor made for the angler wanting to throw a variety of flies in a wide range of conditions. Testers caught skittish rainbows in crystal clear pools along Oregon’s Fall Creek yet also pushed line through the heavy cross winds common in the Yakima River’s Lower Canyon.

Casting Distance and Accuracy
While not the top in either category (distance or accuracy), the Sage Response 590-4 was in the top three in both categories, earning top marks as a true “All Purpose” rod. The Response offers enough power to throw plenty of line onto big waters like the Deschutes and even the upper Missouri, but also offers just enough finesse to softly drop dry flies on the easy-to-spook fish of spring creeks like Washington’s Rock Creek and Idaho’s Silver Creek.

General fit, finish and feel
This American-made rod (made by hand at Sage’s factory on Bainbridge Island, Washington) looks like a slick piece of art. The soft mahogany-red finish of the rod pops against the green and blue waters of wild rivers. The cork grip proved a bit fuller than most of the others in the test and some of the smaller testers though it just a tad too large, but not unmanageable. 

Versatility
Whether you need to reach across a river to swing a streamer through a feeding channel or drop a dry fly above a rising fly just 5 yards upstream, the Response meets the need. We found even novice anglers were casting 50 feet with little effort, while experienced casters were making that distance while laying down dries without a ripple.  

Note
We tested the 9-foot, 5-weight version, but the Response is also available in 3- through 10-weight, in a variety of lengths

How We Tested It

Three testers fished for rainbow trout on the Yakima River, Washington; cutthroat trout in Kelly Creek, Idaho; browns, rainbows and cutthroat throughout western Montana; a variety of trout in Oregon’s central basin (Deschutes River, Fall Creek, Crooked River, Metolius River).

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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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$395.00
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
6
Fit in Hand / Grip
6
Casting Distance
7
Casting Accuracy
7
Versatility
8
Value
5
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
79

Weight

3.3 oz

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