Sage X 590-4 Review
- Longest casting rod in the test
- Good power & fish control
- Well balanced
- Made in the USA
- The most expensive rod in the test
- Limited accuracy
- Grip wasn’t ideal for some testers
- Lacks versatility
The Sage X easily wins the distance shoot-out in this test. This fast-action rifle slings line far and rapidly even in stiff winds on wide rivers. Unfortunately, all that power comes with a price: a loss of accuracy, especially in shorter range casts (25-30 feet or less).
The Sage X incorporates the latest proprietary materials to create one of the fastest rods I’ve used. The ultra-fast design requires significant skill and practice to use properly, but once accustomed to the speed needed to properly load the rod, the X is capable of outcasting any rod we’ve seen. As a result, the X proved to be a favorite with a couple testers — anglers whose casting style favors the ultra-fast design. But the rest of us found that for general use, the X falls decidedly in the middle of the pack.
Weight, Balance, and General Feel
Though remarkably powerful, the X is still a lightweight rod, though it’s stiff tip section requires a lot of force to get it fully loaded — that means the X feels a bit heavier during casting (swing-weight) than many of the other rods in the class. A higher swing weight and the need for more aggressive, fast casting motions left my arm well fatigued after a day of working rising cutthroat on Idaho’s Kelly Creek.
Casting Distance and Accuracy and Fishing Performance
After becoming accustomed to the fast pace demanded by the X, I found it possible to routinely throw 70+ feet of line. That’s helpful when trying to work the full breadth of big pools or reach out to spooky fish without having to physically approach them. But that great range hinders accuracy, especially on close-in work. The stiff tip section really made it difficult to place delicate casts to nearby fish (within say 30-35 feet). I did find the accuracy was acceptable on those long casts, but if you can throw a fly 75 feet, anything within 3 or 4 feet of the target can be deemed “accurate.”
The Sage X is a powerful rod, and it worked well when casting big foam dry flies, and weighted nymph-and-indicator rigs, and I really loved slinging weighted streamers with it. But it’s not a great rod for light dries or close-in work of any type.
Sizes Available: 23 models, in 3-wt through 11-wt in a variety of lengths and configurations (single-handed, switch and spey)
How We Tested It
Fishing for rainbow and cutthroat trout on the Yakima and Methow Rivers in Washington, and the North Fork Clearwater in Northern Idaho. We fished from shore on those rivers, as well as rafts on the Yakima and Idaho’s Henry’s Fork. Testers included myself, as well as a range of fishing guides, outdoor photographers, and fish and wildlife professionals (fish biologists and game wardens). Both men and women participated in the test.
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
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