I have a few of them. The SAGE Method. I used to be, as many of you know, a soft rod guy.
Well, not anymore.
What I have learned, albeit slowly, that tip flexing stiffer fly rods are made for more than just softly putting the sneak on sipping trout…with-out the nasty wind in your face.
It is just that simple. I love a Winston IM6, but not good for 20mph and tossing heavy nymph rigs. Or chucking articulated streamers against the bank. It is not good for either of those tasks. No, not good.
If you are the type, and many of you are, to have a quiver full of rods at your disposal, then those niche rods are perfect. Like having a stable of vehicles. A couple sports cars, a Cadilac, a work truck, an RV all parked in your driveway. Specific tools for specific situations. But, but what if you want an everything rod. An Everyday Driver?
I pose the question, as I asked myself this fall, is the SAGE Method an everyday driver?
If you know a little something about SAGE fly rod history you know that it is the latest rod in a line of hyper-fast action fly rods, originally penned for expert anglers who desire a lightweight tip flexing pole with a focus on accuracy. Remember the SAGE TCR? The Technical Casting Rod for expert casters? I do. I have one. A 5 weight. I currently have it lined with a 7wt. RIO Outbound Short. That particular line is nearly 2 line weights heavier than a normal 7wt. Yah, so an 8 1/2wt for a 5 weight TCR. Clients love it. They can hammer a nymph to a trout or toss a Volkswagon sized Grasshopper to the shore.
But not practical for everyday use with a 5wt. line attached. I was in a casting clinic years ago with Jason Borger when the TCR debuted. After the clinic I was speaking with Jason and asked him what fly line he was using. He told me, “Not a 5 weight fly line. I’ve got an 8 weight head on this 6 weight running line…”
Yah, not for the common man. Not an everyday driver. The sweet spot was so small that very few could actually find it. Americans need a rod for the everyday guy. A rod that can load at a few rates of speed. That we can feel, understand, learn.
SAGE stated at the release…
“We created the Technical Casting Rod (TCR) Series rods to push the boundaries of fast-action tapers and high line speed, while maintaining the all-important fishability. To be clear, these rods are not for the casual angler. The TCR Series is designed for skilled casters facing the most demanding conditions-where technical precision, distance and the ability to cut through wind are at a premium. Try a TCR -we think you’ll be amazed.”
Then the TCX arrived on the market.
Again, more from SAGE on the TCX release…
The new Sage TCX Rods are much different critters than the rods from which they evolved. Yes, they are powerful and can boom out as much line as you can handle, but they’re noticeably lighter and much more responsive in hand. Sage G5 Technology, with its amazing success in the Sage Z-Axis and Xi2 Saltwater Series, gives the TCX the ability to load at virtually all distances and requires less effort to cast in the process. Yet, the TCX will generate blazing line speeds with just a couple of quick strokes! The result is a very powerful, ultra-fast action fly rod that is friendly to intermediate casters, as well as experts, and performs in a much wider range of fishing conditions utilizing overhead, roll, and single handed spey casts. So, if you’re seeking the ultimate fishing tool for reaching the far side of the river, accuracy in strong winds, and propelling big, bulky flies, you just found your Nirvana; the new Sage TCX Fly Fishing Rods. Oh, and if you’re still looking for a rod that will outcast all others in the parking lot, the TCX will do that, too! So, now you CAN have it all; unbridled power coupled with G5 sensitivity makes the Sage TCX a fishing rod first, and a casting rod second to none!
The TCX had a far greater and welcoming reception than the TCR. You could and can cast the TCX with a fly line near the rod weight. The manufacturers recommondation worked well on these rods. We see a lot of these around the Missouri RIver. Much more than the predecessor.
The TCX was made with the common, modern man in mind. Most every body could fish and cast this rod with success. Without the feeling of failure. The TCR was aptly titled a Technical Casting Rod. It just happened that there are not too many Technically proficient casters. It maligned many a caster…many.
The official literature above, to be fair to SAGE, states that these rods were not built for the common man…they were built for casters beyond the novice level. I understand that.
Scumliner had a few of these jewels and still does. The 2 handed versions were very popular amongst the Steelhead gang, and we witnessed the SAGE TCX gracing our drift boats ofter here on the Missouri River. Headhunters Guide Ben Hardy is also a big fan. Have they moved forward to the Method yet? No. The TCX is a fine rod. But, it too yesterdays news.
SAGE Method Review. An everyday driver?
Coming on strong and included in modern rod discussions is the SAGE Method. Trout, salt, and 2 Handed versions are all popular. And became that way immediately upon release. The buzz was pretty loud…
Generally that means nothing in the trout world. The NRX got good press, and we know what has happened to that rod. While nice, no staying power like its most famous family member, the GLX. In line for a couple decades.
The SAGE Method is one terrific rod. I have a few SAGE One boat rods that the customers have become fond of. Until the red rod made its debut.
Then, as I had a 5 and 6 weight in the boat I began to put them into customers hands. Not mentioning to the guest it was the top-O-the line ultra quick experts rod.
Do you know what happened? Can you guess?
Yah, they worked well and my guests loved them. Did the guests, which represented all skill sets from novice to expert, notice anything? Would they notice that in their hands, they held the worlds foremost fast action rod?
Yes they did. Most noticed how light and responsive the SAGE Method was. Without regard to experience levels. All noticed how light in the hand the fly rod felt.
I know for a genuine fact that the TCR, and for some the TCX, would not have produced the same results. No, clearly not.
Sage Method Rod from Far Bank on Vimeo.
So, does that make this Red Rod an everyday driver? Not entirely. Not for everybody.
Does it feel good all day long and does it stand up to the pressures of wind, casting streamer flies, and fighting the behemoths of the Missouri River?
Yes, yes, and yes. All trials pass with flying colors. Red to be exact.
A rod that you can use everyday for dry fly fishing, for heavy nymphing, and chucking the big fly. In the 5 months I have employed the SAGE Method, it has greeted every challenge with success. A deft nympher the Method will lob like a laser split shot and bobbers to the destination. Whether it be short or long, high or low…this rod excels at the bobber tossing game.
Streamer flies? If you like a rod with power, that coveted hidden power under the hood, this is a tool for you. The 6 weight is tough enough for the big articulated gaudy patterns that some anglers use to frighten our trout. The 5 weight too. A good use of the 5 weight is chucking buggers. I would choose the 6 for obvious reasons. Plus, the 6 weight weighs in under 3 ounces. A big gun with a light handed feel!
Tough conditions here on the river, this river with the perpetual wind, make the Method shine. It is a rod that can stand up to the Missouri River winds. While the SAGE Method can perform the nymphing and streamer tasks with ease, the dry fly capabilities it possess make this rod a must for serious Missouri River anglers.
This rod has balls when you need them!
You can become a better caster if you hold the Method in your hand long enough. Just keep casting. Good things will happen. I have always said what is great about the SAGE One is that it is a rod that makes everybody a better caster. From the novice to the expert. You may not be able to say the same about the Method. It really is made for the intermediate, advanced, and better casters. It does make that class of angler better.
With the dampening qualities of today’s SAGE rods, with Konnetic Technology…it removes some of the wows, sine wave, the repetitive oscillations, reducing the amplitude of the wave therefore the fore and aft cast becomes more efficient.
Fewer sine waves equals the caster pulling line sooner. Again I state, you cannot push fly line through the air. You can only pull line through the air.
Is the SAGE Method built for every angler, every type of caster, for all fly fishing conditions? Almost.
While its predecessors were sometimes difficult to live with daily, the Method is a rod that can bring you happiness most of the time. For many Missouri River anglers it can bring joy daily.
The SAGE Method. An everyday driver.
Come into the shop and try out one of our many SAGE Method Demo Rods. From the 9′ 5wt. to a few 2 Handers like the 6126, 7126, 6119 all lined up and ready to cast. Free Demo Rods @ the Headhunters Missouri River Fly Fishing Headquarters in Craig Montana. 406/235-3447 for additional questions.
Great review. You are spot on Squeeky.. I’m getting a 7126 Method. It is just awesome!
Thanks Die Hard. Yah, we love the single and two handed versions! All on demo at the store too.
A good review of thw Sage Method. I have cast 3 of them and like them all. I’m an average caster, but the Method helps me stay on point and get better!
Thanks for the in-depth historical and detailed review of recent Sage rods, I LOVE this type of gear discussion.
Despite the fact it contributes to my gear obsession, guess my sage one better make room fo a method.
Thanks Ridge Junkie. I too like the historical background and the progression of the line speak…
Well I’ve been around awhile and have used them all as well. Even back as far as the Sage SP witch was a great rod bye the way. The Method a have to agree is just what you said damn spot on!
Man, I really loved the start of this article. Finally someone REALLY reviews the Method (or any other rod for that matter)!
But… where’s the PERSONAL view on the rod? Did you try overlining the rod?
Did you even try the 4 weight with a 6 weight line to see if it casts a big ugly streamer cast with amazing tight loops?…
I’m an excellent caster and although for fishing I prefer a medium-fast rod, I love casting fast rods.
The Method probably has a softer tip than the TCX? I imagined that overlining the rod would give the right feel..
Would the ultimate (?) 5 weight rod be the 4 weight Method? My question hasn’t been answered here… Finish the review for gawds sake!
Yep, I tried over lining the rod. And underlining. Tried 13 different fly lines on the Method including lines from 5 manufacturers. DT’s too. The focus was about the Method being an everyday driver. this article is, was, not aimed at excellent casters. It was aimed at everyday anglers including novice and intermediate casters/anglers.
This rod, if you read the intro’s on both the TCR and TCX portions, both of which needed over lining for most casters, does not require over lining. Just too heavy for the load of this rod. Can you over line? I guess. But over lining is not a win-win. Keep that in mind when making one portion of the load easier…
I was not interested in speaking about how this rod casts for you, an excellent caster who fishes medium action rods.
Excellent casters can cast any rod, with any fly line attached as they can read, understand, and immediately feel the differences in line, flex pattern, speed of load, and where the rod loads in relationship of the tip and the butt. And, in-between.
The Method does not have a softer tip than the TCX, just a more progressive, easier feeling flex pattern. Lighter in hand feeling, not lighter, and a larger sweet spot allowing you to load the rod at different rates of speed. A fast action, tip flexing rod, the Method is made for a larger audience.
I appreciate the feedback greatly!!
Yes, we have a real discussion here going! 🙂
‘Reviews’ of rods I read everywhere as well as on Youtube is just a rehearsal of what Sage’s PR lady wrote.
That’s just not the type of information we want.
Since I haven’t had a Method in my hands yet, I just had to visualize what I’ve been reading.
You say it doesn’t have a softer tip but a more progressive action/flex. Makes me wonder why Sage calls it their fastest rod?
My guess is that the rod feels better with a half size heavier line (= ‘made for fast rods’ ) like the Rio Gold, SA GPX rather than a true
to the weight lines like the SA Trout or Rio LT?…
I’ll have to have a look at the Method as soon as my local fly shop gets one in.
About my preference:
I do most of my fishing on freestone rivers and streams in Austria. Very much not what the Missouri or the Yellowstone is
(been there about 5 times so far). Certainly not the chuck a hopper & dropper from a drift boat what you guys do a lot!
The size of the rivers & streams I fish most of the time means casting & fishing is done at the max say 30 – 35 feet.
A fast/stiff rod like the Sage One or Loomis NRX would just start to feel nice at this distance!
To get an idea of my fishing in Austria (and southern Germany), here are two short reports (incl.. short video) of my most
Here’s my last trip to Montana (in fact I also fished the Missouri on the other side of Craig!):
Take care man!
Mark, if you had to choose one floating fly line for the 5wt and/or 6wt Method which Rio line would you suggest?
I’m liking the RIO Perception these days. But have loved the Grand as well.
I just bought a Method 9′ 5wt. and tried both 5 wt and 6 wt lines practice casting. The 6 wt line seemed perfect for this rod. Can’t wait to see how it performs on the San Juan in a couple weeks.
Have had the 4 wt for a couple months now. This thing can throw size 22 dries up to size 6 lead eye articulated streamers. I use a 4 wt gpx with any weighted streamers, and the sa trout taper for dries, ang weighted nymph rigs. Great rod for the small to med water i fish
Thanks for the review. I am torn between the Method 590-4 and 690-4. I fish quite a few big freestone rivers (Yakima, Madison, Yellowstone, Big Hole) and I do a little bit of streamer fishing but not much. I rarely (if ever) fish nymphs and never fish multiple-nymph rigs with split shot and indicators. My biggest tasks would be throwing two-dry salmonfly rigs with a #4 foam fly and #6 dropper dry fly (that is a LOT of wind resistance) or a large dry (#8 or #10) with a tungsten beadhead dropper (#12, #14 or #16). Would the #5 or #6 be the best for those tasks?
I have normally used 6wt rods for this work but after casting the 590-4 Method, I believe it could those chores quite easily. I just haven’t had it in big wind yet and I would more than willing to get a 590-4 ONE to do the lighter work. 🙂
Any light you can shed on the subject?
If you’re throwing streamers out of the mix, then I think you’re correct in assuming the 590 can do the job. You cannot defeat physics… the #6 will always be able to push more through the air because there is more mass, but the #5 is certainly capable of doing the job you describe. Probably more important is how you line it. If you line it with a traditional WF taper (ex. RIO Gold) you will probably have some issues pushing that double Salmonfly rig into heavy winds and at longer distances. If you line it with a short, heavy +1 taper (ex. Rio Grand, Rio Outbound Short, etc.) you should have no problem at all. The Sage Method series is powerful. Keep in mind that a #5 Method is comparable in action and power to many 6 weights.
I am actually thinking about the 490-4 METHOD after casting it a few times last week. It is a great rod that has some “feel” in addition to being a straight-up rocket launcher. I could totally see myself wading the Upper Madison with this rod and it would be great on the Henry’s Fork, as well. I’d get a 690-4 METHOD to go along with it and I think I’d be set for just about any big water anywhere.
I used the Rio Perception WF-4 on the rod and loved it. What do you all think of the 490-4 METHOD down there on the MO?
The 490 is an awesome rod (we also liked the TCX 490 that preceded it). Again, because the METHOD series is so powerful it’s easy to go down a line size. If you were buying a METHOD for technical dry-fly fishing then the 490 would certainly be the choice, and it will do double duty as a technical nymph rod as well. A 490/590 combo will do just about anything “trout”, and a 490/690 combo will do just about anything “freshwater” – and light Salt. The perception would be a good choice as an all around line for the Method.
Hi there, I owned a Sage TCR 690-4 back in the days and I think it was the best long distance rod I ever used. Right now I’m looking at getting a new Method in 8 wt. for saltwater action. How would you compare the TCR with the new Method – was the TCR stiffer and harder to use than the current model? I am also contemplating getting a Scott Meridian so the battle is between these two. I cannot test cast them, they aren’t distributed in our country… so I’ll have to buy in blind. Just like I did with the TCR back in the 2003. I know the Meridian is not a very fast rod per se, but it has a fast recovery rate and it’s a true saltwater rod, built with the corrosion resistant components, oversized guides, better anodization etc. Anyway, any input on the Method will be great… as I know that in salt the fewer the false cast, the less fatigue you get after one day of fishing. Thanks!
We are on board with the Method! Hyper fast and accurate. The Method is an improvement on the TCR. Better, easier to cast, and more forgiving. A great rod for the salt. Hands down.
Thanks, one Method 990-4 will be shortly on its way to me.
Whats The difference between The Method and the Method elite?
The Method Elite has an extra tip and titanium components.
Looking at a Method 6 weight Already have a RIO Grand 7 weight. This rod will be used for the Miracle Mile throwning big streamers and nymph rigs into strong winds. Also streamers and big dries from a raft. Is the 7 weight RIO Grand too much for 6 weight Method??
Maybe? Subjective for sure. A RIO Grand is a full line weight heavier in the tip, so a 7wt Grand has a tip weight of an 8 wt fly line. So, you will have to see what is right for you.. I throw a 6 wt line on my 6 wt Method. I have thrown a 6wt Grand and it works ell.
Have you use the Method or had any feedback for Saltwater apps? 8wt or bigger?
I have fished the 890 and the 1090. Great. Loved them. But not as much as the Salt-HD. Felt lighter dan quicker in hand. And felt like the line came off of the rod easier. I really had to pay attention to the cast with the Method, not so with the SALT HD.