Sage 7126-4 METHOD Review – The Lightsaber

August 29, 2013

in BC West, Gear

Sage 7126 Method Proving Grounds

Our proving grounds.

We recently spent a week at BC West fishing Sage’s new 7126-4 METHOD spey rod.  We loved it, we named it, and now we’ll tell you why.

History

The Sage 7126-4 TCX has been one of the more popular steelhead rods around the Pacific Northwest over the past few years.  Light but incredibly powerful, the 7126 TCX has done a great job blasting laser loops across rivers from the Deschutes to the Dean, so when some genius nicknamed it ‘The Death Star’, the name stuck.

Some anglers, though, didn’t love The Death Star, because they didn’t feel like it loved them back.  Powerful, sure, but it really didn’t bend very much, so folks who like to really feel  their rod load tended to shy away.  Lots of power without a lot of love – it was clearly a tool of The Dark Side, so The Death Star name was pretty appropriate on the down side as well.

METHOD Spey Rods – With Love!

Sage has just replaced their super-fast TCX line (single- and double-handed) with a new series called the METHOD.  Despite what seems to have been the trend the past decade or so, this new generation of rods…brace yourself…bends more!  Yep, although METHOD spey rods are, according to Sage, “Ultra Fast” and for “Extreme Distance”, to us the most noticeable change from the TCX line is that they load easier, and even with more feeling.

The Lightsaber

Take a rod with the power of the Death Star, add a whole bunch of love, and what do you get?  Not a force for evil, but a force for good!  Not a tool of Darth Vader, but a tool of Yoda!  When you fish the METHOD , you’re not a soldier of the Empire, you’re a Jedi, so…congratulations, you made it through our brutal chain of metaphors…we’re calling it The Lightsaber.

Method 7126 - Magma Red

Magma Red

Design

OK, on to the details.  The 7126-4 METHOD is ‘Magma Red’, which we think looks pretty cool but takes a little getting used to.  It’s got a downlocking reel seat.  It’s 12’6″ long and it’s for a 7-weight line, whatever that means these days (more on line match below).

It weighs 6 1/2 ounces.  That’s almost an ounce less than the Death Star, and it feels really light.

Casting Performance

Tons of power, and a whole lotta love.  It bends nice and easy on short and/or lazy casts, but if you give a nice strong pull with your bottom hand, you better hope you stripped off a whole bunch of running line because that loop is headed for orbit.  You can cast it short and you can cast it far, and that’s pretty cool.  If you’re a decent spey caster and have it lined basically right, you’ll quickly be casting much further than you can effectively fish, most of the time.

One other nice benefit of the ‘easy load with lots of power’ combination is that you can make a bunch of different kinds of casts work with the same head.  Those of us who like to do the Perry Poke know that for that cast to work, your rod needs to be pretty heavily lined – in lots of cases, lined too heavily to perform well on a more ‘standard’ cast like the Snap T.   Once we got it lined right, every type of (Skagit) cast we tried felt great.

Line Match

Speaking of which, we’ll take the Rio Skagit Max 550, please.  We started off with the 525 and thought it was OK, but with the 550 it felt smoother, more forgiving and somehow more ‘alive’.  As noted, it Poked and Snap-T / double speyed great with the 550.

Oh, you haven’t heard much about the Skagit Max?  That’s because it just came out.  Don’t worry, we’ll follow up with more on the Skagit Max in the next week or two.  Teaser: huge upgrade to the Skagit Flight.  Mega.

We fished it with Medium MOW Tips in all configurations, and with 10 feet of T-14 too.  Flies were weighted and unweighted.  All good.

Reel Match

The Sage 6080 balanced it well and had plenty of capacity given our preference for mono running lines.

Conclusion

It’s The Lightsaber, and it’ll turn you into a Jedi Knight!  Seriously, it’s a fabulous rod, with a rare combination of quickness, power and feel.  It’ll cover as much water as you want it to, with a variety of different casts, and most importantly, with a whole lot of feel throughout.  Love it!

You can pick one up at your local Sage dealer, or online right here.

Here’s our Product Review Policy and FTC Disclosure.

More Spey Rod Reviews

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

B Sadataki August 29, 2013 at 11:59 am

This strikes me as being just like the Seinfeld episode when George tried to come up with nickname for himself.

Sounds like a great rod, I would just leave it at that…..

andrew August 29, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Bill. Just trying to have a little fun with it!

B Sadataki August 30, 2013 at 2:24 am

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, Andrew. Thanks for the effort you put into making this a great blog.

Neil August 30, 2013 at 4:45 am

Thanks for the review, great fun to read as usual and very informative. Looking forward to hearing about the new Rio Skagit and the method switch rods.
I find I now don’t use my old 12’9” 8 wt Z axis because I can do everything with the much lighter 8wt Switch rod. Where do you see the main differences to use the ‘lightsabre’ over a switch rod?
Thanks for any advice on this one

andrew August 30, 2013 at 11:10 am

Not at all, Bill! Much appreciated.

andrew August 30, 2013 at 11:19 am

You’re welcome, Neil – glad you enjoyed it.

You and me both – for years that 8129 was a favorite of mine and I probably haven’t strung it up for three seasons. I’m finding myself reaching for the shorter rods more and more.

Last week on the Dean below the canyon I fished the Lightsaber and the 8116-4 ONE roughly half and half. The Lightsaber certainly covers big water a little bit easier and gives a little better line control (and there are a bunch of really big, ‘throw it as far as you can’ runs on that part of the river; the extra foot helps not only with distance but with slowing the fly down when it’s way the heck out there). The 8116 is noticeably lighter in hand and better with overhanging branches and/or little backcast room.

Tough to pick just one!

Brent August 30, 2013 at 11:28 am

Hope this nickname doesn’t stick…. Ugh

What’s next, the Jar Jar?

Neil August 30, 2013 at 11:31 am

Thanks for the advice Andrew. I can see your point with the lightsabre and that extra foot. I may have to trade in my Zaxis for one except I still like the rod just don’t seem to use it. Tough choices!
I look forward to any other sage method rod reviews. The 9wt switch also looks an interesting option. I need to win the lottery.

Neil August 30, 2013 at 11:33 am

I like the nickname it has a good ring to it lol. I always wanted to be a Jedi!

wes August 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Not to geek out too much, but Jedi use green and blue lightsabers. Looks like the dark side still has it’s hold on Sage. I have always been more of a sith fan anyway – the dark side is so much more fun. I’m waiting for the 13’6″ 7 and 8s to come along.

andrew August 30, 2013 at 3:50 pm

You’re not the first one who’s pointed that out, Wes!

andrew August 30, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Agreed, Neil – I’m working on getting my hands on an 8119-4 METHOD next…

Brent August 31, 2013 at 6:32 am

Thoughts on it for a dry fly rod?

Neil August 31, 2013 at 8:17 am

What’s the general reaction to the colour. I remember when the TCX first came out I had some comments that it was very green but now it just looks great and get no comments. Is red the new black?

andrew September 2, 2013 at 3:33 pm

I’d say the same thing on the color, Neil – when I first took it out of the sock I thought “wow, that’s red” – but after a couple of days of fishing it just turned into another color.

Neil September 2, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Thanks Andrew thats what I thought. Looking forward to your other reviews

Tom September 3, 2013 at 3:46 am

Great review! I’ve always been pretty bored by the logistics of many gear reviews but, this was entertaining and well stated. I’ve shied away from sage spey rods in the past because, I thought they lacked some of the “feel” I was looking for. Lightsaber or not, I’ll definitely have to rethink this one.

Cesar September 5, 2013 at 4:21 am

Fun and nice review. Waiting for the skagit max and method switch. One question. If you have to choose a do it all spey rod. What do you prefer? Sage one, tcx or method rod? Same question for switch rods. :-)

Thanks!

Gene Brenowitz September 5, 2013 at 6:18 am

I am sorry to steal your thunder but I previously described the R.B. Meiser MKS series as light sabers on Speypages.com. Then again, both Luke and Darth had there own light sabers. With Sage selling at Costco, I guess they have gone to the dark side.

andrew September 5, 2013 at 10:51 am

Oh man, sorry about that Gene – I somehow missed that one!

As a side note, I can assure you that Sage is very, very unhappy when their rods turn up at Costco…

andrew September 5, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Cesar,

Look forward the Skagit Max review on the blog tomorrow!

As for the Method Switch rods, you and me both – I’m still working on getting my hands on one.

For a do it all spey rod, I’d definitely choose either the ONE or the METHOD, since the TCX is really fast and definitely not for everybody. It’d probably come down to which specific model to decide between the METHOD and the ONE.

Jeff September 7, 2013 at 7:34 am

Sounds like a great and versatile rod. May have to try one out and get it if it feels as good as you say. They are at Costco, really ??

Scottbmc September 7, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I cast the Darth Maul rod with a Scandi line in late July when one first turned up in our sled on the Dean. I think I had 480 on it and a poly leader. It was, of course, very nice (all these damn rods are oh so ‘very nice’ to me) and although I didn’t flail with it long, I got the basic feel for the action and look forward to using mine up Bulkley way here in the next weeks, albeit with a bit heavier Scandi than the 480…

Scott September 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I fished the Darth Maul rod with a dry line this July when one showed up in my x-wing…er…I mean my speeder…ahhh…I mean Jetboat on the Dean…yeah that’s it, my Jetboat.

I had a 480 Scandi and it felt a bit light, but to be fair I had a poly leader and some lower river bug that really didn’t feel right with the rig, so I just cast the leader abit…it felt nice, I will look forward to bumping up the line size abit to dial it in a bit more up Skeena way here in the next few weeks.

Geek out? Who is geeing out?

Justin December 20, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Hey Andrew,

Any thoughts for a review on the Method Switch series?

And what would be a better choice for Alaskan Kings: Method 9119-4 or a (Sage) 10wt spey?

Thank you.

andrew December 23, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Hi Justin, thanks for stopping by. I’m working on getting my hands on a METHOD switch – that’s the top of the list for my next review. Hopefully in the next month or two!

The 9119-4 METHOD is a rod that I’m really excited to try. I love the 8119-4 TCX so much but it was too light for most king fishing – that 9119 is something I’ve been waiting for them to make.

As far as the best rod for Alaskan kings – to me that’s not a simple answer. If you want a rod to dedicate to Alaskan kings (i.e. you’re not worried about fishing it anywhere else) and your primary goal is to maximize your landing rate of kings, then a ‘king rod’ like the Sage 10130-4 ONE is the ticket. Those rods are super powerful, helping you deliver big heavy junk to the bucket, and pull hard on the big boys.

If you want to fish the rod elsewhere OR you prefer rods that are a little more fun to cast (and you’re OK with the fact that you might lose some kings because you’re undergunned), a rod like the 9119 METHOD or maybe the 8126 METHOD would be a great choice too.

Have fun out there!

Doug Smith December 26, 2013 at 6:22 am

Andrew,

Where do the Method Speys fit in with the Ones? I bought a 12’6″ 7 weight One last year. What Method would complement this rod?

michael contino December 27, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Andrew, Going to BC west this August and looking at a new spey rod. I am throwing a 7 wt z-axis I enjoy the articles on the Sage Method rods , what would be a better weight for the Dean , the seven or the eight?

andrew December 28, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Hi Michael – we’re looking forward to seeing you on the Dean this summer!

I haven’t cast the 8126-4 METHOD yet, so I’m speculating a bit here. My guess would be that for an all-around (upper and lower river) Dean rod, the 7126 would be a slightly better bet. I had no problems at all covering water and throwing the tips we were throwing this past season.

That being said, if you wanted to specialize, you could use your 7 weight Z-Axis above the canyon, and have the 8126 METHOD as your ‘big water/big tip/big fly/big fish’ cannon for the water down low.

Sorry if this sounds like a cop out – but I think you can’t go wrong either way. I’ll let you know once I have a chance to fish the 8126.

All the best in 2014!

andrew December 28, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Doug,

The METHODs are a little faster and a little more powerful than the ONEs. Just like the Z-Axis rods were meant to be more ‘all-around’ and the TCX rods were the ‘extreme performance’ sticks – although honestly I’d tell you that the difference between the ONEs and the METHODs that I’ve cast isn’t quite as noticeable.

As for which METHOD would complement the 7126 ONE – where do you think you’ll be fishing them?

Andrew

Justin February 6, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Hey Andrew,

For a Method 8119-4, would you pair it with a Skagit Short 510 grain like the TCX 8119-4?

Using it for Chums, Silvers, and big trout in Alaska.

Thank you!

andrew February 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Hi Justin,

Thanks for stopping by! I haven’t cast the 8119 METHOD yet but am working on getting my hands on one and will follow up as soon as I do.

Keith April 3, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Lightsaber? more like the Deathstar 2.0.. how many jedi used a red lightsaber? oh just the bad ones….

Scott April 4, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Even worse bad guys chillin’ on the Death Star!

Neil West April 5, 2014 at 11:56 am

Now the dilemma is which rod to get the 7126 one or the method. In think both rods would be great on the river I fish for grilse and small Atlantic Salmon to complement my TCX 8119 . I have the one 8126 which is a great rod but a bit heavy.
Any thoughts on the comparison as you have tried both the one and the method, would be very much apprectaited

Scott April 6, 2014 at 8:29 pm

The One has more ‘feel’ to it compared to the Method , slightly more body flex.

Neil April 7, 2014 at 5:18 am

Thanks Scott. This is consistent with other comments I have read

Dylan K-D November 18, 2014 at 10:52 am

First of all great review, I really enjoy comparing my fly-fishing equipment to dark-side weapons. It really helps my case when my friends already think I’m crazy-obsessed enough haha. I own a sage 6010 that i uses on my 10 weight for the salt down in Texas. For the past 4 years I’ve been throwing a 11 foot switch rod all around, from the marsh to the jetty, and in large channels. I have been wanting to snag a nice spey just for the hell of it and to experiment. My question is if I were to get the 9 weight 14 foot Method and pair it with my 6010 what line should I use? I have always just used the rio outbound series with my switch both sinking and floating. The whole shooting tips and etc. really make me confused when it comes to spey. I really think this rod would be fun to have in my arsenal but the lines are my only puzzle. Anything would help,
thanks,
your reviews are awesome.

Kyle Shea November 18, 2014 at 11:20 am

Hey Dylan,
Thanks for the kind words! We’re glad you were able to find our review helpful!

First off, I couldn’t agree with you more on the choices of lines and tips today, it can be a bit overwhelming! You’re certainly not alone, but hopefully we can’t help clear some things up. As far as choosing a line for the 9140 METHOD, it is important to first decide what ‘style’ of spey casting you would mostly be using (or want to learn). Once you have narrowed that down, then you can find the best ‘fit’ for the rod..

Check out this post we ran on spey rigging (http://www.deneki.com/2014/04/all-about-spey-rigging/) if you are unsure of the ‘styles’ of spey casting (skagit, scandi, and traditional) and the pros and cons of each. Then, once you have an idea of the style of casting you are most interested in, most line companies provide recommendation charts to help recommend a line that would best match your rod of choice. For example, check out RIO’s newest spey line recommendation chart for a recommended line choice to best fit the METHOD 9140 (http://www.deneki.com/2014/04/all-about-spey-rigging/)

Hope that helps, but by all means hit us up should you have any other questions!

Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: