Sage 7126-4 METHOD Review – The Lightsaber

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.

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Comments

  1. B Sadataki says

    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…..

  2. B Sadataki says

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

  3. Neil says

    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

  4. andrew says

    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!

  5. Neil says

    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.

  6. says

    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.

  7. Neil says

    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?

  8. andrew says

    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.

  9. Tom says

    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.

  10. says

    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!

  11. Gene Brenowitz says

    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.

  12. andrew says

    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…

  13. andrew says

    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.

  14. Jeff says

    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 ??

  15. says

    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…

  16. says

    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?

  17. Justin says

    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.

  18. andrew says

    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!

  19. Doug Smith says

    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?

  20. michael contino says

    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?

  21. andrew says

    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!

  22. andrew says

    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

  23. Justin says

    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!

  24. andrew says

    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.

  25. Keith says

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

  26. Neil West says

    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

  27. Dylan K-D says

    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.

  28. Kyle Shea says

    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!

  29. Carsten says

    Great review Andrew. The best I have seen yet. I am a big SAGE fan and am looking to add a new 9′ 7# for fishing primarily large browns on Iceland (I mean really big ones!). As I do not go there that often, I am thinking of either buying a Redington VAPER or the SAGE Method blank (and have it built for me) to keep my budget down a bit. I may also use it in salt water as well. Any advice on pro’s cons and which one to choose?

    Tight lines Carsten / Copehagen

  30. Kyle Shea says

    Hey Carsten,
    Thanks for the kind words and glad you were able to find it helpful! Having played with both. I think both the Vapen and Method are great rods and would both do well for biggie browns! In case you haven’t seen it, here’s our review of the 890 Vapen in the Sal.. http://www.deneki.com/2014/02/redington-vapen-red-review/.

    The best thing in my opinion about the vapen is the price. It out performs it’s price point by a long shot! It’s considered a fast action rod, but certainly has a feel you would expect for a 7 weight. In comparison, the 790-4 METHOD, is an extremely fast rod (but not as much as the precursor TCX) and ultimately performs more like an 8 weight in our opinion. We’ve over-lined it with an 8 weight line and found it to be one of our favorite rods for bonefish in the Bahamas. It sure is a cannon, especially if you load it up with the correct amount of grains (line weight) for your casting stroke.

    I would say as far as saltwater use, both would be equally at home in the salt as they would be in fresh water. Both are a great choice, and ultimately comes down to preference in terms of your casting stroke. We actually have a review of the METHOD 790-4 (9 foot 7 weight) in the works as we speak. Stay tuned and thanks for reaching out to us!

  31. says

    I was a die- hard single hand caster for 45 years , I reluctantly decided I need to learn spey since its becoming so popular and i needed to learn it to guide it ( I’ve been an alaska guide for 15 years ), so I got a method 7126…. and I’ve found a new love hehe . I still have so much to learn eg which lines etc (skagit) and my search for knowledge brought here to your blog .
    reading the posts here remind me of watching “the big bang therory” on tv :P a bunch of fishing nerds like myself discussing the fine points of out beloved sport .. and whats cool for me is to become a student instead of the teacher for awhile … so , ill be watching close for info on what skagit lines work best with my method 7126 .. thanks :)

  32. Kyle Shea says

    Hey Jerry! Glad you have decided to dive into the world of two-handers! We think its an extremely fun way to fish and do a lot of it at our lodges.

    Glad we could be of some help, and stay tuned because soon (perhaps tomorrow) we’ll be running a post that highlights some head options for the 7126-4 METHOD that Sage Rep, George Cook, prefers! Best of luck out there and thanks for reading!

  33. cuzza says

    Hi
    I have just received the method switch 8119, however I’m struggling to get a reliable steer as to which skagit max short to pair it with.
    Sage have stated three different weights within their blog section which is causing confusion 525, 550 & 575 he are all stated.

    Could you please advise your thoughts

    Thanks

  34. Kyle Shea says

    Hi Cuzza,

    Great question! It can be confusing to nail down one skagit head to a particular rod, as personal casting stroke has a lot to do with the right line match. The reason Sage recommends several grain weights is to accommodate for different casting styles. For example, if you’re the type of caster with a quicker stroke who enjoys casting off of the tip of the rod (often times more advanced casters), the lower end of that grain window (like 525 or 550) would likely suit your casting style best. However, if you’re the type of caster with a slower stroke who likes to feel the rod load (often times, but not always less experienced casters), lines on the upper end of the grain window (575 or even 600) might better suit you casting style.

    For what it is worth, I have spent a considerable amount of time with the METHOD 6119-4, and absolutely love it with a 450 Airflo Skagit Switch (which is on the upper end of Sage’s suggested grain weight for the 6119-4). In other words, I would expect the 8119-4 to perform well in the 550 or 575 short skagit range (like the max short).

    The big thing here Cuzza is any of these grain weights would likely get the job done, however tailoring the perfect skagit head to your particular casting stroke might take a little experimentation. Hope that helps!

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