Sage introduced the ONE rod series last year as a replacement for their venerable Z-Axis series. We’ve spent a bunch of time fishing ONE rods on South Andros, from pre-production 7 weights to the right-up-the-middle 890-4, to the borderline-for-bonefishing 691-4. We’ve had a ton of fun fishing these rods on the flats, so we thought we’d tell you all about it.
The majority of what we have to say today is based on the 890-4 ONE. Your 9 foot 8 weight is the standard in the world of bonefishing, and it’s the ONE (we’ll try to make that our first and last ONE pun) we’ve spent the most time with. We’ll talk about another option in the series way down below, but in general you can consider this a review of the 890-4 ONE.
But They’re Not Saltwater Rods!
Yep, you’re right. They’re not. Sage has their Xi3 lineup of dedicated saltwater rods. They also have their TCX series of super fast rods that get fished a lot in the salt – and we’ve run posts about both.
So why do we care about the Sage ONE Rods? Well, they’re fast (plenty fast enough for flats fishing), they’re light, they’re accurate and they’re fun to cast. They’re also versatile enough that you can fish them in a lot of different places.
Sage has a lot to say about the ‘Konnectic Technology’ that goes into the ONE series – you can read about all the technical details on Sage’s web site right here.
We’re not smart enough to understand a lot of that stuff, but basically it all translates to ‘they’re light and fast and accurate’. More on all of those topics below.
These rods are all black, with metallic black thread wraps. They look pretty cool, we think.
And light they are. It was just last year that Sage launched their Xi3 lineup of saltwater rods. Xi3s are known to be light. An 890-4 Xi3 weighs 3 7/8 oz, and an 890-4 ONE weighs 3 1/2 oz. 3/8 of an ounce isn’t a lot of weight, but you’re talking 10% lighter, and 10% lighter in a 9 foot long object is actually pretty noticeable.
OK, finally the stuff you’re looking for. The 890-4 ONE is fast and light and accurate.
These rods have a really nice, lively feel. Although they’re fast, you can feel the load throughout the rod, even without a ton of line out. This is a really important point for us on South Andros Island, where 30 foot shots are much more common than 80 foot shots. We need to get the line out there quickly – and the 890-4 ONE represents the best combination we’ve ever fished of powerful, fast action, but with great ability to load up short and fast.
We’ll admit to being skeptical when we first heard Sage’s pitch for the ONE series about ‘Accuracy Redefined’. Really? This is 2012 – all rods are accurate…right? Well…after a whole bunch of shots at bonefish on the flats of South Andros, we buy it. It’s a significant difference – look at that spot where you want to land your fly, make a nice straight back cast, deliver the forward cast and…voila! Watch your fly land where you wanted it to. Seriously, it’s pretty amazing. Torsional forces and fiber alignment aren’t really in our comfort zone – but we’ve got to admit that the fly tends to land where you want it to.
This is an ‘all around’ rod, not a saltwater rod. Saltwater rods tend to have beefier butt sections, which help punch through wind, and also help fight powerful saltwater fish. During our time fishing the ONE rods at Andros South, we never had a concern about casting in the wind – there was plenty of ability to generate lots of line speed. If there was one slight misgiving about fishing these rods on Andros, it was that they don’t quite have the fish fighting ability of a true saltwater rod. When we hooked fish on the ‘supertanker’ range of the spectrum down there, it would have been nice to have a little more butt section – or a 9 weight.
Other comments made by great anglers who fished the Sage 890-4 ONE with us-
- “The relatively soft tip helps absorb the shock of fishing a heavy fly.”
- “Surprisingly powerful given the weight, even into the wind.”
At Andros South we tend to recommend lines with pretty aggressive front tapers, to help turn over big flies and deliver at short to moderate distances quickly. The Rio Tropical Clouser is our all time favorite down there – and we were surprised when it felt a little clunky on the Sage 890-4 ONE.
The 8 weight ONE is an all-around rod and casts pretty true to its line rating, so those aggressive lines seem not to be the best match. We love the 890-4 ONE with a standard Rio Bonefish line in an 8 weight – surprisingly we like the Bonefish line more on the ONE than we do on the saltwater-dedicated Xi3 (where we’ll take a Tropical Clouser, thank you very much). The Bonefish line loads the ONE well enough that we didn’t have any problems getting our big flies turned over, even at short distances.
There’s a whole boatload of really good saltwater reels out there these days. We really like the Sage 6080 for bonefishing. That’s what we fished on the 890-4, and it was a great match – a light reel for a light rod.
A 6 Weight Option?
On some really calm days this spring, we fished the Sage 691-4 ONE. To be totally honest this rod was purchased for rainbow trout at Alaska West – but we had so much fun with the other ONE rods on the flats that we had to give it a whirl.
Paired up again with the Rio Bonefish line, the 691-4 did a great job landing the fly softly in glassy conditions. It did a respectable job punching the line through moderate winds. We didn’t consider fishing it in heavier winds. Compared to the 890-4, the 691-4 definitely has more of a ‘freshwater’ feel – with less power coming from the butt section. The 6 weight is definitely not a big fish fighting tool – on the flats of Andros at least, it’s more of a fun-to-cast specialty rod for calm days.
The Sage ONE series is a lineup of great rods. They’re fast and light and accurate. The 890-4 is an excellent tool for fishing the flats, even though it’s not a purpose-built saltwater rod. What fish fighting ability you give up compared to a saltwater rod is easily made up for by its versatility and accuracy.
If you want to pick one up, here’s an option for you online.
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