When Sage unveiled their latest X family of fly rods, we were shocked to hear it would be replacing one of their most popular rod series of all time – the ONE. Could they really improve upon the ONE? Like many of you, we had our questions..
That’s why we reached out to Deneki pal, George Cook, for a quick question and answer session on Sage’s X family of single and double-handers. George has been the Northwest rep for Sage, Redington, RIO, along with other fine outdoor brans for a long darn time. He’s seen more rods come in and out of fruition than just about anybody else in the industry. Needless to say he knows a thing or two about fly rods, and we were super excited to get his take on Sage’s latest and greatest.
Take it away Geo!
Sage X Rods – Interview with George Cook
KS: What’s the main difference/improvement between the X series and its precursor the ONE?
GC: Well Kyle, the X Series, be it single handers, spey, or switch rods are A) Lighter, B) Feature Blistering Line Speed Attributes and C) Like the ONE family, uncompromising accuracy based on the Konnetic format construction. The New Konnetic HD (High Density) format most certainly enhances such key elements as rod profile (making it slimmer), lighter (from optimized hoop to axial “positioning”), strength (from advanced modulus positioning), directional acuity (meaning better accuracy through superior, non-torsional tracking) and higher line speed.. All things that add up to more efficient and effective casts be it in fresh or saltwater environs.
KS: Like many anglers, we were huge fans of the ONE, how do you feel the performance of the X compares?
GC: To be sure, the new X series has upped the ante across the board. Konnetic Technology, which was first introduced in the ONE Series truly set a whole new standard in fly rod performance. These X rods are “next Level.” You can grab any number of sticks for a comparison, and do a head-to-head “Pepsi taste test” with a ONE equivalent and see this story unfold. The “performance attributes” such as line speed, wind cutability, and false cast to presentation ratio (load to delivery) will be evident. Furthermore, these things will play out at ALL RANGES from point Blank, to mid-range, to bomb shots.
KS: Is Konnetic HD the real deal?
GC: Yes sir, its the real deal. Konnetic HD enhances a number of factors including strength, tracking, loop control, blank recovery and a crisper tip stop. These things matter!
KS: In the two-hand series, we noticed more length options in particular rod weights than the previous ONE and Z-AXIS series. What was the basis behind this?
GC: Fabulous question young Jedi. Ya’ll have likely noticed that in the all-important seven and eight weight spey offerings there are 3 different lengths per group. Let’s examine the 7 weight group of the X Family as an example: The 7120-4 (12 foot, 7 weight), 7130-4 (13 foot, 7 weight), and the 7140-4 (14 foot, 7 weight). These all new X spey rods feature lengths that are viewed against historical precedence as “shorter than expected”. In this, the 7120-4 (versus a more traditional 7126-4 ONE or METHOD) is geared to perform at a level that exceeds previous expectations at an additional 6 inches in length. This readily shows in the 13’ foot length (7130-4 versus the 7136-4).
Going back to the twelve foot ball game, the new 9120-4 X is a gamer king stick of the first order. Completely non-fatiguing, all-day-hucking, coupled with a shorter “Finish ‘Em” off at the beach length.. Deadly.
KS: With more spey options than ever in one series, what rod would you recommend as the most versatile stick for the average PNW steelhead angler?
GC: That’s easy.. With Oregon in Mind, the 7130-4. For Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, the 8130-4. For Idaho’s Clearwater, the 7140-4. For the Lower Dean river in British Columbia, the 8140-4.
KS: For those looking for a premium saltwater stick, how does the X compare to the SALT?
GC: For the last three years, I’ve showed up in Andros with a bevy of SALT Sticks as they are hard to beat. I’m a huge fan of the 790-4 SALT for bonefish down there as it simply does it all – close, medium, or to reach out and touch. There is no doubt that the X series considering the HD factor will show itself nicely in the salt, be it in the 890-4 or the 990-4 for bonefish (hint: the 9 weight is the great equalizer when the wind kicks up), the 1090-4 for barracuda, permit, or smaller tarpon, or for darn sure the 1190-4 for the big critters.