Sage Sonic Rod review and comparison by Peter Morse.
An opportunity to put three 5 weight Sage rods in front of a group of keen casters was too good to miss. But I masked the rods and used identical lines. The group were Sydney’s casting in the park mob who get together in a park on Sydney’s north shore on any good Sunday for a cast, for lessons, and for a bit of banter. Its fun
But the serious side of this day was the three 5’s.
The rods were a 590X, a 590LL, and the new Sonic in a 590 – I also hade the #596 Sonic along as a bonus rod.
The lines were my own orange double tapers made for me by RIO. Unfortunately we ran out of time to try different lines on the rods.
The scoring was a basic 1,2,3, points, with one point for your favourite rod etc – so the lowest aggregate score was the first choice rod.
There’s nothing like a comparative masked wine tasting to sort out good wine from bad so we’re not all influenced by the label. Masking the identity of the rods did away with pre-conceived bias. Notice whenever someone picks up a rod to cast it the first thing they do is read the label. So you instantly establish some kind of prejudice, from mild to strong. Everyone knew these were Sage rods but no one was familiar enough with the rods to know which was which, and the Sonic is far too new for anyone to have cast before.
At the end of the session 10 casters had written down their opinions and given a score, it’s a small group but the results were super interesting in that no rod really stood out.
With identical lines and casts kept to within fishing range, ie inside 50 feet, the various actions of the rods stood out starkly. The X is a fast stick (unfortunately I didn’t have an Igniter, which is even faster) the Sonic was the mid speed rod, and the LL the slowest of the three.
The LL is a huge favourite of mine, last summer I used it extensively throughout New Zealand and grew to really appreciate its buttery smoothness. It’s a dry fly rod, a river rod and a lake margin rod, a light, delicate and precise instrument in the right hands. It’s a rod for small hooks and fine tippets, blue sky days with an gentle breeze, and tough presentations. It’s a medium/fast rod, (as opposed to fast/medium) and one for the purists in my view, those who really appreciate slowing things down. It’s also the lightest of the three.
In my book the X is the bigger water rod, the difficult windy day rod, the high line speed tight loop rod with two or three flies, tungsten nymphs, big terrestrials, stronger tippets and “come here” type fishing. As well as being a polaroiding rod, it’s a polarizing rod – 3 casters marked it as their number 1, and 3 casters marked it as their number 3…… It’s a fast action rod.
The Sonic sits right between the two. It’s a peach and it won the day. It’s a new rod using the original Konnetic technology, it’s a fast/medium action rod that is going to suit a lot of casters, its just so bloody easy to use. Four casters had it as their number one pick and only two had it as their third.
I also had the 9’6” version of the #5 Sonic along for the day. It’s a mighty rod, an absolute joy to use and those who cast it agreed.
So apart from these results, the one thing that really stood out for all of us is that if it’s at all possible, try a rod before you buy it. We’re all different, we cast differently, and we have different expectations - and try the with a couple of different lines.
We know that how these rods perform, is going to change quite dramatically with different lines. The X is going to bend a little easier with a line such as RIO’s single hand Spey line or a RIO Gold, the LL sings a very sweet song with RIO’s Technical Trout line that at 30 feet is at the lower limit of the weight range. I have cast a few different lines on the Sonic and they all seem to suit.
Sage LL 22 points