We have been getting a few requests to give our opinions towards some of the more talked about rods. Last Saturday turned out to be quite the nice day at the shop so we decided to string up a few 9ft 5 weights and put them to the “test”. Morgan and I decided to test the following rods: The Scott Radian, The Sage One & Method as well as the Winston Boron IIIx.
In order to maintain all fairness and accuracy within the test itself we utilized the same reel and line setups on each one of the rods. All the rods in question were outfitted with the Orvis Encounter series fly reel and the Rio Gold fly line.
To gain a complete feel for each of the rods targets were placed at intervals of 30, 50, and 70 feet respectively to simulate a variety of fishing situations out on the hunt for trout in the Rocky Mtn west. Please know that Morgan and I are basing this article solely on our opinions of the rod performance. No consideration was taken on objective factors such as looks, warranty, or price etc.
The Sage Method kicked things off for us:
This rod is newest member of the Sage family of fly rods. This rod falls into the “Super Fast” category of Sage Rods. This category started off with the introduction of the TCR series which was later replaced by the TCX line of rods.
At first glance you will notice two things about this rod. It is extremely lightweight and quite stiff. The stiff feel is to be expected with the “super fast” action profile of this rod.
JC: At 30 feet I feel that this rod struggled mightily. Paired with this line, this rod had zero feel at thirty feet and made the rod hard to cast because it would not load properly. Also presentation was compromised at 30 feet due to the stiffness of the rod, the casts tended to lie down a little bit on the harsher side.
Within the 50 foot range this rod began to excel and casting was a breeze. The overall presentation of the fly landed quite softly which was nice. The accuracy on this rod was also exceptional at this distance and beyond.
This rod could easily touch the 70+ foot mark with accuracy and distance with no questions asked. The rod still had plenty of power to spare. Paired with the right line, possibly a 6wt GPX or Rio Grand this rod could easily cast 100 feet and more
Overall this rod despite its shortcomings has some practical advantages in my opinion. If this rod was overloaded with a 6wt fly line it would perform much better. This rod would excel being used in a variety of situations (big nymph rigs, articulated streamers, large dries). The stiff action of this rod would stand up extremely well to the windiest of conditions.
Morgan: Although I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of this rod, it still seems like this is a rod for more experienced casters or those with a specific purpose in mind for this rod (salt, streamers, or heavy nymph rigs).
I personally don’t enjoy faster action fly rods for throwing dry flies, in most cases they are lacking in presentation. Even though this rod lacks in presentation it thrives throwing long casts, streamers, and big nymph rigs.
At 30 ft, this rod is a broomstick, plain and simple. There was almost no chance of feeling the rod load at such a short distance. With that being said, it still made the cast. Albeit, not the lightest presentation out of the bunch but definitely still fishable. Like JC had mentioned, I too would have liked this rod even more with an over-weighted line such as the Rio Grand, Scientific Anglers GPX or Airflo’s Super Dri Exceed. I have even heard of guys over-lining this rod by two line weights.
Casting this rod at 50ft was a breeze. This is where this rod really started to shine. We start to get a feel for when/where this rod loads up in the forward and back casts at 50ft. My casts were cleaner and had a much lighter presentation at this distance. It easily picks up 40 or 50ft of line and set’s you up to lay it right back down without more than a couple false casts to clean up your cast or change directions.
My casting abilities became very apparent when I started making 70ft attempts but this rod, compared to others, did help make up for my inexperience at longer distances. These long distance casts seemed, to me, to be what this rod was made for. Being able to pick up 40 or 50ft of line, make a couple false casts and shoot the line out to 70ft distances was a breeze. Although the line we’re using is a typical trout taper, the line shot very well and could have only shot better with a line with a heavier head.
This rod is not an all around Rocky Mountain trout rod in my opinion. This is a great rod for heavy flies and long casts, but can still make due throwing dries in a one rod situation. The Method would be great on our larger western rivers or on the salt.
We hope that you have enjoyed the first installment in our four part series where Morgan and I review various 5 weight rods.