In a world where die-hard anglers must have a fly rod for almost every possible fishing scenario (“No, honey, a rod isn’t everything”), rodmakers are happy to oblige.
Need a quick stick for the apartments? No problem. A slow rod for throwing tiny flies at picky trout? Check out this sweet little glass baby that just hit the market. A tournament legal bass rod? I got you. A light rod for casting as close as possible under the undergrowth and in the shelter that could give weight to the smallest trout?
Given where I fish and live, this is where I seem to devote most of my attention to fly rod. If I’m at the fly shop, I’m not drawn to the two-handed beast meant for the Salmon River Rainbow Trout. I might take a look at the latest 8-weight saltwater rod, but only if it’s winter and I’m dreaming of a sun-white apartment in the middle of nowhere.
I’m the guy who revolves around thin canes that can grow seven feet long – these are the canes I use the most.
And, thanks to Sage, I might not need to return those wispy suckers to the fly shop anymore – the company’s new DART will serve me for years to come on the backcountry trout streams. that I frequent so often.
Little Spirit Stream
Since Sage designed this rod for small bodies of water and the trout that live there, it’s pretty much ideal. Even in the lightest weights, the DART is surprisingly fast, but not aggressively. Its design reduces rod movement and really lends itself to those often difficult shots out of cover or over obstacles that provide the best shots at fish without feeling like a noodle in your hands. And it seems to be built in such a way that the presentation is up to you. Do you need a big hopper to âsplashâ the water at the head of a run? No problem. Need to put a size 18 Adams lightly on a feeding fish? Again, no problem. If you are a seasoned small stream angler, the DART simply becomes an extension of your fly fishing brain.
I spent most of my time – and really enjoyed it – fishing the 7ft 6in weight DART in and around Yellowstone National Park, on the water where the DART may be. be the perfect tool (lots of ruthless little streams in the Yellowstone backcountry). But I think it’s a rod that would be just as comfortable on some Appalachian freestones where 8 inch brookies are trophies and tight quarters are the rule, not the exception.
Sage’s KonneticHD materials give this lightweight rod the ability to handle most up-close fishing scenarios, but with enough backbone to cast longer casts which, while rarely essential, are sometimes necessary. The rod is marketed for its close-range capability, and it lives up to that bill. But even the 1-weight version (it’s available in 0-4 weights) has enough common sense to give you the confidence to go longer if you need to. While Sage claims it is designed for throwing small flies, I had no problem throwing size 8-10 hoppers and Chernobyls, and even added an occasional dropper with little to no reduction in performance.
Capable of sliding hoppers under fly-catching willows at 30 feet and still capable of throwing a 50-foot throw towards a beast that forages on the edges of an undercut bank, the DART is a true performer of small stream.
It is difficult to decide whether the price of DART is a plus or a minus. At $ 700, this isn’t the cane for the occasional brook freak. But, for anglers who spend most of their time in small waters where accuracy and presentation are vital, special (bamboo) rods designed for these waters often come at a premium. In the end, for a high-end specialty product, the DART seems quite labeled.
The DART comes with a locking reel seat, and that is fine for most people. Honestly, I would prefer the friction ring system, simply because the reels you will be using for this rod are quite small and there is no need to add the complications that come with the screw-in hardware. In boulder jump and willow fishing scenarios, the potential for gravel in the wires is greater than, for example, casting it from a drifting boat.
Also, the half-well grip may be preferred by some, but, on such a small rod, give me the cigar grip any day – it’s lighter, looks sleeker, and is more in tune with how I prefer to throw, with my thumb on the spine of the grip. Picky? Sure, but we all have our preferences.
The DART once again shows that Sage is truly the only manufacturer willing to take a chance on producing a graphite rod in the smallest of weights. This is not the first time that it has come out with lightweight rods for small currents – the predecessor of the DART was available in weights as light as 00. But the technological inclusions of the DART easily make it the best fishing rod. graphite on the market today, and, as the company notes, it’s built to last, with premium material and Sage’s reputation backing it.
If a little water is calling you, answering it with the DART in hand is the way to go.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SAGE DART (via Sage)