Review: Sage fly rod IGNITER | Outbreak Magazine


It’s one thing when a rod maker claims to have designed the best rod for a particular scenario – as I noted before, rod makers are happy to force rod builders for any niche.

It is quite another thing when said rod does exactly what the maker says it will do.

Designed for seasoned anglers who cast a heavy line armed with heavy streamers at (hopefully) heavy fish, anglers who need to fish long distances, or those who fish in harsh (read: windy) conditions, the Sage’s new IGNITER seems to tick all the boxes. Incorporating Sage’s lighter and denser KonneticHD technology, which made its X debut and has since found its way into rods across the Sage line, the rod lifts the line with precision without too much fuss, and it throws a line of descent or point as if it were supposed to. only that.

It is a specialized cane; it’s not a tool that most fly fishermen would need (or, frankly, want) as a fishing rod in general. It’s built for a niche, a big niche, no doubt, but a niche nonetheless.

What works


Sage boasts its new KonneticHD technology to allow it to build a dense and powerful rod blank, while being light and responsive. That’s a goal that most high-end rod makers pursue: faster, lighter, stronger.

We can talk about science we only partially understand, like the proprietary graphite / resin composite that Sage uses in its new rods. We can speak of “strength / weight and stiffness / weight ratios amplified as needed in the rod blank” or “highest energy transfer material. [Sage has] never created. But most companies make similar claims about their technology and its benefits, and none of them really matter unless they can be verified by anglers on the water.

High-end fly rods don’t come cheap, and while you hold a good stick in your hands with IGNITER, it’s not really the rod you’re paying $ 900 for, but research and development. that the company devoted to it. .

In the case of Sage, the touted benefits of KonnecticHD in IGNITER ring true. IGNITER handles any heavy gear you might throw at it, and it fishes very well in circumstances where other rods might not be enough. It’s fast (no fast broomstick, but fast). It’s strong. But it’s also light. And it delivers flies without any line snapping and virtually no rod movement.

The Peach

I took IGNITER into the Bull Trout waters of southern Alberta and threw big weighted streamers down incredibly deep descents using plunging tip lines. The IGNITER at 7 weights I used didn’t complain about the weight of the line or streamer, and when a big fish did finally arrive, the IGNITER performed remarkably well. Bull trout tend to have a softer mouth, so a sturdy set can free flies. Despite its speed and impressive spine, the rod handled a softer hitting game very well, and it was just flexible enough to let me know I was fighting 28 inches of wild char.

Longer casts

Once I dialed in the rod speed and line speed that IGNITER is capable of generating, I noticed that I was much more comfortable with longer casts, which I was throwing tighter, smoother curls and that I hit my target more often than not. In my mind, that’s all the credit for the spine and the cane’s scavenging ability.

Rigid and strong

When ditching the sink tip line and using a float line armed with lighter flies in shallower water the flex of the rod tip allowed me to lift and raise quickly without having to throw a false throw. More than once when large bulls were moving from undercut banks to attack a streamer, I missed the fish on the first try, but was able to quickly get the fly back into the strike zone. A few times, I was able to reconnect with a big tank that I had missed on the first lap.

This is a feature, I think, that saltwater anglers will appreciate – the ability to lift the line out of the water and remake it quickly without the need for a false cast or two. When hunting for a bonefish or license, it’s not a luxury, but a requirement – IGNITER, as advertised, just makes those casts easier.

Thin and light

It’s thin. I placed it next to a 6 weight that I used to throw dry flies at large cutthroats in heavy water, and the IGNITER – a heavier line weight – has a noticeably low profile. thinner and it was noticeably lighter.

The look

For the price, you better be gorgeous, right? And it’s.

The chipotle blank is a soft brown color, and the hardware, from the hook hidden in the reel seat to the Fuji ceramic stripping guides and the chrome and tip snake guides, are all top of the line. Even the stamped aluminum rod case of the Sage medallion is quite elegant.

What not

Required break

No, you won’t need to break in IGNITER like you did your last pair of hiking boots. But, just as you took those boots out for a few tries before trekking 12 miles through the Yellowstone backcountry with them, you’ll probably be well served spending time with your new IGNITER before flinging flies at fish with them. .

I think what I’ve struggled with more than anything else is the rod’s ability to generate significant line speed. When I started fishing it, I was actually banishing my target. More than once I passed my target and dropped a huge banner into the willows or rocks beyond the pool I was aiming for.

While it might be fair to my ego, it’s proof that before you take that rod flat and cold cast it on a cruising bonefish, you better know what to expect. It might seem spurious to complain about casting too far, but when you have a hit on a cruiser and line up the fish instead of putting the fly where you think it should go, it’s up to you not to know your rod before you take it fishing.

Is too high a line speed a fault? Not really, at least not from the rod. If there is one flaw, it’s that, as I mentioned, the rod takes a while to get used to. Once you get used to its speed, you’ll be able to tap into the things that likely drew you to IGNITER: more distance, more torsional stability under load, the ability to quickly pick up the line, etc. .

Not for everyone, so know you need it

Suppose you’re on the hunt for a new rod for your favorite type of fishing – throwing rainbows while gracefully sipping blue-winged olives on the Henry’s Fork – and the store you’re in pushes you up. IGNITER … get out.

Does that mean you can’t IGNITER fish those rainbows while sipping? Of course not. But why the hell would you want to? IGNITER is not made for that. Rather, it is designed for specific fishing scenarios where other rods leave the angler behind. Whether you want more distance, more graceful handling of heavy rigs, better wind-cutting power, or something else, chances are, if you’re one of those anglers, you’ll know it.

Simply put, IGNITER isn’t designed for the occasional spell caster or twice-summer fly-fisherman who walks away from camp while the family takes a nap for an afternoon. I like the way Sage has this message.

Last word

IGNITER is the result of Sage’s work to continually improve the technology of the rods it manufactures. Sage’s latest graphite and resin advancement, KonnecticHD, has allowed Sage to create a stronger and lighter rod, a rod designed for technical situations, extreme weather conditions and situations where long casts are vital. .

Sage presents IGNITER as “not a rod for the everyday fisherman”, but I disagree. IGNITER may not be for the casual angler who doesn’t fish in scenarios that require an application specific rod. But, what if I spent my fishing days hunting brown swallows in Tierra del Fuego, fishing bulky rigs to the red edges on the wind-whipped Deschutes, chasing permits on Belize flats or throwing long spikes of T-14 in fast runs hoping to swing a Skeena Rainbow Trout, I would happily fish IGNITER every day. Yes indeed. Each. Alone. A.



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