When a new fly rod comes out, there is always praise – often even before the rod has touched the hands of the those offering the praise. Devotees come in all shapes and sizes. There are those loyal to the brand and will love anything with that logo on it, there are folks whose livelihood depends on sales from that company, and there are those absolute gear junkies that go bonkers every time something new comes out.
Let’s be honest: Any time Sage releases a new rod, many anglers go wild. (Imagine some pandemonium.) This excitement comes from brand loyalty on one hand and passion for innovation, improvement, and evolution on the other. With decades of producing extraordinary high performance fly rods, Sage has earned this enthusiasm. And with the new Sage SALT rod, Sage will likely strengthen the devotion of their fans and welcome new boosters.
The SALT will replace the now discontinued Xi3 as the most high-end saltwater-specific fly rod from Sage. While many loved the Xi3 for having a model that perfectly fit every plausible saltwater scenario, some found that the situation-specific make-up of the rod family served too-narrow a casting style or application. While I have friends who found the Xi3 to be the cat’s meow (not their words), my style of casting drew me more to the MOTIVE (the lower-end saltwater rod from Sage) and now the SALT. With the SALT, all anglers might find an ideal saltwater stick.
To first address the components, the SALT uses Sage’s Konnetic Technology® and their finest graphite, Fuji stripping guides, high grade cork, and a uniquely heavy-duty aluminum reel seat. The reel seats for each model also feature a hidden hook holder and even have the rod weight etched on each model. (Note: After recent fumbling on a boat offshore from rod confusion with tuna busting the surface, I find this small feature very attractive.) Finally, the “dark sapphire” color of the rod blank should appeal to anglers who love that deep blue color of saltwater rods.
I casted the 9-foot 8-weight SALT at the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club in San Francisco with George Revel, club president, competitive casting champ, and owner of Lost Coast Outfitters in the city. For myself, the rod was a joy to cast. Matched with an appropriate 8-weight line, the fast rod allowed me to pick up a lot of line and smoothly and quickly fire it back out there with ease.
This rod casts beautifully. There is plenty of feel in this stiff and fast rod. As someone who takes numerous saltwater trips per year, I am uncompromising when it comes to gear. If I am going to travel 3,000 miles for a shot at a tarpon in the Keys, I want performance I can rely on, and this rod will have a perfect place in my quiver. I can’t wait to get the 9-weight and know that this rod will serve all of my casting needs in demanding, windy saltwater settings in which the trip can be made or broken with a quick 30-foot to 90-foot cast, hopefully followed by a gear-testing battle.
For George Revel, the SALT also has a place in his gear stash. For Revel, the SALT, “Throws a nice, powerful loop with very little effort … The SALT delivers a really great casting rod – great for bonefish quickcasts, great for backhanded casting, great for shooting quite a bit of line in windy environments.” And Revel has already snagged a 9-weight SALT.
The SALT is just now hitting stores, and the demand is appropriately high. From bonefish to giant trevally and more, the SALT will draw anglers with diverse fly fishing needs. We anticipate some pandemonium!
– Tim Harden
Disclosure: Sage is in a professional relationship with the Fly Fishing Guide Directory, LLC and the Venturing Angler. Though potentially benefiting from this relationship, we do not post what we do not believe to be true. To read more, click here.