If you’re a steelheader, you are a special type of fly angler. From your methods to your state of mind, generally everything is a little, say … different. Often, steelheaders are singularly focused and even obsessed with one thing and one thing only: swinging for steelhead. Some steelheaders don’t even fish for trout. And many refuse any other methods than swinging. In the Pacific Northwest, months will be spent practicing casting and tying flies — all in preparation for the possibility (in some cases) of spending weeks on the water for just a few fish.
With this, steelheaders don’t mess around when it comes to rods, and a rod review and recommendation isn’t taken lightly with this scene. And knowing how obsessed and also particular steelheaders are, it can be said (with confidence) that the new Sage IGNITER Spey rod will be well-loved by many steelhead anglers.
We tested the 12-foot 6-inch 7 weight (7126-4) Sage IGNITER Spey rod and loved it. To be honest, there was some initial concern that this rod might be too fast and lack feel and could therefore only suit the interests of very skilled and picky anglers. However, going big on winter run steelhead rivers in the Pacific Northwest, this rod felt great in every aspect and even enhanced performance on the water.
Winter steelheading often means encountering more challenges with an already difficult endeavor. Bigger water, higher flows, heavier tips, and larger flies are often added to the mix, and the importance of gear is elevated. The power of the IGNITER was certainly appreciated once these factors came into play, and fishing a post-storm big river became much easier as the powerful and fast action of the IGNITER allowed for better line control and ease when it came to lifting and launching heavier tips and flies. Despite bringing a favorite steelhead rod to use once testing was finished, the old favorite never left the truck, and the IGNITER was the go-to for several days.
Sage brought their A-game when designing this rod, and it’s safe to say they know it, as their launch included six different Spey models — perhaps a sign of confidence in knowing they got it right. Their fastest and most powerful rod, the IGNITER is ideal for casting great distances and controlling a lot of (often heavy) line. These are key considerations for choosing a Spey rod. Bring in hard rains and winds, and this rod stands out even more. Yet despite these aspects of the rod, there is enough feel that the IGNITER will also suit casting dries or smaller flies to early season steelhead.
Ranging from a 12-foot 6-inch 6 weight to a 15-foot 10 weight, there are a number of options for a range of conditions and situations. All models are four pieces and come in a hard rod tube. Sage IGNITER Spey rods cost $1,200 and have a lifetime warranty.
To learn more about the IGNITER Spey rod from Sage, please click here.
Disclosure: Sage is in a professional relationship with 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.