Sage rod innovation seems to reach new heights year after year, and it’s almost routine for Sage to improve upon graphite technology and rod design and performance. Yet despite the progress, it’s common that rod junkies will name one particular rod from way back that they wish was still in production. For example, the 9-foot 6-inch 6 weight XP is frequently sought after in forums and on eBay, and for me, the 9-foot 4 and 5 weight SLT rods were my favorite Sage trout rods of all time. That is no longer the case.
Admittedly, I didn’t pay much attention when Sage announced the new TROUT LL rod. We posted the news on The Venturing Angler, and that was that. I have a 5 weight Sage ONE and X, and MODs and other rods perfectly fill the trout quiver. I assumed the TROUT LL would suit some anglers but wouldn’t be a rod I would care too much about. Getting on the water, I rigged the rod and threw a few casts to get the line out and knew immediately that this rod is something special. In fact, within no time, I determined, at least for my liking, the TROUT LL is the best Sage trout rod of all time. The SLT is now for the Sage museum (if there’s such a thing at HQ), and the TROUT LL is now the rod worthy of my love and devotion.
The TROUT LL is described by Sage as a medium action dry fly rod. My somewhat impatient run and gun style of trout fishing — largely now from drift boats and rafts — generally lends itself better to a faster rod. I also tend to spend most days on the water fishing tailwaters in the freezing cold to avoid crowds. Nymphs often get the call in such conditions. Sage R&D design engineer Peter Knox used the words “delicate touch” when describing the style of fishing with this rod, so I simply assumed it might be perfect for the Ranch on the Henry’s Fork but maybe not chucking double nymph rigs on the Lower Sacramento River. And while Sage designed this rod for a slower, smooth cast and gentle delivery, experimenting with this rod revealed it is ideal for many on-the-water applications.
We fished the 9-foot 5 weight TROUT LL with everything from smaller dries to terrestrials to terrestrials with beadhead droppers to small double nymph rigs with indicators. We cast the rod in close quarters and attempted picking up large amounts of line from a fast-moving raft. The TROUT LL was perfect and performed flawlessly with everything we did.
I can already predict what some readers will say — it’s the angler, not the rod that performs. In this case it’s both. A new angler on the boat enthusiastically proclaimed that he was casting, controlling line, and fishing better with the rod. I watched as I rowed. His claim was very true.
This isn’t grandpa’s old dry fly rod. KonneticHD technology gives this rod strength and power. The measure of a good rod isn’t simply the cast — it’s also fish fighting and line control strength. Sage’s graphite technology is key with these needs and also brings enhanced accuracy due to less vibration with the blank.
In addition to the KonneticHD technology, Sage uses Fuji ceramic stripper guides and hard chromed snake guides, and a snub-nose, half-wells cork handle maximizes grip and feel. The rod comes in seven models from a 7-foot 9-inch 3 weight to a 9-foot 6 weight. The retail cost of the Sage TROUT LL is $800, and all rods come in a hard rod tube and with a lifetime warranty. The rods are a nice mahogany color (that even reminds me of the SLT).
Readers owe it to themselves to take this rod for a spin. Sage really does have something special 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.