How To Select A Rod

Sage believes that selecting the correct fly rod is the first step in having a satisfying fly fishing experience. They manufacture nine different series of rods, in a variety of rod models and sizes, for every fishing situation around the world. Here is a quick three-step procedure to help you determine which Sage rod is right for your fishing situation or casting preference.

STEP 1 To select the ideal line weight, determine the species you will be pursuing and the size and type of flies you will be using. Generally, the lighter line weights are for smaller flies and fish; the heavier line weights are for larger flies and fish.

At Sage, you can determine the rod model by using this handy decoder.

  • A. The "9" means that this rod will use a 9-weight fly line
  • B. The "90" means that the length of this rod is 9 feet, 0 inches
  • C. The "-4" means that this rod comes in 4 pieces so you can pack it small to use for travel (if a rod model does not have a "-3, -4 or -5" suffix, that simply means that the rod comes in a 2-piece configuration)
  • D. The "TCX" is the rod family it belongs to.

STEP 2Determine the type of rod action you prefer. Sage offers medium to ultra-fast action rods to suit many types of anglers.

STEP 3The proper rod length is determined by the type and size of water you will be fishing. Generally, shorter rods are used on smaller spring creeks and streams. Longer rods are used on larger rivers, lakes and in saltwater locations.

Casting Tips

Here is a simple 5-step guide to assist you with the basics in fly casting. Use this mnemonic device to help you remember these important steps:

So Simple So Please Practice

Straight Line Relationship
Tracking the hand, wrist, forearm & shoulder in a straight line. Rod tip should travel in a straight line and in a single plane.

Stroke length changes with the length of line being casted. The longer the cast, the longer the casting stroke.

Slack Line Kept to a Minimum
Maintain a tight or taunt line during the cast. A tight line means the fly moves when the tip moves. Keep rod tip down to start the cast.

The smooth acceleration and stop of the rod provides energy to the cast. The amount of power is important: more power for long casts, wind, big flies; less power for more calm, lighter, shorter scenarios.

Allow the line to straighten before beginning the forward or backcast. Pause changes with the length of line. A longer pause is used for longer casts. Just watch the line to understand timing.

Casting Problems

Fly Fishing Lingo


When a rod loads, it is capturing the energy of the casting stroke. When the rod unloads, it imparts this energy to the fly line resulting in the cast. It sounds really scientific, but it's actually very simple. Every rod is designed to load and unload at a particular place on the rod, depending on whether it's a faster or slower action rod. Since different rods have different actions, anglers need to adjust their casting stroke and application of power to maximize a rod's performance.

Tip Cast

Tip casting means you back off the power of the rod and utilize the rod's tip to perform the cast. This generally requires a very fast-action rod, such as Sage's One Rod Series, and a crisp, compact casting stroke.

Line speed

Line speed is the key to casting performance. Line speed enables the angler to achieve superior distance, control and accuracy. High line speed also creates tight loops, which helps drive a fly through the wind. It is achieved through the loading and unloading of a fly rod. Sage pioneered the development of high line speed fly rods with the RP rods in the mid 80s and we recommend the One Rod as our premier high line speed rod.

Rod Care Tips

Take extra care when stringing your rod. Thread a loop of fly line through the guides and tip top and pull the line and leader straight through without bending the rod.
Avoid placing or transporting your rod against metal or abrasive objects. Small nicks and scratches damage the graphite and lead to broken rods.
When using weighted or large flies, adjust to an open casting stroke. This allows the fly to pass over the tip or to the side of the rod (a fly hitting the rod can also damage the graphite).
Avoid severe rod angles when fighting and landing fish. Snagged flies should be broken off by pulling on the line with the rod tip pointed directly at the snag.
Periodically wax the ferrules (where the rod pieces separate) lightly with paraffin to ensure a firm fit and proper function.
Take the rod apart when you are done fishing to avoid stuck ferrules.
Completely air dry your rod and place it in a cloth bag and tube before storing. The rod tubes can trap moisture, which can swell reel seats and ruin the rod finish.
To protect the tip, it is best to bag your rod with the tip top and cork handle up.
Occasionally clean your rod with warm water and soap and completely dry.
To shine, apply furniture polish and don't forget to protect the rod when finished.

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