A lot of people wonder whether or not the marketing behind Sage’s BASS series of fly rods are everything that the makers want them to look, and sound like. I’m here to tell you, in a short answer, that you can get a lot more rod, for a lot less money. This isn’t saying, however, that these rods do not have their place in your arsenal. I’m just saying that the rods are marketed wrong, and I’ll cover a few of the reasons why I think these combos belong in a different sector of the fly fishing market. Before you head out and spend your hard earned money, you may want to stop and take a look at what I’m talking about.
The Rod Isn’t A True 7/8 Rod
One of the reasons that the rods are marketed in a grain weight, rather than the standard weight system that is used for other combos is because of the true line diameter that is on the rods. Specifically, the largemouth rod is actually lined with an 11-weight line. The overlined rod does help provide a better casting stroke on large hair bugs, but that would happen on any 8-weight rod that you line with 11-weight fly lines. When you drop the line down to an 8-weight to match the rod, the performance you get is on par with performance of other 8-weight combos on the market, that are also available for a lot less money.
The Combo Is Overkill For Largemouth & Smallmouth Bass
As I’ve previously stated, having an 11-weight line on an 8-weight combo is simply overkill for both largemouth, and smallmouth bass. Even for the occasional big fish, all you are going to need to carry with you is a 7-weight rod. The rod that Sage designed and marketed as a largemouth and smallmouth rod is actually big enough to handle saltwater fish such as smaller Tarpon, Snook, and Redfish. If Sage decided to change the way they marketed the rod, they could probably sell quite a few more, but as it stands they are going to be hard pressed to sell them to too many bass anglers.
The Price Is A Bit High, Even Though The Quality Is There
When you take a look at the price tag, $395 is quite a bit for a rod that is supposed to be designed specifically for bass. For that price you can get a high quality combo, spooled with a floating line, a couple fly boxes, a vest, and a full lanyard of tools. Even though Sage is known for their quality products, it is hard for me, personally, to fork over the $395 needed for this “specialty” combo.
Fly Rods Aren’t Allowed In Most Bass Tournaments
Sage knew that they could hit a market that hadn’t been tackled before by saying that the 7’11″ rod falls under the length required in the rules of the BASS/Bassmaster tournaments, but the fact is that they are simply not allowed in the tourneys. This is straight from the BASS rule books:
“Only one casting, spin casting or spinning rod (8 foot maximum length from butt of handle to rod tip) and reel may be used at any one time.”
I’ve gotta admit that there is a strong marketing initiative behind the BASS fly rods from Sage. They knew what they were doing when they started designing, but for what it is worth, they approached it in all the wrong ways. Rather than marketing these heavy-hitting rods as largemouth/smallmouth combos, they should have lowered down the line and rod ratings, to what true bass anglers are able to use, and not use false marketing campaigns that state something that is completely false.
Remember, this is just my opinion based on a few facts, and using the rod for a few hours when I borrowed it from a fishing buddy. Feel free to make your own decisions on whether or not Sage hit the mark with the rod, or if they should head back to the drawing board and give us bass anglers what we really want. Let me know your opinions by leaving a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!