The big rods.


Sage fly rod review on Twigwater. Mittal Mitta River

I love wiggling twiggy little fly rods around tiny mountain streams bothering all the cute little trout within, but the lure of bigger water, and it’s bigger fish occasionally sinks it’s hooks in me and like a suspicious itch, must be scratched.

*Update:  The One series will be replaced by the new Sage X rods in August 2016. Read my review of the 9′ #5 X.

Local rivers, like the Mitta Mitta – a big tail-race if you don’t know – or the Lower Thredbo or Eucumbene Rivers can be fished with light rods, and I do so regularly, but when the big hoppers are out, or deep nymping is required in the big spring flows, a heavier rod is the way to go.

For this job and lake fishing I have a pair of Sage ‘One’ 5 weights in 9’ and 10’ lengths and a Sage Method #6 in the middle at 9’6.

Sage One 5 weight fly rods and Abel reels

Who is the chosen One ?

The 9’ #5 One, matched with my feather-light Abel SD 4/5 and WF#5 Rio Perception is, most likely, the best all-round trout outfit I’ve ever had in the hand in any weight in terms of fitness for purpose and all-round trout fishing finesse and I can’t wait to get this thing over to New Zealand next spring.

No, it’s not twiggy or tippy or bendy or slow or sexy in the butt-section or any of that other stuff that makes me moist in a 2 or 3 weight. It’s a belter, a powerhouse and a downright canon that with just a hint of civility and uncanny accuracy will crack out 90 feet of line easy.

Yes, it will still throw a pretty good short line, and is full of feel, it’s just the feel is more like a shovel hit to the back of the head.

Wind ? I laugh in the face of it knowing there’s not much better than a fast 9’ #5 when the weather punishes me for poor behaviour in previous lives. Even in a spring time Snowy mountains howler, the One is fine.

The 10’ #5 One is everything the 9’ is but there’s a bit more to love.

I’ve always been a big fan of long in rods 5 weight for big water because of the way they pick up and recast even a lazy, sloppy and poorly conceived cast and make shot-gun nymphing more of a flicking exercise than anything you will see at a casterbation competition.

For double nymph and indicator rigs on larger water the long One has few peers and slightly over-lined with a WF #6 RIO Perception I reckon it could mend the budget at the end of an 80 foot cast.

Out on the lakes, in my kick-boat, the 10 footer is perfect for fishing full sinking lines because of it’s extra lift and I’ve found that makes repeatedly casting, sinking and retrieving a type 6 line a breeze.

Yes, the extra length does make landing a fish a little harder when sitting at water level, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay to get the fish on in the first place.

Sage Method #6 fly rod review on Twigwater

My biggest rod with my not biggest brown of the season.

The Rhythm Method.

Going back to previous millennium trips to the Tongariro River in New Zealand chasing big spawning rainbows in winter, I’ve always had long and fast #7 for heavy sinking lines and big streamers.

Rods like the awesomely powerful and vaguely terrifying Sage 10 #7 TCR, and the slightly less so TCX that replaced it in my collection could throw big streamers across big water on heavy sinking shooting heads like The Hulk throws a hissy fit and if you’re up to it, I reckon both could cast the next episode of Starwars 100 feet.

The down side of these beasts is the physical nature of swinging them all day and that’s what led me to downsize to the 9’6 #6 Method for streamers.

Though still very fast and very powerful, the Method feels more like a normal 9’ trout rod in the hand, is surprisingly forgiving in nature and more suited to the big Australian rivers.

Overland with a WF#7 line, it’s pretty good with very very heavy nymph/indicator rigs.

Twigwater caught Brown trout from the Mitta Mitta River Victoria

A chunky early season brown caught on a double nymph rig.

The main thing these 3 rods (and my little Sage Circa’s) have in common is what Sage call ‘Konnetic’ technology. Not being a materials geek, or even particularly bright, I won’t go into the details about resins and carbon fibre advancements or whatever voodoo they’re on at Sage – you can read about it here –  but will say, that when Sage say these things are more accurate, lighter in weight and capable of higher line speed, they’re not shovelling BS out of the marketing department onto the factory floor, they’re telling it like it is.

In my hand, the main difference I feel in these rods over the previous models is the tracking and damping are more refined making accuracy, particularly at distance, easier to achieve.

Put simply, the line flies straighter and further.

Swing weight is also low and they feel lighter in the hand than actual weight reductions would suggest.

Sage 5 weight One fly rod and Abel reel review on twigwater

The Abel 4/5 SD – an awesome match for the 9′ #5 One.

No, the One 5’s or the Method 6, like all fast rods are not what I would call beginners rods, like the Circa or Mod, but all will flatter the average caster to some extent and will be amazing fishing tools in the hands of more accomplished casters.

Speaking of casting, improving your casting skills will make you a better fisherman with any rod on any water and I can’t recommend lessons with my mate Peter Morse highly enough.

Follow his Facebook page to see when he’s holding courses in your area.

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Twigwater Fly Fishing the Mitta Mitta River Northeast Victoria

Swinging Woolly Buggers on the Mitta Mitta River near Eskdale.


twigwater fly fishing small stream trout flay fishing