1. Sage ONE Trout Spey 12’6” 5-weight $1050.00
The Sage ONE Trout Spey 12’6” 5-weight is unbelievably light for its length, but most of all I like how much power this rod has over other trout spey rods. This long, light, and powerful combination make it the ultimate trout spey weapon for swinging flies, especially in Livingston where a 30 mph winter wind is just par for the course. We tested this rod (and the others) with a size #6 Sculpzilla, but after seeing how much power it had we also tried it with larger flies, such as size #2 Home Invaders, #4 Sex Dungeons, and other articulated streamers that big browns like on the Yellowstone. Softer trout spey rods had more difficulty handling these larger streamers, where the ONE handled them like a champ.
The Sage ONE Trout Spey blanks are finished in a jet-black color with matching black wraps over Fuji ceramic stripper guides and chrome snake guides. All of the guides including the tip-top are the perfect size for trout spey. The quality of cork is very good, although the length of the foregrip seems longer than it needs to be. The aluminum down-lock reel seat isn’t fancy but functions perfectly with two well-gnarled locking rings to keep your reel secured tightly. A powder coated aluminum rod tube and cloth bag are included.
Our only gripes – like other Sage rods, the epoxy work on the snake guides is a little thick and sloppy for a thousand plus dollar rod. Also the only disadvantage to the Sage ONE Trout Spey’s extremely lightweight feel is that they may be less durable than some of the other rods.
Light, powerful, and effortless to cast. Capable of throwing very tight loops, this rod punches into a headwind with ease. I love how this rod does the work for you and throws long bombs with minimal effort. The 12’6” length really helps throw a big mend to get your fly deeper. It’s also amazingly light so you can high stick this rod without much shoulder fatigue. This rod is very sensitive which means there is little question of whether you had a bite or bumped some rocks.
Any serious steelheader would be very happy with this rod while fishing in trout territory.
The “Ultimate” Trout Spey set up:
sub total: $2,338.87
<less line, FLO tip kit, backing & leader> <$238.87>
Includes free FLO tip zippered tip wallet –
Free ready to fish rigging –
No Tax –
Free Shipping –
Grand Total: $2,100.00
If you plan to swing for trout, the Sage ONE 12’6”#5 is the sweetest rod you can find at any price. This is the perfect length for spey casts, insanely light for mending and high sticking your swing, and can seriously launch a fly. If you are a steelheader looking to keep your cast in tip top shape while you are not pursing steelhead, this rod is going to feel and act like your 7 or 8 weight spey rod yet feel much lighter and more fun while fishing for fish under 30 inches.
I really enjoyed fishing this rod in every condition that came up. If it was calm, I could take my time and really let the rod do the work, making casting both smooth and easy. If the wind picked up, (as it usually does in Livingston on the Yellowstone), I could cast more aggressively with the ONE and “punch” a long bomb out there further than other rods. The other two trout spey rods that seemed to handle the wind well were the 11’11” G. Loomis IMX Pro and the 11’9” Thomas and Thomas DNA.
What impressed me the most about the Sage ONE 12’6”#5 trout spey was its length and power to weight ratio. As the second longest rod in review, is still felt lively and light in your hand. Is it worth paying $700 to have such a light and powerful rod? If you can afford it then yes, of course. If buying a rod in this price category just isn’t in the cards for you (and for most of us it won’t be) I feel it is more important to pick up a less expensive rod and start learning. You can always trade up later if you really enjoy swinging for trout.
Our pick for the ultimate trout spey reel to match up with the ultimate trout spey rod has to be the new Einarsson Invictus 8/10. Designed and made in Iceland, the Invictus truly is a high-end reel. Not only does it look and feel like a Bentley or Rolls Royce of reels, but it also has a technology that no other reel has – a spring loaded drag that increases hook up rates when swinging a fly.
Not only does it look fantastic, this reel has a spring in it which is designed to smooth out the take of the fly and help increase hookups. This is especially important when swinging for Atlantic Salmon or steelhead when you may only see one hook up a week, but it is also nice when fishing for big browns and rainbows too. While there are many reels with great drag stytems, we can’t think of any other reels that actually help you hook up and stay hooked up. For this reason alone, we love the Invictus, but we also love the quality build, sound, and over quality that this reel possesses. Finding a nicer reel will be difficult. The bad news is the price tag that is over $1000.00. If you would like to substitute a good but less expensive reel like the Einarsson 9 Plus at $732.00 or even the TFO 375 at $374.95, give us a call.
The Airflow Scout 360 skagit line works perfectly with the Sage ONE 12’6”#5 trout spey. It loads the rod well, making your spey, double spey, snap T, snap Z, and D-loop smooth yet powerful.
We also love the Airflow Skagit FLO tips. These tips have a thicker diameter and more mass than other tips, which translates to a smoother transition between your line and leader. This smoother transition matches the thickness of the Skagit line as well as the leader on the other end, making this the best tip we have found. The result is awesome turnover, with an even tighter loop, which is better when punching into the wind and also for accuracy (if needed).
With the Ultimate Trout Spey set up, we decided anglers willing to go this far will want the entire Airflow FLO tip “kit” which includes 5 tips raning from the lightest T7, all the way up to T-18. This will allow you to choose the best tip for the speed, depth, and temperature of the water you are fishing.
As far as running line goes, everyone has their own preferences and we can adjust to this when you order an outfit. Our standard is to use Scientific Anglers floating braided PE mono, which has a very slick coating and shoots well, yet does not have the memory issues of mono. Also it is easier to grip than mono, which works well when stripping your fly to add action or while winter fishing, once your hands are cold.
The Invictus has a lot of room for backing capacity – you’ll get about 200 yards of 20 pound backing. This is plenty of dacron backing, that won’t cut you like gel spun.
Last but not least we have a short but effective leader designed for excellent turnover and stealth. When fishing a sink tip a longer leader defeats the purpose of a sink tip. Too short, and the fish may see the black tungsten coated line on your FLO tip.
This combination is incredible. With it you’ll feel like you have the best chance at swinging up a trout, and as we all know swinging up trout (or steelhead / salmon) requires confidence. In order to swing up a fish, you must believe it will happen. If any outfit is going to make it happen this is it.