Sage Response ReviewMarch 21, 2014
- Good line-speed/power for performance in windy conditions
- Progressive taper helps with presentation of small dry flies
- Truly a “Jack of all Trades” rod
- Does not excel in any particular category
- No alignment dots on ferrules to ease set up.
- Grip felt a little too “full” for some small-handed anglers
When you want a do-it-all rod, compromises have to be made, and the Response makes reasonable compromises to be a true “quiver of one.” By coupling proven rod blank tapers with existing top quality carbon fiber, Sage created a rod with good casting power and good sensitivity for smooth, soft presentation of dry flies of all sizes. When you need a “do-it-all” rod rather than a quiver of specialty rods, the Response fills the bill as well as any in the class, though it costs a bit more than some with similar characteristics.
The Sage Response 590-4 is a fast-action, 5-weight rod we tested in a 9 foot length. Borrowing design features from more expensive models in the line, the Response is designed for general purpose fishing at a reasonable price.
The Sage Response seems tailor made for the angler wanting to throw a variety of flies in a wide range of conditions. Testers caught skittish rainbows in crystal clear pools along Oregon’s Fall Creek yet also pushed line through the heavy cross winds common in the Yakima River’s Lower Canyon.
Casting Distance and Accuracy
While not the top in either category (distance or accuracy), the Sage Response 590-4 was in the top three in both categories, earning top marks as a true “All Purpose” rod. The Response offers enough power to throw plenty of line onto big waters like the Deschutes and even the upper Missouri, but also offers just enough finesse to softly drop dry flies on the easy-to-spook fish of spring creeks like Washington’s Rock Creek and Idaho’s Silver Creek.
General fit, finish and feel
This American-made rod (made by hand at Sage’s factory on Bainbridge Island, Washington) looks like a slick piece of art. The soft mahogany-red finish of the rod pops against the green and blue waters of wild rivers. The cork grip proved a bit fuller than most of the others in the test and some of the smaller testers though it just a tad too large, but not unmanageable.
Whether you need to reach across a river to swing a streamer through a feeding channel or drop a dry fly above a rising fly just 5 yards upstream, the Response meets the need. We found even novice anglers were casting 50 feet with little effort, while experienced casters were making that distance while laying down dries without a ripple.
We tested the 9-foot, 5-weight version, but the Response is also available in 3- through 10-weight, in a variety of lengths
Dan Nelson- Fly Fishing Editor
Dan Nelson is GearInstitute.com's fly fishing editor. He is based in the Pacific Northwest.