Sage Salt HD 890-4 ReviewApril 10, 2018
- One of the longest casting rods in the test
- Good power & fish control
- Well balanced
- Made in the USA
- Limited accuracy
- Limited versatility
- Can be difficult to cast, especially for novices
The Sage Salt HD 890-4 makes efficient use of Sage’s proprietary materials (dubbed KonneticHD) to create the fastest rods in this class, and that fast-action translates well in the case to exceptional casting power. The Salt HD reached distances greater than most other rods in the test — only the Orvis H3D matched its distance marks. The Salt HD offers good line control once a fish is hooked, and the fit-and-finish is both attractive and durable.
Weight, balance & general feel
The Sage Salt HD 890-4 black anodized aluminum reel seat and black rod blank — with deep blue wrap highlights — gives the rod a clean, though distinctive look. The full-well grip and well-tapered fighting butt fit well in hand and proved comfortable when wrestling big fish to the net. The Konnetic blanks and well-configured taper keep total rod weight down in a well-balanced rod. The swing-weight is low enough that a day of casting this powerful 8-weight is no more fatiguing than if it were a decent trout rod.
The Sage Salt HD 890-4 is all about power and distance performance. The rod upholds Sage’s reputation for fast-action casting cannons. The proprietary materials and unique Sage tapers in the blank combine perfectly to form a rod capable of throwing line faster and further than most every rod it is compared to. The Sage Salt HD 890-4 pushes line through wind, and out to distant targets better than most. The rod does demand good casting skills to achieve the best distances, but even moderate casters were able to extend their ‘best distances’ considerably by using the Salt HD.
Though its power and casting distance proved exceptional, the Sage Salt HD 890-4 doesn’t drop much in the accuracy game, either. Though far from achieving pinpoint accuracy, the Salt HD can place a fly generally where it needs to go, even at distance. Sage’s high-end composite materials (KonneticHD) dampens rod vibrations more than other, more common carbon fiber materials are capable of, giving the Sage Salt HD 890-4 better line control at distance. That gives the Salt HD the edge needed to earn second-place in the casting accuracy contest in the test (the Orvis H3D was the clear winner here). Even moderately experienced anglers found they could throw more line than normal, with better-than-average precision.
Like its predecessor, the Salt, the Salt HD sports a firm spine and powerful butt section needed to control big, hard-fighting fish. But a remarkable sensitive tip on this fast rod offers the sensitivity needed to prevent over-powering actions that could lead to break-offs. That tip also gives the Sage Salt HD 890-4 the ability to transmit minute controls to the fly, letting anglers give life-like twitches and jigs to a fly as it’s being stripped in, resulting in a more realistic presentation and therefore, more strikes.
The Sage Salt HD 890-4 performed well in a variety of situations and fish species equally well, presenting flies to everything from inland carp, to powerful Hawaiian mahi-mahi. The rod throughs floating lines as well as it does heavy sinking lines, and handled light surface minnows as well as it did heavy bottom-jigging crabs. The Salt HD wasn’t ideal for short range work, nor was it the most accurate rod in the test, but it’s all-around performance was great enough to rank it among the most versatile rods in the test.
Dan Nelson- Managing Editor & Fly Fishing Editor
Dan Nelson is GearInstitute.com's Managing Editor & fly fishing editor. He is based in the Pacific Northwest.