SAGE X 990-4
A Cannon in the Hand
by Jeff Mishler
After winter steelhead season winds down, the months of May and June mean long hours spent casting shooting tapers into the wind hoping that, on at least one presentation, a spring chinook eats my fly. By the end of the day, a ten weight fly rod can work you over pretty hard if your casting arm is not in fighting shape. That is precisely why the SAGE X 990-4 gets the nod for most of my spring salmon fishing.
Like the other X rods in the lineup, the 990-4 feels so light in the hand that jacking a 100 foot cast seems impossible. But execute a straight back cast, slip a bit of line and then come forward with another straight stroke, haul down hard at the end of the cast with your off hand and hang on! The line zips out with so much power that, once again, I’m left wondering how is it possible?
The Konnetic HD layup profoundly affects how lighter rods perform because single handed casts provide so much feedback. http://www.sageflyfish.com/rod-technology. I’ve previously noted the benefits of Konnetic HD technology in two handers. The tip tracks so much straighter during the longer forward casting stroke and there is more time to experience the feedback. With a single handed rod, the window for that tracking is relative to the rod length and the power applied. The cast happens quickly and the feedback is immediate. It’s hard to explain, unless you’ve cast an X rod.
I usually fish 10 weights for chinook. But this 990-4 X is stiff and fast and it is so light that the trade-off in lifting power is not worth the physical effort I expend. Cast a shooting head, into the onshore blow we see almost everyday (for ten hours a day) and you’ll be thankful that the rod feels like a 7 weight in the hand, but acts like a cannon loaded with a ton of powder. The line just bores through that wall of wind.
I like the X rods.