On July 1st, Sage announced they would be replacing their popular ONE Trout Spey rods with a new rod named the Trout Spey HD. Ever since I heard of the release, I have been eager to get one of these rods in my hands. In this blog, I am going to share a bit of my experience with the ONE Trout Spey rods, and then compare the new Trout Spey HD to its predecessor.
Years ago when I moved back to Oregon, I was on a float trip with my good friend Jon Hazlett. We have a couple Sage rods in the boat that day, but I remember seeing this shorter rod off to the side and asked Jon about it. The rod I am referring to was the 11’6” 4wt ONE Trout Spey rod. And when I asked Jon about the rod, he just said, “Dude.”
In short, that 4116 ONE is an incredible fly rod. It is light and responsive and though it was built for the needs of the trout angler, it fishes very well during the early season on the Rogue and throughout the fall on the Klamath. From the first cast I remember feeling that rod was just a winner. In many ways the 4wt ONE was a very business driven fly rod - it always seemed to get the job done from a casting and fishing perspective. And it was always a rod I wanted to own.
Unfortunately I never did have the opportunity to own the 4116 ONE. So when I heard that Sage was making a new Trout Spey series and that it was even more affordable than the ONE, I just had to pull the trigger. Enter the 11’3” 4wt Trout Spey HD. In my mind, this rod picks up right where the 4wt ONE left off, and is nothing short of incredible. There are a lot of great options on the market right now for trout spey rods, and I’ve had the opportunity to cast and fish many of them. But I can honestly say that none of them compare to the Trout Spey HD in my assessment.
The 4113 Trout Spey HD is light in hand and really enjoyable to cast. One major benefit of this rod over the ONE is the level of connection the angler will feel throughout the casting stroke. This rod has a uniquely smooth and pure feeling when it is loaded properly. In addition to the increased feel provided by the revamped taper, the Trout Spey HD also features a more trimmed down cork than the ONE which provides increased feel in hand. Best of all, it features an action which is fast, yet intuitive - making it both surprisingly powerful and easy to cast. Like many other Sage rods I have owned and enjoyed fishing, the 4113 Trout Spey HD makes me a better caster. With this rod in my hands I cast tighter, more aerodynamic loops - loops that deliver a fly with maximum efficiency to my target.
So far I have only fished one head on this rod. Initially I planned on trying multiple heads on it, but the first line I put on there was a 325gr RIO Scandi Body with a 10’ Light Scandi 5IPS Versileader and it just jumped off the rod. It’s a setup that does touch and go casts just as well as sustained anchor, and it’s surprisingly powerful. For those of you who follow along with us at the shop, you know this line is one of our favorites, and it was no exception on this rod.
A few days back, I was fishing this setup with a small traditional fly on the Rogue and was lucky enough to hook a small, wild summer steelhead with it. The fish took about ten feet of line on the grab and proceeded to run downstream and jump a couple times. After landing the fish and releasing it with plenty of energy, I was left thinking about how fun that had been to play the fish on the lighter rod. I do think there is an important disclaimer here though. A 4wt Trout Spey rod is built to land fish up to eight pounds. If you live in a place where your summer fish typically exceed this mark, you may shy away from fishing these rods for steelhead. But on the Rogue and Klamath where our fish typically run from two through six pounds, these rods are a great tool for the job. Personally, I just try to bump up my leader size so on the off chance I hook a larger fish, I will still have the power to land it without too much harm being done.
To wrap up, I’d just say again that I am extremely impressed with this rod from Sage and that I am overjoyed to own it and fish it throughout the season. This rod is built for performance but it also pleases the eye with its skillful attention to detail and impressive cosmetics. If you are interested in hearing more about this special rod, don’t hesitate to call or email any questions you have. I can be reached at (541) 488-6454 or at email@example.com directly. I would be happy to answer any questions for you or help compare this rod to others on the market. As always, we ship these rods for free domestically. If you'd like to see more on the Trout Spey HD click here.
Words by Marcus Mattioli, shop manager
Images by Miranda Stiles