Last summer, the good folks at Sage released a new ‘specialty’ series of reels called the Evoke. According to Sage, the Evoke was the answer to the question, ‘what would many of the most hardcore fly fishers who take on big anadromous fish and powerful saltwater species want in a fly reel.’ Well, that was enough to get our attention, so we’ve spent the last year trying one out at our operations in both the Bahamas and in Alaska. Needless to say, we liked it a lot, but we’re here to give you our full review.
It’s unique. One look at the Evoke and it’s easy to see that it’s quite a bit different than most traditional reels out there. According to Sage, the Evoke has a ‘modified full frame.’ What does that mean? It means it has a classic full frame design, with an opening to allow the reel to be palmed from both sides (unlike most modern fly reels). Need to put the heat on that bonefish before he hits the mangrove line, or put the brakes on that steelhead before it heads back to the snags? The Evoke’s on it. No other reel we’ve tried has offered this much control and we think that’s pretty cool.
It’s light, but not too light. We tried out the Evoke 8 at our South Andros operation and found that although it is not listed as the lightest reel on the market, it actually balanced quite well on some of our favorite 8 weight bonefish sticks. However, the little extra weight came in handy as we also loaded it up on the Sage Method 6119-4 while swinging for trout and salmon in Alaska and found it to be one of the most well balanced setups we’ve tried all year!
Easy spool removal. The Evoke incorporates the same quick change mechanism that we’ve always liked in their 6000 series reels as well. Just a simple 1/5 turn of the spool mechanism and the spool slides right off. Super simple, yet super dependable.. Just how we like it.
Full frame line guard. The frame of the Evoke is bound together by five stainless steel pins to create an extremely rigid reel, perfect for battling big fish capable of long runs. One of these steel pins also serves as a full frame line guard that covers the entire face of the reel. In other words, no more thin running line slipping between the frame and the spool while you’re fighting a fish! If you’ve swung flies with mono running line long enough, you know what we mean..
Same great drag. The drag design used in the Evoke is actually the same design used in the popular 6000 series of reels, which we have been a huge fan of for years. It’s smooth, strong, and durable. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it is our opinion on the matter!
Huge drag knob. Fumbling around trying to crank up the drag while fighting a good fish is the worst! The Evoke features an extremely large knob to ensure you’re never out of the fight. We love this about the Evoke and think this is a highly underrated feature in any reel.
We said it before, and we’ll say it again.. We really liked the Evoke reel. We’re not too surprised however. In our opinion, Sage took everything we loved about their 6000 series reels, added some super cool and innovative features and came up with an even more bombproof reel!
The Evoke comes in two sizes, #8 (for 7-8 weight single handers, or 5-7 weight two handers) and #10 (for 9-10 weight single handers, or 6-9 weight two handers), and retails for $575.00 and $595.00 respectively.
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