We like Spey fishing throughout Alaska. From Southeast Alaska, through Southcentral and Western Alaska, Spey fishing is not only a prevalent method of fly fishing; many would say it is preferred. Sage makes a variety of Spey rods and reels. One of the best reels they have come up with is the Sage Spey Reel.
In true trendy fashion, Sage Fly Fish has combined retro styling with modern machining to create a very dynamic Spey reel that balances well, is a smooth operator, and has a very reasonable price point. If you’re in the market for a new Spey Reel, you should consider the Sage Spey as your next reel.
The Sage Spey Reel comes in two sizes- 6/7/8 for Trout, Small Salmon, summer Steelhead, or 7/8/9- for Winter Steel, and big Salmon including King (Chinook) Salmon. Now mind you, these are for two-handed Spey rod weights.
We paired this 7/8/9 reel with various rods and lines—everything from 12’6″ to 13’3″ rods, with corresponding heads. We fished for King Salmon (Chinook) in Western Alaska and large Fall Rainbow Trout in Bristol Bay, Alaska. In both scenarios, the Sage Spey Reel performed well.
The reel balanced well regardless of the rod. The reel knob proved to be very smooth, and the increments in which the drag is applied are amazingly tactile. The one revolution drag makes it easy to predict the drag level. You can almost feel how much drag is there. The Full Frame design contains the running line from wayward loops while the spool is separated from the frame. The more oversized drag knob makes it easy to manipulate the drag, even with gloves on.
While trying to manage a fish, the drag performs well. We were a little nervous about the larger-than-normal handle, but it proved a great asset while fighting a fish. The exposed rim proved to be helpful while palming. A lot of reels have audible drags. Many of them announce not only to you but to everyone else on the river that you have a fish on. The Sage Spey Reel’s audible drag is loud enough to sound cool but isn’t annoyingly loud like some reels.
Aesthetically, the reel is appealing—the reel sports classic reel porting and design. One issue we have is the large and proud Sage logo on the reel itself. It’s tough to pair this reel with a non-Sage rod. It’s akin to putting Chevy wheels on a Ford Truck. It just doesn’t look right. In proper testing and ghetto fashion, we did anyway. You know for the sake of our review. We would also like to see more color options. We understand the desire to keep things in retro style, but I’m sure other colors would work well. All that said, the rod and color of the reel didn’t make a difference in the reel’s performance.
- Fully enclosed frame to keep your running line in place.
- Exposed rim for palming.
- Large ergonomic handle.
- Large, one revolution drag measured out very well with continuous drag levels.
- Price point makes it a good value.
- It sports a large SAGE Logo on the reel making it “difficult” to pair with a non-Sage rod.
- A lack of color options.
Overall, the Sage Spey Reel is great. Its modern features, high-quality machining, and retro styling make it a great Spey reel. The best part is it is relatively affordable, making this reel a great value.
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