Wednesday, March 20, 2013

SAGE ONE 4wt Switch Rod Review

Saltwater Spey casting in Maldives

After some quality time with my new SAGE ONE 4116-4 and fishing with it extensively in my recent saltwater fly fishing trip, I think it is time I write a mini review on this rod. From the onset, I really like how this rod zing out the 350 grain Wulff Ambush line but that did not quite prepare me on how well this mini Spey rod perform in Maldives. For this trip, I matched the rod to a light weight Lamson Speedster reel and a 350 grain Wulff Ambush clear intermediate sink head.

We had 8 solid days of flats fishing in Maldives and I used the SAGE ONE 4 wt everyday except for day 3 when I decided to switched over to my trusty TFO Deer Creek (6wt Switch rod) casting the same 350 grain Ambush on Lamson Speedster. After just a few hours however, I began to feel weighed down and started yearning for the ONE. It also made me wish for a stiffer tip on my Deer Creek after noticing how much better the SAGE ONE 4116 turn over the fly with the final kick of the tip.

Anyhow, I switched back to SAGE ONE the very next day (and thereafter) and was happily feeling light again. Throughout the 8 days, this rod performed flawlessly in all kinds of condition. I know some may consider a 4 wt switch rod  too light for saltwater but in the case of ONE 4116, I think it is a champ for flats fishing.

I met condition where storm wind was so strong that it made it impossible to cast directly upwind but tightening up the loop with ONE 4116 was easy and that made it possible to cast quartering up-wind.

There were also situations where strong cross wind  from right/left shoulder made it impossible to set the anchor for the poke. In such cases, I found the Double Spey to be godsend. Just send the fly down wind, set the anchor upwind, sweep and go.

I casted Charlies, Clousers, crab fly, baitfish pattern throughout the trip and the ONE 4116 handles it all with aplomb. For heavier flies, I just have to remember to bring the anchor further in when doing the Speed Poke. That gave me a deep enough D-Loop / power to lift the heavy fly.

The ONE 4116 is light, fast recovery and yet regressive enough to feel the rod load. When a fish is on, I like how the rod bends well down giving a great feel. In short, the rod not only cast well but it also fish well. Overall, the SAGE ONE 4116-4 Switch is a winner.

Note: You can access all my blog post on saltwater spey by clicking on the "Saltwater Spey" link located on the right hand side under Labels.

Landing Bonefish with Sage ONE 4wt Switch rod

**Jul 2015 update:
Here is a review done by Simon Gawesworth on the Sage ONE 4116 switch rod.


  1. Thanks for the update. I have a Sage One 4 wt Switch and am headed to the Florida Keys next week for bone fishing. I'm concerned about the "rip sound" off the water with Spey casting to spooky bonefish. Was that an issue? Can't wait to try Spey on the flats.

    1. Hi Michael, It can be an issue in thin water. In such situation, do the wiggle roll cast. It helps to minimize the ripping and can get good distance as well, especially with Charlie. A wiggle roll cast does not require you to dump and rip the line. You can go to the label section of my blog and click on "wiggle roll cast" to jump directly to the relevant post.

  2. Thanks for the article. Very interesting use of the switch rod. I am thinking of getting the 4 wt sage as well but for lake fishing. The wulff line sounds a good option but I would have thought a 7wt would be the right match which is lighter than 350 I think.
    Any help appreciated.
    Also what Speedster model is it as it looks a great outfit?

    1. Hi Neil, the 7wt Ambush line is only 265 grain. According to RIO's recommendation for Sage ONE 4116, the lightest you should go is 275 grain. So if you like to go light and do not need to turn over heavy flies of sink tips, then go with Ambush 8wt (290 grain).

      I like to use the 350 grain for tight quarter fishing when I have restricted room for a full D-Loop....or when I am casting heavy / bulky flies.

    2. Oh...the Lamson Speedster model I use is #3.5

    3. Thanks for the advice I really appreciate it

  3. I am getting a 4wt as well for my lake fishing and planning to get the 7wt Ambush with 15ft polyleaders to compensate the 265 grain.
    Do you think this will work?
    I have a custom cut line in 348 for bigger beefier flies.

    1. The weight of the polyleader does not really come into the equation when calculating the grain weight. Since you already have the 348 grain and wanted to go lighter, yes you can use 7wt Ambush. I have casted well even with 6wt Ambush but you will need to work harder to flex the rod.