Sage Sonic’s nitty-gritty casting performance, the all-around workhorse.
We are going to be focusing on the 9Ft 5 weight, the “bread and butter” trout outfit. Let’s just jump straight into the casting performance of this rod and how it feels at different distances. This review is done with Cortland Ultralight fly line for all the dry fly fishing. The streamer, hopper dropper, and indicator fishing was done with the new Rio Elite Gold.
In close (-30′)
30 feet and under is your typical small stream cast. How a rod really feels in the hand is important at this distance. The Sonic performs well at this closer distance – but it doesn’t have the same incredible feel as the higher end rods such as the Sage X or Scott Centric. There’s always a compromise you have to make in fly rods, and the versatility of the Sonic makes up for its good but less than stellar feel. Specific to the mid-price class though, the Sonic by-far out performs the other rods on feel and strike detection. Tippet protection, even with the 5 weight was incredible. Being able to play larger fish on 6x or even 7x tippets with confidence takes a lot of skill and this rod really allows you to drop tippet sizes when needed and not worry as much. Loop control with dry flies at close distance is excellent. Although the rod likes to load with faster line speeds, it does slow down quite well. Mending at this distance is a breeze and feels very controllable.
Mid range (30′-50′)
Okay this is where this rod shines. The sweet spot of this do-it-all rod is found here; where it provides the ultimate in loop control and power to really deliver a fly to where you want it to land. When heavier awkward casting flies come into play, it sometimes can be hard to turn over your leader. Not with the Sonic, this rod really offers the power you need in order to confidently deliver an indicator with 2 nymphs; or even a larger hopper-dropper rig. The rod can handle a faster-style stroke and not collapse under load, while still offering good feel. Don’t be afraid to make very soft technical dry fly presentations at this distance. The Cortland Ultralight line paired at this distance makes for an incredibly soft landing dry fly presentation. Switching to streamer fishing at this range is also perfect. #4 sculpinators or #4 buggers can be thrown all day with ease. Hence the “Workhorse, Do-it-all, Versatility” behind the design.
Far out (50′-70′)
When it comes to casting to a spot that maybe you can’t wade close enough to; it sometimes can be hard to really lean on a trout rod and expect it to deliver a fly with any mass at distance. But here we are again, talking about how well the Sonic delivers larger flies at distance while still having control of the loop and accuracy. Although it will not feel nearly as nicely as something like a Sage Igniter at this distance, it still stands tall and feels quite crisp. Throwing a dry fly at this distance works very well. The feel of a reach cast is surprisingly great and large mends at this range are easy with this rod. Being able to lift and throw line upstream is a breeze due to the faster-style action while still providing a lot of feel in a large mend.
In conclusion, the versatility, performance and feel of this rod is insane. To be able to do it all on a river in the same day with one rod gives you peace of mind. Allowing you to focus more on fishing and less on worrying if you have the right rod for the situation. Although it’s not not a Centric on feel or Igniter on power, this is the best all-around rod in its price-class. At $550 it’s a no-brainer. If anyone is looking for an extremely high quality rod in the middle of the road budget-wise, you just found it.