Gray’s Best 2017

(River Travelers, by Chet Reneson)


sagemodrodRegular readers of this magazine know that I prefer moderate-flex fly rods to fast ones. Fly rod selection, much like fly casting itself, is as much about aesthetics as function. Aesthetics are subjective and personal. If you’re in the market for a fly rod, I suggest casting as many of them as you can. But the one new fly rod I think you should cast is the Sage MOD ($850). Of all the new rods that I fished this year, the MOD was my favorite. Sage designed this rod to complement their already stacked product line, and it managed to create a truly new flex pattern. The MOD has a much softer midsection than the ONE or the BOLT, which creates a nice feel, at least for me. The tip remains stiff, so this rod can turn over loops in the wind, something that the softer CIRCA struggles with sometimes. I’m also a big fan of the half-wells grip, a feature that’s becoming common on production trout rods. While performance is my primary point of consideration, I prefer carrying a handsome rod over a homely one, and the MOD is quite attractive. With a unique olive blank color set off by olive wraps, its look is distinct and distinguished.