Sage Method Elite Field Report

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At thirteen hundred and twenty five dollars, this is the most expensive production fly rod on the market today, as far as I am aware.  Certainly it is the most expensive large volume production rod.  The Method Elite is the two-tipped, titanium clad big brother of the Method, last year’s replacement from Sage in its historical ultra-fast-action line, dating back to the TCR in 2002.

These have always been slick casting rods; a distance caster’s ideal stick.  But are they also worthy fishing rods?  I had only ever casted a rod from this series on the grass or competition pond.  Last week, however, I was invited down to Mexico to fish with Sage as part of a catalog and commercial photoshoot for their next rod, which will debut in June.  In addition to that new stick, they also had the Method, and I seized my chance.

First off, a word about the two tips.  I wound up breaking one of the rods at the tiptop, likely due to it having been shoved in and out of various boats over the first few days of our trip.  An ordinary Method would have been down for the count, but thanks to the Method Elite’s full-sized-spare, we were able to swap out the tip and keep going.

From a casting perspective, this rod remains incredible.  Tack sharp loops to seventy feet and more become ‘meh, no big deal.’  We had a fifteen knot wind the entire week, and even with that considerable challenge, throwing the necessary 40-50 feet upwind was, if not easy, then certainly doable.  In some circumstances I felt like this rod was the only thing keeping me on the water.

Accoutrements are standard Sage: classic Sage logo treatment, same red blank design that every rod in this class has had since 2002, same grip and fighting butt.  Frankly, I felt the titanium parts were sort of pointless, and if the regular Method were offered with two tips, I would wholeheartedly recommend just buying that rod instead.

The difference between the old TCR and the newer TCX and now Method rod lines is that graphite technology and Sage’s rod-rolling methods have advanced to the point where the ultra-high line speed generated by the old TCR can now be reliably matched with a rod flexible enough to protect ten pound bonefish tippet.  (I was fishing primarily with an 8 weight Method for bones, then swapping to the new rod for permit).

Overall this remains an extremely premium rod: the Porsche 911 if you will of fly rods.  As with a Porsche, the cost tradeoff is there.  And, just like with a sports car, if your skill set isn’t quite up to snuff, the rod will quickly make it obvious.

At thirteen hundred plus dollars I could never seriously “recommend” this rod to anyone.  There are plenty of other sticks at less than half the cost which will get you to 90% of what the Method Elite offers.  But for those anglers for whom price is no concern; and ESPECIALLY those anglers who will be traveling without a serious supply line, the two tips on the Method Elite and its incredible performance make this a luxury worth having.

Rating: Five out of Five Stars on Quality, Two out of Five Stars on Affordability

Purchase: From your local fly shop.

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