The history of sage fly rods

Written by james young
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The history of sage fly rods
(Photo by seriousfun at

The first Sage fly rod---the Reserve Power or RP---began with veteran rod builder Don Green's intention to build the best fly fishing rods in the world. The unique qualities of the nine different fly rod types now built by Sage Rod Company are the culmination of a team of fishermen, rod builders and retail experts. The newest Sage rods expand the company's ability to precisely match fly rods to the casting strengths and techniques of individual fishermen.

Company Origins

In 1980 Don Greene of Bainbridge Island, Washington, founded the Winslow Rod Company. The name soon changed to Sage. With many years of rod building experience while working for the rod manufacturers Fenwick and Grizzly, Greene's intention was to create the world's best fly fishing rods. To his new company, marketing approach would be as important as the rods themselves. Speciality outlets providing individual consultation were chosen over large marketing chains.


Don Greene's original idea was that fly rods should never run out of power. Under normal casting conditions, the maximum flex of the rod should not be used. Holding extra potential in reserve meant greater control under difficult conditions. In 1982 the first Reserve Power rods based on this concept were released to the company's marketing division led by retail expert Bruce Kirschner. By 1985, the RP, Graphite II and Graphite III RPL rods were among the most popular fly fishing rods available.

Saltwater Rods

In 1986, Sage produced fly fishing rods designed specifically for saltwater angling---the RPLX. Sage also added two-handed spey rods to their line-up, patterned after European styles. Sage Rod Company's reputation and market share grew steadily throughout the late 80s and early 90s until it became the world's top-rated fly rod manufacturer.

Graphite IV

In 1994, Sage produced the first truly new rod design in 10 years, luckily coinciding with the release of the hit movie, "A River Runs Through It." The movie's popularity created a huge demand for the Graphite IV SP, a carbon fibre rod using a new scrim material called Durascrim. A light polyester weave fabric, Durascrim reinforced joints and provided a flexible final layer of protection.

Generation 5

Sage Rod's Generation 5 technology uses carbon fibre rod portions of different strengths matched to the demands of specific rod sections. With every inch of the rod designed for maximum performance, Sage produced the first Generation 5---the Xi2 saltwater rod---in 1994. 1995's Fli and Launch rods provided this most advanced design in a pattern suited to beginning anglers. Sage's most recent development, the TCX, debuted in 2008.

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