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ROD SHOOTOUT! 10ft #7 Single Handed Fly Rods put to the test.

Why are we testing?
Its been a while since we've tested some rods. Due to the events of 2020/2021 we havent had the chance, or stock, to get out and compare some rods. There have also been some new rods arrive on market that we simply have never cast. It was decided that we would compare a range of 10' 7# rods. The 10' 7# is possibly the most common rod size that we sell, its perfect for stillwater/ Loch fishing, Sea Trout and Salmon fishing in the summer. In this case we tested 11 rods between the price of £200 and £950. This intentionally excludes the less expensive and beginner rods as these will be tested separetaly.

Testing Parameters
In order to have a fair test we scored the rods in a number of areas. These were the following;
Price
Look/finish
Casting Efficiency
Casting Accuracy
Casting Distance
Feel

The two catagories that need some explantion are casting efficiency and feel. Casting efficiency is how much effort you have to put in to get the desired result. This is important because some of us don't have the strength or stamina to be giving full effort all day long to load a stiff rod. For those that have the strength and power an efficient rod will enable them to enjoy their fishing a bit more and to end the day without sore limbs.

The term feel refers to the feedback that the rod gives to your hand through the casting stroke. Its important for the rod to tell you how and where its loading so you can time your casting to perfection. Experienced fishers can get away with less feedback from the rod but will enjoy fishing with more feel. Begineers need the most feel possible so they can learn when the rod has loaded and how to time the cast.
Finally, we made sure it was a valid assesment of the rods by using the same RIO Gold Premier WF7 fly line and Hardy reel so that the only differences in casting were from the rods themselves.

Who's Testing
Nick is a very experienced fisher who has cast hundreds of rods and therefore will be able to give the most detailed feedback.
John is a very good fisher and caster but has not cast a large number of rods so his insights are fresh and detailed.
Roland is the least experienced of the three but is still an intermediate fisher so can therefore give the views of someone with the occasional casting issue.

   

 

Sage Igniter

Price - £949

Action - Ultra fast

Weight - 110g

Link to rod Here

The Sage Igniter topped the list for good reason. Like the other rods from Sage its also very efficent and seemed almost effortless to hit the target when testing. This is because It uses the latest 'Konnetic HD' technology from Sage, giving the lightest, strongest and most powerful rod on test. However, unlike other "super fast" rods the Igniter does not give up any feel and this gives the user heaps of feedback.
The styling on the rod (like the other Sage rods) is very simple but of extremely high quality. The reel seat is robust but lightweight with a silver anodised finish, Fuji ceramic stripper guides with hard chromed snake guides are tip-top and the blank is finished in a high gloss dark maroon colour.
It's not perfect but its close. It's only downfall is that its not the most forgiving of action. What this means is that unless you are a competent fisher then you will not be able get the most from the rod. Any miss-timing in the cast will be punished however this will help you to hone in your casting technique. For the more experienced fisher this is really the best rod available.

 

Sage X

Price - £949

Action - Fast

Weight - 110g

Link to rod here

We think the Sage X is the best all round rod for most fishers. It is similar to the Sage Igniter but is more forgiving and this makes it more of an allrounder. This rod will happily cast delicate dry flies, larger lures and everything in between.

Casting the rod is a pleasure, it has lots of feel, as well as lots of power in reserve for casting those bigger flies on occasion or punching the fly line into the wind. It will respond well when pushed. Like the other Sage rods the accuracy is deadly and easy to achieve. On the test we could all hit the target even whilst chatting away over our shoulders. Just look at your target and the rod will do the rest.
The rod has a glossy very dark green finish (almost black), a lightweight but robust satin black annodised reel seat, Fuji ceramic stripper guides with hard chromed snake guides and tip-top and the typical Sage quality.

 

Sage Sonic

Price - £599

Action - fast

Weight - 110g

Link to rod here

The Sage Sonic sits in an interesting spot in the line up. It benefits from the same Konnetic HD technology as the Igniter and X but its quite a bit cheaper, so whats the difference?

When we first cast this rod is feels very similar to the X but after a while you start to feel a small divide. It has slightly less feel and its slightly harder to cast than the X, and it is less efficient. This means its more work to get the distance and the accuracy suffers also. Dont be put off however, the differences are negligible and some people may not even notice the difference. This makes is a very good rod for the price.
The blank is a dark green finish, Sage call it juniper, the reel seat is a satin gunmetal grey annodised finish and Fuji ceramic stripper guides with hard chromed snake guides and tip-top.

 

Sage Pulse

Price - £499

Action - fast

Weight - 112g

Link to rod here

The Sage Pulse is one of our best selling Sage rods. This is purely down to its performance vs cost, you get a hell of a lot of rod for the money. This is a fantastic all round rod for the keen angler. When making notes on the rod test we marked "very good" next to most scoring sections, where it shines is its ease of casting, the cast timing is very intuitive. A beginner could cast this rod and then keep it for 20 years. Its that usable!

In the back to back test against the other rods we did notice a slight reduction in efficiency, accuracy, feel and distance but once again most fishers might not be able to tell the difference.
In terms of looks the Pulse is a slight departure from the more expensive Sage rods, it has an olive (lichen) green blank, Fuji ceramic stripper guides with hard chromed snake guides and tip and a gloss black anodised reel seat.

 

Sage Foundation

Price - £399

Action - fast

Weight - 116g

Link to rod here

The Sage Foundation offers the legendary Sage feel and build quality at a more affordable price.

Once again, this rod is fantastic its just not quite as good as the sage pulse. The difference between this and the pulse is the reduction in feel/feedback, the differences are negligible but when testing back to back we did notice it. This rod also feels heavier in the hand than the other sage rods, thats not neccesarily the weight of the rod but how it feels when casting.
The rod has a stealthy aesthetic with a matt black blank and reel seat which we quite like. Another difference with this rod is the slight reduction in cork quality used in the handle and using standard Ceramic stripper guides; hard chromed snake guides and tip-top


The Sage Foundation really is an effortless rod to cast and being hand made to the same high standards as all other sage rods makes this is a perfect gateway rod into the big leagues.

 

Vision Onki

Price - £269.99

Action - Medium fast

Weight - 114g

Link to rod here

 The Vision Onki was the real surprise of the test. It was liked by all testers and casts similarly to a rod much more expensive.

Its light, powerful and is capable of producing tight loops, fast line speed and long casts. Vision claim to be using a high-modulus graphite only found on more expensive rods, we can't comment on the technicalities but it seems to work very well. This rod truly loads effortlessly such that even a beginner caster could shoot the line with elegance. This rod provided the experience of a far more expensive rod with a smaller ticket price.
The appearance of the rod might not be to everyones' liking. It has a matt olive coloured blank and satin grey anodised reel seat.
A great all round rod and money well spent!

 

Redington Crux

Price - £399

Action - Fast

Weight - 136g

Link to rod here

The Redington Crux was the only Redington rod in this test. We were not dissapointed.

First of all, the Crux is fantastic looking rod. The blank is a luxurious looking satin green. The reel seat is satin black with the word "crux" machined into it, this is a very nice touch. It has a unique angled two denisty grip, a denser pre-compressed cork material at the front is designed to increase durability and reduce hand fatigue.
On the whole the action of the rod feels very good. Both accuracy and distance were as expected at this price however it did take some effort to achieve good results. The efficiency score was lower because of this. The more experinced fishers might find the rod a little numb in the hand compared to, say, the sage range.

 

Vision STIFU

Price - £369.99

Action - Fast

Weight - 118g

Link to rod here

The Vision STIFU is a fast action rod with the power to hold tight loops at distance and chuck large flies. In short, its powerful. In terms of looks the Stifu is very clean, with a matte blue blank and silver gides. This rod is very fast and tip actioned, definitely making it inclined towards coastal fishing for sea trout and casting into stiff headwinds. However, this extra power comes with its own downsides, it can take more effort to load this rod properly for those short to mid range casts and its accuracy is hindered at this range due to its relative lack of feel when compared to the other rods on test. With that being said this rod is a real long distance casting performer and once there is a lot of line out the tip, you will realise the true benefit of the action of this rod; being able to deliver very long casts. Covering as much water as possible can be all the difference when fishing for coastal sea trout or bank fishing on Stillwaters for example.

 

Vision Stillmaniac

Price - £369.99

Action - Very Fast

Weight - 114g

Link to rod here

As the name would suggest the Vision Stillmaniac is a dedicated stillwater rod. Vision describe the action as "extremely fast" and is designed for longer casting with the competition angler in mind. The action does feel all in the tip and therefore it might be more comfortable with a heavier line otherwise you do have to bully it a bit to get it to load deeper down the rod. It would be great in a wind and is certainly powerful enough for seatrout fishing and casting larger flies.

All this power does come at a price, the rod is numb and does not offer the fisher much feedback through the casting stroke.
Visualy the rod is very striking. It has a matt dark blue blank, a very slim reel seat and a bright orange fighting butt. We like the dark blue/orange combination and the nymph on the butt is a nice touch. On a side note we all felt that the handle was too slim, this is a personal preference of course.

 

Hardy Shadow (sintrix 220)

Price - £389

Action - Medium

Weight - 118g

Link to rod here

The Hardy Shadow gave us a surprise in this test. We were expecting the rod to be faster but when compared to the other rods on test it felt quite slow. What this means is that the soft action required an adjustment in casting style to slow everything down and relax a bit more with the rod. This rod would suit someone who doesn't like the modern fast rods and prefers the more traditional feel of a rod that loads easily deeper into the blank. This makes the rod perform mid range casts with ease but requires effort to control when casting long distance.

As can be expected of Hardy the rod has a very high level of finish, the blank is a deep gloss red, the cork is high quality and the general epoxy work is perfect. The dots to line up the rod sections are very handy. Dissapointingly the reel seat is a very ordinary gloss black item that does nothing to lift the rod.

 

Vision Still Hero

Price - £199.99

Action - Medium Fast

Weight - 110g

Link to rod here

The Vision Hero came last in our test but this doesn't do it justice. It was up against some stiff comptition in this case and was outgunned by some much more advanced rods. At this price point it is still a very good rod.

It’s a slower action than the Stillmaniac which means it loads deeper into the middle of the blank and this gives a bit more feel and ease of use. The only downside is that it lacks the raw power of the more expensive rods and does fall flat if you try to force it.
Aesthetically the rod divided us. The satin gold/yellow blank is not ugly but it is an aquired taste. We did like the reel seat which is a very nice timber item complimented with black anodised hardware.

 

 

 

 

 

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