As enthusiastic anglers, we’re always on the lookout for new and exciting products. Sage is a well-known company that excels in creating high-quality gear for fly fishing, so we were eager to try out the Sage Spectrum fly reel. This reel is an entry-level model from Sage, coming in at around $300. In this review, we’ll go over the features of this fly reel, plus its pros and cons. Let’s find out what it’s got to offer!
Introducing the Sage Spectrum Reel
The Sage Spectrum is an entry to mid-range fly reel for beginners and intermediate anglers. It has a large arbor reel that offers plenty of backing capacity, and the drag system is fully sealed. You can use the Spectrum to fish in freshwater or saltwater, and the sealing will protect the drag system from corrosive and destructive elements.
For a saltwater-ready reel, the Spectrum is very reasonably priced. It retails for around $250-300, so it sits between budget reels and the high-end premium models. This reel offers a good range of user-friendly features, so it’s a fantastic choice for all your fishing trips.
Sage released the Spectrum to replace the earlier 3200 reel series, while the Spectrum LT replaced the Sage 4200 reels. If you’re not sure on the difference, here’s my quick summary: The Spectrum Max is a sturdier reel, designed for heavy-duty fishing for larger species of fish. In comparison, the Spectrum and the LT don’t pack quite as much power and are more suited to smaller fish, shorter distances, and more delicate techniques.
See also our recommendation for the top spinning reels here.
Features & Benefits
We want to explore all the details and features in our Sage Spectrum fly reel review. So, let’s take a closer look and discover if this reel is the best fly reel for you!
The Spectrum is a fully machined fly reel made from 6061-T6 aluminum. Sage has used high-quality, aerospace-grade aluminum for this reel, so it’s extremely sturdy and durable. The special cold-forging and tempering process only helps to make this product even more robust, so it should last you for years.
The Sage Spectrum features a one revolution drag knob, which means that the reel will rotate one time per turn of the drag knob to pull in your fly line. This feature also makes it easier to set and adjust your drag settings. If you’re cautious of the one revolution drag knob because of potential issues with drop off, don’t worry. To their credit, Sage has avoided this pitfall when creating the Spectrum, Spectrum LT, and the Spectrum Max series.
If you prefer quiet reels, you’ll love the Spectrum. You can hear an audible click when it turns, but it’s on the quiet side so you can fully concentrate on your cast!
The drag system on the Spectrum is fully sealed – an essential factor for saltwater fly fishing. You can fish with confidence, knowing that grit, sand, and corrosive saltwater can’t get inside the drag system. As a result, you won’t need to worry so much about frequent and meticulous maintenance. Just give it a rinse under tap water when you get home! The adjustability is also impressive, another big positive!
However, the major letdown for the Spectrum is the maximum drag. With just 2.65 lbs of drag, it’s hard to see how this fly reel could be suitable for fly fishing in saltwater. It just doesn’t have enough drag and power to handle bigger fish, so you may well be disappointed. You might hook a whopper, but you’ll struggle to haul it in.
The Spectrum LT and Max don’t fare much better, either. They both offer just 3.3 lbs of maximum drag, which is disappointing from otherwise great reels.
The Spectrum is a lightweight model, weighing just 6.6 ounces. It should balance out most modern fly rods beautifully, making for a productive fly fishing set up.
While the handle and knob have an ergonomic design for comfort, they are both quite small. The smaller size makes it harder to grab and operate them without bumping your hand against the reel itself. This can get quite annoying after a short time!
A generous lifetime warranty covers every Sage reel . If you buy the Spectrum reel and it stops working or becomes damaged, then you can send it off, and Sage will repair or replace it for you. Make sure you’re aware that the warranty only covers the original owner, however. If you buy a secondhand reel, the warranty can’t be transferred over to you.
Pros & Cons
If you’re short on time and can’t read the full review, here’s what you need to know about the Sage Spectrum! We’ve whittled it down to these pros and cons:
- It’s lightweight, at just 6.6 ounces
- Eye-catching aesthetics, like most of Sage’s products
- Reasonably priced
- Lots of backing capacity on the spool
- Generous lifetime warranty for the original owner
- Not enough drag – it can’t stand up to bigger fish
- Slower line pickup
- The handle is almost too small
- Less durable finish
The Wrap Up
The Sage Spectrum is a high-quality, nicely finished reel. The sealed drag system, lighter weight, reasonable price, and cool look all make it an attractive product. But the Spectrum reels are held back by the low maximum drag they provide, lacking real power to haul in big fish.
If you aren’t worried about catching trophy-size fish and want a well-made reel for freshwater in this price range, the Spectrum could be the right reel for you. All Sage products are constructed to the highest quality and come with that fantastic lifetime warranty, so you should be set for years to come.
If you don’t think the Spectrum meets your needs, we’ve got you covered! We’ve reviewed loads of different fly reels at Fly Fisher Pro, so have a browse and pick out the one you like the sound of! Then, drop us a comment to let us know! You can also find the perfect fly rod for your needs by checking out our detailed reviews.
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