You’ve probably heard us quote our good friend, frequent contributor, and School of Trout “headmaster” Todd Tanner by stating that the true hallmark of a great fly rod is one that “disappears in your hand,” a rod that is so intuitive and tuned to your angling, that you barely notice it’s there. It seems that iconic rod maker Sage, who this week introduced its latest flagship rod, the R8 CORE, is in agreement. The R8 CORE, borne of Sage’s new R8 technology, is one that the Bainbridge Island rod maker says is most focused on helping anglers enjoy “an idyllic day on the water ... not when we’re thinking more, but when we’re thinking less. Finding that state of fishing in the moment, where instinct and experience bring us to an almost zen-like awareness of each subtle motion and movement.”
As Sage Fly Rod Designer, Paul Schmierer puts it, “You shouldn’t be on a beautiful river focused on the technology that is in your rod. You shouldn’t be fighting your rod. You should be focused on catching a fish or on having a good time or on where you are — that’s what R8 CORE is all about. It’s not a race or a competition, but a state we all aim to reach out on the water.”
The driving force behind Sage’s latest flagship rod is its new R8 technology — the graphite and resin matrix from which the new R8 CORE is built. What’s particularly noteworthy about R8 is that it includes, for the first time in almost 20 years, new graphite. Over the years, Sage has developed and released a bevy of iterations of materials technology — G5, Konnetic, and KonneticHD just to name a few — but those new technologies were exclusively the result of advancements in resins and composites.
This is the first time in two decades—since the days of Sage’s Graphite IIIe and its beloved XP series of fly rods—that Sage is introducing a technology that is built on entirely new graphite fibers, one that combines those new fibers with the resin and composite advancements from previous generations.
According to Sage, in designing the R8 CORE, the rod maker shifted its focus back to feel and rhythm, “rather than dialing up parking lot distance,” a statement which will no doubt prove intriguing to many anglers. The CORE’s all-new graphite fibers, Sage says, results in significantly enhanced reactivity and sensitivity and shifts “energy further down the blank and into the handle.”
In its messaging about the new rod family, Sage is stressing that the R8 CORE lineup is engineered to be a versatile one. In a teaser video about the new CORE released last week, viewers visit with Sage ambassadors and other anglers that have been testing the R8 CORE in a wide variety of angling challenges — from delicate dry fly presentations, to flinging heavy nymph "junk rigs," to hucking big streamers on heavy lines — who suggest the new R8 CORE excels at all these tasks.
Sage’s new, flagship R8 CORE debuts with 19 different models ranging from 3 weight to 9 weight, at an MSRP of $1,050. To learn more about the R8 CORE, visit Sage Fly Fishing.