Sage R8 Core 590-4 Rod Review – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Sage R8 Core 590-4 Rod Review

After spending a week fishing the new 590-4 (9' 5 weight, 4 piece) Sage R8 Core fly rod I have come to the conclusion that this rod will be my go-to stick for years to come. Continue reading for the full rod review from our Bozeman fly shop.

First Glance

Let's start from the beginning. The R8 Core story begins in the rod sleeve. The sock itself no longer has the two strings that are normally tied or tucked prior to putting the rod away, but these annoying ribbons of fabric are replaced with a quick tie cord for quicker and cleaner storage. When you pull the butt of the rod out of the sock you notice the beautiful wooden reel seat and full-wells flor grade cork. This leads to the first thread wraps around the fly keeper, slate with accents of grey and white, over the silver pine rod blank. All four pieces of the rod fit together beautifully without having to apply too much pressure. I have yet to notice any ferrule slippage. 9/10 on aesthetics.

First Cast

I immediately felt a difference between the Sage R8 Core and its competitors between how lightweight the rod is and how its action differs. All other fast action rods cast like they are sacrificing at least some feel or feedback to increase their overall power or improve distance casting. This is just not the case with the new R8 Core fly rod series. While the rod is still powerful and can cut through the wind, an angler is able to really feel what the rod is doing through the cork. This is good for both novice and experienced fly fishers. Sage's R8 rod makes it easier to improve your casting ability and helps you make the most out of your current casting experience by providing significant feedback with every stroke. I fished this stick hard in the wind on both Nelson's and on the Yellowstone River without any fatigue or mishaps. I was fishing 12ft+ leaders and light flies on Nelson's and a 7.5ft leader with a heavy nymph rig on the Yellowstone. Extremely accurate and incredibly easy to toss tight loops. 10/10 casting for any fly fishing application.

Final Thoughts

  • The 590-4 will now be my go-to 5 weight rod for fly fishing still waters and rivers throughout Montana
  • R8 Core 490-4 is potentially the best rod in the lineup and will be ideal for smaller water or technical dry fly fishing.
  • The 7 weight is exceptional and light for streamer fishing, carp, light bonefish, bass, pike etc..
  • Sage's Design team nailed the appearance and performance on the sage R8 Core rods
  • The quick-tie cord on the rod sock is extremely convenient

Swing by our Bozeman fly shop to test out any rod in the R8 lineup or read all about the specs of the R8 rod here. There is no doubt in my mind that at least one of these rods will quickly become the favorite in any quiver.

MEGA thanks to Sage for hosting the R8 Rally last week at the Sage Lodge. Peter Knox, you developed a badass rod. Alex Blouin, thanks for putting everything together. It was a great way to learn about the new rod, test the rods, and an opportunity to meet folks within the industry that I never would've connected with. Thanks for the good times and keeping 40 fish bums' thirst quenched. Tight lines!