The Sage Dart Hits A Bullseye

Sage fly rod, small stream, Sage Dart, finfollowerI’m always excited to see a package on the doorstep with a return address from Sage and RIO. It usually has some of the latest products inside and an offer to test them.

I was pleasantly surprised to open this box and find a new Sage Dart 3wt rod, Sage Click reel and RIO Creek fly line. Ever since I saw the Dart I’ve been wanting to give it a try, and the timing couldn’t be better.

I live in New England. The recent rains have pushed some of the larger rivers to relatively high water levels, and small streams have been looking more attractive.

The Sage Dart is a great choice for small streams. I am testing the 3-piece 7’6″ 3wt.

If you’ve read any of my prior reviews, you know that I typically test the product outside the intended use. This review is no exception. While I used it for small stream trout, it was also tested on my local bass pond.

To complement the Dart, I received a Sage Click reel along with RIO Creek line, which is specifically made for small streams. Sage reels are always light and dependable, and I’ve been using RIO lines for some time.

Sage Click Fly Reel, RIO Creek Line, small stream fly fishing, finfollower

The first day of testing began on the Farmington River. Almost immediately I caught a juvenile smallmouth on a nymph. It was good to feel a fish on the line, but the winds picked up and I wanted to use this rod for what it was intended for – dry flies and small streams. We packed up and I started thinking about where to go next.

Five minutes from my house is a small stream that runs thru town. It is stocked lightly in the spring, but by late summer holds few remaining trout and it is mostly dominated by panfish.  It was a longshot, but turned out to be the right decision.

I tied on a small caddis dry and started catching panfish. Nothing of size, but it gave me the opportunity to cast to different targets. I’m pleasantly surprised by the distance and accuracy you get from the 7’6″ 3wt Dart. For such a light rod, it shot much more line than I expected.  The RIO Creek line delivered the fly softly to the surface and did not spook the other fish.

panfish, sage, sage dart, finfollower, small stream, dry fly, RIO fly line, fall fishing

On one cast I had an interested follower that looked like it might be a trout, but it quickly turned away.

I dropped down to a size 2o midge, and this brown appeared. As is typical, he refused the fly 3 times before turning and crushing it on the surface.

brown trout, sage, sage dart, finfollower, small stream, dry fly, RIO fly line, fall fishing

The second outing I took the Dart to a local bass pond.

bass, perch, Sage Dart, Click Reel, RIO Creek Line, 3wt, freshwater fly fishing, lake fishing, pond fishing, finfollower, streamer fishing, largemouth bass, fall fly fishing

It was a beautiful fall day and I decided to tie on a size 10 baby complex twist bugger from Fly Fish Food.

I cast from the dock into the glassy water. Within minutes I had this perch on the line.

perch, Sage Dart, Click Reel, RIO Creek Line, 3wt, freshwater fly fishing, lake fishing, pond fishing, finfollower, streamer fishing, fall fly fishing

Followed by this juvenile largemouth bass.

bass, Sage Dart, Click Reel, RIO Creek Line, 3wt, freshwater fly fishing, lake fishing, pond fishing, finfollower, streamer fishing, largemouth bass, fall fly fishing

Even though the Dart is a 3wt, it provided enough backbone to cast a size 10 streamer 60 ft, and pull in this bass with no issue. Again, I really like the smoothness and distance of cast with the RIO line.

What I like about this combo:

  • Casting is effortless – it is a very light rod and I was happily surprised by the distance you can get with the Dart
  • The Click reel felt like it was made for this combo, smooth and light
  • RIO Creek small stream line was perfect for small streams – loaded well at close range but has enough body for casts beyond 50 feet

The bottom line: If you’re a small stream enthusiast, give the Sage Dart a test. It is an excellent dry fly rod, and worked well with small nymphs and streamers.

If you’d like to check out other review on these products, see below:

Sage Dart Fly Rod Review

HATCH Magazine Review

Link to the RIO Creek line video.

Note: I received a Sage Dart rod, Sage Click reel and RIO Creek line to test, but no compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Enjoy!

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