Sage BOLT Review and Pro's and Cons to Ultra Fast Action

December 29, 2015

Sage BOLT Fly Rod Review and Slow Motion Casting Video

Ok so its time to think about our upcoming year.  I did a ton of casting the other day with the new for 2015 Sage BOLT which is an ultra fast action rod.  The new year brings about it an anticipation of new adventures and the task of planning your fishing year in order to make the most of your precious free time.  This time of year is when I get to slow down a bit and dive into gear testing.  Some of you subscribe to our Youtube Channel and you know I have been busy casting a bunch of different rods and playing around with all the new reels.  
While most of you don't give a rip about what I think of a particular model, for some of you this first hand assessment and endorsement helps make the buying process more fun and gives you confidence to buy or not buy.  I personally love casting, testing, and fishing with new gear.  When I get a new piece of equipment it gets me motivated and excited to get in the water and get busy.  I doubt that if I had continued to fish the same old Orvis Clearwater that I used in college I would posses 1/3 the casting skills I have today.  Picking up new rods, lines, and gear helps hone the blade.  

Now I realize you can't buy everything that comes out, nor will I try to sell you everything.  You'll get what you need and over the years we know that you'll get most of it from Red's.  As long as we take care of the customer you'll support us.  Please don't take our gear reviews as a sales pitch.  I say this because I think there is value in reading/watching gear reviews because you're likely to learn things that you didn't know before.

Sage BOLT Ultra Fast Action Fly Rod Review

Like all of our reviews, I'll explain our goals here.  We simply don't stock nor review products that suck.  Its a waste of everyone's time and we're not wasting our money bringing it into Red's Fly Shop and we're not wasting your money on a product that isn't top shelf.  There are some crappy products out there.  Trust me.  We filter them out before they hit our shelves. You'll find them at the box stores or at other shops.  Plain and simple.  Our reviews are essentially an assessment as to who might benefit from this product.

I have cast this rod a fair amount.  It feels suspiciously like a Sage TCX which was their long time "technical casting rod" and provided the angler with great distance, tight loops, and a quick cycling cast.  These things come in handy for anglers facing a variety of conditions.  Here are some elements that this rod will stand up to:

  • wind
  • large wind resistant flies
  • 2 fly rigs
  • weighted flies
  • situations that demand distance
  • situations that require shooting line with minimal false casts (think about beach fishing and shooting heads)
  • casting from a moving boat in fast water
  • beaches
  • Bonefish

If you find yourself facing some of these challenges and enjoy a short, quick, and fairly aggressive casting stroke then the Sage BOLT might be for you.  IF you face some of the following conditions then this might not be the best choice.

  • tendinitis in your elbow
  • tiny dry flies
  • roll casting short distances
  • long light tippets
  • technical drifts that require fine mending (tiny nymphs)

Overall this is a fantastic rod for someone looking for an ultra fast action.  For a handful of anglers this rod will give them an edge that they didn't have before. 

  1. Joe, thanks for all of your great gear reviews. As you say, even though I don't buy every new rod that comes along, it is nice to hear about them. At some point the technological advances are great enough to warrant an upgrade. In that vain, can you compare the Bolt to the Sage Xi3 and the Loomis NRX(my current saltwater rods). Thanks again and Happy New Year!!
  2. The BOLT is a lot faster and will have better line speed than the Xi3 but it isn't as tough. They only make it up through and 8 weight and isn't going to be the "bruiser" that the Xi3 is. It is closer to the NRX, but again it isn't a "saltwater" specific rod so it doesn't have the torsional rigidity that the NRX or Xi3 has. That said, it will roll cast a set of nymphs a lot better because of the way it is tapered. I think its a great "all water" rod that would be a great mix for Salmon/Bonefish/Alaska Trout/Steelhead in the 7/8 weights. Great for true "western" trout fishing in the US. By western I mean big wind, big water, big flies.
  3. As soon as I posted my question of comparing the Bolt with the Xi3 and NRX I realized that I had been confusing the Bolt with the Salt. Thanks for the clarification! Happy New Year to you and everyone at Red's!!
  4. SALT and BOLT seem to have a very similar action but the SALT has a lot more back bone. This doesn't let it make the short cast quite as well and roll casts are a chore. SALT is stronger for pure fighting fish, picking up a long line and weighted fly without stripping all the way back in. Pure casting at 40' or more, very similar.
  5. Hey Joe. Thank you all for the hard work you put into your videos and your blog (I've pretty much crushed all your videos on youtube already haha). I just got into fly fishing last summer and got my first 9' 5 weight..Its a sage Response. Cant compare it to anything(because I'am a rookie) but I love it. So I am pretty much a fully addicted gear junkie and I am now wanting a dedicated streamer rod for fishing The Bow. I was thinking a 6/7 weight 9'6'' Sage One. Will the 6'' be an advantage for streaming?... Later next year me and some buddies are also planning on getting into steelheading on the Skeena. 9'6'' 8 weight seems like it would be a good starting point . So many rods, so many fish and thats just with one hand on the stick! Thanks again!!:)