Sage Dart 7' 6" #3 3 Piece

clag

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Messages
159
I've had a 7' #3 fly rod rod for a number of years. I originally bought a Greys 7' #3 GR70 Streamflex as at the time I was only using it occassionally and couldn't justify to myself the cost of a premium rod. That was false economy. The GR70 has a very through action, is ponderous (very slow recovery) and not very accurate in my hands. It also has a habit of colapsing altogether mid cast when trying to lift a DT3 Rio. After a day on the Kennet earlier in the season I'd had enough and decided I wanted something much more akin to my 8.5 #4 Sage One.

I've fished pretty much exclusively with Sage single and double handers for the last twenty years (note I have no connection with them whatsoever). So naturally I looked at what Sage were offering. Thus the Dart came to my attention. I read the reviews, such as there were, which all appeared to be independent. They all said the Dart was one of the finest middle to tip action fast recovery carbon rods of this genre ever made. I've now fished with it for four days. It would be difficult to argue with that assessment. Not becasue I've fished with lots of these rods but it's difficult to see how any rod could do what it is meant to much better.

I won't bother you with material and build quality. It is premium Sage and is imaculate as usual. You can read all the technical detail direct from the maufacturer here if you are interested.


However, I will pass on my observations on what I hope is helpful from a users point of view. Firstly, the action. As you can see it is upper middle to tip with a little extra flex in the tip itself to provide cushioning on 2lbs tippets.

Dart Action.JPG

The action is neither fast, medium or slow becasue no action is fast, medium or slow. However, if you flick the rod it returns to shape immediately after bending. If you do this on the G70 it wobbles for quite a while like one of those comedy bycicles. So its recovery speed is just about as fast as you can get. Therefore, it can generate very tight loops, but like any rod with this sort of recovery speed and action you need to know how to drive it to get the best performance from it. Sage have deliberately built it as a three piece so there isn't a joint screwing up the action in the middle of the rod - boy do you notice the difference. It is one of the smoothest single handed rods I have ever cast - it feels like an extension of your arm.

What I particularly like about it is it sends the fly exactly where you want it to go with those very tight loops (to thwart those overhanging branches) and the line lands like a feather. These are the most important criteria in a rod for brooks, clear chalkstreams and small lakes. Most commentary states the rod is balanced with a Rio Creek line. I can't speak to that. However, I have used both a Barrio Small Stream and a Rio Double Taper LT (both #3s) and it was perfectly happy with either although you obviously have to adjust your casting stroke to manage the double taper. I've no idea how far you could cast with this rod, because that is not the point of it. I can say from a day on the small lakes it is very comfortable and accurate up to 15 yards. I've used a Battenkill S&P II (as you can see in the photo below) which balances the rod beautifully. I've even taken the liberty of catching a few trout on it using G/H Nymphs to size 18 dries. So far I've landed Rainbows and Browns up to 4lbs. Great fun it has been to. Clearly it doesn't have the taming power of a 10' #8 but as long as you remember you are playing the fish and not the other way around it has more than enough to subdue a fish quickly if it is going back, unlike these two.

Dart Success.JPG


If the action and speed of a classic cane brook rod is your thing I doubt this is a rod you'd like and nothing wrong with that. However, if like me you are accustomed to fishing with upper middle to tip actioned rods that recover quickly then I'd be surprised if you didn't love this. However, at £699 RRP (before discounts and deals) it is an expensive trout rod, unless, of course, you plan to use it a lot. My fishing profile is changing and I estimate I'd use it maybe 15 times a year going forward. Very quickly the cost per use is in single figures per outing. That's not a lot of money for an awful lot of pleasure.

I hope this has been helpful if you are in the market for this sort of wand. Happy, if I can, to answer any additional queries.

Regards

CLaG
 

canefly

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
841
Location
UK
Good review thanks Clag!
I have the same rod and love it!
I didn’t like the Creek line as suggested on other reviews online.
A WF3F Rio Gold I found worked best for me!
Standard Gold not In-Touch.
Using it on some smaller chalkstreams last year,it was great during mayfly! Protects tippet well but can also get fish in no problem.
Very accurate and deals with some wind ok for a short 3wt.
Two of my friends keep asking Me when I will sell it?
No chance! 😀
 

AndrewL

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2019
Messages
17
Location
Derbyshire
Good review thanks Clag!
I have the same rod and love it!
I didn’t like the Creek line as suggested on other reviews online.
A WF3F Rio Gold I found worked best for me!
Standard Gold not In-Touch.
Using it on some smaller chalkstreams last year,it was great during mayfly! Protects tippet well but can also get fish in no problem.
Very accurate and deals with some wind ok for a short 3wt.
Two of my friends keep asking Me when I will sell it?
No chance! 😀
Interesting comment about the line choice. I have this rod and put a Rio creek on it for no other reason than it was recommended by Sage. What differences/improvements did you find using the Rio Gold? Thanks
 

ejw

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 2, 2012
Messages
325
Location
Helsby, Cheshire
Interesting review, I agree with the comments on the Streamflex. I have the original 6'6" 3w that was a quick recovery rod. I was that impressed with it I got the 10' streamflex, big disappointment, different action, poor recovery. A friend bought the Mk2, again different, sloppy action. I have tried the GR70 and found it "bouncy", ok if you slowed your casting down, but could not deliver the tight loops needed for small stream work.

Now I need to justify the cost of this Sage Dart rod !

Just to throw a spanner into this, the rod I have replaced the "original" Streamflex with a Maxcatch V-Light 7'6" 3w at the huge cost of £29 before any discounts ! It does all that I ask for ? Have used this rod for the past two seasons, with no issues. (I have no connections with Maxcatch, other than a customer).
 

canefly

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
841
Location
UK
Interesting comment about the line choice. I have this rod and put a Rio creek on it for no other reason than it was recommended by Sage. What differences/improvements did you find using the Rio Gold? Thanks
Hi Andrew
The Creek felt heavy to me and the Gold feels just right.
The Creek lines are 1 size heavy,I have seen an email from Rio about this.
I can understand it? At short range to load the Dart properly,but I found it wasn’t needed personally.
 
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