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Sage Igniter 9wt

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Fergal

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I finished building this rod today and I had a chance to briefly play with it at lunch time. I threw a 9wt SA Grand Slam (3/4 size heavy, 40’ head) full leader but no fly. This rod is fast, very fast. It’s probably the fast 9wt that I’ve ever thrown.  I do not think this is a rod for anyone, especially beginners (Mike will disagree here but I can’t see a less experienced guy loading this rod). I still need throw it with a fly and fish it before I can say more. I’m also interested in getting a Flats Pro on it, the longer head might be better. If it doesn’t rain tomorrow I’ll play around with it some more.

ASMFC - Destroying public resources and fisheries one stock at a time since 1942.

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Great news. I hope I get mine before Sage discontinue it.

 

Some rods can be too fast for a beginner.  The only reason a beginner can't flex a fast rod is because they tend to have very sloppy stops fore and aft and a none straight line rod path. They will have same issue with a slower action but will flex the rod a bit more. But its fools gold. It looks like this blank is as sweet as my 9 ' 6 wt Igniter which is just fabulous. Fly sully will not approve but it would be very bad form to cancel my order.  I am so glad you like it.

Great rod.

Mike

Edited by Mike Oliver
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I still need to get a fly on it. Plenty rods cast fine with just a leader… that being said , I think it will be fine. 

ASMFC - Destroying public resources and fisheries one stock at a time since 1942.

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I got home and had a little time to play with it. First up was a 9wt Rio permit with a whore. That line isn’t really my favorite, I’d prefer the flats pro  which is very similar. Next up was the slam with the whore. 
 

As I said, it’s fast and that’s probably an understatement ( Sage describes it as ultrafast, and that’s probably accurate).
 

Giving it the ‘wiggle’ test, well nothing wiggles. It’s ‘stiff’, to some extent it feels lifeless and you could even say that about casting it to some extent and I could see how many might not like it. But taking a few minutes to get a feel for it and it’s nice, very nice. It does load with a 9 line (unlike some of sages other stuff that’s under-labeled. I think throwing 10 of it would take away too much from this rod).

 

I need to play around with it more, different lines, different flies, etc. I should have a window in the am before the rain arrives. 

ASMFC - Destroying public resources and fisheries one stock at a time since 1942.

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Herb the Igniter is a classic fast action rod. The blank is fast and  stiff. 

My double handers are not fast action but are very stiff and powerful. I can't think of a blank where the tip is fast and the rest of the blank soft. Fast and stiff tend to be bedfellows. There is no confusion.

Mike

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4 hours ago, Mike Oliver said:

Herb the Igniter is a classic fast action rod. The blank is fast and  stiff. 

My double handers are not fast action but are very stiff and powerful. I can't think of a blank where the tip is fast and the rest of the blank soft. Fast and stiff tend to be bedfellows. There is no confusion.

Mike

They’re largely interchangeable imho as well.

 

Comparing this rod to the 9wt Affinity X - in my hands is that the Igniter can throw a 9wt line. The Affinity X doesn’t, it's a 10wt rod with a 9wt label, maybe even an 11wt.

 

ASMFC - Destroying public resources and fisheries one stock at a time since 1942.

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Fergal and yet the CTS Affinity MX is fast and stiff, less stiff than the X version and true to line rating. I absolutely love my Affinity MX 10 wt.  It is still a very powerful rod. Not quite as stiff and fast as the X. But delightfully fast and clean.

I expected the 9wt Igniter to be more of a 10 wt.  Mike

Edited by Mike Oliver
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7 hours ago, Mike Oliver said:

Herb the Igniter is a classic fast action rod. The blank is fast and  stiff. 

My double handers are not fast action but are very stiff and powerful. I can't think of a blank where the tip is fast and the rest of the blank soft. Fast and stiff tend to be bedfellows. There is no confusion.

Mike

 

I don't think you can call a tip fast, because it's just one section of the rod. "Fast" refers to where the rod bends. "Stiff" refers to how much the rod bends. A fast rod has a tip that's soft relative to the rest of the blank. A slow rod has a stiff tip relative to the rest of the blank. The "rest of the blank" is essential when defining the action of the rod.

 

I think it's possible to have a fast blank that feels soft for the line being cast. The thing is, that softness will be mostly in the tip. It's what happens when you overline a rod like the original NRX. You have to drift on your backcast so your forward cast is mostly off the midsection of the rod. If your rod is close to a vertical position at the end of your backcast, the tip of the rod will collapse, while the butt will barely flex. That's what a "soft fast" rod means to me.

 

Edited by iklu
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Iklu

Rod actions  and power and recovery are tricky areas. I don't think any of the makers have come up with definitive classifications. In good rods that are described as fast then the tip is going to be relatively soft or flexible relative to the rest of the blank. The Igniter tip is not a piece of spaghetti we are not going  to flex it much with a slow rod stroke. The rest of the blank does flex due to the weight of the line and the amount of input we apply. Where we stop the rod on a cast can't define its type. Rods will bend proportionally to the load applied. If you move this 9 wt Igniter quickly and apply a good hard stop when the rod is vertical the tip will flex and so will the rest of blank relative to our input and mass of fly line. Mostly with a 9 wt.rod we will not be stopping  our rod at 12 pm or vertical if you prefer as that would be for a very short range cast. The only way that a rod like the Igniter can feel soft in the tip is if you overline it and use a very short casting arc to deliberately try and cast just off the tip. Why would we want to do that. Pointless. 

The lower the line rating the more difficult it is to build a truly fast action rod that is actually true to its stated line rating.  I have never come across say a 3wt rod that could be described as having a fast action and a soft tip verses the rest of the blank. If it could be done it would be aweful. For me fast starts at 5 wt and above. At the days end we could both enjoy debating  this until  the cows came home. But what counts is what each individual likes in a rod. These days it is a challange to find a slow action single hander that has balls.  Most rods are pretty fast. The very best blank I ever owned and still do is a CTS 9 foot 10 wt Affinity MX. This rod is fast but not stupid fast. The mid section  is easily accessed even with 50 foot casts. My 9 foot 6 wt Igniter is about as fast but also a bit stiffer. No problem accessing the lower blank sections either.  If the Fisher can cast then there should be no issue with most any of today's rods fast slow or down right noodle. A rod is like any tool we have to know how to use it properly. All the lessons I give are with Igniters be they single or double hand. Total beginners are not hog tied by the belief that a begginer can't cast a fast action powerful rod because they dont have a clue what rod it is I have put into their hands.  If they follow the lesson they will cast the rod fine. If they can't follow the lesson they would also cast a medium or slow action rod equally as badly. The casting  principles and physics do not change  just because a rods action does. Mikey 

Edited by Mike Oliver
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@Mike Oliver

 

I agree that rod action and power are tricky areas, because feel is both subjective and depends on the materials used. Joe Goodspeed said it best when he said that he can achieve a similar deflection with fiberglass, carbon, and steel, but those rods will feel dramatically different because of the materials used.

 

However, I disagree with you that none of the makers have come up with definitive classifications. Steve Rajeff describes action and stiffness really well in this clip

https://youtu.be/vlOza2-RO98?si=YmjQ3QKjzE-5hrmH&t=101

 

I agree with you that where we stop the rod on a cast can't define its type! My example of an overlined NRX was just to illustrate how a soft fast rod might behave in practice. An 8wt NRX with an 210gr line is a fast, stiff rod. The same rod with a 280gr line is a fast, soft rod. But you observe that softness mostly in the tip. The tip will be unstable, but the mid/butt will be able to handle a heavier line. Stop the rod close to vertical at the end of the backcast, and you're casting mostly off the tip. Result? The soft tip will collapse under the heavy line, and close your loop as a result. Drift on the backcast? You'll cast mostly off the stiff mid/butt, which can handle the very heavy line. A good fast rod blends the tip into the butt/mid smoothly, but you're still casting mostly off the top third of the rod, whether you're overlining it, or casting it with its designated line weight.

 

I also disagree with you that it's hard to find a slow action single hander that has balls. You may just have to look at out of production rods. Or, look at something like the Sage Payload, which is a rod with a stiff tip that flexes deep into the blank. Plenty of balls, and rewards a slower stroke. It's not a smooth rod, though, and its slow action is a pretty hinged one, IMO.

 

I 100% agree with you that casting principles don't change when rod action changes. But fast rods require a fast stroke for the cast to work. For some casters, that fast motion is intuitive and easy. For others, a fast stroke will feel awkward. Combine that with a lack of feel in the butt section of the rod, and the odds are stacked against that caster, because they're more likely to miss the narrow timing window that a fast rod requires.

Edited by iklu
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