One Rod, Many Lessons - Sage X vs. Scott Centric

PaAdk

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Inspired by Yvon Chouinard’s One Fly, Many Lessons article combined with a general desire to simplify, get back to basics, and generally unwind a whole lot of unneeded complexity created over the last couple years, I am embarking on a One Rod, Many Lessons journey.
  • Use: Freshwater. Trout. Smallmouth.
  • Tactics: Dry. Nymphs. Dry/dropper. Hopper/dropper. Streamers (within reason, say < 3”). Mostly wading. Some float and kayak.
  • Locations: Primarily PA, NY, and New England up through Maine. Medium to large streams. Colorado, Montana and other western states are likely.
  • Limiting choices: USA made. I have nothing against the wonderful overseas manufactured rods, but I’m eliminating them from my choices, in part, to help simply this decision.
  • What it’s not: This is not a rod for Pike, throwing 5” articulated streamers for smallmouth, or for 3” brookies in densely covered creeks. I’m not throwing away my 7.6’ 3wt or my 8wt - but they would come out very rarely and only on very targeted trips.
I’m leaning heavily towards a Sage X or a Scott Centric in a 9’ 5wt or 6wt config.

I have no doubt any of these options would work, but, I’d be interested in real world experiences comparing these rods and any comments on 5 vs 6 wt.

 

WNCtroutstalker

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Given your stated tactics, I would opt for a 6 wt. As between the rods you listed, I've only cast them in a 5 wt, but I prefer to the Centric (I own one). If you're open to a sub-9' rod, you also might check out the Scott GS 886.
 
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osseous

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I own a lot of rods. My first choice based on your characteristics would probably be my Sage 690LL. 597X would be up there as well...

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GManBart

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When you added the part about heading out West, I'd say that really favors the 6 over the 5.

As far as those two rods, have you cast either of them yet? You and I could try both of those rods at the same time and place and each favor a different rod, so the opinion of others isn't that important.
 

ghostrider408

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Reading what you're looking for in one rod, and mentioning medium to large rivers, streamer fishing, and smallmouth in the mix.... A 6 wt. all the way. That is a rod weight that will do it all. Bigger rivers and streamers... a 6 wt. Smallmouth bass and bass flies... a 6 wt. Big dry flies, dry/droppers, and heavy nymphs rigs... a 6 wt. Small dries, light indicator rigs, a 6 wt. will still get the job done. Will it be as graceful or purpose driven as a 4 wt. or 5 wt., probably not, but in the end there is no one rod weight that does everything well for every angler, river, lake, conditions, species, etc. But... a 6 wt. is pretty hard to beat for an all arounder that can get a lot stuff done in less than ideal conditions.
 

mnigro

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Can’t help you. I get wanting things simple but having one rod for each discipline - all around trout (5 or 4wt), smallmouth/streamer stick (6wt), pike/inshore rod (8wt), short small creek rod (3wt) - isn’t necessarily making things complicated. Very different than owning 5 different 4 and 5 weights in various lengths, etc. and having to figure out which one to string up for a given outing. To each his own :)
 

cslyngstad

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This is always an interesting topic to hear somebody embark on. One I think I need to consider at times 😉. What will be more interesting is if you set a reminder on your calendar to revisit the forum in 2023 and honestly weigh the pros and the cons of only having one rod ....and if you plan to remain a "one rod" guy for years to come. Either of your rod choices will no doubt make you happy in many ways...regardless of the weight you choose.
 

loomis303

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Inspired by Yvon Chouinard’s One Fly, Many Lessons article combined with a general desire to simplify, get back to basics, and generally unwind a whole lot of unneeded complexity created over the last couple years, I am embarking on a One Rod, Many Lessons journey.
  • Use: Freshwater. Trout. Smallmouth.
  • Tactics: Dry. Nymphs. Dry/dropper. Hopper/dropper. Streamers (within reason, say < 3”). Mostly wading. Some float and kayak.
  • Locations: Primarily PA, NY, and New England up through Maine. Medium to large streams. Colorado, Montana and other western states are likely.
  • Limiting choices: USA made. I have nothing against the wonderful overseas manufactured rods, but I’m eliminating them from my choices, in part, to help simply this decision.
  • What it’s not: This is not a rod for Pike, throwing 5” articulated streamers for smallmouth, or for 3” brookies in densely covered creeks. I’m not throwing away my 7.6’ 3wt or my 8wt - but they would come out very rarely and only on very targeted trips.
I’m leaning heavily towards a Sage X or a Scott Centric in a 9’ 5wt or 6wt config.

I have no doubt any of these options would work, but, I’d be interested in real world experiences comparing these rods and any comments on 5 vs 6 wt.

You will find a modern day 6 weight outperforms a 5 in many ways, particularly when you want to step up fly size or fish wind resistant hoppers and deal with wind. That said, if you are hell bent on a 5, look at the Sage X 597.
 

justahack

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You will find a modern day 6 weight outperforms a 5 in many ways, particularly when you want to step up fly size or fish wind resistant hoppers and deal with wind. That said, if you are hell bent on a 5, look at the Sage X 597.
This^^
That 597 is nice, but I like a 6 for wind and bigger flies. Far easier to make a 6 work for smaller flies and calmer conditions than to make a 5 work for wind and bigger flies. Just modify the leader
 

PaAdk

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I did hesitate to include smallmouth and Western locations in the description as I suspected that would bias towards the 6. This will be primarily a trout rod on Eastern streams, but the reality is, once we hit July many local streams are too warm for trout and smallmouth become the target. That’s why this gets a bit complex. For trout I’d be looking at 4wt or 5wt. Smallouth a 6wt or 7wt. Its a compromise and I’m prioritizing the trout side since that’s the primary target 9-10 months a year.

If you take the Telluride Angler reviews at face value they would seem to point to the Centric 906-4 or the X 590-4 as the best fits. That‘s where I was hoping for feedback on the Centric vs X in 5 and 6 wt. models. I’ll be casting all 4, but, the real world experience is helpful.
 

sweetandsalt

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Being as I am the opposite of a one rod man, I love habitat specialized outfit matching, I'll simply point out one factor, Sage X tends to favor close to true to weight line and Centric a half heavy line so there is a characteristic differential that makes the two quit different choices. What about Loomis NRX+?
 

PaAdk

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Being as I am the opposite of a one rod man, I love habitat specialized outfit matching, I'll simply point out one factor, Sage X tends to favor close to true to weight line and Centric a half heavy line so there is a characteristic differential that makes the two quit different choices. What about Loomis NRX+?
I‘ve considered the NRX+ but got the impression it was less capable within 30’ than the other options. I have zero on water experience (only parking lot casts) and online reviews to base that off of.
 

osseous

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All of this:

* Tactics: Dry. Nymphs. Dry/dropper. Hopper/dropper. Streamers (within reason, say < 3”). Mostly wading. Some float and kayak.

....says 6 wt. The rig dictates the line weight. Stop forcing a 5 wt to do what a 6 wt excels at, and you can get back to flycasting with your rod, rather than pitching weight on the end of a fly line that's too light for the job

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justahack

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Stop forcing a 5 wt to do what a 6 wt excels at, and you can get back to flycasting with your rod, rather than pitching weight on the end of a fly line that's too light for the job
Unless you want to fish mostly dries, this here ^^ makes a lot of sense. As noted above, it's much easier to fish a 6 weight lighter than to fish a 5 heavier... regardless of the make and model
 

quattro

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I've owned the X and Centric and One in 5 and 6 weights.
I regret selling the one 6 wt. But the centric 5 is the most versatile of the bunch. Thats the rod you want with the mostly eastern fishing also hold up great for western rivers.
4's are the new 5 and 5's are the new 6 and 6's are the new 7 and of course 7's are the new 8... but 8's are not the new 9. JMHO
 

AndrewFromBoston

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Based on how you want to fish, and wanting American made, I’m thinking something in a light 6. Have you looked at the Loomis NRX+ LP? Heck of a good rod, light weight, not the best for very long casts but it works as well as anything for moderate streamer work or presenting a dry fly. You could even get into single hand Spey.
 

loomis303

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All of this:

* Tactics: Dry. Nymphs. Dry/dropper. Hopper/dropper. Streamers (within reason, say < 3”). Mostly wading. Some float and kayak.

....says 6 wt. The rig dictates the line weight. Stop forcing a 5 wt to do what a 6 wt excels at, and you can get back to flycasting with your rod, rather than pitching weight on the end of a fly line that's too light for the job

Sent from my SM-N986U1 using Tapatalk
Totally agree. I see this time and time again when I have been in NZ North Island. Anglers trying to chuck size 8 wind resistant Cicada patterns with 2.5mm nymphs NZ style or trying to cast heavy double nymph rigs on their beloved fast actioned 5 weights, that laughingly, they upline with a 6 weight line anyway! A 6 weight all day. You are far better off paying attention to tapered leader construction to suit the method and conditions on a 6 weight rather than struggling with a 5 weight.
 

LOC

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One rod.
I go through a somewhat similar approach during our summer months in S. CA. Starting each new season I pick a different rod and line setup to sight fish in the surf.

I wont bore you with the details in the various setups but I will say the lessons learned are similar to what Chouinard went through and what you are about to embark on.

One of the first lessons is already before you. You should try to let go of the notion of choosing the right rod or rod that’s going to be right most of the time. One of the first hurdles on your journey is the lesson of learning to be comfortable with not being comfortable and enjoy the ride.


If you want to really accelerate this lesson whatever rod is the consensus as the (air quotes) right rod, go with the other rod.


BF41A242-3750-4D07-988F-E5CEBF7486D6.jpeg
I pulled this excerpt from the article you linked from Chouinard which resonated with me the second I read it.
Ard, also touched on this point in his blog post about the insecurity of having the right or a specific streamer rod.

Well, it’s cool to see someone take this path. It’s not one for everyone to follow but I think you’ll come out the other side enlightened if you choose to be. Ok good luck!
 
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