I got to talking to someone the other day that was new to fly fishing about buying a new small stream fly rod setup on a budget. I went over line sizes, action, etc, and I made a few suggestions in a rod and fly line. When we go to talking about reels, I realized that I've been beating the hell out of my Sage 1830 for almost two years now and it has never failed me.
I picked this reel up because I wanted a new small stream 4 weight setup, and at the time, I was a little strapped for cash. I was at Cabelas browsing through all the reels under $200 and I was considering a Ross or a Lamson. Then the sales guy said "How about a Sage?" I obviously know that Sage makes amazing rods, but reels? I was a little hesitant.
After taking a look at it, testing out the drag, and making some test casts in the parking lot, I decided to give it a go. It's really light for it's size, and has a nice titanium finish. I think I paid around $160 for it at the time, but you can now pick it up for under $140.
The drag on this reel is amazing. It's really sensitive and can be adjusted quick and easy with a turn on the knob. I'm not sure if Sage actually makes this or just had their name stamped on it, but it's definitely a workhorse.
The finish is great. I usually keep a rigged up rod in the car and this thing gets thrown around, dropped on rocks, dipped in water, and it's still looking almost new. On average, I fish about 3 times a week, and I have yet to run in to a problem with it. Only the handle is machined, but I don't think it really matters.
Here's the official specs that I pulled off the Cabelas website:
Sage's new 1800 series represents the ideal combination of incredible performance at an unbelievable price. Each features light, all-aluminum construction, large arbor, quick-release spool change and a premium sealed graphite drag system. The innovative "floating tripod" drag provides the kind of smooth startup, consistency and power you've come to expect from reels costing three times as much. A machined ergonomic handle makes for comfortable retrieves. The entire reel is protected by a tough, nonglare titanium finish for enduring good looks. Includes a padded neoprene case.
Diameter 3.37 inches
Weight 5.5 oz.
Capacity 100 yards 12lb w/WF4
Line weight 3-4
You can visit the Sage website for more info. I'm not sure they make this model anymore, but if you can find one, it's well worth the price. I've landed probably over 1000 fish on this thing and it hasn't failed me yet.
This product review was done on a reel that I personally purchased. Sage is in no way affiliated with this review and I did not receive anything for free.