I’m not sure Bill believed me but it was work, honest. A little on water meeting and a chance to put the new Sage BOLT 8 weight through its paces.
I try to cast every new rod that comes through the shop, but there is a difference when you are talking about real world testing at the dirty end of the game: big streamers and sinking lines or long leaders, heavy shot and big bobbers introduce a whole bunch of stresses and strains you can’t replicate on grass.
The BOLT is part of Sage’s second tier of technology: one generation older than the headline Konnectic rods, the $850 One, SALT and Method.
The BOLT is built on the same stuff which fuelled the Z-Axis, TCX and Xi3 rods, and costs $200 less than the top tier. Those older rods still hold up well, I fish a couple regularly, so how would the Bolt stack up in the toughest game of all White River streamer fishing.
The BOLT is billed as ultra-fast: the same balls and all family as the TCR, TCX and Method. The easy and cheap route for Sage would have been to simply rebadge the TCX, after all the rod was proven.
But the BOLT isn’t just a rebadged TCX, which always felt to me as a demanding rod: great fun when you got to know it, but didnt tolerate any casts below its standards. The BOLT is a new stick with broader appeal than the rest of the ultra-fast family, and perhaps more fast than ultra-fast.
It is more more Method-like with a bigger sweet spot than the TCX, more forgiving fior an unfamiliar hand. The slower action, though still fast, means the rod responds to a broader range of lines in a wider range of hands and fly fishing tasks.
On the water last night with a heavy shooting head and an 6″ streamer the rod was more than adequate, if slightly more work and without the crispness and ease of the Method.
A bulkier fly and some wind started the push the limits of performance. But if you were downsizing to throw smaller bugs for bass, or redfish, the BOLT won’t be bucking and complaining over a lighter load from line/ fly or both.
The verdict: the Bolt is a versatile, high performance stick for a range of regular fishing tasks at a great price. Throwing 2 to 6 inch flies is its bread and butter