In the final days of this peculiar season, courtesy of Guide Fly Fishing, I managed to get my hands on a Sage Igniter 12' 6" #7 demonstrator, matched with a Spectrum C reel (described at the end of this report) and Rio Scandi VersiTip #7 line. The intrusions of work - the first since February - weather and a fortnight's compulsory isolation as a result of contact with a Covid case left me only a single day on the Ure's Bolton Hall beat to gain my impressions of this rod. I had made a special effort to get hold of it in the belief that its size and rating could put it close to the ideal for fishing most of the upper Ure, and as a result I was excited by the prospect of trying it, even if only for one day.
First ImpressionsThe Igniter's utilitarian appearance belies its £1249 price tag. There's not a hint of bling: indeed, the presentation and finish verges on the austere. I took the message that this is a rod designed for serious fishing in the hands of those who have no time for trivia.
That impression is reinforced by the minimalist reel seat, which provides rock-solid placement and locking.
And also the rings and whippings. The upper rings are simple chrome snakes, rather than the variations on the titanium recoil designs that are common at this price point.
I was, however, unimpressed by the cork. Clearly this rod had received some hard use in the hands of an array of testers, but beyond that consideration it didn't match my expectations. I don't wish to sound carping, but at £1249 it's quite legitimate to have expectations, including some alignment marks, which were notable absentees.
On the River
The Lord's Pool
+18", brown but falling and clearing
I had no choice over the day and had to cope with whatever conditions prevailed. In the event a small spate the day before had raised the river to a very good fishing height, although it was still carrying plenty of brown colour and particulate clay. Given that the outfit came with just an intermediate tip the situation required a fast sinking poly leader and a conehead tube to achieve the right presentation.
Sage Spectrum C
The Spectrum C is Sage's entry level salmon reel. it is a solidly built die cast product with minimal machining, retailing at an RRP around £175. This puts it in head-on competition with the Loop Multi and the Lamson Remix, both of which have higher specifications.
Its greatest feature is the drag that it shares with its more expensive siblings in the Sage range. This is a serious bit of braking power, adjusted by a chunky easily grasped knob requiring only a single rotation to cover the full range of settings. However, I found that most of the useful range was 4-6: figures above 6 possibly represented braking force in tons.
The drag is sealed, but the volume of grease present seemed to imply a certain lack of confidence in that department.