Sage LL vs. SP - how do they compare?

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
#1
I personally believe the LL was one of the best graphite rods ever (maybe THE best), but others feel the same about the SP, one of the best-selling lines Sage ever made.

Out of idle curiosity, aside from being made from two different types of graphite (III and IV), how do they compare? When was each line introduced? Discontinued? Anybody else out there fishing either model beside me?

TIA,

K
 

Porter

Active Member
#3
I suppose I have the same satisfaction of tossing my LL as you do. I have seen the SP up close they are a beautiful rod with nice componenets. 64 million modulus with durascrim...and I belive the only line of rod from Sage with durascrim. They came in 2,3,and 5 piece. I was led to believe that if the 389-4 LL limited edition had done better in the market ...that Sage would have came out with the SP in a similiar limited edition. Didn't happen. :(

I think the SP being Sage's top of the line for trout rods and in existence at the same time as the movie "A River Runs Through It" had something to do with those selling numbers. Or at least it didn't hurt. I believe Roper has an SP, a five weight, and loves the thing.
 

creekx

spent spinner
#4
IMHO, the LightLine series was Sage's best. I've owned a few (279, 4711, 486, 586) over the years and still have two, the 4711LL and 586LL. I'm going to guess the LL series was introduced in about 1986-ish, and was actually constructed with Graphite II until about 1991. More guessing, but maybe it was '94 when the SP came out? They offered both models for a couple years while they phased out the LL's.

My first "high-end" rod was a 279LL (graphite II) purchased in 1987. I sold it about 4 years later and have regretted it ever since. It was one sweet little stick. I bought the 586LL in '88 and it was my go-to rod for a number of years until I got more heavily into Winstons. I still fish the 4711 on occasion, and use it as a loaner for friends that need lighter tackle.

I've fished with friends' SP's quite a bit and I think they're great rods. I fished a 590SP on the Missouri just last week with a nymph rig and it fished well. They have just a bit more backbone than the LL, but don't feel too stiff, like the RPL+. I've considered selling my 590RPL+ on e-bay, and picking up a 590SP for lake fishing.

Supposedly, the SLT is a re-marketing of the SP with different graphite and a new paint job. I'd be interested to know if anyone's cast similar SLT's and SP's side-by-side to see if it's true.
 

Porter

Active Member
#5
Sp came out in 1994...same year as Robert Redford's Movie. It was the first rod Sage had came out with in nearly a decade (?) ...so the timing could never have been better. I really don't know why Sage went away from their durascrim tech and higher modulus graphite. The XP came along in 99 I believe and with it came the a different taper and perhaps they couldn't do it or it wasn't economically feasible with the durascrim and higher graphite? :confused: Anyways Graphite IIIe is their highest graphite now at 57 million...the SP being 64 million. They now have the G5 technology and as far as I know all lines of rods excluding the XP and SLT have it. Can someone add more...Richard?
 

toadthedry

Active Member
#6
I use both a 5 wt sp and 5 wt LL for trout fishing. I like them both. The LL I use for chironomid fishing. It is slower and has a softer tip. It is great for casting the loose loops that work well when indicator fishing and also is a soft rod so fewer breakoffs. I tend to use the sp for most other things. It is better for casting heavier streamers. It used to be my favorite rod. I started using the LL over the past two to three years. I think the LL is now my favorite one.
Mike
 
#7
My first "high end" rod was a Sage 4711LL. Still my favorite small water rod.
Wouldn't give it up for anything. I was kinda bummed when they discontinued the line.
 

gt

Active Member
#8
i have a 3 and 5wt LL. i fish them all the time for trout. they are without a question, the best trout rods sage ever made. i was stunned when sage stopped production of this series. i have been looking for a 4 wt for years now but most everyone who owns these holds them near and dear for obvious good reasons.

sage, are you listening??????????????????????????
 

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
#10
gt said:
. . . sage, are you listening??????????????????????????
They did listen and several years ago released what was supposed to be the beginning of their 'Classic' series: limited edition re-releases of their more popular rods from the past.

First up was the 389-4 LL in a numbered series of 500, with an MSRP of about $500. Sadly, today's flyrod market does indeed equate value with casting distance and after several months the last hundred or so of the 389-4 LLs were still unsold. The remaining inventory were bought by an online shop in Pennsylvania I believe, and blown out at about $300.

K
 

gt

Active Member
#11
well there you go, $300 instead of $500 seemed to hit the price point. with a markup of, what, 1,000%? still a good profit if you are counting.

distance casting is for parking lots! assuming you are indeed fishing, paying attention to the conditions you have in front of you rarely, if ever, warrants casts beyond a 'reasonable' distance to actually hook fish.

perhaps its the person entering our fishing domain late in life who truly believes that distance equates to catching.

visit a spey clave to see the real distance folks and them ask'um how's the hooking!

virtually all of my trout casting happens from 10-50 feet. steelhead add another 30' on the top side. and just how many fish have you actually caught by dapping? i'm embarased to tell'yah.
 

Cactus

Dana Miller
#12
Kent Lufkin said:
First up was the 389-4 LL in a numbered series of 500, with an MSRP of about $500. Sadly, today's flyrod market does indeed equate value with casting distance and after several months the last hundred or so of the 389-4 LLs were still unsold.
In many ways the rod manufacturers have created this situation themselves. They keep coming up with faster and "better" rods to sell to gullable people like ourselves. At some point in time, after all rods become as stiff as broomsticks, the rod makers will start a new advertising campaign selling us on the benefits of a slower rod.

I think the problem was also that you could by the original rod (although a 3 piece) on ebay for $300! In case anyone is interested, there is a "Classic" LL on there now.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#13
I have a 9' 5 wt LL from 1989 after breaking my old Scientific Anglers System 6 fiberglass rod, and it's been my main trout rod since then until a couple years ago when I switched back to bamboo. And I also bought a 4 piece 5 wt for travel, hiking, and backpacking, so I haven't used it in a while. I have never fished an SP, so cannot offer any comparison. The main thing that attracted me to the LL was its slower action and not being stiff as a fireplace poker. I made the choice between the Sage LL and an Orvis 8 1/2' 5 wt. I sometimes feel that the LL is a bit soft in the tip if I'm trying to fish "far off."

Porter - minor detail: A River Runs Through It came out in 1992, as I recall.

Sincerely,

Salmo g.
 

Porter

Active Member
#14
Salmo_g said:
."

Porter - minor detail: A River Runs Through It came out in 1992, as I recall.

Sincerely,

Salmo g.
Yeah you're right 92. The Sage story on it's web page and the creation of the SP is where I got the 94 date. (minor)
 

Richard E

Active Member
#15
Porter said:
Sp came out in 1994...It was the first rod Sage had came out with in nearly a decade (?) ...so the timing could never have been better. Can someone add more...Richard?
In a decade? For real? I wonder when the RP, then the RPL, the DS, and the RPLX were introduced? I'm thinking much later than 1984, with the latter three closer to 1990. . . but you know that. I can't recall if the SP was one of the first models, if not the first model, designed by Jerry Siem? He was new to Sage about 1994'ish or so. His first stick design was the SP or it might have been the RPL+, which were both introduced about that same time, if I recall correctly. Sheesh, I can't believe my SP is that old!

So long ago! Doh!

But it's funny how we all change as we evolve in the fly fishing life cycle. As a matter of course I used to upline my faster action rods, but haven't done that in a long time. In fact, on my 4711LL, I dropped it down a line weight to a DT3F so it would be a little quicker. Don't forget that the earlier LL's were Graphite II, then later updated to Graphite III. The first time I came across an 590SP+ I didn't like it at all, and now I think it's a pretty awesome stick.

It's all good.
 

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