There's nothing finer than fishing with a fly rod that feels super lightweight. A rod like this simply amplifies the experience and is a pure joy to fish with. When you do find one of those magical lightweight sticks, pairing it up with a quality featherweight reel is a great way to compliment it.
In terms of saving weight, one of the best reel types you can buy is one with a click-pawl drag system. There are no cork or carbon fiber materials here; nor are there any waterproof housings to protect a more complex drag assembly. The click-pawl system utilizes nothing but a "clicker" that ticks against the teeth of a gear to provide a small amount of drag resistance. While it's most widely-used in lighter applications, it's incredibly simplistic, effective, and saves noticeable weight. As the name implies, Sage CLICK fly reels utilize just such a system!
Our tiny test reel was rated for 0–2 weight lines and had the striking Bronze color option. As you may have noticed during our previous test of the Sage DART, the color matches these rods perfectly and makes for an incredibly lightweight combo. On my scale, this reel (with line/backing) affixed to that 1-weight DART rod weighed approximately 4.86 ounces as a combo—ridiculously light!
This little reel is beautifully crafted and really has an elegant quality to it. Fully machined from 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum then hard anodized, it has a very generous arbor size and tons of porting throughout. The rim of the spool also features a good-sized palming rim which is very important on a click-pawl reel since the drag tension range is so limited.
This reel wasn't lacking in build quality one bit. I didn't find any machining marks or scuffs, tolerances were tight between frame and spool, handle play was just about nil, and there were no sharp or rough edges.
The Sage CLICK 0/1/2 stayed attached to the 1-weight DART during the entirety of its testing. This was a totally awesome little pond combo, but unfortunately fishing had slowed up noticeably in the small waters I fished. Still, I was able to find some small largemouth and cichlids to eat the similarly small flies I presented with the combo. Talk about maximizing your fun—this little setup is off the charts cool.
While click-pawl reels typically use a clicker that ticks along a small gear inside the frame, this reel has a clicker made from a special polymer that ticks along gear-like teeth inside of the spool arbor. I inquired to Sage if this design feature had any true advantages, and their reply was: "Gear teeth around the arbor helps the click system achieve torque (drag) with much less force, which reduces wear and allows the reel to maintain drag function pretty much forever."
Another unique feature of the system used here that you won't find on all click-pawl reels is that it actually has an adjustable drag dial on the back of the frame. Small in size, the dial turns 180-degrees and offers a very small degree of extra drag tension to prevent those dreaded spool overruns. Need even more? You'll need to apply that with your palm or fingertips. As expected with a click-pawl drag, line flows consistently off the spool and there's a good quality clicking sound here that will be music to the ears of any trout bum....or in my case, bass bum.
Retrieve rate with the Sage CLICK was good thanks to the big arbor size. While cranking, I really appreciated the handle design Sage used here. I found the size and taper of it to provide great grip and comfort, and it also felt really smooth and solid while quickly reeling.
I was very impressed with the Sage CLICK and there's really nothing I didn't like about it. With great looks, excellent build quality, light weight, and that important fun-to-fish factor, it offers a lot at a modest price tag of $280. For anglers chasing smaller quarry that don't require a sophisticated drag system, opting for a click-pawl reel can be a very smart way to help lighten up your entire rig. Not just a joy to fish with, they also offer a bit more of a classic, raw experience when fighting fish. CLICK fly reels are also available in a 3–5 ($290) and a 4–6 ($300) size.
Line Size: 0/1/2
Measured Weight: Approx 2.29 ounces
Diameter: 3 1/8 inches
Spool Width: 1 3/16 inches
Backing Capacity (20 pound): up to 75 yards
Drag: Click Pawl
Tested Max Drag: N/A
Easy Release Spool: Yes (pull apart)
R/L Conversion: Yes
Colors: Stealth, Lime, Bronze (tested)
Reel Pouch: Yes
Spare Spool Available: Yes ($140.00)
Tested Reel Price: $280.00
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