I've always been a sucker for 7-weight fly reels. I've had some type of 7-weight rod in my arsenal for nearly my entire fly fishing life, so I obviously have a constant need for a matching fly reel. That rod/reel size just does it for me and is a real hoot to use on an array of species from salt to fresh. I'm always on the prowl for new stuff, and when something new in a 7-weight size hits the market I immediately take notice. Made to accommodate a 6 or 7 line, the brand-new Sage 6260 is feature-rich and perfectly-sized for the type of fishing I commonly do. Luckily, Sage sent me one to try out for a bit, so let's hit the water to see how this baby works!
Line Size: 6/7
Weight: 5 11/16 ounces
Diameter: 3 13/16 inches
Width: 1 3/8 inches
Backing Capacity: WF7F / 200 yards
Drag: Carbon SCS (fully-sealed)
Easy Release Spool: Yes
Colors: Cobalt, Silver, Stealth (black)
Reel Pouch: Yes
Spare Spool Price: $224
Reel Price: $449
Comprised of cold-forged 6061 T-6 aluminum, the Sage 6260 frame, spool, and knobs are heavily ported for a very open, airy look. The proportions of this reel are excellent; you get a large, concave arbor size, a good overall diameter, and width that still allows for excellent backing capacity while not being too wide.
As expected from a Sage product, the fit and finish are excellent. Aside from a few dings and scratches from previous users, I wasn't able to find any unsightly cosmetic problems. The flat-black "stealth" finish is kind of dull for my tastes, but those seeking an understated, low-key finish will likely gravitate towards it.
Hitting the scales at under 6-ounces, the massive porting of the 6260 pays off with a modestly light weight. Lighter reels such as the Nautilus X-Series XL and Galvan Torque T-6 are out there, but the Sage does fit more backing than those (and likely others) if that's of importance to you.
Saltwater? Freshwater? The 6260 is ready for both. This is a perfect "crossover" reel for a long list of species like smaller steelhead, big trout, bass, snook, redfish, bonefish, etc! I hooked up my test reel to my personal Sage Method 7-weight and brought the reel along on a trip to Chokoloskee, FL and some "secret" canal spots on Florida's east coast.
How was the drag performance of our test reel? At lighter settings, I could detect a hint of startup inertia, while at tighter settings the startup stickiness was a little more pronounced. The maximum drag setting doesn't deliver a huge wallop of power, but it's plenty adequate for a 6 or 7 weight rod. As expected, even after being totally submerged the drag performance didn't seem to change.
Adjusting the drag is a cinch thanks to nice detents and a large-diameter knob with a very user-friendly size and surface texture. All 40 drag settings are available within one full revolution of the knob, and a 1–20 numbered reference surrounds its base. With all of this said, the drag knob is sunken down into the frame a bit which is a minor annoyance to me. With a design like this, I find that I occasionally rub my knuckles against the frame spokes when turning the knob.
Removing the spool can be accomplished quickly by unscrewing the front cap. After the cap is unscrewed, it stays attached to the spool—a nice safety feature. To put the spool back on, just re-seat it on the frame and screw the center cap down tight again. It goes on easy and locks down with a nice positive feel.
The handle is a good size and has some taper to it for a comfy grip. There's no added texture to it, but despite its smooth surface I never felt like I was lacking for grip. Line is retrieved quickly thanks to the large arbor design, and a loud but pleasing clicking sound is easily heard whether the line is being pulled out or reeled in. If you like to "smack" the spool to quickly retrieve line, this is a great reel for that as the spool will spin readily.
Other offerings in the 6200 reel series includes the 6250 (5/6), 6280 (7/8), 6210 (9/10), and 6212 (11/12). Reel prices range from $439 up to $499. Each reel includes a neoprene reel pouch that fits on or off the rod.
Sage 6200 Series Fly Reels