At IFTD 2017, Sage launched their SPECTRUM series of reels. With three different models including the MAX, LT, and standard SPECTRUM (reviewed here), these reels offer varied levels of refinement and cover different price points ranging from $249 all the way up to $500. Well, this year Sage has introduced a fourth addition to the family, the SPECTRUM C series, that come in well under $200 for all models. Did Sage cut major corners to achieve such affordable pricing compared to the others? Read on to find out.
Line Size: 5/6
Weight: 4 7/8 ounces
Diameter: 3 5/8 inches
Width: 1 5/16 inches
Backing Capacity (20 pound): 100 yards with WF6F
Drag: Carbon Fiber (fully sealed)
Tested Max Drag: Approx 2 pounds
Machined/Cast: Cast frame/spool (machined drag knob and handle)
Easy Release Spool: Yes (pull apart)
R/L Conversion: Yes
Colors: Black or Grey (tested)
Reel Pouch: Yes
Spare Spool Available: Yes ($75)
Reel Price: $150.00
I received my SPECTRUM C reel in the grey color scheme which looked pretty slick and stealthed-out with the black accents throughout. While a die-cast reel such as this may conjure up thoughts of cheapness and a complete lack of refinement, this reel will prove you wrong. All of the outwardly visible areas were blemish free, with smooth surfaces and nice rounded edges. Inside of the frame showed a couple of "lines" and a tiny rough spot, but overall this reel is as good as or better than the other newer cast reels I've encountered.
The surface of the SPECTRUM C is powder coated for durability and corrosion resistance. While I called this a "die-cast reel," technically some of the pieces are not. The handle and drag knob are machined from aluminum for some added precision, refinement, and toughness.
Cranking the SPECTRUM C felt solid and allowed for pleasing line retrieval thanks to the large arbor. While reeling, the clicking sound was on the lighter side but did sound good. The handle size and shape was pretty standard in design, but at least it was comfortable and appropriately sized for this reel. Also of note, the spool spun loosely enough to allow for effective "slapping" of the spool when ultra-fast line retrieval may be needed.
My last test of the regular SPECTRUM reel revealed a very good drag system, and the C is similar in performance. The fully-sealed carbon SCS system starts up with barely any detectable startup inertia and pressure remains smooth as line is pulled off. At max setting, the drag registered about 2-pounds of pressure—plenty for most trout anglers and many other lighter freshwater pursuits.
The machined drag knob is comfortable to use and has a slightly different design compared to the other SPECTRUM reel I tested, with this one having a bit more of a flared-out base to it. The knob offers soft clicking detents through the range, with 18 different adjustment settings. Like the retrieve, drag clicks are mellow. Full range of drag is achieved in slightly less than one full revolution.
The new era of die-cast reels has proven impressive thus far, and the SPECTRUM C does nothing to sway my enthusiasm. I'm actually surprised Sage has pushed the entire series to include a fourth model, but I can't argue with a product like this that looks outstanding, fishes great, and is affordably-priced. If you want a Sage reel but are on a strict budget, give this new reel a very close look!
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