Sage 2200 series fly reel review

If you're looking for a really stylish, well made fly reel and have a mid-range budget the Sage 2200 series fly reels are rather good.

Sage 2200 series fly reel review
© Fly and Lure
Sage 2200 series fly reel review
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
Sage 2200 series fly reel review
Fly reels Fly lines Estimated reading time 5 - 8 minutes

How are the Sage 2200 series fly reels made?

These are Sage's "budget" line and are made from die cast aluminium, rather than the machined aluminium found in the more expensive Sage fly reels.

They're a really stylish looking fly reel and the finish and fittings are superb - they look and feel like very nicely made bits of kit and you'd be forgiven for thinking they were more expensive than they are.

Being made from powder coated die cast aluminium rather than machined aluminium means they have a slightly less shiny appearance, weight a little more and aren't as strong. However, massive strength isn't a huge issue for the trout and pike fly fishing I do, and they're still fairly light, so weight is a non-issue too.

Picture copyright © Fly and Lure.

How big is the arbour?

The Sage 2200 series have a large arbour so the retrieve speed and the line pick up is much quicker than smaller diameter reels like the Orvis Access. The spool is concave to help increase capacity and increase strength and rigidity.

Capacities are OK, but the concave spool feels pretty narrow so you'll still struggle to fit a thick line like an Airflo 40+ on one of these. My six weight 40+ only fits on my Sage 2280 (designed for 7 or 8 weight lines) when no backing is added, so you'll need a much more capacious reel if you're using a specialist line like this - a Vision Deep perhaps.

Picture copyright © Fly and Lure.

What size fly reels are in the 2200 series?

The Sage 2200 series includes four models: the 2230 for lines of 3-4 weight; the 2250 for 5-6 weight lines; the 2280 for 7-8 weight lines and the 2210 for 9-10 weight lines.

Model Line weight Reel weight Capacity
Sage 2230 #3-4 138g WF4 + 100yds 20lb
Sage 2250 #5-6 148g WF6 + 100yds 20lb
Sage 2280 #7-8 188g WF8 + 200yds 20lb
Sage 2210 #9-10 221g WF10 + 200yds 30lb
The drag on the Sage 2200 series is a beauty.

How is the drag?

The sealed carbon drag on my Sage 2280 is probably the nicest drag I have found on any reel. The drag knob is large and extremely easy to turn - even when applying the pressure it doesn't become too tough to tighten. The pressure it applies is strong and smooth and the drag knob is numbered so you can easily see how it's set. I really cannot fault it.

Sage says that the high grade carbon drag discs they use don't wear like cork or plastic based drags and stay smooth and consistent, even at extreme temperatures (not that they're a significant issue in rural Cheshire).

Is it easy to change the spool?

I think changing the spool is on the fiddly side. Rather than a button or release knob you push the spool out from the back of the reel with your thumbs. A rubber o-ring keeps it all in place when you push it back. It's vital that you push the spool off from the back and not pull from the front, otherwise you risk dislodging or damaging the o-ring.

Can the handle be moved to the other side?

Yes. By default the Sage 2200 series are set up for left hand retrieve, but if you are left handed and want to retrieve the line using your right hand it's relatively simple to change the retrieve direction.

To change the retrieve direction you push the spool off from the back, turn the drag knob around to number 9, use a flat head screwdriver or coin to undo the knob and expose the one way clutch. Then simply remove the one way clutch, turn it over and screw it all back together.

Do they come with a reel case?

Yes, these fly reels include a very nice neoprene Sage fly reel case which protects them in transit.

How resilient are they?

Mine still looks like new after a few months' use - though it hasn't been dropped and I've taken great care not to scuff it on the ground. Underneath the powder coated black paint will be silvery aluminium which is likely to show up quite badly, if other black fly reels are anything to go by, so I'll be continuing to try and avoid dropping it.

What colours do they come in?

Although all of the models in the Sage 2200 series are black, you can choose the colour of the drag knob. They're available in either platinum or blaze - both look lovely.

How much are they and would you buy another?

They cost: Sage 2230 (#3/4) £110, Sage 2250 (#5/6) £120, Sage 2280 (#7/8) £130 and Sage 2210 (#9/10) is £140. Spools are on the dear side at £55-70 depending on the model.

I'd not hesitate to buy another - they're really lovely reels and I quite fancy the little 3/4 model for my new Hardy Zephrus. If you want a modern looking fly reel with a great drag, these are well worth a look.

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