Sage 4660 Series Reel (6-7 wt.; $425)
The Good: Lightweight large arbor with powerful, yet small drag system.
The Bad: External 3:1 gear interface exposed to sand and grit.
The Ugly: Not a damn thing.
The 4600 Series reel’s large arbor and offset SCS Micro Cassette drag design set it apart from the other precision machined reels offered by Sage. The 4600 has a large diameter spool (6-7 weight model; 4 1/16” diam.) allowing for quick line retrieval when fish are running at you and a smoother drag when they are running away from you. The machined-out reel is light weight (6-7 weight model; 5 oz.) and beautifully designed; sure to cause other fisherman on the water to stare. The SCS (Sealed Carbon System) Micro Cassette drag system is comprised of a roughly ½” diameter sealed stack of carbon disks placed in contact with stainless steel rotors. This compact drag system boasts of a 3:1 gear ratio providing a large range of resistance to the fisher without the added weight to the reel to go with it. The 4600 Series reels come in 4 sizes including 4-5, 5-6, 6-7 and 8-9 weight and two color options, “Stealth” – flat black and “Storm” – soft brownish grey.
The 6-7 weight, Sage 4660 reel were tested on the water over a 6-week period while wading various streams fishing for rainbow trout ranging in size from 6 to 18-inches in length.
Out of the box the 4600’s appearance and feel is appealing. The reel looks like a mix between 22-inch rims on a thugs Escalade and the Yamaha logo. The design and high tolerance precision machining can be felt. Between the knocked down edges and satiny finish, the reel feels almost “soft” in your hands and is a pleasure to use. When spinning the reel, adjusting the drag or removing the spool one can feel very little play in the components.
When loading line onto the reel I noticed the concave inner lining of the spool. This provides the reel with room to load additional backing on the reel for the long running bonefish that you get into. The reel is a “clicker”. Anytime you pull line from the reel or a fish is running, the reel will squeal at you letting you know of the line take rate.
Like all large arbor designs, the 4-1/16” diameter spool expertly picks up line quickly from the water and minimizes the reels startup inertia when a fish begins its run. The sealed carbon drag is bullet proof. The drag seals out all elements and provides superior stopping power over a large range. The drag knob is small, but easy to locate without looking down. As a concrete sequentialist engineer, I am a big fan of the numbered drag dial. This allows the user to consistently dial in the drag to the exact setting they prefer when pulling line from the reel or fishing. The external 3:1 gear interface is appears to be vulnerable to gear binding by small sand grains. Though I had no specific issue with the 4600’s operation, I tend to think that you would want to keep the gear interface out of the sand and muck to eliminate any potential binding.
Sage is known for their expert products that function beautifully and look sexy. The new 4600 Series Reels extend this reputation to the large arbor.