Sage Spectrum C Reel – Review

The Sage Spectrum C is a great mid range reel that appeals to the budget conscious angler. In todays fly fishing market, there are reels from $50 to $3000, so it can be pretty hard to narrow down a choice.

The big difference between low end reels and high end reels is “cast” versus “machined” reels. Cast reels are made of aluminum which is poured into a mold. This works just fine, but they aren’t as durable. Machined reels are carved out of solid bar stock aluminum, so they have much more structural integrity. If you drop a machined reel, chances are it will be fine. The same cannot be said for a cast reel.

The Sage Spectrum C is a very good reel, and it combines both cast and machined aluminum components. The drag is a top notch sealed drag system, which is found on Sage’s premium reels. As of August 2022, they are starting at $165 – the Spectrum C is an awesome value for any angler.

Spectrum C Reel Construction

The reels frame and spool are made of cast aluminum. This keeps the price down, but a cast reel is usually fine for most anglers. You just can’t be as rough on them as you can with a machined reel.

However, the drag knob is fully machined, as well as the reels handle. This is a nice touch, since you are getting machined components for cast reel pricing.

Spectrum C’s have a sleek look to them, and they are very easy to setup. The drag knob is numbered 1-10 so you can set your drag exactly how you like it. For most trout applications, I like to set it at 2 or 3. If you’re going for larger species, definitely bump it up a few notches. There are also 20 small dots that allow you to set it between the actual numbers.

The reel comes apart just by pressing against the spool. This is how a Lamson reel comes apart, which lots of anglers are familiar with. This may seem like a problem, but you really have to press hard to remove the spool. It won’t come apart accidentally.

Spectrum C’s feature a large arbor, which allows you to retrieve more line with each turn of the reel. This comes in very handy when fighting larger fish.

These reels also come in multiple color combinations, so you can usually find one that fits your style.

Drag On The Spectrum C Reel

The drag on the Spectrum C is very high end – it is what you’d expect from a premium reel. This drag is a sealed carbon drag which can handle any species of fish. Since it is fully sealed, you don’t have to worry about dirt or grit entering the system. It is truly a maintenance free system which many anglers will enjoy.

Since the drag knob is numbered 1-10, it is really easy to dial in your desired drag strength. Sage is one of the only companies with numbered drag systems, and I think other reel makers should take notice.

Even on the trout sized Spectrum C’s, the drag is impeccable. It will handle any size of trout you encounter.

Warranty Of The Spectrum C

All Sage reels have a lifetime warranty. For a $50 fee, Sage will repair or replace anything that is wrong with the reel. This is a huge selling point, because you know Sage has your back if something goes wrong. This means that you can really hold on to the Spectrum C for a lifetime of fishing. You can upgrade if you want to, but it isn’t necessary.

On top of the $50 fee, you will have to pay for the reels shipping, but this usually isn’t very expensive.

Although Sage rods can take a few months to repair, the turn around time for reels is quicker. Generally, Sage will get it fixed within a month or less.


Spectrum C’s have many sizes – from small Trout to Tarpon, there is a Spectrum C reel for most applications.

The reels sizing is as follows. Keep in mind that these prices are posted as of August 2022.

  • Size: 3/4 wt – Diameter: 3 5/16″ – Weight: 4.63 oz. – Trout and Panfish $165
  • Size: 5/6 wt – Diameter: 3 5/8″ – Weight: 4.88 oz. – Trout $165
  • Size: 7/8 wt – Diameter: 4″ – Weight: 6.25 oz. – Trout, Bass, Carp, Bonefish $185
  • Size: 9/10 wt – Diameter: 4 5/16″ – Weight: 7.5 oz. – Pike, Bonefish, Permit, Snook, small Tarpon $185

As you can see, the Spectrum C’s will keep you covered for most situations. However, for large Tarpon and big game species, I would recommend their Spectrum Max Reel. The Max comes in an 11/12 size, which is perfect for big game species.


The Spectrum C reel family is available in 3 main colors: black, grey and copper. These are all classy and simple colorways, which is nice. There aren’t any loud or crazy colors, which would be pretty cool. However, Sage usually keeps their reels pretty simplified when it comes to colorways.


The main downside of the Spectrum C is the cast construction. As I mentioned before, cast reels can crack or dent if you drop them – you have to be more careful with these reels. If you want a fully machined, more durable reel – I would opt for the Spectrum or the Spectrum Max. These Sage reels are completely machined and way more durable.

Another downside is that these reels don’t come in sizes larger than a 9/10 weight. If you love to chase super large species, then the Spectrum C’s won’t cut it. You’ll have to opt for a larger reel model which is often much more expensive. However, if you’re used to chasing big game species – you’re probably used to spending money on gear.