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Sage Spectrum LT Reel – Review

The Sage Spectrum LT is a higher end reel made with performance in mind. It is fully machined, and offers a top notch drag system. These reels can handle any species that swim, and they will last for a lifetime.

We previously reviewed the Sage Spectrum C, which is a cast reel. With cast reels, the aluminum is poured into a mold to make the reel. This causes cast reels to be more susceptible to cracks and breaks. With a machined reel like the Spectrum LT, the reel is carved out of solid bar stock aluminum – This makes machined reels much more durable. Machined reels can take some real abuse, much more than a cast reel can.

The Sage Spectrum LT starts at $400, which is on the higher end of the fly reel market. It doesn’t cost as much as an Abel, but it certainly isn’t cheap. Anglers who choose the Spectrum LT are often more experienced fly fishers with some money to spend.

This article will cover the benefits and downsides of the Spectrum LT reel. With all of the fly reels on the market, it can be hard to make a decision. Hopefully this article will give you more insight.

Spectrum LT Reel Construction

The solid machined construction allows Spectrum LT’s to remain one of the most durable reels on the market. Although they are bomb proof, they remain light enough to balance rods properly. Sage has ported this reel quite well, meaning that a lot of material has been removed to keep the reel light.

As stated above, machined reels are always preferred over cast reels. Machined reels are much more structurally sound, and can really last a lifetime. If you drop this reel, chances are it will be ok.

The Spectrum LT features a large arbor design. This allows fly anglers to retrieve more line with each rotation of the reel. This comes in really handy when fighting larger fish. Large arbor reels have become pretty standard in fly fishing – They offer more performance than a standard arbor reel. Most high end reels nowadays are large arbors.

Spectrum LT Drag

The Spectrum LT drag is one of my favorites. For starters, the drag knob is actually numbered from 1-20. There is even halfway markers between numbers! This allows for really fine tuning the drag to your preferences. It takes the guess work out of the equation, and you’ll always know exactly how the drag is set.

The Spectrum LT drag uses Sage’s premium SCS drag system. These carbon discs allow for a smooth drag that is extremely strong. This carbon drag is so strong, that it is usually overkill for most species. You will never need to utilize the full strength of this drag system – but it is still nice to have. Saltwater anglers can rejoice, because this drag can put the brakes on the largest species that swim.

Sage Reel Warranty

All Sage reels come with a lifetime warranty. For $50, you can send back a broken reel – and they will either fix or replace it. If the reel is no longer in production, they will usually replace it with a comparable model.

If you do decide to invest in a Sage reel, you can rest assured that you’re covered. However, the Spectrum LT is super durable. It can withstand abuse, and it’s really tough to break. The quality machined construction allows it to be stronger than the Sage Spectrum C reel.

I haven’t seen many LT’s with warranty issues. In general, they are maintenance free and will last for years. You don’t need to grease these reels or perform any maintenance. They are ready to fish and don’t need extra care.

Sizing

Sage Spectrum LT’s come in sizes to accommodate most fly fishing situations. From small trout to saltwater species, there is a Spectrum LT for everyone.

The reels sizing is as follows.

  • Size: 3/4 wt – Diameter: 3 1/4″ – Weight: 3 7/8 oz. – Trout and Panfish
  • Size: 4/5 wt – Diameter: 3 1/2″ – Weight: 4 oz. – Trout
  • Size: 5/6 wt – Diameter: 3 5/8″ – Weight: 4 1/4 oz. – Trout
  • Size: 7/8 wt – Diameter: 4″ – Weight: 6 oz. – Trout, Bass, Carp, Bonefish
  • Size: 9/10 wt – Diameter: 4 3/8″ – Weight: 7 1/8 oz. – Pike, Bonefish, Permit, Snook, Small Tarpon

As you can see, Spectrum LT’s will cover most species on the fly. However, for big game species, you’ll want a larger reel such as the Spectrum Max. Having an 11/12 weight reel is beneficial for large species.

Colors

The Sage Spectrum LT reel comes in a wide array of colors. Whatever your style is, there is most likely a color for you. The available colors are stealth, black spruce/silver, ember, teal, and silver pine.

All of the color finishes look classy, but they really pop and add some life to the LT reel. Most reel manufacturers only have a few colors available, so Sage having 6 colors is pretty impressive.

Downsides Of The Spectrum LT

The main downside of the Spectrum LT is the price. Many fly anglers don’t want to spend $400 (or more) on a reel, and I totally understand that. It is a large investment, and it’s only one piece of a fly rod outfit. For anglers that choose the LT, they know that it is a lifetime investment. It is a reel you can pass down to your kids, because it will still be functional, even decades after the purchase.

Another downside is that the Spectrum LT doesn’t come in big game sizing. It would be nice if it were available in an 11/12 size for Tarpon anglers. However, the Sage Spectrum Max reel covers these larger sizes. If you’re a big game fly angler, it is worth looking into.

For anglers looking to spend less on a good reel, I would recommend the Spectrum C from Sage. It offers similar performance for a lower price tag. For anglers looking for a high end, lifetime reel – The LT is a great choice.