I use three fly rods for trout, all five weights. Each has a slightly different purpose, and has strengths and weaknesses that make them good in different situations. They all have different actions, and this is what makes them different.
Sage TCR 590-4
My favourite ever piece of sports equipment marketing was the Sage TCR. I have been involved in sports equipment marketing for twenty odd years, and this is the best I have seen.
TCR stands for Technical Casting Rod, and Sage promoted it as a rod for the best angler and the top caster. That seemed to sell a lot of rods to a lot of “top anglers” and I suspect was not that user friendly for many “top anglers”.
The TCR did not last long. It was replaced by the slightly slower TCX, which I did not like as it was not as good as casting long casts as the TCR.
Being ultra fast the TCR is not much good on the take. I learned this one spring when the fish were rising intermittently, and I was having little success with a dry fly and an emerger. I changed to two emergers and swung them across the nose of the fish, and had many, many takes but few hook ups. I swapped to my old Sage SP and started connecting with a lot more fish.
The closest current Sage is the Method, which I have not used and probably would not buy because I really, really like my TCR. The Method has some good marketing too.
Action: Very fast. This is the fastest five weight rod I have used.
Uses: Casting a long cast. Casting with few false casts. Casting heavy nymphs. Short casts when muscling fish out of trees.
What it is good at: Casting a long way with very few false casts.
What it is not good at: Short casts. Striking fish. I fished with a guide in the Caribbean who reckoned it was not much good for drift boat fishing and casting all day, and a softer rod was easier to use. As I do not fish blind I do not make many casts in a day so this is not an issue for me.
What I use it for: This is my lake rod, and my rod I use for fishing to cruising fish in the back of big pools with a long leader. I also use it for casting big dry flies like a 10 Royal Trude or a 10LS Madam X with my long leader.
Who should use this type of rod: Only buy a really fast rod if you are a very competent angler who fishes a lot. If your timing is out by a fraction it will not strike fish very well, which is why I do not use it fishing the evening rise.
Line This rod works best with an Airflo Double Taper
Leader I only occasionally use this rod with a short leader. Most of the time I use my long leader with this rod, based on an Airflo 10ft Floating Polyleader.