Sage 696-4 FB R8 Core


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SKU: sag-r8c-6964

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Product Description

Sage 696-4 FB  R8 Core Fly Rod

9’6″ 6-wt, 4-piece rod with anodized aluminum reel seat and fighting butt
Comes with a case and liner
Unconditional Lifetime Warranty

  • Revolution 8 Technology
  • Silver Pine blank color
  • Slate primary wrap colors with graduated white and grey trim
  • Fuji ceramic stripping guides with hard chrome snake guides and tip top
  • Black rod bag with new cord lock for quicker, easier, cleaner storage
  • Aluminum rod tube with Sage logo medallion
  • 3-6 wt:  sustainable Ziricote wood insert with anodized uplocking aluminum real seat
  • 3-6 wt:  premium flor grade snub-nosed half-Wells grip
  • 5-9 wt:  corrosion-resistant anodized aluminum reel seat
  • 5-9 wt (all models with a fighting butt):  premium Flor grade full Wells grip with EVA fighting butt


  1. Consider this a “big game” trout rod. I rarely fish 6-weights over 9’ because they are too much for me to cast all day, but the benefits of extra length are undeniable on big water. This is a finely tuned fly rod. It needs the head length and weight of an SA Infinity Taper, Titan Long, Rio Grand or comparable fly line, but those are the lines we might expect to fish on rivers like the Gunnison and Deschutes where the 9 ½’ 6-weight earns its place in the fly fishing world. It casts progressively with a natural casting stroke and offers plenty of command to handle streamer tapers and sink tips in addition to floating lines. This stick has the authority to lift long lines and deep nymph rigs from distant drifts, prowling a broad river like an angler with long arms.

    John Duncan (Telluride Angler)
  2. This is potentially my favorite rod in the whole R8 Core line-up. Anyone who has fished Sage rods will recognize this as a classic feeling Sage rod right away. It is light in hand and is a very powerful tool. It is seemingly stiffer than most of the rods in the lineup and will handle the wind like a champ. Unlike other rods in the R8 family, the 696/4 can handle a wider range of casting strokes as well as several fly lines. From a casting standpoint the Rio Elite Gold WF6F is magical. It throws the tightest loops and quickens the rod up in comparison with other lines. The SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity WF6F slows the rod down just a tad and is a very smooth casting line. All in all this is a phenomenal fishing tool that is light in hand and will be deadly on the water.

    Parker Thompson (Telluride Angler)
  3. The 6-weights are all so good in the R8 Core lineup, but the R8 696-4 is my favorite. In particular, the R8 696-4 has a little bit of something that the other R8 models don’t. It is hard to put your finger on it, but side-by-side-by-side with the other R8 6-weights and the rest of the R8 lineup, this rod stood out to me. I thought the 696 was a shade lighter in the hand before you put the reel on compared to the other R8 rods, and the action had a springier progressively fast feel. The rod generates a tremendous amount of line speed and doesn’t load as noticeably through the middle of the rod. The taper feels a little steeper to me and the tip a little softer than similar R8 models. What this boils down to is the best example of a 9-foot 6-inch rod I have ever cast. The R8 696 in my hand is the lightest nine and half foot 6-weight out there. The rod feels truly perfect for its line weight and length. The line speed generated with the feeling of lightness and ease is remarkable. All that line speed and power comes out of the tip like bottled lightning wrapped in velvet. Out of the whole lineup, this is the rod that I would add to my personal quiver today.

    I cast a Rio Elite Gold and the SA Amplitude Smooth WF6F. Both lines cast remarkably well on the rod and lent a slightly different character to the 696. The Elite Gold provided truly top end line speed and a tremendous sensation of lightness as line left the tip. The Gold and similar tapers will make this rod perform at its best with medium to smaller flies. The Infinity taper loads the rod a little more than the Gold and is the better line for large nymph rigs and medium sized streamers. The Infinity gives the caster a little more of the patient confidence in the back cast the R8 rods will come to be known for. You simply never feel urgent when casting these rods. They hold line up so confidently in the air that they encourage and improve a caster’s stop. Loops tighten, your timing improves, and you watch line run away from the rod tip like a real life motion picture. Shorter headed and sink tip lines like the Rio Elite Predator cast easily and simply sail through the air. An excellent choice for a streamer and heavy nymphing rod, the R8 696 is a first-rate stillwater rod from the shore, belly boat or pontoon as well.

    Richard Post (Telluride Angler)
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