The G5 is fresh build and chassis for some technology and materials recently used in construction of Sage's top end rods. Before they produced the vaunted "KONNETIC" technology used orginially in the Sage ONE, Generation 5 was the best recipe they could produce. The timeless Sage Z-Axis featured G5 technology and at the time was a top tier rod, that everyone loved. It was also quite a bit more expensive than the current $650 price tag on the new G5 Trout Spey Rods.
Overall this is fun, easy casting, and pleasant rod that will surprise you with it's powerful rebound. It's not as jumpy as Sage's Trout Spey HD rods, those are a bit slimmer, crisper, and rebound that retains a larger perecentage of the energy you input. It's in the materials.
The Sage G5 is a great rod for someone that wants to buy into the US built herritage of Sage fly rods, and wants a well finished rod they can count on. The quality control on Sage rods is meticulous, resulting in minimal breakage, ferules that fit perfectly, tight cork, and reel seats and rings that stay put.
The primary competitor to this rod is the G Loomis IMX Pro Short Spey rod. This has been a favorite here at Red's, and these two compliment each other quite well. Don't ask us to declare a winner, we sell both and each has a loyal fan base! The biggest difference is the length. The Loomis is 8" longer in the 4 weight, and 11" longer in the 3 weight model. Anglers with a "full spey" background might appreciate the longer length of the Loomis, while anglers new to spey might feel "fishier" with a shorter rod. Jigging action, line stripping, and general handling is often easier with a shorter rod. Longer rods typically lift and aerialize weighted flies and sink tips with more ease, especially when wading deep. In summary, there are advantages to each. Anglers on smaller water might appreciate the shorter length.
We vetted the 4 Weight with a RIO InTouch Skagit VERSI-TIP Trout Spey. I actually threw both the 275 Grain and the 325 Grain on this rod, and it handled the range quite well which speaks to the forgiving nature of the rod. The 275 was light, but I have a fairly assertive casting stroke and it fired bullets with the light line. 90+% of casters will fall into the line recommendations below.
3 Weight - 11' - RIO InTouch Skagit Trout Spey 275 Grains
4 Weight - 11'3" - RIO InTouch Skagit Trout Spey 325 Grains
Other thoughts on lines:
If you want a slightly shorter head, you can use an OPST Commando system and tips. This should be slightly lighter, assuming you'll be using the OPST 96 Grain tips.
3 Weight G5 Trout Spey - 225 Grain OPST Commando Head w/ 96 Grain OPST Tips
4 Weight G5 Trout Spey - 275 Grain OPST Commando Head w/ 96 Grain OPST Tips