I arrived to find a well packaged box containing a Sage tube with the Sage 890-4 XP and unfilled warranty card in it waiting for me! The rod looked absolutely new and in perfect condition! I was just thrilled it arrived in time to try it this weekend.
Now for first impressions. I put the rod together and it was incredibly light. Even though it states it weights 4 3/16 ounces, in the hand it feels lighter than the Sage VT2 6wt I bought not long ago which is around 3 3/8 ounces. It even seems to feel about as light as my Sage SLT 2-piece 7wt which is 3 3/4 ounces. Amazingly well balanced rod. I can see casting this rod all day without any fatigue.
I went ahead and put on my Lamson Velocity 3 reel with a spool of WF8F line and went out to lawn cast it. This rod loads easily and casts so easily and beautifully. It doesn't even feel like a fast action rod. You can cast out to 65 feet with ease! I bet if I get the casting stroke just smooth enough and produce a tighter loop, I can get the line out to 75 feet.
In addition, the XP may be a fast action rod but it does not feel stiff at all. My VT2 6wt seems stiffer in comparison. I wonder if it's the soft tip that makes it not feel as fast or stiff as folks seem to make it out.
Craftsmanship-wise, the XP is on par with the SLT. The cork is very nice as is the rest of the hardware. The wraps and epoxy are immaculate. The dark green color of the blank makes the rod appear black almost except when in direct sunlight when you can see the bands of green. All in all, a very attractive rod!
In summary, I can't wait to fish this rod! I expect it will have the same fish fighting feel as the SLT when a fish is on and should offer at least 10 feet or more in additional casting distance over the 7wt SLT. Man, I now wish most of my other rods were XPs! I consider this is an excellent buy for the $360!