Jan 12, 2017

Sage Motive - USA Built Under $500


USA Built Under $500 - Article 1122017

This article series is intended to review Fly Fishing Rods and Reels under $500. The criteria for these reviews is that the actual product is tested in real world fishing conditions. They are not just wiggled in the showroom or cast in parking lot / show pond setting.

In doing some research I realized there are a few rods that demand our attention. They fit a budget, provide fish-able actions and are made in USA by top well known manufactures such as Sage, Scott and Winston. My goal is to fish a few of these rods and report what I find. In this article I will review the...

Sage Motive 890-4

Tamed with Motive
$450 (Scale Weight 3.8 oz) (Published Weight 4 oz)
There is no doubt this is a saltwater stick. Sage publishes this rod as Fast in their description and Medium-Fast in the rods features. I consider it fast. If you have the skills to extract the power it will surely prove its worthiness with tight loops on the salt flats. The Motive is a serious saltwater fly rod and should be treated as such.

I didn't get the opportunity to give this stick a workout on the salt flats but let me assure you I put it through some demanding fishing situations.

Mouth full of Swinging D
I fished this rod for Pike and Bass with both a S/A Wavelength Titan WF8F and a RIO Coastal Quickshooter WF8i fly lines. From my boat deck I was throwing fast tight loops with weighted Clousers and Swinging D's. I really liked the Motive with the intermediate Coastal Quickshooter and sub-surface flies. It's action allowed me good hook sets at a distance and also provided a lot of feedback through the grip which can be so critical to success while fishing blind sub-surface.

The Cool Blue Motive handles magnum short headed lines such as the RIO Outbound Shorts and the New RIO Coastal Quickshooter with relative ease. It performs with a little more line speed using tapers like RIO Bonefish and RIO Summer Redfish. In the right hands the Motive could certainly be a parking lot champion.

I wouldn't call the Motive easy to get in tune casting but I wouldn't call it difficult either. It rides tight on the middle ground providing good saltwater speed/power and yet retains intuitive fish-ability. It greatly reminds me of the Sage Xi2 of days past. We respected the Xi2 for its deep strong flats power while retaining enough feel that it could be mastered by many.

One of the great attributes the Motive has going for it is it can adapt to various types of fly lines giving an angler ability to adapt it for various situations. An example of this would be load it with a RIO Winter Redfish line which is short headed and extra weight in the front and the Motive will load easy and short which is so important for those Louisiana Big Bull Reds. Then switch to a RIO Bonefish Taper and and gain some line speed and distance for longer casts and softer presentations needed for Bahamas Bonefishing.

Feather Game Changers

Final Thoughts

Just a couple years ago we would have paid premium for a stick this good. It's a great combination of power and grace and looks incredible with the blue blank color and black accents. While it is a saltwater destined rod I believe the action can carry over well into freshwater fishing including big streamer and big topwater fishing.

When strong winds, double hauls, tight loops and sensitivity are all in a days fishing this is a stick that will get the job done. It's USA built, powerful, modern, includes a Sage Ballistic Nylon divided rod tube and Sage's lifetime warranty.


Gorge Fly Shop Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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