Sage Motive Review in 2024 – Fly Rods

If you're looking for a sturdy rod for saltwater fly fishing, you need to check out the Sage Motive. Here’s our in-depth review Sage Motive fly rod so you can decide whether it’s the right rod for you!
sage motive review

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If you’re on the hunt for a reliable and robust rod for saltwater fly fishing, you’ll want to take a closer look at the Sage Motive. This mid-range rod is designed with the saltwater angler in mind, boasting features like a powerful fighting butt, larger snake guides, and a swift action.

We were eager to test out the Sage Motive firsthand and delve into its features, pros, and cons. Here’s our comprehensive review of the Sage Motive fly rod to help you determine if it’s the right fit for your angling adventures!

Sage Motive Review

Sage Motive

Sage Motive Specs:

Line Weight: 3 – 8 Length: 7 – 10ft
Action: Fast Handle: Snub-Nose, Half Wells / Full Wells w/ EVA Fighting Butt
Rod Weight: 2 – 4oz Rod Tube: Blue Steel ballistic nylon rod tube
Color: Bluefin Blue Sections: 4
Warranty: The Sage Lifetime Warranty Country Of Manufacture: USA

Overall Score

Build Quality
Weight and Balance
Aesthetics and Design
Price to Value Ratio
Warranty and Brand Reputation
Customer Service
Innovation and Features

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All About The Sage Motive

The Sage Motive is a purpose-made saltwater fishing rod that’s built to be reliable, sturdy, and fast enough to catch everything from tarpon to bonefish. Designed by Jerry Siem, this rod pays attention to every detail, featuring extra-large snake guides, a fighting butt with a rubber cap, and a full wells grip.

The Motive is both responsive and powerful, making it an incredible fly rod. Sage has designed a visually striking rod in bright blue with black trim. It has a clever taper design that allows the line to load quickly while ensuring sensitivity. You’ll never miss a single strike with the Motive!

The Sage Motive comes in 7 different sizes from 6 weight up to 12 weight, catering to your preferred fly fishing style. Each model measures 9 ft long and costs $500. You can purchase it directly from Sage or from major fly fishing retailers, and of course, Amazon too.

Sage Motive: Features and Benefits

Let’s dive deeper into what this rod has to offer. In this section of our Sage Motive fly rod review, we’ll explore various aspects such as the weight, build quality, and action of the Motive!


While the Sage Motive has many positives, its weight stands out as a potential drawback. The Motive is notably heavier than the Sage X and many other similarly priced rods. For example, the 6 weight Motive weighs 3.75 oz, and the 11 weight comes in at a substantial 5.25 oz. The swing weight, at 11.2 oz, is hefty. You’ll definitely feel this rod’s weight after a day of fishing.

Build Quality

Sage rods are known for their high-quality construction, from the reel seat to the wraps. Like all Sage rods, the Motive is manufactured in Bainbridge Island, Washington, boasting excellent, US-made quality. The Motive features a bright blue blank with matching blue wraps and some black trim on the butt section. It looks eye-catching, especially when it catches the sunlight. The rod includes a black anodized aluminum reel seat with double uplocking rings – although, the rings are quite small and can be hard to grip.

As expected from a saltwater model, the SiC stripping guide and hard chrome snake guides are larger for those big knots. The fighting butt has a rubber cap that feels very comfortable and packs enough power to haul in those big fish. The full wells grip also feels great in the hand and is made of high-quality cork. The rod comes with a nylon rod tube to keep it safe between trips.

sage motive case


Sage describes the Motive as a fast action rod, but it’s probably closer to a medium-fast action model – the Sage X is much faster. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You get a bit more flex than with a very stiff rod, and more sensitivity – especially at close range. The carefully designed taper makes the Motive both responsive and powerful – a potent combination for saltwater fishing.


The Motive is as versatile as they come. It performs consistently across all distances, delivering impressive accuracy for both short and long casts. While you do lose a little feel at under 35 ft, you can still hit your target. But you’re also able to cast those weighty fly patterns 80 feet or more. Once you get to 100 feet, the difference between the Motive and other premium fly rods becomes more noticeable, but it still gets the job done.


Sage’s generous lifetime warranty covers the Motive. If you’re the original owner and your rod breaks or is faulty, Sage will repair or replace it for you. However, this warranty doesn’t cover fire damage, theft, modifications, or intentional damage – just so you know!

Sage Motive Review (from Locals)

In reviewing the Sage Motive, I was curious about other fly anglers’ opinions. So I explored the web to see what other fly fishers thought of this rod, and here’s what I found:

‘tx_newb’ likes how the Motive performs: “Just picked up a 9wt recently. Casted an 8wt at a local shops big event and really liked it. The 9wt felt great too when I got it, very happy so far. FWIW, I also cast the Scott Tidal and the Motive blew it out of the water at least for my casting style.”

Here’s what ‘Stuart_Stringer’ thinks of the Motive: “The Motive is a fantastic rod, if you like something a little slower, it will treat you well.”

Sage Motive Pros & Cons

In a hurry? We’ve summed up what you need to know in this quick list of pros and cons:


  • Affordable price for a saltwater model
  • Specifically designed for saltwater
  • Eye-catching, bright design
  • Impressive craftsmanship
  • Extra large guides
  • Strong fighting butt


  • Not a lightweight model
  • Heavier swing weight of 11.2 oz
  • The stiff tip means less sensitivity and feel
  • Doesn’t feature the latest Konnetic technology
  • No alignment dots

sage motive

The Wrap Up

The Sage Motive is an impressive, versatile fly rod for saltwater fly fishing. From the cool blue blank to the thoughtful design, a lot of thought and attention has gone into creating this model. It meets all the needs of a saltwater fly angler, is sturdy, durable, and reasonably priced. Constructed with Graphite IIIe technology, the rod delivers accuracy at all distances.

The main drawback we found when putting this fly rod review together was the weight. The Motive is heavier than the Sage X and other similar models, and the swing weight is substantial. The best way to decide if the Motive is for you is by trying it out at your local fly shop, if possible. Then you can hold it in your hands and see how it feels to you.

If you can handle the weight, the Sage Motive is a fantastic mid-range fly rod for all your saltwater fishing trips. It holds its own against the Sage X and the Salt series but at a far more affordable price! Found this fly rod review helpful? We’ve got loads more reviews, guides, and tutorials at Fly Fisher Pro – make sure to check them out!

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And if you’re interested in expanding your fly fishing knowledge, don’t forget to download our series of fly fishing books below. Happy fishing!

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