If you’re looking for a sturdy rod for saltwater fly fishing, you need to check out the Sage Motive. This mid-range rod ticks all the boxes for a saltwater angler, from a strong fighting butt to larger snake guides and a fast action.
We couldn’t wait to try out the Sage Motive for ourselves and see what this rod has to offer. Here’s our in-depth review Sage Motive fly rod so you can decide whether it’s the right rod for you!
All About The Sage Motive
The Sage Motive is a purpose-made saltwater fly rod, designed to be reliable, sturdy, and fast enough to catch and haul in everything from tarpon to bonefish. Designed by Jerry Siem, attention has been paid to every detail from the extra-large snake guides to the fighting butt complete with rubber cap and the full wells grip.
Both responsive and powerful, the Motive is an incredible fly rod. Sage has come up with an eye-catching, fresh rod in bright blue with black trim. It has a clever taper design that allows the line to load quickly but ensures plenty of sensitivity at the same time. You’ll have a great connection with your fly and won’t miss a single strike with the Motive!
The Sage Motive is available in 7 different sizes from 6 weight up to 12 weight, allowing you to choose the rod for your fly fishing style. Each model measures 9 ft long and costs $500. You can buy directly from Sage or any of the major fly fishing retailers, and of course, Amazon too.
Sage Motive: Features and Benefits
Let’s find out more about what this rod has to offer. In this section of our Sage Motive fly rod review, we’ll dig into various aspects such as the weight, construction, and action of the Motive!
The Sage Motive has many positives, but one of the biggest drawbacks to this model is its weight. The Motive comes in much heavier than the Sage X and noticeably heavier than many other similarly priced rods.
For example, the 6 weight Motive weighs 3.75 oz, while the 11 weight comes in at 5.25 oz. This is a considerable weight, and the swing weight, at 11.2 oz, is hefty. You’ll definitely feel this rod when you’ve been fishing with it all day.
If you know anything about Sage rods, you’ll know that they are constructed to a high standard, from the reel seat to the wraps. Like all Sage rods, the Motive is manufactured in Bainbridge Island, Washington, and boasts that excellent, US-made quality.
The Motive has a bright blue blank and complementing blue wraps and some black trim down on the butt section. It looks eye-catching and cool, especially when the sun shines on it. You get a black anodized aluminum reel seat that has double uplocking rings – the rings are quite small and hard to grip, however.
As you’d expect 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 whoppers you’ll catch. The full wells grip also feels great in hand and is made of high-quality cork, and you get a nylon rod tube to keep it safe between trips.
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.
If you are interested at the Sage X, we have a full Sage X Review here.
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 it comes. It performs consistently across all distances, with impressive accuracy for short casts and long ones.
While you do lose a little feel at under 35 ft, you can still put your fly on the target. But you’re also able to throw 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 apparent, but it still gets the job done.
Sage’s generous lifetime warranty covers the Motive. If you’re the first time 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)
When I came to review Sage Motive, I was curious about other fly anglers’ opinions. So I scoured the internet 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
Don’t have time to read the full fly rod review? We’ve summed up what you need to know in this short list of pros and cons:
The Wrap Up
The Sage Motive is an impressive, versatile fly rod for saltwater fly fishing. From the cool blue blank to the careful 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 accuracy is spot on at all distances.
The main drawback we found when putting this fly rod review together was the weight. The Motive comes in heavier than the Sage X and other similar models, and the swing weight is considerable. The best way to decide if the Motive is for you is by trying out at your local fly shop, if possible. Then you can hold it in hand and see how it feels to you.
If you can get over the weight, the Sage Motive is a brilliant mid-range fly rod for all your saltwater fishing trips. It compares well against the Sage X and the Salt series but for much less money! 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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