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Sage MOTIVE Saltwater Rods

Posted on December 03 2015

Sage MOTIVE saltwater fly rod series.
That’s a good sign. Photo: Kyle Shea.

One of the most alluring aspects of saltwater fly fishing to many anglers is the incredible diversity of the sport. The ocean is a big place, and with it comes nearly endless opportunities of different species, techniques, and environments to experience in a lifetime.

However, like any worthwhile pursuit, the right tools are important, and unlike many freshwater fisheries (take your 9 foot 5 or 6 weight trout rod for example), more than one size rod is often needed. Rods aren’t cheap however, and the idea of picking up an extra 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 weight “just in case” is simply not in the cards for all of us. Trust us, we get that.

That’s why we were really excited when Sage released the MOTIVE series of rods back in 2013 – their first mid-priced saltwater specific fly rod. Since then, we’ve seen them in the hands of many of our first time guests at Andros South, which says to us, that cheaper rods are bringing more folks into the sport, and that’s a really good thing.

Despite the price, the MOTIVE is no slouch however. In fact, we liked them enough after casting our guests’ rods, that when it came time to update our loaner rods at Andros South, we looked to the MOTIVE. We’re happy with our choice, and today we thought we’d tell you why.

  • They have a great price point. There are a lot of situations on the flats where another rod (outside of the trusty 8-weight) could be helpful – an extra 9-weight for when the wind kicks up, a 7 weight for those rare ‘spooky calm’ days, or perhaps a spare 10 weight for the unexpected tarpon or barracuda. However, at nearly $900.00 for a premium fly rod these days, that’s a lot of dough for a rod that ‘might’ be used. At $450.00, the MOTIVE is a great option for anyone looking to round out their quiver, pick up a spare rod, or simply get into the sport, without breaking the bank.
  • They’re really powerful. From the butt section to the tip, the MOTIVE is relatively stiff, making for a very powerful rod. It does a great job punching tight loops into the wind and certainly has the power to cast a long way if need be. While it initially felt a little stiff for accurate casts at really short distances, we were able to compensate for that by loading it up with a more aggressive line (like the RIO Bonefish Quickshooter). This slowed the rod down considerably making for a great tool for the short game common here on South Andros.
  • They fight strong fish, well. Because of its stiff butt section, the MOTIVE has plenty of back bone to put the heat on strong fighting fish like bonefish.
  • They’re Pretty Light. While they’re certainly not the lightest bonefish rod on the market, at only 4 ounces flat, the 9 foot 8-weight model actually weighs the same as the 8-weight Sage SALT which costs nearly twice as much. For the price, we think that’s pretty impressive.
  • They’re built in the USA. Regardless of the price, like all Sage rods, the MOTIVE is still made on Bainbridge Island, Washington. There are not lot of rods under $500.00 that can say that, and that just makes us warm and fuzzy inside.

In our opinion, we think the MOTIVE series easily out-performs its price point. While we do believe there is a noticeable difference between the MOTIVE and more expensive ‘top shelf’ fly rods, the MOTIVE is still an extremely high performing rod that can be enjoyed by experienced and beginning casters alike.

In other words, if you’re looking for hands down the best rod money can buy, you might be better off jumping up to rods offered at a higher price point. However, if you’re looking to round out your quiver, without breaking the bank or sacrificing fishing performance, we don’t think you can wrong with MOTIVE.

Here’s our product review policy and FTC disclosure.

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