This past weekend I had the pleasure of taking a 9’ 10 weight Sage Motive saltwater fly rod out to the Oregon Coast to try for Chinook on the fly. To be candid, I am a novice salmon fisherman, but I have spent a good deal of time “in the salt” chasing surf perch, halibut, and rockfish on the Pacific Coast. One common theme during my trips is a desire to reach for another rod with a heavier tip instead of changing out flies or line. This is where the Sage Motive entered the equation, albeit this “2nd” rod turned out to be much nicer than my primary rod and the one I fished most of the time for two days on the water.
This rod is a fast action, which helped propel a Rio Outbound Short Type 3 and streamers with bead-chain and bar bell eyes into tidewater. After fine tuning my “custom” maxima leader, roll casting and using a spey cast put my fly into the zone as far as 30 to 40 feet away. I’m sure a little more tweaking with the leader, and/or a better caster could throw it further. There was limited space behind me, but overhead casts (when not throwing the last of my go to flies deep into Himalayan blackberry) balanced well with the line. Mending worked well with the stiff rod tip. I was not very worried about presentation beyond ensuring my line and leader were straight without loops and turns.
Here is where the rod excelled. A soft take followed by 10 minutes of enthusiastic get-this-fly-out-of-my-mouth runs were quite a rush on this rod. The Motive handled the Chinook brute by providing enough resistance to the fish to keep it out of the logs, but also balancing tip movement to protect the 15lb leader. The placement and size of the cork and the fighting butt was good for casting, but was especially great while fighting the fish.
Lease to own?
Sure would! Ultimately this rod lacks the finesse of a 5wt trout rod, but that’s not what we’re going for here. I wanted to get sinking line and heavy flies into the zone and the Motive worked great for it. As a bonus, it fought the fish well with a good balance between rod tip and true “lifting” power.
Is it expensive? Not too bad – the MSRP for this rod, $425, balances quality for price. I have also cast and caught fish on an Sage Xi3 and loved it – but its at the high-end for price point. Although, if I find any gold bars laying around, I will have to pick up both rods.