#12 (tie)   Sage Motive    9 foot #8    $499.00


Sage Motive

Sage Motive

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George’s Notes:

Here’s another rod that battled the Recon and Legend Elite for the title of best mid-priced rod. The Motive was in a tie for 4th in our last 8-weight Shootout, and still puts in a very solid performance here.  I think the extra swing weight hurt, as the Motive is a lot heavier than the Sage X or the other top rods.  Although about the same weight as the Salt HD, the Motive has a slightly faster action, and cast better for me at short to medium distances.  Out long, the Salt HD had more beans.  Performance-wise, the X was unquestionably better, especially at 35 and 60 feet.  And it was far lighter in swing weight. 

We all loved the snazzy, bright blue color of the Motive. The craftsmanship is typical Sage excellence.  Guide wraps are a complementary blue with a little black trim on the butt section.  A full wells grip is used with high quality standard cork rings.  The reel seat is a black anodized double uplocking seat, but the locking rings are smaller and harder to grip than those found on the Salt HD.  A short fighting butt with a large rubber cap is used that will be comfortable when you are cranking on big fish.  The guides used are two SiC strippers, with the rest large hard chrome snake guides and an oversize tip top, similar to what we found on the Salt HD.

The Motive is built at the Sage factory on Bainbridge Island, Washington.


Performance at 35 feet:  18.5 points out of 20

Just OK and not very much feel.  The Recon was better and much lighter in hand.

Performance at 60 feet:  19 points out of 20  

Mid range is the sweet spot for this rod.  Forms nice loops but the X was more accurate and much more pleasant to cast.

Performance at 80 feet:  19 points out of 20

The Motive has both good power and good accuracy out long but I felt that both the X and the SKY were better. 

Performance at 100 feet:  18.5 points out of 20

I could hit 100 feet, but not with the authority of the Salt HD or the NRX.



12. (tie)  Sage Motive  9’#8 4pc $499

Sage Motive fly rod review

Sage Motive fly rod review

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James’ Notes: 

The Sage Motive is a great casting rod.  Very smooth and accurate, it is a solid performer at all distances, especially when you consider the price.  The only thing holding it back from a higher finish was its heavier overall and swing weights.  I thought the Motive in our 2016 Shootout felt lighter, but in checking the exact weights, the overall weight is the same.  The swing weight was lighter, but not much- 11.4 oz. to 11.2 oz. this year.  Make no mistake though; the Motive is a heavy rod – Far heavier than the X.

In the last 8-weight Shootout we liked the Motive a lot better than the Sage Salt.  This year the honor of Sage’s best 8-weight easily goes to the X.  Of course, saving $400 and putting that towards a good saltwater reel and line does have its appeal…


1st impressions:  Last year’s Motive felt lighter?  Cool blue candy paint color makes it very photogenic.

Performance at 35 feet: 17.5 points out of 20

Deadly accurate, I hit the plate nearly every time, but my delivery was too aggressive to get the leader and fly to land softly.

Performance at 60 feet: 18.5 points out of 20

The Motive gave me very smooth loops and good accuracy. I love everything about this rod but the heavier swing weight.  

Performance at 80 feet: 19 points out of 20

When casting at the distances the heavier swing weight is less of an issue.  This rod is fun to cast long, as it has enough power to carry the whole 80 feet of line in the air.  Since there is no need to shoot line it was also very accurate.

Performance at 100 feet: 19.5 points out of 20

Kaboom!  This rod is powerful, and one of my favorites for throwing long.  I’m not getting the same tight loops as I did with the Asquith however.



#15. (tie)  Sage Motive    $499.00

Sage Motive fly rod review

Sage Motive fly rod review

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Logan’s Notes:

The Sage Motive has been a very popular 8-weight rod for us here in the shop, over the past few years.  For the money, the Motive provided a lot of performance.  It reminds me a lot of the older Xi2 and Xi3 rods from Sage.  If you liked those rods, you will love the Motive.  Its snazzy blue color seems just right for a saltwater rod.


Performance at 35 feet: 18 out of 20

The Motive gave me good accuracy at 35 feet.  Not as good as other mid-priced rods like the St. Croix, but it has a good feel to it.

Performance at 60 feet: 19 out of 20

The Sage Motive tracked beautifully, and performed best at 60 feet.  My loops were tight, and it was extremely accurate.

Performance at 80 feet: 18 out of 20

At 80 feet I struggled to get the Sage Motive to hit the plate.  I could launch it out there but my accuracy wasn’t the best.



9. (tie) Sage Motive  57.5/60    $499.00

Sage Motive fly rod review

Sage Motive fly rod review

  Buy Now

JG's Notes:

The Motive is my favorite rod that Sage has produced in quite a while.  It’s got a great action that produced very good performance for me at all distances. The price is another thing to like for the quality and cast-ability the Motive provides.  I love the Motive’s good looks, but especially the great casts I got.  Here is a solid mid-priced contender for anglers that want a rod that performs well in both salt and freshwater.


Performance at 35 feet:  19.5

I like the Motive a lot, and gave it a good score here.  Thanks to its fast action and softer tip, the Motive does a great job of casting in close.  It’s a heavier rod so the in hand feel isn’t the best, but still it’s a really accurate caster at 35 ft.


Performance at 60 feet:  19

The reason I didn't give the Motive a better score here is that when it was really windy, I didn’t feel I could get the super tight loops I was getting with other rods like the NRX. 


Performance at 80 feet:  19

With less weight and more power, the Motive would be a fantastic long distance caster.  I was able to still get good accuracy and presentation from it even at the long-range targets.


Performance at 100 feet:

The Motive isn’t my first choice for distance casting due to its weight, however it will make the distance, especially if the wind cooperates.