I loved the look of the Mod, with its standout, jazzy lime green color. But that was about all I liked, other than the very light overall weight that earned it a perfect score. Sage promotes the MOD as a rod that will deliver delicate presentations with pinpoint accuracy. I did not find that to be the case. This is a soft rod, and that gave it good marks in the light tippet protection category, but its performance distance scores were lackluster.
I just didn’t care for the moderate action that was a lot slower than the X. Although the overall weight was an amazingly light 2.3 oz, the swing weight was a fairly heavy 8.0 oz – about equal to the Scott G series.
This was one of the rods that we felt needed the lighter Trout line. But even with the lighter line, the accuracy was not very good. I was getting far better presentations and accuracy with both the Hardy Zephrus and Winston Pure.
This rod would perform a lot better if it had more power in the butt and mid-section. If you look at the deflection charts you will see how soft the butt and mid of the Mod are compared to the best performing rods. It also has a relatively stiff tip when compared to the winners.
Sage uses lime green wraps that complement the color of the rod. The epoxy coatings on the wraps were not so good – too heavy and about like what we saw on the X. The cork handle is that same snub nose, half wells found on the X and feels very comfortable to me. A stack of thin diameter corks is used and the quality is good. A black anodized uplocking skeleton seat is used with one ring and sliding band. The locking ring was harder for me to grip than most. A nice piece of dark hardwood is used for the spacer. Guides start with a hook keeper, then one SiC stripping guide followed with hard chrome snake guides. Sage could improve the MOD’s swing weight by using the more expensive nickel/titanium guides instead.
The perfect line: SA Amplitude Smooth Trout in WF-4-F
George’s casting notes:
Performance at 25 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
The soft, slow action produces a delivery I noted as “mushy”. It is nearly impossible to cast off the tip of the rod like I can with the best 4-weights.
Performance at 40 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
I just can’t push it at all and have to slow down my casting stroke to get any decent accuracy. The feel I’m getting is not that good either.
Performance at 60 feet: 7.0 points out of 10
Even with the lighter Trout line, it is hard to maintain good loops and get any kind of decent accuracy. With any breeze at all, I’m dead. This is one of the worst scores at long distance in our Shootout.
The Sage MOD has a lighter swing weight than the Sage X, but a much softer butt section and mid-section, making it significantly less accurate and more difficult to cast longer distances. If you take a look at the deflection chart, the MOD has the second softest butt section of all the rods in the Shootout with a relatively stiffer tip. This type of rod design focuses more on the feel side of the equation than on the accuracy side. Anglers that like a more medium action rod, and are willing to sacrifice power and accuracy for greater feel will be drawn to this rod.
The sublime/vibrant lime green paint job really makes this rod stand out. Nicely shaped “snub nose” half wells grip but the quality of cork could be better for a rod this price. Likewise for the wood insert and reel seat hardware. This rod has a very soft butt section and mid section but a stiffer tip, giving it a very deep action load. Chrome snake guides are used. I couldn’t help but notice that the epoxy work could be better.
Performance at 25 feet: 17.5 points out of 20
Softer butt and mid-section give this rod a fair amount of feel but at the cost of consistent accuracy. The heavy swing weight also held it back from a top score in close.
Performance at 40 feet: 18.7 points out of 20
Nice feel but again difficult to dial in accuracy. Swing weight could be lighter, but the MOD does feel a little lighter than the X.
Performance at 60 feet: 6.8 points out of 10
Soft butt and midsection make this rod feel more like a fiberglass rod. Distance, power, and accuracy all suffered, especially in the wind.
Logan’s Comments: 43 out of 50
The Sage MOD was one rod I expected to place much higher. Its softness and moderate action lends itself to lighter lines like a 3 or 4, but I found it lacked the smoothness and accuracy I was getting with the G Series and the Pure. I felt that the Sage X was a better 4-weight, giving me a lot better performance than what I was getting with the MOD.
Performance at 25 feet: 18 out of 20
The Sage MOD was smooth and delicate enough but lacked the accuracy I was getting with the Pure or Zephrus.
Performance at 40 feet: 18 out of 20
The Sage MOD was a good rod at 40 feet. Its softer mid-section wasn’t the greatest for power and accuracy, but it did make delicate presentations.
Performance at 60 feet: 7 out of 10
At 60 feet the MOD wasn’t cutting it. It was just way too soft in the butt and mid-section to cast accurately at longer distances.
The MOD is marketed as a great rod for dry fly presentation and light tippet protection. To me it does have the ability to make delicate presentations, but lacks a little bit of oomph when the breeze kicks up. Having wind in Livingston is almost as guaranteed as running into a couple of fishing guides at the Murray Bar. This lack of backbone made it difficult for me to get any kind of decent performance at 60 feet.
The bright green blank really pops when you see the MOD on the rod rack or out in the sunlight.
Performance at 25 feet: 18/20
The MOD felt the best to me in close; it turned over the 12’ leaders smoothly and with good accuracy.
Performance at 40 feet: 18/20
Still felt good at 40 feet, but when the breeze kicked up I found it difficult to punch line into it and get the accuracy I was looking for.
Performance at 60 feet: 7.5/10
I could get it out to 60’, but with very little accuracy.
The Sage MOD has a softer midsection and butt, making the power reserve a little muffled. I felt it was just too soft to handle the longer distances well. I didn’t like the slower action, which seemed to make the rod load oddly. Aesthetically, the bright green blank is a little much for my taste.
Performance at 25 feet: 16.5 out of 20
It did ok at this distance, but there was a lack of feel that I was getting with the better rods like the Winston Pure.
Performance at 40 feet: 16 out of 20
I started to feel a lack of power at 40 feet. It could still get the job done, but didn’t feel as crisp or as accurate as others.
Performance at 60 feet: 6 out of 10
The MOD lacked the power in the butt and midsection to make good casts at our longest distance. I had no feel and little accuracy.