#7 Sage Salt 9 foot #8 $850.00
I’m disappointed with the Sage Salt. What I was looking for was a much faster action rod like a Method or Sage ONE, with big saltwater guides. What we got was a slower action rod with a tip that is too stiff. The Motive has a faster action, but it’s a lot heavier too. Still, the Sage Motive is a better rod than the Salt, even in saltwater applications. If you are a Sage fan and take a Salt off the rack and go fishing and you’ll be happy with it, just not thrilled. Just don’t compare it heads up to the best rods in our shootout or you will lose some of your enthusiasm.
What you will find in this rod is Sage’s typical excellence in craftsmanship and components. The rod is a pleasing bright blue with black wraps trimmed in silver. They use a very nice full wells grip that feels just right. And the reel seat is WAY better that what you’ll find on the Motive. It’s a flat black anodized double uplocking seat, but the locking rings are big and you can get a really good grip on them to secure your reel. Like the Meridian and Winston BIII Plus, they designate the line size on the sliding band, which is a thoughtful touch. A nice big rubber tipped extension butt is used, similar to the Motive. The guide set up is two big chrome plated SiC stripping guides followed with good hard chrome snake guides.
My best advice to you if you must have a Sage rod is to buy the Motive, save $400 and stick that into a good saltwater reel!
George’s casting notes:
Performance at 35 feet: 19 points out of 20
Decent accuracy, but no feel compared to the Meridian. The stiffer tip kills it at short range. The Helios 2 was far better, as were a lot of rods.
Performance at 60 feet: 19.5 points out of 20
Nice and smooth, the Salt seems to track well, but not the pop and zip of the Meridian or the NRX that own this distance.
Performance at 80 feet: 19 points out of 20
Now the Salt starts running out of steam. It needs a bit more butt and mid section power. Good, just not great.
Performance at 100 feet: 18 points out of 20
The lack of power is making it difficult for me to consistently throw this long without a lot of extra effort.
#10 Sage Salt 9’#8 $850 69/80
Sage is a great fly rod company (arguably the best). Even the name alone suggests high end greatness in fly rods. So it’s no surprise that we expect a lot from Sage. Farbank is one of the largest fly fishing companies and has the resources to produce some truly amazing products, even some “timeless rods” if you will… Rods that come to mind include the old Sage 389 LL, 590 Z-axis, 590 XP, 486 ONE, 690 ONE, 7119 TXC switch, 890 ONE (to name a few of my favorite Sage rods). Unfortunately the Sage Salt didn’t make this list. Are we perhaps being a little too harsh on Sage? Yes, probably so. But it is only because we know what kind of great rods they can make and want to challenge them to produce another timeless rod.
I found the Salt very un-Sage like. First of all I couldn’t get the line to track very well, and accuracy suffered because of this, especially at 60 and beyond. This was surprising seeing how well the ONE and Method track, and even the Motive for that Matter. Secondly, when I tried to push the Salt (by applying the power too quickly), the rod produced a tailing loop nearly every cast. I had some of my worst tangles of the day while casting the Salt and had to take time out to untangle some nasty bird’s nests.
Performance at 35 feet: 18 points out of 20 At first wiggle, the Salt feels nice and light in my hand. But after a few casts it’s clear the Salt’s stiffer and slower tip is hurting its in-close performance in both accuracy and feel.
Performance at 60 feet: 17 points out of 20 I’m sadly left with the feeling that I can’t be as accurate as I want to be and hitting the plate is more luck than skill or a great rod.
Performance at 80 feet: 17 points out of 20 I really had to concentrate with this rod - not to hit the plate but to not throw a tailing loop / tangle! This rod need more power or a softer, faster tip.
Hit the Hun? 17 points out of 20 Negative ghostrider … this rod is certainly no ONE or Method.
Capt. Jamie Allen:
#9 (tie) Sage Salt
Both rods (Sage Salt and R.L. Winston BIII Plus) have a nice finish. The Salt felt the lightest in hand but both were well balanced. Both have good saltwater hardware. They were all good out to 60 feet, then started to go the other way.
Capt. Skip Zink:
#6 (tie) Sage Salt 56.5 /60
Sage quality fit and finish, Good rod but a little disappointing in over all performance, struggled beyond 80 feet.
#7 Sage Salt $850.00 73/80
Lacks feel - unimpressive.