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Sage is one of the largest fly rod manufacturers in fly fishing. They're known for high-end, high-performance fly rods for a variety of scenarios and species. In the saltwater fly rod market, Sage is known for the X, the Igniter, and the Salt HD. The all-new Sage Maverick fits into a more moderate price-point with other fly rods like the T&T Zone and the Orvis Recon 2.
We've cast almost every mid-priced saltwater fly rod on the market including the new Recon 2 Rods (check out the review of the 5wt here and the 8wt here) and many others. The Maverick features a design and taper that's unique in that arena and we think it's a versatile rod for intermediate and expert saltwater anglers alike. We've put together a review with all the measurables and comparisons between other mid-priced saltwater fly rods to help you choose the rod that's best for you. Spoiler Alert: We think the Maverick may be the best on the market. Read on to find out why.
Trickle-down tech is popularly used to design many mid-priced fly rods and the Maverick is no different. The blank is built with Sage's Konnetic Technology that combines unique proprietary carbon/resin composites and advanced modulus positioning. This tech keeps the Maverick lightweight and responsive for ultimate performance on the water.
The Maverick also features Oversized Fuji Ceramic Stripping Guides, Oversized Hard Chromed Snake Guides, a Matte Slate Anodized Aluminum double uplocking reel seat, a deep dark blue blank color, and the rod comes in a Powder-Coated Aluminum Rod Tube. Sage designed the componentry on this rod to be quiet and functional - ideal for heavy lines and saltwater environments.
One of the first things we noticed about this rod when we picked it up was how light it felt. When casting the rod beside the Recon 2 Saltwater 8wt, we could feel how much lighter the Maverick was. With a swing weight of 84.5 gm2 and an overall rod weight of 4.02 ounces, the Maverick is, in fact, lighter than the Recond 2 8wt and (significantly) lighter than the T&T Zone. If you're looking for a lightweight 8wt, you've found it.
The Maverick's lightweight design was also highly efficient at long distances. If you're an angler who plans on casting long distances all-day long, the decreased weight of the Maverick will work to your advantage and minimize fatigue. The rod is also extremely powerful at our farthest casting distance of 80 feet. We found that the rod landed flies accurately at longer distances and had pretty solid recovery speeds. The rod is definitely caster-friendly at these distances and features a blank taper that accommodates a variety of casting strokes.
If you're blind casting to Stripers on the Maine Coast, the Titan Taper is a great line at these longer distances. The Maverick certainly has the ability to pick up line and shoot it with minimal false casting. That being said, the rod's performance was equally as good when we cast a line with a more gradual front taper. The Maverick can certainly carry line in the air and shoot shorter tapers.
The Maverick is an accurate rod at our first saltwater distance of 40 feet. This definitely isn't the most accurate rod we've ever cast at shorter distances but the light swing weight and smooth casting capabilities of the Maverick make it fun to cast in close quarters. This rod would have no problem accurately landing a crab to a tailing Redfish or presenting a shrimp delicately to Bonefish on the flats.
At 60-feet the Maverick is a nice rod with great mid-flex performance. While we felt that the Maverick was a little less caster-friendly than the Recon 2 at this distance, we thought it was a nice improvement on the Sage Salt HD and better than other similarly priced saltwater rods. There's nothing really special about the Maverick at 60-feet but its performance is dependable.
Finally, we were impressed by the rod's performance at 80-feet. While we realize 80-foot casts aren't common in saltwater fly fishing, it's nice to have a rod that can present a fly accurately at longer distances. As aforementioned, it helps that the rod is light... you can really feel it at distance.
The Maverick fits into a versatile rod action profile of 'fast' but not 'hyper-fast'. This means that the rod has the power of a fast action rod (ideal in a lot of windy saltwater conditions) and more flex and feel than an ultra-fast action rod like the Igniter. While the Maverick isn't the most caster-friendly rod on the market at all distances, it does provide a decent amount of feedback so the angler can adjust his/her casting stroke according to conditions.
The Maverick is slightly faster than the Recon 2. That means it has more power and accuracy at longer distances but provides less feedback and feel at middle/shorter distances. If you're an angler who prefers power in a saltwater rod, the Maverick may be the best option in its price range. And, to go one step further, if you're an angler who prioritizes low swing weight and power, the Maverick is DEFINITELY the best tool for the job.
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The Maverick is the premier mid-priced rod for the angler who prefers low swing weight and lots of power at distance. The rod's componentry is quiet and functional and while the Maverick may not be a rod that'll win you a casting championship, it's performance is ideal for anglers who prefer to catch fish instead of impressing a crowd. Take this rod on the flats, into the Bayou, or out on the surf... we promise, you won't be disappointed.
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