Sage Motive 890-4 Fly Rod Review

Posted on August 14, 2013 by Ben F There have been 0 comments


What’s the one rod type you won’t find at Sage, Hardy, Loomis, or Winston? (tweet this)


A true designed-for-saltwater rod under $600... Until now.


Enter the Sage Motive. Billed as a fast action rod with a powerful taper for bigger fish, it comes in the 5 most common saltwater sizes: 9-foot, 8 through 12-weight.


We’ve had mixed opinions about price-point rods in the past. Why? It’s tough for a great rod designer to do less than their best. It’s like asking Picasso to draw a stick figure. We’re hoping the price isn’t the Motive’s biggest selling point. Read more to find out how it casts!

Fit and Finish

Finish and build quality are just what you’d expect from Sage – excellent. Tight wraps, top notch cork, anodized reel seat are all standard practice and the Motive is no exception. The light blue blank is not only attractive, but a little reminiscent of the Xi3.


The Motive is also designed for saltwater. That means you’re getting a full wells grip with a comfortable fighting butt and larger-than-freshwater guides. Oh, and it’s made in the USA.



The 890 weighs in at 4 ounces, which is a little heavy by today’s standards. But more important than its overall weight is its swing weight.  Where the Xi3 is light, the Motive feels a little heavier in hand. While it’s not enough to be a burden, it was noticeable.


The Sage Motive has a lot of power in the butt section. This translates to a fast rod that casts a mile.


No Konnetic technology in this rod, but it still packs a punch in the accuracy department. The Motive is fast and powerful, so as you’d expect, accuracy is not great at 25’, but not terrible either. Like its cousin the Xi3, it starts to shine at about 40’ and is plenty accurate  even at 75’.


Bottom line: If you’re spending your days stalking bonefish flats, you’ll probably want to upgrade. If most of your casting is done for pike, stripers, or other less spooky species, the Motive is more than accurate enough for the job.

Flex & Feel

The Motive is fast – maybe faster than the Xi3. Unfortunately, it’s also got a pretty stiff tip and mid-section, which means it’s just not as good in close as say, the NRX (see accuracy). But make no mistake; it’s no telephone pole. The Motive loads well and gives you a lot of feedback.


All of that power in the butt section means that the Motive is a killer fish-fighting rod.


The Motive, like all Sage rods, comes with Sage’s lifetime warranty.


Price: $425


Looking for an Xi3 “light” (err…  heavy), the all new Sage Motive fly rod is a great choice. Jerry Siem designed it from the ground up to be a true saltwater rod – and it has all the trimmings – extra-large saltwater guides, strong butt section, anodized reel seat and a fighting butt. It’s not the lightest bonefish rod and it doesn’t come in billfish sizes, but it’s a solid option for anyone looking to add a line weight to their quiver without the cost. Best of all, it’s made by Sage’s master rodbuilders on Bainbridge Island, Washington.


Pair this rod with any of your favorite saltwater lines – it will handle anything from a bonefish line to a heavy intermediate.



  • Lots of power will get those heavy flies to where the fish are
  • Great Sage finish
  • Price


  • Not the lightest rod out there
  • Bonefisherman will want more accuracy in close.


This post was posted in Fly Rod Reviews and was tagged with 8-weight shootout, best 8wt, bonefish rod, fly rod, sage motive, saltwater fly rod

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