Sage MOD Rod Review

Sage MOD Rod Review

Sage MOD Rod Review

A short Sage MOD Rod Review today from the Missouri River.

The latest rod introductions from Sage include the MOD, BOLT, and the PULSE. The PULSE has been the sales winner for us at Headhunters. A couple reasons for that fact. Mid priced and reminiscent of the the Sage XP. A historic fan favorite. The MOD is the next step for those looking for an upgrade for their current dry fly rod. Or for those who must have all the new cool shit.

Sage MOD | $850

The MOD lists for $850. The ONE and the METHOD also retail at this high end sticker price. The fit and finish of this line of Sage rods is fantastic. Many love not only the feel but the look of the Sage product.

The MOD has been hammered by some rod reviewers in the recent past as the fly rod market continues to expand. The low and mid priced rod line-up is quite impressive. With so many rods spec’d in the states and farmed out to foreign jobbers the American rod builders have had a tough time competing on price.

And there are lots of great rods out there.  Rod manufacturers come and go. Sage has set a high standard for the last 30 years. At the end of the day the guy holding the cork end is the guy who dictates the loop size, tip route, line speed…

Having visited Sage on Bainbridge Island outside of Seattle WA, I totally understand the uphill battle that home spun rod makers find themselves in. During the impressive tour I asked how many hands actually touch the rod from start to finish during the build. “26 or 27 hands touch this rod.” Wow!

If you look at the longevity of many of the staff at Sage you understand immediately that US manufacturers support families here on our own turf. $850 rods make sense to me now.

Now add the technology advances and cost of high modulus graphite used in modern rod manufacturing.

But can you put a price on the care involved in making every Sage rod? That stems from the fly rod lovers out there on Bainbridge.

All that adds up to the high quality first rate fly rods coming out of the Sage factory.

You have to decide for yourself if the hefty $850 price tag is digestible. Sage makes high end rods in America. Not everybody drives a Cadillac sports car. Some are comfortable driving that late model Hyundai.


Awesome. Green looks good on this rod. A hot rod paint job makes this rod pop! Cool black rod tube too.


Light and easy. A fun rod that while casting accurately does not require a ton of bravado.

Casting Distance

Short to medium. Not designed for 100 footers off of the bow with a giant grasshopper in a true north wind. 20′-50′ with ease. Weight forward lines match up well. But those who are proficient at understanding bone structures of fly rods will tell you that this rod will carry a bunch of line.


Jerry Siem. Long time rod designer with his latest touchy feely rod. The recent Sage Circa is an example of rods that Jerry likes.

What is it designed to do or is this rod made for me?

The MOD is designed for trout fishing. Not a big game rod nor a pond Sunfish rod. It is not designed for chucking articulated streamers or anchor-like weighted double nymph rigs. It is designed or trout fishing specifically. Not a cannon, not a pea shooter. A dry fly rod.

Sage MOD Rod ReviewIn the Konnetic Technology Sage line it falls into the middle. The Sage ONE of course the quick tip flexing rod that is a go to for many. The Sage Circa with advanced slow action built for small dries and soft hackling your favorite pocket water creek. The Sage MOD is a moderate action rod with straight rod tip travel  and quick return for your medium to large sized arena.

The MOD is perfect for short and medium distances 15-50+ feet. While this and most medium action rods can carry a lot of line they simply are not meant for that task. Use your ONE or METHOD for attacking windy distance battles on the river. Enlist your MOD for that bank sipper 35′ downstream.

While most will use it for it’s intended dry fly design we love it because of the short leash applications. A fantastic mender, as this rod bends into the middle of the rod, this could be the secret weapon for spring and fall Missouri River short leash love. Lightly weighted shorter nymph rigs cast with ease without sacrificing accuracy. That short leash method dictates that you put the fly on the money. No “just get it in anywhere in the water deep nymphing”  styles need to apply here.

A 9′ 5wt MOD would fit the bill perfectly for those who need to add a rod to their quiver with the above trout fishing needs.

Why buy this rod?

For those who need that great feeling light in the hand rod for dry fly situations. If you gotta have a Sage fly rod you might gotta have the Sage MOD. Does it replace the Sage ONE? No, not really. But then again it is not intended to. It feels just as good, light in the hand, and casts like a silky yet responsive trout tool with a kick ass paint job.

Where do I try the MOD?

Sage MOD Rod ReviewAt Headhunters in Craig. We have a bundle of DEMO Rods available for you everyday at the shop. The MOD is available in both the 9′ 5 and 6 wts. We are becoming known of the 2 handed demo rod selection but don’t leave us out of the equation when searching for your next dry fly rod. We built our shop around the dry fly and the pursuit of rising trout the the famed Missouri River. It is our first love!

Mark’s take on the Sage MOD

Yep, I like the MOD. I have a 590 and a 690. I have the 590 rigged with RIO InTouch Single Hand Spey 4wt. Previously enjoyed the RIO InTouch Gold 5wt. Both matched up well.

On the MOD 690 I have the RIO InTouch Xtreme Indicator line. Again the MOD delivers the performance required for proper light nymph rig placement in any situation you are presented with.

Don’t try to fit this rod into a role it is not designed for. The MOD is not the “do everything” rod that the Sage ONE is. It is not an all water, all situations fly rod. It is built for an intended use. That is important to recognize when you are looking for a new fly rod. Decide what you want the rod for. What you are targeting. What fit and finish is important to you. What kind of feel does the rod have. And importantly that many rod reviews forget to include is “How does it make you feel?” Because that is what fly rods are secretly all about. Rod reviews are essentially moot because the human factor is not something that I can quantify in this lengthly article.

It is about you this time. Yep, you. 

I enjoy fishing the MOD. As I mentioned above if I had to have just one rod it would be the ONE. Or the PULSE. I called the PULSE the sleeper of the new Sage rods a few months back. But now I find myself falling for the MOD as well.

It could be the mistress…


Fly ROd, MOD, Review, SAGE
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  • AAAAARG! I don’t need another mistress, Mark! Lead me not into temptation, for my will is weak and I have a credit card…

    Coincidentally, I posted some praise for Sage on my blog this morning. I couldn’t agree with you more about the quality, care, and craftsmanship that go into Sage’s stuff. Having visited the factory twice myself, it felt really good to see some of the MANY faces behind the 6 Sage rods we own in my immediate family. I loved watching a couple of folks sewing the rod socks AND silkscreening the logo on them, both BY HAND. Sage’s aren’t cheap, but I’ve seen the people and the service behind the product. They’re more of an investment, in my mind.

    I actually had the chance to test cast a MOD at your shop when we parked our fifth-wheel out back of your shop last August. The MOD was indeed a wily temptress. Putting a MOD in my hands probably isn’t much different than handing a 300 year old Stradivarius violin to a toddler, but a guy can dream.

    Do you have enough demo/shop rods that a person could rent a MOD and/or PULSE for a day or two? If so, what might you charge? I’d love to spend some time casting one or both side-by-side with my Z-Axis when I’m out on the Mo’ for a couple days next month. I’m curious if either is a good match for my fading abilities.

    • Oh yeah we got ’em. We have started a fantastic rental program for local and international rod rental. We are putting the finishing touches on the program now. But the short answer is yes we do.

      We have saltwater SAGE SALT rods too. They have been rented a few times already this winter. Why buy when you can rent for a lifetime trip. Or to just have the best new equipment all the time!

      And yes, lots of cool rods out there.

      And, are you sure your talent is waning?

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