Sage Maverick Saltwater Series

Peter Morse reviews the versatile Maverick fly rods from Sage

The new saltwater Sage Maverick rod series is built using their premium Konnetic graphite technology. There are eight rods in the line-up from #6 to #14, (excluding a #13). The rods from 6–12 are all nine footers and the #14 is 8’6″.

Cosmetically these rods look very sharp. The blank colour is a very appealing mid-oceanic blue, with charcoal bindings, but with the blue of the blank showing through there are elements of a soft purple to them, finished with grey trims. The reel seat is matte slate in colour and is anodised aluminium, with an uplocking hood and twin locking rings. All the Sage saltwater rods have a hidden slot on the reel seat for the hook point, and these are no different, but at last, it’s an obvious slot.

The butt, which is so essential on saltwater rods, is a good non-slip neoprene cap design, and the ‘A’ grade cork grip is a full Wells style.

The stripping guides are Fuji and the snakes are large, hard chrome guides. The rod comes in one of Sage’s standard cloth sleeves and a metal rod tube. The whole package is very classy.

The rod is very light in the hand. I’ve only used the 890 to date and the action of this rod, within the range of traditional Sage saltwater series, is something quite different. Sage describes it as fast, but I disagree. There are elements of a medium-fast here and after years of straining my tendons with super-fast, heavy rods, I love this slightly easier casting action. The extra flex comes in the butt section. When you cast, you feel it load, which is going to make this rod ideal for those very normal 30–50 foot casts, making it a superb flats rod. 

There’s a myth that all casts on the flats are long, and of heroic distances, but invariably it’s not a lack of distance that lets you down, it’s too many false casts and a kicking fly at short distances making accuracy difficult. Apart from fundamental angler error, this rod goes a long way to helping sort out those issues.

I fished the Maverick 890 on Pittwater with Sydney guide Justin Duggan, and we had a morning on shy ‘rat’ kings at first light. They needed long fast casts, with Crease Flies and Surf Candies doing the trick. As the sun came up, we resorted to 4/0 Enrico Puglisi squid flies and different lines to carry them — not something you’d normally cast on an #8. The rod just ate it up, and later Justin described the action as like “Teflon” in that it was so smooth. My description is “buttery.”

But don’t let these words lull you into thinking there’s something soft about this rod. It can pick up a long line and carry it in the air as well. It dealt comfortably with the kings we caught in that minefield of vessels and their moorings. 

These rods will replace the Motive series and retail in Australia for around $850, built to Sage’s standards at their US headquarters on Bainbridge Island and covered by the Sage Warranty.

I think they are outstanding and look forward to fishing with the rest of the Sage Maverick range.