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Trouts Journal

Sage Foundation Fly Rod Review

Ivan Orsic / Nov 16, 2017

What if I told you there was a high-quality, fast-action, smooth-casting, USA-Made fly rod made that was only $325? Surely, you’d say, I’m pulling your leg. Well, that fly rod exists. It’s the SAGE Foundation Fly Rod. Released earlier this year and available in 4 through 8 weights (all the 9-foot variety), the SAGE Foundation has become a shop favorite for good reason: VALUE!!!


Tanner puts the Foundation to work on a freestone brown trout in Colorado.

When shopping for my next fly rod, I take three things into consideration: (1) Performance, (2) Looks, and (3) Price (in no specific order). The SAGE Foundation is a fast-action rod built with the same powerful and durable Graphite IIIe technology that you find in the legendary Sage XP and the Sage Pulse. How does this Graphite IIIe technology perform? In my humble opinion, this rod outperforms its price range. I was able to test the Sage Foundation four-piece, 9 foot 5 weight fly rod or 590-4 in a variety of settings, both freshwater and saltwater. Big western freestones, technical front range tailwaters, and even fishing for snook in Florida. The Foundation impressed in almost every situation. The Sage Foundation Fly Rod handled big articulated streamers, heavy and light nymph rigs, and big dry-dropper rigs very well. While it is certainly capable of handling smaller dries to a certain degree, the Foundation wasn’t well suited for those presentations that required a bit more finesse and touch.


Tanner releases said freestone brown trout...soundly defeated by the Sage Foundation fly rod.

But, the Foundation shined when put in the right situations. I never found myself yearning for more power. The Foundation was more than up to the challenge of throwing a couple extra feet when it was called upon. When roll-casting with nymph rigs and it delivered consistent and accurate casts throughout my days on the water. While fishing for snook in Florida, I was impressed with the amount of backbone the FOUNDATION displayed during those tense moments when snook would make a run for the dock pilings. I was able to maneuver the hard fighting snook out of some potential headaches more than once and did so confidently. Check the box for performance.


The Sage Foundation delivered an accurate, quick cast under the mangroves to trick this Florida snook.

The first SAGE fly rod to sport a matte finish, the Foundation is a damn good-looking fly rod featuring a stealth black finish with primary black wraps and silver trim wraps. It’s odd to say this, but the matte black finish of the SAGE Foundation makes the rod pop. It stands out on the fly rod rack because of the understated style choices. Black never goes out of style and the FOUNDATION looks good. Check the box for looks.


A Handsome Matte Black Finish on the Sage Foundation Fly Rod.

When you take into consideration that the FOUNDATION like any SAGE rod is covered by a lifetime warranty, it’s hard to beat the FOUNDATION in its price range. A rod that will be appreciated by the beginner, intermediate, and expert angler alike. At $325, it’s a great buy for the experienced angler looking for a rock-solid backup or boat rod and it’s an excellent introduction to SAGE’s family of fast-action fly rods beginner and intermediate angler, as well. Check the box for the price. All three boxes checked. While the FOUNDATION doesn’t have the level of performance (i.e. accuracy and feel) you experience in the premier rods like the Sage X, Scott Radian, and Orvis Helios 3, it certainly performs above its own price point and is a rod that should be at the top of your list if you’re looking for a do-everything, budget-friendly fly rod.

For more on the Sage Foundation, CLICK HERE!

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