Expert Review: Sage Igniter 790-4 Fly Rod

This review is my honest opinion of the rod, which I purchased with my own money in January 2022.

Close up of the  Sage Igniter 790-4 Fly Rod.

All photos courtesy of Marshall McDougal

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the rod, which I purchased with my own money in January 2022.

My take

Streamers, streamers and more streamers!!! The Sage Igniter is geared for intermediate to experienced anglers. This rod is an absolute cannon that will launch the biggest of flies with ease.

Someone standing on a platform fly fishing with the Sage Igniter 790-4 rod.

About this rod

  • Model: Sage Igniter 790-4
  • Rod Length: 9’ – 0”
  • Rod Weight: 7 wt
  • Rod Pieces: 4-Piece
  • Rod Material: Graphite

About me

  • Preferred fishing style(s): Streamers and Dry Flies
  • Experience: 16 Years

Test conditions

  • When I bought this: January 2022
  • Reel Paired with Rod: Hatch Fanatic 7+
  • Line Paired Rod: Rio InTouch Outbound Short WF7F
  • Days tested: 45+
  • Waters I’ve used it on: Lakes, Rivers, and Saltwater Flats
  • Species targeted with rod: Redfish, Bass, Striper and Bonefish

How it performs

Casting Ease

What I was looking for

When I purchased the Igniter, I was looking for a streamer rod for freshwater and something that could also be used in the Texas Gulf. I needed a fast action rod with a lot of power capable of casting large flies in the wind.

Why I chose this gear

I started my search looking for a high-end rod that was going to last me a lifetime. The Sage Igniter seemed to be at the top of every list for its ability to turn over big flies and make accurate casts into the wind. After getting one in my hands, there was no turning back as this rod fit exactly what I was looking for.

Close up of the Sage Igniter 790-4 fly rod.

What I love about it

  • Quality: Sage always produces a quality product. This rod was constructed with attention to every detail!
  • Versatility:
  • Use Case: I used this rod to throw streamers, baitfish patterns and crab patterns all over the state of Texas. It cuts through the wind with ease and is capable of long accurate casts.
  • Action:
    • Recover rate: Easy recovery. This rod loads smoothly and picks up large flies with ease. The ideal loading point is when you have the majority of the fly line head out. Recovering a poor cast can be easily done with one good double haul to put you back in a tight loop.
    • Power: Extremely powerful. Probably one of the most powerful rods I own.
    • Line speed: Fast. Looking to throw laser tight loops with high line speed? This is the rod you need!
    • Ideal casting distance: 30ft to 80ft
    • Accuracy: Pinpoint. Drops those flies on a dime!
    • Delicacy of presentation: Medium. This rod will present flies softly, but you must work at it. Landing a redfish fly delicately on the fish’s nose can be done so don’t let the power of this rod steer you away from targeting spooky fish.
  • Weight: This 7wt rod is made to be paired with a 7wt line, but can be overlined with 8wt if desired. The Igniter is best suited to catch bass, striper, and any inshore saltwater species.
  • Literal Weight: 3 7/16 oz – This rod can easily take the place of an 8wt in your quiver and can be cast all day with little to no arm fatigue. Don’t let the light weight fool you either because the Igniter will allow you to cast in the worst weather conditions Mother Nature can throw at you!
  • Length: Standard length sitting right at 9ft. This is exactly what I want in a streamer rod.
  • Sensitivity: Bites are easy to detect with this rod. The fast action tip is sensitive enough to pick up even the smallest of nibbles.
  • Grip: Fighting butt with Flor grade high quality cork. The full-wells grip is comfortable in your hand and allows you to fish it all day without any fatigue. Apply some U-40 cork sealer and never worry about this grip again.
  • Build: The Igniter is well-built with a very slim taper compared to most other rods on the market. The gunmetal reel seat and integrated hook keeper is a great addition.
  • Aesthetics: Beautifully made rod with a chipotle blank color and cayenne thread wraps. The reel seat is a gunmetal color that makes for a slick looking rod.
  • Warranty: Lifetime - Unconditional

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Versatility: The Igniter is versatile when it comes to bigger game fish or throwing larger flies, but I would not recommend this for a dry fly rod or your next nymphing stick. This rod is versatile in the sense that it is made to fight wind and throw bigger flies in both freshwater and saltwater, but it’s not a rod for everything.
  • Action:
    • Ease of casting: Ultra-fast action, but geared for intermediate to advanced anglers looking for extra punch. You should have previous experience casting and I would highly recommend you learn how to double haul before purchasing this rod.

Favorite moment with this gear

My favorite memory with this rod so far is chasing redfish in the Texas gulf. I had 15-20 mph winds all week and the conditions got rough. This rod made it super easy to fight through the wind and land some quality reds. My guide captured a shot of me on the casting platform on the only calm morning we had that will go down as one of my favorite pictures. I was launching a Poppin’ Fats Shrimp pattern to a school of redfish tailing in a marsh and ended up hooking into my best one of the day.

Value for the money vs. other options

You are going to pay for what you get here. The Igniter comes in at a steep $995. Remember that when it comes to quality and longevity in fly fishing that a company like Sage has been at the top of the market since they started in 1980. You will be getting an American-made rod by the most reputable company in the industry. I believe that for a high-end rod, the value is here even at the price point.

Final verdict

I would recommend every saltwater angler and lake fisherman have the Igniter in their quiver. It is the perfect rod for taking on high winds, bombing long casts, throwing sink tip line, and fighting fish.

Selling Sage on
Sage Igniter Fly Rod
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Written By
I picked up a fly rod at the age of 10 and have never been able to put it down. Fly tying started shortly after and I have chased fish all over the US and Mexico. I now own a small fly tying company as well as run guided trips. My favorite area to fish is the Bitteroot River in Missoula, MT and my f...

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