sage foundation vs orvis recon

Sage Foundation vs. Orvis Recon

Sage and Orvis are both staples in the fly fishing world. For years they have battled in innovation and quality of their goods. Especially for their higher-priced rods. Today we’re going to look at two of their mid-priced rod offerings though. The Sage Foundation vs. the Orvis  Recon. 

If the Sage Foundation vs. Orvis Recon debate is currently on your mind I understand why. They’re both excellent rods built by excellent companies. After my review of both rods, the Sage Foundation came out on top. You may be surprised as to the reasons why though. Let’s get into it!

I reviewed the 9 foot 5 weight versions of these rods.



sage foundation vs orvis recon

Lightweight rods used to always have a higher price tag on them. However, that is no longer the case! Sage and Orvis have both taken weight very seriously up and down their rod lineup.

The Foundation weighs in at 3.25 oz.

The Recon weighs in at 2.62 oz.

This is quite a difference and I can feel the difference between the two especially going from the Recon to the Foundation. After fishing the Recon in the morning the Foundation feels clunkier and more cumbersome to fish with. Of course, your reel may make a difference for you as well. I fished the same reel on both if these rods to make sure it was as even as possible.

So round 1 goes to the Recon!

Build Quality

Both of these companies have years and years of experience in rod building. So no doubt these rods were made with precision and thought. Both of which were built in the U.S.A.

Let’s start with the Foundation. I personally love the aesthetic of this rod. It has a matte black blank and continues with the matte black color scheme in the reel seat. Sage uses snake guides on this rod. If youre looking to go from one hole to another on the stream youre fishing youre going to have to hold your fly in your hand as this rod does not have a hook guide. Your hand will be gripping a half wells grip that is very comfortable. It feels sturdy and very well made.

A classic Orvis Olive was used as the color for the blank. It shines very nicely in the sun and looks great. The reel insert is dark wood. Orvis also uses snake guides on this rod as well. A half wells grip on this rod compares in feel to the Sage. This rod does have a hook guide though! Which could sway some to choose this rod over the Foundation.

The winner? Although the Sage Foundation doesn’t have a hook guide I believe the build quality of these two are neck and neck. You can’t go wrong with either in this category!


Sage offers a lifetime warranty on their rods to the original owner. It does not cover theft, fire, or intentional damage. Which is kind of a given! It is a $25 fee to send your rod in to get repaired. This price is per rod not per section. If they ever stop making this rod typically their price would go up to $75 per rod. It takes Sage 4-6 weeks to return your rod to you.

Orvis does not offer a lifetime warranty but rather a 25-year warranty. Usually, if you’ve had a rod for 25 years it may be time to replace it anyhow. If they can’t fix your rod they will replace it. It will take Orvis 4-6 weeks to return your rod to you.

Both have fantastic warranty programs. Another tie!


Both of these rods excel at the same type of fishing. If you are looking for a rod for larger sized rivers that have a fast action then these rods are for you. They both can be used to nymph fish as well as throw dry flies and small streamers. They lose some touch in the shorter distances. You can’t lay a direct cast as well as some other rods on small streams.


Price can be a prominent deciding factor when it comes to choosing a new rod! So you know we have to talk about it.

The Sage Foundation comes in at $325.00.

The Orvis Recon comes in at $498.00.

Pretty simple to see who wins this one! Quite a large gap between the two.

So Who Wins?

Taking everything into consideration here including the price I believe the Sage Foundation takes the win. For more than $100 less the Sage Foundation keeps up with the Recon in nearly every category. That extra cash can be used for a better line or reel.

There is always a but though and if I don’t take price into consideration I would go with the Recon. The feel of the rod just seems better. It’s very versatile and the light swing weight makes it a breeze to cast!

You can’t go wrong with either rod! If you’re considering buying one here are some links where you can find them for the best price!

Here’s the Recon.

Here’s the Foundation.

Fish on!