In this post, I’ll cover the best 8 weight fly rods on the market in 2021.

If you are like me, then the rods in your arsenal with the most wear and tear are your best 8 weight fly rods. Its sheer versatility allows it to be picked from my rod rack more often than not. The method and scenarios where it gets used most also contribute to these battle scars.

Big flies, high winds, quick casts, bushwhacking, chasing boats and big fish. That’s what the best 8 weight fly rods should be able to handle. That’s what I expect from them.

Compare The Best 8wt Fly Rods 2021

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Out of a rod design point of view, the 9 foot 8 weight is massively important. Like its smaller brother, the 5 weight, the 8 represents a popular model in most fly rod builder’s designs.

An interesting observation is that the 8 represents the heaviest model in many freshwater rod lineups (sometimes referred to as all-water rods), and also represents the lightest model in many saltwater lineups.

8 weight fly rod - man fishing on a river misty sunrise

So in that sense, there are a vast amount of 8 weight rods to choose from these days.

It’s a very popular saltwater rod for targeting bonefish, whether you are wading or fishing off a skiff. Likewise, it can be used for a multitude of freshwater species like salmon, large trout, golden dorado, and bass.

Best 8wt Fly Rods Quick-Look

#1 Best Overall: Temple Fork Outfitters BVK 

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Fly Rods By Weight

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5 Best 8 Weight Fly Fishing Rods

Below are some of, what we believe, are the best 8 weight rods out on the market today. They’re not necessarily all the most expensive rods. They are our selection of great rods in each market segment.

1. Echo Base

  • Action: Medium-Fast
  • Pros: Great value for money
  • Cons: On the heavy side

The Echo Base is a great beginner to intermediate 8 weight. Its action is absolutely perfect if you find fast action rods aren’t working for you.

For durability, it features a black anodized uplocking reel seat and cork and EVA fighting butt.
It comes with a fabric coated rod case and sock. As with all Echo rods, it comes with a lifetime warranty to the original owner.

This is an amazing value for money rod and a perfect backup rod for every trip.

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2. Temple Fork Outfitters BVK

  • Action: Fast
  • Pros: Light and responsive
  • Cons: Poor reel seat and small fighting butt

The Temple Fork Outfitters BVK has been around for quite some time, and rightly so. It’s been a great value rod (in all weights) and it brings a beautiful casting rod to the masses. The 8 weight rendition of the range, to me, is probably the best. For its price, it is incredibly light, accurate and can generate high line speeds.

I’ve caught countless bonefish on it and, to this day, it hasn’t let me down. It’s an incredible blank and feels great in hand.

One thing to bear in mind is to pay special attention to cleaning and maintaining the reel seat screws.

Considering this rod? Don’t miss Complete Hands-on Review of the TFO BVK fly rod.

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3. Thomas and Thomas Zone

  • Action: Fast
  • Pros: Made in the USA, lifetime warranty
  • Cons: Styling might not be for everyone

The T&T Zone has been a very successful saltwater rod. It won numerous prizes, including Best of Show Saltwater Fly Rod at IFTD 2018. Fishing one, not long after that, in Seychelles, I soon became very fond of it. Even, dare I say it, more than the more expensive Exocett. Personal preference I guess.

The rod feels very reassuring in hand and the rubber-cork composite grip will last a lifetime.

All in all, a good value for money rod that will be able to tackle a multitude of species and water types.

If you’re interested in this beautiful rod, don’t miss our in-depth hands-on review of the Thomas & Thomas Zone.

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4. Sage X

  • Action: Fast
  • Pros: Lifetime warranty, made in the USA
  • Cons: Price

The Sage X replaces the old One as their new all-water fly rod. In the range, you’ll find offerings from a 5 weight to an 11 weight.

The 8 weight is a beautiful rod, not only to cast but fish with in general.

It is built making use of their most advanced Konnetic HD technology which makes it extremely light. What we like is how it controls loops very well and has plenty of backbone.

Although not as fast as its saltwater cousin, the Salt HD, it makes a much better fit for the novice to the intermediate fly angler.

If you’re considering this rod, make sure to check out our In-Depth Hands-On Review of the Sage X. We got our hands on the 3-weight of this rod and put it through its paces and we feel that the 8-weight would be an even better feeling rod and would take advantage of that fast line speed.

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Scott Sector Saltwater Fly Rod5. Scott Sector

  • Action: Fast
  • Pros: Lifetime warranty, made in the USA
  • Cons: Price

Scott’s most advanced saltwater specific fly rod – the Sector. They’ve thrown everything they have at it, and it’s proper.

The stripping guides are nickel-titanium recoil guides. In essence, they just pop back into place when you bend them. They’re also very resistant to corrosion.

They’ve also optimized the blank’s construction to improve the recovery rate. This means that the rod will vibrate less after the cast is made, allowing more efficient energy transfer.

We know it’s not the cheapest stick in the bush, but if it’s within your budget, go test it out – you won’t be sorry.

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Best Value For Money 8 Weight Combo

Sometimes the best way to by a fly rod is to get it as part of a full outfit, that way you can ensure that the line, reel, and rod are all weighted to match each other to help guarantee that you have the perfectly balanced kit.

If you’re interested in different types of full fly fishing starter kits, check out our post that lists all of the best fly rod combos on the market today.

Orvis Encounter Fly Rod Outfit

  • Action: Medium-Fast
  • Pros: Great value for money
  • Cons: No lifetime warranty, plastic reel design

The Orvis Encounter outfit is an incredible value for money combo. We’ve also mentioned it in our Best Fly Rod Combo post.

This rod is aimed at the beginner that wants to wet his toes in saltwater. The action of the blank has been optimized for the beginner to the intermediate angler. This will enable you to feel the cast better compared to an ultra-fast action rod.

The softer action will also assist you with protecting lighter tippets – something that can be quite tricky when you just start fly fishing.

The combo includes the Encounter 4 piece rod and the Encounter large arbor reel that comes preloaded with backing and a weight-forward floating line. This means that most of the weight is in the first 20 feet of the fly line. This results in easier rod loading which will translate into longer casts for the beginner.

All this comes in a sturdy rod tube for added protection when traveling.

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Considering this Set-Up? Check out our Full Hands-On Review of the Orvis Encounter.

What Makes A Great 8 Weight Fly Rod?

To say that one specific rod ticks each box on the list below is nearly impossible to do. For you, there might be a rod that gets damn close, but it might not be the same for others. Rod choice is a personal thing. Below I have discussed some factors that I believe are important when choosing an 8 weight. It will, however, vary between each individual, as casting technique, budget, and target species differ.

Action

In every rod weight, you will find a massive difference in this regard. Each manufacturer, and each rod within their lineup, has a different action. What is best and what’s not I can’t say. I can, however, point you in a general way by making some suggestions.

Man on river using 8 wt Fly Rod Combo

If you are a novice to intermediate fly caster, a medium-fast action road would suit you best. Have a look at some of the all-water fly rod models. We’ll also recommend one or two in the section below.

For more advanced casters I would recommend looking at faster rods. It allows you to generate so much more line speed. This will allow you to carry heavier flies and punch your line into the wind with less difficulty.

Rods geared more towards saltwater species would be perfect here, although there are some ultra-fast all-water rods as well.

Presentation

The best 8 weight rods will enable you, if your technique is good enough, to generate high line speeds. Although most of your fishing will be done from short to medium ranges, this high line speeds will make longer casts possible. It will also allow you to continue fishing in windy situations.

As far as saltwater fishing goes, a good 8 weight fly rod is on the lighter side of things. This is the perfect rod weight to use when specifically targeting bonefish. Especially when delicate presentations are required for success.

Fighting Ability

A good 8 weight should be able to assist the angler to protect the relatively light tippet. In saltwater, for instance, it’s not uncommon to fish 10lb leaders on an 8 weight. However, the rod needs to have enough backbone to really pull when it’s required.

Fly Fishing with 8 weight fly rod Underwater Close-up

Durability

Here, I specifically mean how durable the rod is in the long run. Corrosion is the worst enemy for fishing gear. For this reason, I would recommend that if you plan on buying an 8 weight, make sure that it has corrosion-resistant components. Specifically the reel seat and line guides.

Unfortunately, these corrosion-resistant components can only protect your rod up to a certain point. Therefore, it’s essential that you take good care of your rods. After each day of fishing, rinse them off and after the trip clean them properly and polish the rod.

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Conclusion

An 8 weight rod is an essential tool in a fly fisherman’s lineup. With it he/she can target a multitude of species, ranging from large trout and salmon to bass and bonefish. Because you’ll spend so much time with it, it’s important to buy the best 8 weight fly rod you can.

In this writeup, we’ve given you 5 of the top 8 weight fly fishing rods on the market, according to us. What we wanted to show is that there are great options starting from as low as $114 and ranging to $985.

If you’re in the market for an 8 weight, I hope that this gave you some clarity and a nudge in the right direction. Please share this with your friends and fellow anglers.

 

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