While bigger doesn’t always mean better, when you are looking for big fish, this is certainly the case.
If you are looking for heavy-duty, you will want to look at the best 8 weight fly rods.
You are in luck! I’ve had a good shop around, and today I want to show you some of the best on the market.
I’ll even tell you how I reached my decision in a detailed buyers guide.
Let’s dive right in!
Table of Contents
- TOP 6 Best 8 Weight Fly Rods 2024
- Choosing an 8 Weight Fly Fishing Rod
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TOP 6 Best 8 Weight Fly Rods 2024
Choosing an 8 Weight Fly Fishing Rod
Plenty of choices, but still not sure?
Here’s were my considerations when choosing.
What is a 8wt Fly Rod Good For?
Let’s not beat around the bush.
8wt fly rods are primarily designed to cast big flies to big fish over big distances. Because they are purpose-built for casting bigger, heavier flies, they are the ideal choice if you are fishing in water with strong currents or water that is particularly deep.
And I’m not just talking freshwater either.
The sea fits both of these criteria, so they are ideal if you are off looking for Bonefish or Tarpon!
How Big of a Fish can an 8wt Fly Rod Handle?
Unless you are going after crazy big fish, there isn’t a fish you can’t handle using an 8wt fly rod. Here are some of the species you could think about catching:
- Trophy Bass
- Large trout
- And many more…
What Should I Look For in the Best 8 Weight Fly Rods?
Alright, if you are looking at a few rods, this is what you want to consider:
For me, the optimum length is around 9 feet.
This represents the optimum between power and controllability. Go any longer, and you’ll find the rod cumbersome. Go shorter, and you lose some of that action that normally makes an 8wt fly rod so much easier to cast.
This is an entirely personal preference. Gone are the days when multi-piece rods were inferior to two pieces (or even one-piece fly fishing rods… shudder).
If you are looking to be a little more mobile, I’d suggest going for a four-piece rod. This breaks down into easy-to-carry sections, making transportation a breeze.
If you check my trunk, you’ll find several rod tubes, with a rod in each for any situation.
When choosing a rod, make sure to get one with a high-quality cork handle.
How do you know what handle is good on a fishing rod?
Look for the A’s… The more “A’s” the cork is rated, the better it is!
Here’s a piece of advice.
Don’t ignore handle quality. You’d be amazed how much wear and tear is placed on the handle. It is likely to be the first failure point over any other part of the rod.
Action again comes down to personal preference. Unlike smaller, lighter rods, you’ll find a huge range with 8wt rods.
My personal preference is to look for something pushing up towards the ‘fast’ end of the scale. This is crucial for accelerating big flies and heavy lines a long way.
If you are looking for really big fish, you might want to consider going for a medium-action rod. This will give you the necessary ‘grunt’ to pull in the hardest of fighters.
If you are spending money on a new fly fishing rod, then it’s natural that you want it to last for a long time.
When I’m assessing potential durability, I focus on a few key areas.
First, I look at any metal component and try and decide if it will stand up to the corrosive effects of water. Anything with ‘steel’ in the name makes me a little wary.
As a good general rule, anything made from non-ferrous metal, like zinc, aluminum, or chromed material, is a safe bet. This is particularly true when I look at the stripping guides. Any rust can cause a burr that will result in a damaged line and eventually lost fish.
The reel seat is another ‘hot spot’. I’ve tried to change reels on cheaper rods and ended up having to cut the rod because the reel seat had seized due to rust.
If you are spending all of that money, you might want to treat yourself to something really nice.
Who wants ‘bare-bones’?
Numerous little things can elevate a good 8wt fly rod to something great. Inserts on the reel seat are always a nice touch. I nearly always end up going for something classy like rosewood.
Hook keepers are another nice addition. They allow you to stay mobile while also protecting your rod rings (we’ve all been tempted to hook our fly there instead).
Lined guides are another great feature.
And the good news?
You’ll often find that they are available even on the cheaper 8wt rods!
Oh, and before I forget…
Make sure you get a rod that comes with a protective tube. It’s all good and well saying “I’ll just be careful”.
But trust me when I say…
It only takes being careless with the car door once, and you’ll be seriously out of pocket!
Still, got questions?
Don’t worry, it’s natural. Here are the things I get asked all the time:
What Company Makes the Best Fly Rods?
That’s a tricky one. It all depends on how much you are looking to spend.
For the money, I think that Orvis is probably the best value. There are more expensive brands out there, but I think the extra cost doesn’t bring that much more benefit for what you get.
Orvis has been in the game for years, and they really know what they are doing. Most of my rods are Orvis, and they rarely let me down!
What is the Best Weight Fly Rod for Steelhead?
Steelheads are hard fighters, and they can grow pretty big. For that reason, an 8 weight fly rod is ideal. You could maybe go a little lighter, even perhaps down to a good 7wt fly rod, but I’d be inclined to go no lower, or you risk breaking your rod.
Are High-End Fly Rods Worth the Money?
If you’d asked me this a few years ago, I’d have said no…
Then I fished with one.
Man! What a difference. High-end fly rods do tend to cast better. They are also lighter weight. The final bonus for me is that they tend to last a lot longer than budget rods too.
Budget rods are significantly cheaper. But if you have to buy a new one every couple of years, instead of having one good quality rod for a decade, are you really saving yourself anything?
If you’ve got the cash to spare, consider a good fly fishing rod an investment.
Do Longer Rods Cast Further?
Rod length does matter…
Action is just as important. You’ll find that a good quality blank on a short rod will easily outcast something average in a longer rod.
There’s a surprising amount of technology hidden with carbon fiber, and the quality makes a huge difference to casting distance.
You might get a decent casting distance with a longer rod… But you’ll often find that your accuracy suffers
What’s the Best All-Around Fly Rod Weight?
If you are just getting started, a 5wt fly rod or 6wt rod is the ideal weight. You’ll be able to fish in 90% of situations and handle a huge range of fish sizes. 8wt rods are getting into the specialist territory and aren’t for the faint-hearted!
The best 8 weight fly rods will allow you to cast further and catch bigger fish. However, be selective in what you go for.
When it comes to fly fishing, cheap is good, but light is better and worth every penny. If you are looking to get kitted out for fly fishing on a budget, I’ve got a great article right here.
Or, if you want to look at a full fly-fishing setup, be sure to swing by this article about combo fly fishing deals. What would you say is the ideal weight of the rod? Let me know in the comments.