Best 8 Weight Fly Rods | Buyer’s Guide (Top 9, 2022)

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Best 8 Weight Fly Rods | Buyer’s Guide (Top 9, 2022)

Rods to Wrangle ‘The Big One’ 

It is often said that the two best rod weights for someone beginning their fly fishing journey, regardless of region, are a 5 wt and an 8 wt. The five is more than capable of light freshwater work and is effective on trout, smallmouth, panfish, and more.

But on the heavier side of things, an 8 wt is capable of wrangling in large bass, muskie and pike, carp, and is even effective on lighter saltwater fish.

This review is going to be all about 8 wt rods, and I’m going to review some of the best on the market today.

Sage Igniter

If you take pleasure in multi-species fishing as much as I do, or you are new to higher rod weights, this article is for you.

Join me as I do a deep dive into these heavier rods for heavier fish so that you can make an informed purchase, and buy with confidence.

Eric-lahontan-cutthroat

This Article Will Cover:

  • Best 8 weight fly rods (Overall)
  • Best 8 weight fly rods for the money
  • 8 Weight Fly Rod Combo’s
  • 8 wt fly rod uses
  • 8 wt fly rod fishing tips
  • Frequently asked questions about 8-weight fly rods
  • And much more!

Let’s get started!


Best 8 weight Fly Rods Overall

These are the best of the best when it comes to 8 weight fly rods. These rods have been expertly reviewed and handle salmon to pike and everything in between.

1. Scott Sector 8 Wt Fly Rod

Features/Specifications:

  • 8’4” and 9’ 4-Piece Fly Rod Series
  • Line Weight 6-12
  • Carbon Web Technology in Blank
  • Fast Action
  • Ceracoil Stripping Guides
  • Titanium Snake Guides
  • Self-Indexing Anodized Aluminum Reel Seat
  • Full Wells with Fighting Butt
  • Aluminum Rod Tube
  • Scott Lifetime Warranty

Scott is a rod company that exemplifies passion and function in the products they create. The Scott Sector series of rods aim to improve and replace their already popular Meridian series, and they are a welcome addition to the Scott family of exquisite fly rods. These rods are available in 8’4” and 9’ lengths.

The fast action of these rods can make for some challenging casting for the beginner, but to the intermediate or skilled fly casters among us, this rod is a super accurate and precise piece of equipment, with a powerful butt section that is able to lift even the heaviest freshwater fish up from the depths. 

Scott uses quality componentry in the design of their rods, and this is evident with their inclusion of durable ceracoil stripping guides and hardened titanium snake guides.

The Carbon Web technology used in the rod blank makes this rod super durable by adding an extra thin layer of multi-directional carbon fiber to the surface. This improves torsional stability and rod strength.

In short, this rod is a great offering from a great company that knows heavy rods well. Whether you’re after bonefish or bass, the Sector series has something that’s right for you. Scott truly spares no expense in their research and development, and the Sector series addresses the minimal issues with the previous Meridian series well. It doesn’t get much better than the Scott Sector.

Pros

  • The ReAct and Carbon Web technology used in these blanks makes the Sector series one of the most durable fly rod models on the market
  • Full wells and a fighting butt enable the user to pull monster bass (and other species) out of weeds, through obstructions, and up out of the depths and to your net with ease
  • This rod works just as well in salt water as it does in freshwater, meaning that this rod really is a do-it-all 8 wt

Cons

  • The price of this rod is steep, and the action is fast, meaning that it was designed for those with some experience making the long casts necessary to make this rod shine. I hesitate to list these as cons, but they must be mentioned. This is truly a great rod from Scott

View on Trident Fly Fishing →

2. Sage Igniter 8 Wt Fly Rod

Features/Specifications:

  • 9’ and 9’4” 4-Piece Rod Series
  • Freshwater 4-6 Wt, Saltwater 6-10 Wt
  • KonneticHD Blank
  • Extra Fast Action
  • Fuji Ceramic Stripping Guides
  • Ultralight Hard Chrome Snake Guides
  • Uplocking Reel Seat
  • Powder Coated Aluminum Rod Tube
  • Sage Lifetime Warranty

I love reviewing Sage products, not just because of the mountain of positive customer reviews, but also because this company keeps producing masterfully engineered rods that are all worthy of kind words and brand loyalty.

The Igniter series of rods from Sage come in a variety of line weights, but the 8 wt is of particular interest here as it is rated for saltwater, but works great for big toothy predators in freshwater environments as well.

Sage’s proprietary KonneticHD technology is used in the construction of their blanks, and their graphite-to-resin ratio has been reworked to create a powerful, dependable, and durable fly rod. 

Sage is honest in their rundown of this rod series–the target audience here is not the weekend-warrior fly fisher. The extra-fast action of these rods can make them difficult to use if you’re not experienced with big rods that can throw a ton of line.

However, for those of you that take pride in targeting big fish in both fresh and saltwater, this rod was essentially made for you. Just as deadly from a drift boat as it is when wading, the Sage Igniter is a technical, high-performance rod that can stand up to season after season of use with ease.

Sage has outdone themselves with this rod series, and they’ve produced and the Igniter is a stellar 8 wt.

Pros

  • This rod is an exceptional streamer rod, and its fast action was designed to throw long loops and heavy flies with precise accuracy
  • The 8 wt Igniter is rated for saltwater but works just as well for large predatory saltwater fish
  • Super durable

Cons

  • The technical, extra-fast action of this rod makes it difficult for the novice fly caster, so consider this before jumping in
  • This rod is an investment but is worth every penny

View on Trident Fly Fishing →

3. Orvis Recon 8 Wt Fly Rod

Features/Specifications:

  • 9’ 4-Piece Fly Rod
  • Utilizes Helios 3 Blank
  • Fast Action
  • Silver Stripping Guides
  • Silver Snake Guides
  • Pewter Type III Anodized Aluminum Reel Seats
  • Cork Handle, Full-Wells with Fighting Butt
  • Nylon Covered Rod Tube
  • 25 Year Warranty from Orvis

The Recon 2 from Orvis utilizes many of the technological aspects of another rod series, the Helios 3. Using Helios 3 technology in the blank just makes the Recon 2 a better all-around 8wt.

This rod has a fast action for accurate casts of big flies into the wind, and it is deadly when swung off a drift-boat.

This rod has power built into every inch of the blank, and the all-cork full-wells handle comes complete with a fighting butt to control large fish on the other end of the line. 

It’s not just the blank that has been improved on the Recon 2–the reel seat has had a makeover too. The Type III anodizing used on the reel-seats of the 8 and 9wt models may be the strongest type of anodization used yet, and this makes them super durable regardless of what type of water they are fished in.

Both the blank and these new reel seats were built for heavy use, and their durability is impressive. Everything you could want from an 8wt is present in this Orvis remodel.

Pros

  • Quality componentry is utilized here to create a truly well-rounded bigger fly rod
  • Orvis has addressed every customer complaint with the original Recon in this revamped model to create an even better 8wt rod

View on Trident Fly Fishing →

Cons

  • None. Orvis is living up to their reputation as a quality sporting-goods brand with this rod

4. Loop 7X 8 Wt Fly Rod

Features/Specifications:

  • 8’8”, 9’, 9’6” and 10’, 4-Piece Fly Rod Series
  • Line Weights 4-12
  • Revolutionary Heptagonal Blank
  • Medium/Fast Action
  • Torzite-Syle Stripping Guides
  • Titanium Snake Guides
  • Anodized Aluminum Reel Seat with Carbon Fiber Insert
  • Full Wells with Fighting Butt
  • Durable Aluminum Rod Tube
  • One Year Warranty From Loop

Every component on this rod series from Loop is cutting-edge and impressive. Loop has made major waves in the fly rod community with its expertly engineered heptagonal blank. This affords the 7X superb transfer of energy, and all-around better, smoother casting.

The heptagonal blank makes this rod super durable, and the 8 wt is more than capable of handling monster fish. The action here is medium/fast, and very forgiving to the beginner. 

Even the guides on this rod are noteworthy. The torzite-style guides used on the 7X are fast replacing the ceramic fuji guides that have been the norm on high-end fly rods for years. The 8 wt has full wells and a fighting butt.

This rod is powerful, and a joy to cast. Loop is really on to something with the innovative blank here, so keep your eyes peeled on this company for more relentlessly functional, high-end rods in the future. 

Pros

  • The 7X 8 wt has all the bells and whistles of this rod series, and they work super well together to create a powerful and accurate rod for heavy fish
  • Whether you’re a novice fly fisher or have years of experience, the functionality of Loop’s heptagonal blank has to be experienced to be believed 
  • Superb power and accuracy. This rod can throw a ton of lines with a purpose

Cons

  • This is a lot of money to drop on a fly rod, regardless of how innovative it’s designed.
  • In a world where the majority of companies are doing lifetime warranties, a one-year warranty comes up a bit short for the buyer.  

View on Trident Fly Fishing →


Best 8 weight Fly Rods for the Money

These next two fly rods are great options for those wanting to try out a heavier 8 weight rod without spending too much money. These are great options for beginners and experts.

5. TFO NXT 8 wt fly rod

Features/Specifications:

  • 9’ 4-Piece Fly rod
  • 8 wt
  • Medium/Fast Action
  • Aluminum Oxide Stripping Guides
  • Chrome Snake Guides
  • Anodized Uplocking Reel Seat
  • Full Wells
  • Cordura Rod and Reel Travel Case
  • TFO No-Fault Warranty

I’m very familiar with TFO products, and NXT 8 wt is a standout fly rod for bigger fish. Lefty Kreh was heavily involved in the design of this rod for TFO, and I suspect this model in this line weight would be great for Susquehanna smallmouth.

This 9’ 4-piece fly rod sports a forgiving medium/fast action, with a softer tip for tippet protection. This rod is a workhorse, with enough backbone to punch your flies to their destination through wind and rain.

Smooth aluminum oxide stripping guides cut out a lot of friction, and this rod shoots spectacularly well on the back cast.

TFO has made a name for itself by collaborating with noteworthy fly fishers and producing quality gear at a more than reasonable price point. If you’re new to the 8 wt world, this really is the perfect rod for you to learn on, and a more than adequate backup rod for those of you who have experience pursuing bigger fish on bigger rods.

TFO’s no-fault warranty is rock solid. You can’t go wrong with this rod, especially if you’re just starting out.

Pros

  • Super accessible price. Performs as well as rods that are double in price. 
  • Centered around the beginner, with a forgiving medium/fast action
  • The TFO warranty is a big plus

Cons

  • Occasional reports of brittle tips and manufacturer’s errors with the uplocking reel seat
  • No fighting butt

View on Trident Fly Fishing →

6. Cortland MKII Competition 8 Wt Fly Rod

Features/Specifications:

  • 10’ 4-Piece Fly Rod Series
  • Line Weights 6, 7, and 8
  • Medium/Fast Action
  • Tactical 10’ Graphite Blank
  • Oversized Stripping Guides
  • Single Foot Chrome Snake Guides
  • Double Uplocking Reel Seat with Carbon Fiber Insert
  • Cordura Rod Tube
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

While Cortland is a company most likely known for its numerous fly lines, this rod is a solid offering from this veteran company and a great starting point for the novice. This rod was built to high standards and was designed for large lakes and still water.

It works just as well when pond hopping though, and the graphite blank is light enough for you to chuck big flies all day. This rod sports a deliberate, powerful medium/fast action that works great from a drift boat.

Designed for big fish in big water, this rod will not disappoint you. It is very well balanced and reviewed warmly by many. This is another great starting point to the 8 wt world, and Cortland has produced an effective, affordable fly rod here.

Pros

  • This rod is reasonably priced for the quality componentry used here. This is a competition-grade rod at a great price.
  • Very forgiving medium/fast action

Cons

  • None! This is a great rod at a great price and is just as valuable to the beginner as it is to someone who knows how to cast

View on Trident Fly Fishing →

Best 8 Wt Fly Rod Combos

Here are a few 8-weight fly rods that pair a great rod with a superb reel and line so you can hit the water running!

7. Redington Path II 8 Wt Fly Rod Combo

Features/Specifications:

  • 9’ 4-Piece Fly Rod
  • Combo Includes Path Rod with Crosswater reel
  • 8 wt
  • Medium/Fast Action
  • Alignment Dots
  • Anodized Aluminum Reel Seat
  • Full Wells
  • Cordura Rod Tube With Built-In Divider
  • Crosswater Reel Spooled With Mainstream RIO Line
  • Lifetime warranty on Rod Only

This rod-and-reel combo from Redington tops the list in this category not just because of the great value here, but also because the Path II rod is a workhorse of an 8wt. This is an All-Water rod that is more than saltwater capable.

Durable anodized aluminum reel seats complement a full-well handle, and this rod has alignment dots so that you can be sure your Path is put together true the first time. The medium/fast action of this rod can deliver less-than aerodynamic flies where they need to be with ease, and the action is not so fast that it makes this rod difficult for the beginner to pick up and start swinging.

The Crosswater reel that is included in this combo is a large-arbor reel that is powerful enough to handle whatever is thrown it’s way. This rod and reel combo, spooled with the Mainstream WF RIO line, is ready to be used right out of the box, in salt or freshwater.

You get all the usual extras, like the Cordura rod tube, as well as a lifetime warranty on the rod specifically. This rod is great for the 5wt aficionado who’s ready for something different, as well as a reliable backup for the veteran streamer-chucker, and all this at a very reasonable price.

Pros

  • This is a combo, so it’s ready to see water as soon as it arrives at your door
  • Economical price-point
  • Forgiving action

Cons

  • Outside of some issues with the pre-spooled line on the Crosswater reel, none

View on Trident Fly Fishing →

8. Sage Foundation Combo

Features/Specifications:

  • 9’ 4-Piece Fly Rod
  • Graphite II Technology in Blank
  • Ceramic Stripping Guides
  • Hard Chrome Snake Guides and Tip
  • Black Anodized Aluminum Uplocking Reel Seat
  • Cork Handle
  • Fighting Butt
  • Combo Includes a Sage Spectrum C Reel
  • RIO Gold Fly Line
  • Tapered Leader, Backing, Tippet
  • Rod and Reel Case

Combos that are ready to fish out of the box can be pricey, but overall, the value present in this big-water offering from Sage is apparent and the components here work well to provide a balanced rod and reel combo for the expert and novice. Many features that make Sage such a competitive, dependable brand are present in this combo.

The 9’ Graphite II Tech blank is fast action and aesthetically pleasing in matte black with silver trim. The rod includes a fighting butt for control and the power to tire bigger fish with ease. Hard chrome is used on all snake guides and the stripping guides utilize smooth ceramic for less friction and better distance. 

The Sage Spectrum C reel included in this combo comes pre-loaded with RIO Gold Fly Line, backing, tapered leader, and tippet. Everything you need to get out there and get after some big game.

The rod tube and reel case are added bonuses because both pieces of gear deserve to be safeguarded before you’re out on the water. Highly reviewed, this combo made the ‘best value’ list easily.

Pros

  • Ready to fish right out of the box
  • Balanced combo, that includes a high-quality fly line and tapered leader
  • A great Sage combo

Cons

  • None

View on Amazon →

9. Echo Traverse 8 wt fly rod outfit

Features/Specifications:

  • 9’ 4-Piece Fly Rod 
  • Medium/Fast Action
  • Lightweight Ceramic Stripping Guides
  • Standard Cork Grip, Reversed Half-Wells
  • Aluminum ION Reel
  • Disc Drag
  • Large Arbor
  • Lifetime Echo Warranty

Trident had the perfect tagline for this 8-wt combo from Echo and Rajeff Sports– “Incredible performance with a price tag you won’t believe.” I couldn’t have said it any better myself!

Echo is a company known for quality and value both, and this combo is a perfect example of the core values that have made this brand a first choice, not a backup, too many across the US. This fly rod combo performs the same or better than outfits that are over twice the price.

Medium/fast action rods are more forgiving than a straight Fast action, and the hardware used here checks all the boxes that rods at a much higher price point do. Whether you are a novice or beginner, Echo has something for you so consider this combo as the water warms up.

Pros

  •  Great value
  • Forgiving medium/fast action
  • Features that are usually reserved for much more expensive rods

Cons

  • None, and at this price, you should check it out!

View on Trident Fly Fishing →


8 Weight Fly Rod Uses

When I started fly fishing, the two-rod weights that were deemed essential were a 5 weight and an 8 weight.

These two rods would enable me to catch almost every fish that freshwater had to offer, with the 5 being suitable for trout, panfish, char, and smallmouth, and the 8 able to go after muskie, large bass, and northerns. The 8 wt is very versatile and is the preferred weight for light saltwater anglers.

This rod weight is great for bonefish and redfish in saltwater, and it can propel heavy, wind-resistant flies directly through wind and rain to the desired target area. There is a lot of power in an 8 wt, and the fighting butt that is present on nearly all of the above-reviewed rods is super useful.

Make use of an 8 Wt’s power and do some big water fishing. These rods excel on big rivers or large lakes. They can throw and manage a ton of line, making them great for throwing a variety of heavy streamers and articulated flies.

This is why they are preferred by muskie fishers as well as those who fish saltwater flats. Wherever you use an 8 wt, you’ll be ready for some seriously big fish.

ERic Trout

8 weight Fly Rod Fishing Tips

Fishing with an 8 wt rod enables you to cast big flies in less-than-perfect conditions (rain, wind, etc). These rods have the backbone to not only wrangle big fish but also to present clunky precisely where they need to be.

Pair these rods with your choice of fly line, because they can accommodate many. Many of my peers, who fish nothing but streamers on the Susquehanna, prefer an 8 wt because it has the power to not only throw lots of line but to manage it well on the water. 

These rods excel in all big water, not just rivers. An 8-wt is great for big lakes and big tailwaters.

Brown-trout-release

Being able to throw a fly 70+ feet takes practice, but most of these rods can help you accomplish this feat with ease.

As stated above, some of these rods sport an extra fast action, and they can be challenging to the novice fly fisher. If you’re just getting into 8 wt fly fishing, consider a more moderate action to start with. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: Can I throw dry flies on an 8-wt?

A: The answer to this is a tentative yes. An 8 wt is not made for throwing size 20 Adams flies. However, they do throw bigger hopper patterns and mice quite well, and a floating line is best utilized with these chunky, near-unsinkable patterns.

Q: What kind of leader should I pair with my 8 wt?

A: While I do know some anglers that forego tapered leaders in favor of straight mono, there are tapered leaders that are designed for streamer-chucking to big fish. Check out Rio’s light saltwater leaders. They’re great at turning over the heaviest flies.

Q: I don’t fish from a drift boat and I am far away from any saltwater. Do I have a need for an 8-wt rod?

A: This depends on what you’re willing to fish for. Muskie and pike put up an excellent fight on the 8 wt, as well as monster bass hiding away in ponds or on your local river system. I even know some fly fishers that use an 8 wt for carp fishing. If you want to fish for bigger fish when the conditions just aren’t right for trout, I venture to say you’ll end up wanting to own an 8-wt rod.


Reeling It In

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8 wt rods have a lot of power and will require learning many different casting techniques that you just don’t do on a 5 wt rod.

However, if you’re committed to catching fish on the fly, you’ll want an 8 wt on hand when the Summers get hot and the trout find cooler deeper hiding places. An 8 wt is perfect for branching out from trout and targeting other species of fish on the fly.

We’ve covered some fantastic rods in this review, and hopefully, you can choose one of these aforementioned products to see what it’s like to gear up from the traditional 5 wt. As always, be safe and tight lines, my friends!

Related Readings: 

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AUTHOR
Andrew was brought up fishing high mountain streams for eastern brook trout in central PA, but fell in love with all things fly fishing later in life. Now, his days are spent pursuing all of Pennsylvania's freshwater gamefish on the fly, while attempting to make the hobby more accessible and approachable to everyone.

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