TFO BVK rod review

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Posted by Ben L. on 2010-09-02 12:43:48

I was fortunate enough to both cast and fish the prototype 8 wt BVK rod recently. The first thing I did when I had one in hand was to weigh it. I'd heard that the production rods will be even lighter, as the prototype was an unsanded version. It tipped the scales at 3.25 ounces! Wow. I know one of the knocks against the current crop of TFO rods (TiCr, TiCrX, Axiom) has been that they are heavy. I've never found it an issue - I love the Axiom rods as well as the TiCr series. But this rod should answer the weight critics. It feels light in (dare I say it?) a Sage/Loomis/etc. First thing I did was put on a reel and string an 8 wt line through the guides and head out to the park. I cast it back to back with an Axiom 8 wt. As good as the 8 wt Axiom is (and I think it's a great rod) this rod is better. I'd just cast an 8 wt Loomis NRX a few days before this and after casting the BVK I see no reason to ante up another $500 for the NRX. As far as casting, as far as I can tell, this rod is every bit the equal of the NRX - light, responsive, fast, and IMHO better line feel (I will post shortly on my experience with the NRX). Like the Axiom it's able to cast the entire fly line, but feels like a featherweight when cast back to back with the Axiom.

The next day I was fortunate again - I was on a plane bound for Fort Lauderdale, with my final destination being Key West and 2-1/2 days of flats fishing for bones, permit and tarpon. I won't bore anyone with the details of that trip (very calm, mirror like water most of the time, very spooky bones and permit) but the end score was 2 tarpon and 1 bonefish (should have been 2 bones but one fell off the hook after a few minutes...damn rubber hooks!). I fished my Charlton 8500 0.8 on the BVK rod and Makos on the 10 wt Axiom (permit rod) and on the Loomis Crosscurrent 9 wt GLX for tarpon. The BVK rod was fantastic on the water and perfectly matched to the little Charlton and a Rio Bonefish 8 wt line. It loaded up easily, made tight loops, and helped make tough shots in tough conditions. The rod is strong and fast without being overly stiff, there is enough tip flex to make those short casts that are the bane of some fast rods. For mid range casts (40-60 ft) the rod is very, very accurate. (Back home I was able to hit a 12 inch target at 75 feet 4 times in a row with this rod - a pretty uncommon occurence for me...and no, don't ask me to do that again!) The tip tracks very well. I rarely find rods that are fast and have good line feel but this rod has it in spades.

The thing I liked best about this rod is the line feel. I can feel the line unrolling behind me and it makes it that much easier for me to time my forward cast. A lot of fast rods lack this feel IME and so require either 1) very good timing on the part of the caster, or 2) a finely developed feel for the line behind you, or 3) looking over your shoulder occasionally to "calibrate" your timing throughout the day. This rod didn't need any of the 3, I could feel the line load from the very first back cast.

And did I mention how light it was? I love this rod! I wish I had a Sage TCR 8 wt to compare to this rod back to back but I don't. I won't try to compare off memory as that would not be fair to either rod but I have a new favorite 8 wt. I love fishing this rod, it's that good. I am amazed that the rod is just over $200...when I tried it I thought for sure that TFO would finally price a rod above $400. I'm glad they didn't as it'll make it easy for me to buy some of these rods :).

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