The Best 8 Weight Fly Line in 2023 – Buyers Guide

When you pick up an 8 weight fly rod, like your fast action NRX with a lovely cork handle, you’re after a special species like a bonefish or a small tarpon.

Your size 22 trout flies are staying at home and the big fly box is coming out, the pressure is on and you’re going to need the best 8 weight fly line to get the job done.

Image Product Details  
flyfisherpro-table__imageBest For Spooky FishScientific Anglers Amplitude Bonefish Fly Line
  • AST Plus Slickness Coating
  • Stiff Tropi-Core
  • Long Head With Gentle Taper
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest All-arounderRio Elite Flats Pro Stealth Tip Saltwater Fly Line
  • Clear Tip For Stealth Delivery
  • Heavy Front Head
  • Smooth Coating
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest For BassScientific Anglers Mastery Bass Bug Fly Line
  • Warm Water Coating
  • Large Rear Taper
  • AST Coating
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Our Best 8wt Fly Lines

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Bonefish Fly Line

Scientific Anglers Amplitude bonefish Fly Line

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Key Features

  • AST Plus slickness coating for better casting distance & durability
  • Textured for excellent location and subtle easy pick-ups
  • Shooting texture in the running line makes a long cast easier
  • Long head with a gentle taper for better line control and fly presentation
  • Stiff tropi-core for good hook sets and low memory in tropical climates
  • Punches into the wind with ease

Tech. Specs

  • Type: Saltwater Floating
  • Taper: Weight Forward
  • Length: 100 feet
  • Color: Black/Surf/Ivory

The Scientific Anglers Amplitude Series Bonefish Fly Line is an 8 weight fly line that is designed to load those fast carbon fiber or graphite fly rods like the NRX.

The line comes with a powerful heavy head that loads your rod to the butt section and helps you to get a serious line speed with tight loops so you can push those 60 feet distances needed when fly fishing saltwater flats.

It’s not just the heavier weight that is helping you out. These fly lines come with a shooting texture and AST slickness to ensure the line travels smoothly through your guides for the furthest shooting distance possible.

You might think that all this weight might make the delicate fly presentations needed when stalking bones or permit a challenge. But SA thought of that, and the high-performance front taper is long enough to make sure that no matter the fly size, you can land it on the water without any fish noticing.

The end of the fly line comes with a floating texture to ensure your line stays high on the water surface for minimal drag and easy pick-ups. This makes short close shots easy and those moments when you have to re-cast because the bone didn’t see it, far more manageable.

For an in-depth analysis, be sure to check out the video review here.

Another handy thing about this line is that it comes in three colors denoting the head, running line, and back end of the line. This will help you gauge your casting distance when your guide says permit at 40ft 11 o clock, and you’ll always know exactly what part of the line needs to be in your fly rod to load it properly.

Rio Elite Flats Pro Stealth Tip Saltwater Fly Line

Rio Elite Flats Pro Stealth Tip Saltwater Fly Line

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Key Features

  • Clear tip for stealth delivery to spooky bonefish and permit
  • Low stretch core for solid strip sets and better feel on the cast
  • Heavy front head for casting in windy conditions
  • Features a tricolored measuring system for better accuracy and distance gauging
  • Medium head with a long back taper for great line control and accuracy
  • Smooth coating for longer shooting distance

Tech. Specs

  • Type: Saltwater Floating
  • Taper: Weight Forward
  • Length: 100 feet
  • Color: Clear/Green/Orange/Yellow

The Rio Elite Series Flats Pro Stealth Tip is designed as an all-around flats line and comes in every line weight from 6-12wt and their 8 weight version is pretty spectacular. Making it one of the best fly saltwater fly line today.

Even if you’re using the best 8 weight fly rod, carbon fiber or graphite, Orvis or Sage, (you might have guessed I love my NRX), this line is going to bring it to life.

It’s weighted forward with a lengthy 50-foot head to give you all the power and control you need to handle quick short shots under pressure or push 60 feet into the wind and turn over those big heavier flies.

The low stretch core ensures you have more feel on your cast for better control and accuracy. Plus it comes in handy when you need to strip set hard into the tough mouths of species like tarpon.

The smooth coating ensures frictionless casting for better shooting distances, and it repels water for less drag, and overall longer-lasting durability, performance, and line strength.

For an in-depth analysis, be sure to check out the video review here.

The fly line features a clear tip for the ultimate in stealth presentation. It also has a tri-colored system so you can match the distances your guide is asking for easily, and you’ll always know which part of your fly line to have in the guides to load your fly rod properly.

Scientific Anglers Mastery Bass Bug Fly Line

Scientific Anglers Mastery Bass Bug Fly Line

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Key Features

  • Overweighted by two line sizes for throwing big flies
  • Loads fast action rods with ease for a quick and accurate cast
  • Warm water coating for fishing in the summer months
  • Large rear taper for more fly line control
  • AST coating for durability and extra shooting distance

Tech. Specs

  • Type: Freshwater Floating
  • Taper: Weight Forward
  • Length: 90 feet
  • Color: Frog Green/Shad Blue

8 weight fly rods aren’t just for the saltwater angler, they are perfect for freshwater fly fishing too when big flies and trout, muskie, and pike are on the menu. That’s where the Scientific Anglers Mastery Bass Bug Fly Lines come in. As the name suggests, it’s also a perfect fly line for bass.

Casting large flies like poppers and articulated streamers accurately with some light wind against you is not easy.

Your line needs to be powerful and that’s why this line is overweighted by two line weights. It gives you the power and performance needed to huck those large freshwater flies 50 feet next to the cover where those muskies are hiding. This line is perfect for muskie fly fishing.

When you first cast this line on your 8 weight rods, you’ll feel it load your rod full of power all the way to the butt section and into the cork on a single backcast. You can’t ask for much more when fishing heavy gear.

For an in-depth analysis, be sure to check out the video review here.

The coating on this fly line is made for medium to warm water, ideal for summer bass but it will coil in could trout waters, so be aware of that. The coating is tough and durable though, plus it has AST for better shooting distances, and the core is a low stretch one for hard strip sets.

What is an 8 weight fly rod good for


How strong is 8 wt fly line?

An 8wt fly line is typically rated for breaking strains of up to 27.2kg (60lbs). This makes it suitable for medium-large freshwater and saltwater species.

What can you fly fish with a line weight of 8?

A 8 wt fly line is suitable for many types of fish, including bass, pike, redfish, snook, tarpon, permit, salmon, and steelhead.

What is an 8 weight fly rod good for?

8 weights are the middle ground in fly fishing and bridge the gap between saltwater and freshwater fly fishing, sitting on the light end of saltwater fly rods and the heavy end of freshwater.

They are the ideal saltwater fly rods for targeting bones, small poons, stripers, snook, and redfish. Or, they are perfect for throwing large flies when fishing for smallmouth, largemouth, musky, pike, and steelhead.

What weight line should I use on an 8 weight fly rod?

The quick answer is that you can use a 7-8, or 9 weight line on an 8 weight. And the real question is why wouldn’t you just fish an 8wt line on an 8wt fly rod?

Most of the time, you will fish an 8wt line on an 8wt fly rod when fly fishing with it as it balances the power of the rod perfectly. But, you can go up and down a line weight on your rod, and here is when and why.

If it wasn’t too windy, I’d fish a 7 weight line on an 8 weight rod when stalking bones in the Bahamas, just for a light and more subtle presentation.

When the winds picked up, I suggested to any clients struggling to get the distance they needed, to fish one weight higher on their fly rod for more power so they could punch into it a lot better.

Why do low stretch cores make a difference?

When fly fishing with an 8 weight fly rod, you’re fishing for larger species as mentioned above. These fish have harder mouths, and you’re not going to trout strike by lifting your rod, you’re going to strip set.

Having a less stretchy line means when you strip to set the hook, far more pressure is traveling from your hand through the line and into the hook, so it is more likely to pierce and stay in.

Less stretch also equals more feel of the line through your fly rod which helps to get your timing right and load the fly rod more efficiently for better casting consistency.

8 weight fly line

Tapers & fly presentation

Longer tapers provide more delicate fly presentations but they also lack the power to turn over larger flies. They are perfect for small dry flies and nymphs, but when it comes to weighty crabs, shrimps, and streamers, that you’re likely to use when fly fishing with an 8 weight rod, they aren’t so useful.

The ideal is a heavy head that tapers off quickly but gently to give you the power and finesse you need to present larger flies subtly.

Weighting Away

So which is the best 8 weight line from the review? Well, if you’re a saltwater angler, the Rio Elite Flats Pro has it all. The lengthy head and low stretch core make for excellent line control and distance while the coating ensures you can pick-up and recast off the bat, which is needed so often in saltwater fishing.

The runner-up and the best for big freshwater fish is the Scientific Anglers Mastery Bass Bug Fly Line. Extra heavy, it’ll load up your fly rods with ease and send those monster flies into the distance. The line will also last a season or two thanks to the durable coating.

Thanks for reading my article, I hope I’ve given you a hand finding the best 8 weight fly line for you. Please share it around with your fishing mates and remember to always check here for all the info on any gear you need before hitting up the fly shop.

Photo of author

Jamie Melvin

Growing up fly fishing on trout streams in Kenya and the UK, Jamie has traveled the world in search of fly fishing nirvana. From his time managing bonefish lodges in the Bahamas and running fishing safaris in East Africa, all the way to guiding on the flats of Seychelles, there aren't many species or environments he hasn't experienced firsthand.

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