The Best 8 Weight Fly Reels in 2023 – Buyers Guide

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8 weight fly reels are great fly reels for targeting large trout, and bass and for light to medium saltwater fly fishing. In this post, we’ll share the best 8 weight fly reels and their features.

best 8 weight fly reels

If you live near the coast then an 8 weight fly reel is your best option as it gives such versatility and has the drag power to stop your bigger fish.

Image Product Details  
flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Performance to PricePiscifun Sword
  • Easy To Adjust Drag System
  • Aluminum Handle
  • CNC-machined Aluminum Alloy Construction
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest DragWaterworks-Lamson Liquid
  • Anodized Aluminum Frame
  • Polyurethane Case
  • Concealed Drag System
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest OverallRedington BEHEMOTH Fly Reel
  • Die-Cast Construction
  • Adjustable Carbon Fiber Drag
  • Lifetime Warranty
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest DurabilityRedington RISE Fly Fishing Reel
  • Large Arbor Design
  • Oversized Drag Knob
  • Lifetime Warranty
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest SaltwaterOrvis Hydros
  • Refined, Lighter Weight Large Arbor
  • Radiused Reel Foot
  • Excellent Retrieval Rates
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest DesignGalvan Torque Fly Reel
  • Torque Drag System
  • Low Startup Inertia
  • Large Backing Capacity
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest VersatilityRoss Reels Evolution R Salt
  • Fully Machined in the USA
  • Sealed Drag
  • Stainless Steel Inner Moving Parts
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Detailed 8 Wt Fly Reel Reviews

The below guide is a mix of mid-range reels and high-end reels on the market today.

Waterworks-Lamson Liquid

lamson liquid

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Key Features:

  • Anodized aluminum frame
  • Polyurethane case
  • Sealed conical drag
  • 50% US manufactured, 100% Idaho built

Price $109

Lamson is changing the way we look at die-cast reels. Usually imported, heavy, and very plain, Lamson is set to change this perception with the Liquid reels.

Lamson Liquid has a full-radius compound curve and a near zero-radius inside corners.

A larger arbor gives you fast line retrieval and less line memory.

Important to note the drag systems are completely sealed, preventing any grit or sand from getting in.

Imported casted frame, with the CNC machine drag system made in the USA.

Redington BEHEMOTH Fly Reel

redington behemoth

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Key Features:

  • Adjustable, Carbon fiber drag
  • Die-cast construction
  • Large arbor design speeds retrieve and reduces line memory
  • Oversized drag knob for easy adjustment
  • Easily converts to left or right-hand retrieve

Price $129

The BEHEMOTH fly reel combines the most powerful drag and great aesthetics into one fly reel design.

The unique die-cast construction is coupled with a durable, interlocking, large-arbor spool.

A heavy-duty carbon fiber sealed drag system package brings the utmost in drag strength.

The 8wt fly reel is saltwater ready for big fish species.

The BEHEMOTH reel offers performance and affordability to beginner and veteran anglers alike.

Redington RISE Fly Fishing Reel

redington rise

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Key Features:

  • CNC machined, anodized 6061-T6 aluminum
  • Large arbor design for quick line retrieve
  • Smooth, compact carbon fiber drag system
  • Oversized drag knob for easy adjustment
  • Easily converts between left-hand and right-hand retrieve.
  • Lifetime warranty

Price $219

The Redington RISE continues to push the boundaries of traditional fly reel designs.

U-shaped arbor holds more line and gives a faster line retrieval.

A compact carbon fiber drag system

Lightweight design shows through in the modern aesthetic of the RISE

Twin molded soft-touch handles and oversized drag knob help the reel perform in the hands of any angler.

Redington says they build gear to last a long time and it does! This reel lands big fish so you can happily target anything from a large bass to bonefish.

See our post here on Redington Rise review for a full guide.

Orvis Hydros

orvis hydros

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Key Features:

  • Refined, lighter weight large arbor fly reel
  • Improved fully sealed drag clutch bearing
  • Radiused reel foot for kink-free leader protection
  • Ergonomically improved, easy to use drag knob
  • Zero startup inertia
  • Excellent retrieval rates and less line coiling

Price $259

This new reel, the Orvis Hydros IV fly reel is the result of a continued desire to achieve a fly reel that both performs well and looks good. The Orvis Hydros IV is built to last and will be with you for a long time

A narrow spool, which minimizes line stacking. Drag knob easily accessible and comfortable to use.

Sealed drag to protect the clutch bearing in the drag mechanism.

The fully sealed carbon drag with stacked carbon and stainless steel disc washers is still one of the strongest in the industry and works great for saltwater fish.

Matte type II anodized finish, standard large arbor size which balances better with light- weight fly rods.

If you are looking for another awesome reel from Orvis, see our post here on Orvis Hydros fly reel.

Piscifun Sword

Piscifun Sword

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Key Features:

  • CNC-machined 6061-T6 aluminum alloy construction
  • Easy to adjust drag system
  • Aluminum handle with an easy right to left retrieval
  • Fly reel black in color

Price $80

You will be amazed at the performance, price, and value of the Sword series

Multi-disc cork and stainless steel drag system with a one-way clutch bearing for smooth immediate drag engagement.

Accurate click drag and silent retrieve.

Precision CNC-machined 6061-T6 aluminum alloy for high-impact durability.

Hard anodized surface protection increases abrasion resistances.

Cold forged and tempered for superior strength and rigidity.

Mid arbor, reducing line memory while also facilitating quick line pickup.

Galvan Torque Fly Reel


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Key Features:

  • Impeccably machined from T6 solid bar stock
  • Torque drag system
  • Low startup inertia
  • EZ handle
  • Large arbor
  • Large backing capacity and fly line capacity

Price $419

As the premier reel in the Galvan range, the Torque series reels represent the very best of modern fly reel architecture.

Torque drag system is now employed in all of their reels.

Winning the 2004 Editor’s Choice in Fly Fish America and ranked #3 in the Yellowstone Angler’s 8-wt reel shootout.

The visually striking appearance of the Torque reels is a result of the unique cut-outs on the frame, spool, drag knob, and reel foot

Torque Series reels are saltwater safe and will perform flawlessly under the harshest conditions.

Ross Reels Evolution R Salt

ross evolution r salt

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Key  Features:

  • American Angler gear of the year award 2018
  • Fully machined in the USA
  • Sealed drag
  • Stainless steel inner moving parts
  • 7 disc drag system

Price $595

Fishing in the salt is a grueling endeavor. The conditions are tough, and the fish can be even tougher. The Ross Evolution R Salt will stand up to anything you throw at it.

The new reel has a light feel loved by anglers and is one of the best all-around reels.

It features a supercharged 16-disc sealed drag system which is comprised of stainless steel and carbon fluoropolymer. This produces nearly 30 pounds of drag pressure.

A lightweight, yet incredibly and durable frame.

All of this comes together to create a fishing tool with a power-to-weight ratio never before seen in the saltwater fly reel world. It can be used to target numerous species.

What makes a good 8 weight reel

You will be catching and fighting big fish with this 8 weight reel so there are a few things to look out for when buying your reel.

Drag and Arbor are your main concerns when fighting big fish so you need to make sure you are getting a reel that has good ratings in both.


best 8 weight fly reel drag

The most common drag system you will find on an 8wt reel will be the disc drag system.

Its the strongest most modern drag that can be used for fighting larger fish fishing species

It has great startup strength and is usually a sealed system, which is great for not getting sand and grit into it. The premium fly reels have a cork drag which many consider as the best.


best 8 weight fly reel arbor

Most 8 weight fly fishing reels come standard with a large arbor. Some older generation fly reels might not but all modern saltwater ones do.

You want a large-arbor to accommodate extra backing. It also gives a faster line retrieval.

The larger arbor helps with minimalizing line memory which is important when fighting a fish.


CNC machined aluminum is the strongest and most common material in 8wt fly reels. This is because it’s cut from a single piece of aluminum. These are the more pricer options of reels.

These reels along with most of your other pricer fly fishing gear are good investments and shouldnt be skimped on.

The composite, cut reels are less durable but they are cheaper to make and often fit the budget better.

Although these reels should not be used in the saltwater extensively but you can take them on a few saltwater trips provided you give them a good was after.


Whether you are a well-versed fly fisherman or just starting out, 8 weight fly fishing reels are good reels to have because you can do so much with them.

I recommend the Redington Behemoth Fly Reel because of its unique die-cast construction, perfect for large saltwater fish or even larger freshwaters.

Use this guide when it comes to making your decision, make sure your reel is balanced with your rod as many anglers forget this.

I would have to say my choice would be the Orvis Hydros IV. Its lightweight design anodized frame will be perfect for saltwater fly fishing. It’s one of those saltwater fly reels that will last you a lifetime and it is relatively affordable.

I hope the above guide has helped you make your choice.

Happy fishing!

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