best 7 weight fly rods

Best 7 Weight Fly Rod

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Are you in the market for a fly rod that you can catch bonefish, large trout, bass, and even salmon? A 7wt fly rod is ideal for this application. In this article, I will take you through 7 of the best fly rods on the market. I’ll also share with you my thought process behind selecting a good 7 weight fly rod.  

Image Product Details  
flyfisherpro-table__imageBest OverallSage Igniter
  • Built for Harshest Conditions
  • Lightning Fast
  • Ideal for Large Rivers
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flyfisherpro-table__imageAlternative to Sage IgniterSage Payload
  • Slightly Slower Action
  • Cheaper Option
  • Durable
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flyfisherpro-table__imageMost DurableOrvis Helios 3D
  • Lightweight Reel Seat
  • 25-Year Warranty
  • Comfortable Grip
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flyfisherpro-table__imageAlternative to Orvis Helios 3DOrvis Recon
  • Great Mid-Range Fly Rod
  • Saltwater-Ready
  • 25-Year Warranty
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flyfisherpro-table__imageMost LightweightG Loomis Asquith
  • Super Lightweight
  • Incredible Power
  • Excellent Freshwater Rod
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flyfisherpro-table__imageAlternative to G Loomis AsquithG Loomis IMX Pro
  • Durable & Capable
  • Cheaper Option
  • Great Fast Action Rod
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Heavy DutyThomas & Thomas Exocett SS
  • Optimized For Heavy Sinking Lines
  • Powerful Tip Assists
  • Strong & Durable
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flyfisherpro-table__imageAlternative to Thomas & Thomas Exocett SSThomas & Thomas Zone
  • Perfect for Saltwer
  • Easy to Control
  • Affordable
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flyfisherpro-table__imageMost FeaturesScott Centric
  • Ultra-light
  • Easy To Control
  • Premium Fast Action
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flyfisherpro-table__imageAlternative to Scott CentrixScott Flex
  • More Affordable
  • Slower recovery Rate
  • Has More Bend
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G Loomis Asquith

g loomis asquith

Available at: Amazon

  • Weight: not disclosed
  • Available lengths: 9′
  • Grip: Full wells with fighting butt
  • Pieces: 4

The Asquith sprouts from the collaboration of G Loomis and their parent company, Shimano. It uses Shimano’s proprietary Spiral X technology, giving it impressive power levels, quick recovery, and low weight. The rod designer, Steve Rajeff, is a previous world fly casting champion, so he doesn’t just know how to build a rod, but he also knows how to build a good casting rod. 

The 7 weight Asquith will hold up with most 8 weight fly fishing rods out there, yet it’s incredibly light. The finish on the rod makes it suitable for both fresh and saltwater use – as you’d expect from a rod at this price point.

The Asquith’s fast action allows the angler to generate incredible line speed, allowing him/her to present large flies. Once hooked up, the rod’s generous power level makes dealing with big fish a breeze. If you’re looking for a dedicated bonefish fly rod that is both fun and lightweight, the Asquith 7 weight rod is a good choice. 

More Affordable Alternative – G Loomis IMX Pro

g loomis imx pro

Available at: Amazon, Trident Fly Fishing, Tackle Direct, Bass Pro Shop, Cabelas

  • Weight: not disclosed
  • Available lengths: 8’10” (IMX Pro Streamer), 9′, and 10′
  • Grip: Full wells and fighting butt
  • Pieces: 1 (IMX Pro Streamer) and 4

The IMX Pro range comprises 15 models designed explicitly with the hard-working angler in mind. They are a no-compromise, no-frills, no fuss, fishing tool. More importantly, and one of the characteristics I appreciate the most in a fly rod, it’s durable.

There are three 7 weight fly fishing rods in the IMX Pro range. If you’re looking for a traveling rod, either the 9′ or 10′ will work well. For most applications, I recommend the 9′; however, the 10′ makes for a sweet surfcasting rod. 

The 8’10” IMX-Pro Streamer rod is hard to beat if you guide or run a fly shop that hosts trips from a fixed location. It’s a one-piece rod; in other words, it has no ferrules. The result is a buttery smooth rod that is incredibly durable. It only comes in an 8’10” length, which is perfect for fishing from a boat.

Orvis Helios 3D

Orvis Helios 3D

Available at: Amazon, Trident Fly Fishing, Hunterbanks

  • Weight: not disclosed
  • Available lengths: 9′ and 10′
  • Grip: Full wells and fighting butt
  • Pieces: 4

Orvis has done an incredible job with the Helios 3 range. The Orvis Helios 3D is a fast action fly fishing rod dialed in with accuracy in mind, not only distance. In essence, the Helios 3D isn’t just a casting tool, it’s a fishing tool.

There are two 7 weight fly fishing rods in the Helios 3D range, a 9′ and 10′. I recommend the 9′ for most anglers and fishing situations. The scenarios in which the 9′ 7wt will shine is targeting skinny water bonefish on sand flats, drifting large streamers to bull trout, and popping topwater flies for bass

The 10′ is more suited to lake fishing, working large rivers, and sending long casts into the surf. 

More Affordable Alternative – Orvis Recon

orvis recon

Available at: Amazon, Bass Pro Shop, Hunterbanks

  • Weight: not disclosed
  • Available lengths: 9′ and 10′
  • Grip: Full wells and fighting butt
  • Pieces: 4

If you find it hard parting with over $900 for the Helios 3D but seriously want an Orvis, why not get a Recon? It’s one of the best mid-range fly rods on the market, hand made in the USA, and fishes like a champ. It also comes with a 25-year Orvis guarantee

Both the 7 weight Orvis Recon models are saltwater ready, which gives you peace of mind when using the rod in the salty stuff. The two models available are 9′ and 10′ in length. The application of both these rods is the same as I’ve mentioned above in the Helios 3D section. 

Sage Igniter

sage igniter

Available at: Amazon, Trident Fly Fishing, Wyoming Fly Fishing, Bass Pro Shop

  • Weight (9′ model): 3.44oz 
  • Available lengths: 9′ and 10′
  • Grip: Full wells and fighting butt
  • Pieces: 4

The Sage Igniter is a specialized rod for the harshest of conditions. It is dedicated to the experienced angler who needs to deliver big flies in challenging situations. The reason why I say that it is designed for the experienced angler is due to its action. It is lightning fast. Very similar to the Asquith. Anglers who don’t have their cast dialed in properly will have a hard time using the rod.

That said, the rod not only casts like a brute, but it also punishes fish during the fight. The Igniter is formidably strong. But for all the power, it’s amazing how light this rod feels in hand. 

The 7 weight Igniter comes in both a 9′ and 10′ rendition. The 9′ is perfect for the angler who targets bonefish and big fish off a skiff or drift boat. The 10′ is ideal for the angler working large rivers and fishing in the surf zone for salmon. 

More Affordable Alternative – Sage Payload

sage payload

Available at: Amazon, Trident Fly Fishing, Wyoming Fly Fishing, Bass Pro Shop, Hunterbanks

  • Weight (8’9″ model):  3.88oz
  • Available lengths: 8’9″
  • Grip: Full wells and fighting butt
  • Pieces: 4

If you’re looking for a Sage that can deliver large flies with ease, the Payload is an excellent alternative to the Igniter. It will suit more anglers because it has a slightly slower action rod (not that it is a medium action rod). 

The Payload is built on Sage’s Konnetic technology, which, at the time of writing, is one generation older than the latest and greatest.

I like the Payload range because Sage did not decide that a specific rod is a 7 weight or 8 weight. Instead, they offer a recommended line weight that can be used on the rod. The Payload that I’ll use with a standard 7 weight line is the 689-4, which is rated for line weight between 200 – 230gr for the first 30 feet.

Thomas & Thomas Exocett SS

exocett ss

Available at: Amazon, Trident Fly Fishing, Tackle Direct

  • Weight: not disclosed
  • Available lengths: 8’8″
  • Grip: Full wells and fighting butt
  • Pieces: 4

The Thomas & Thomas Exocett SS is a beast of a rod optimized for heavy sinking lines and big flies. Many of you will know how hard it is to pull a heavy sinking line from the depths if you need to make a cast. The Exocett SS’s powerful tip assists with this by providing more rigidity. This stiffness also helps to deliver large flies as it dampens the shock caused by throwing around these large weights.

All the rods in the Exocett SS range are 8’8″ long, allowing rod designers to construct such a robust tip. Similar to the Sage Payload, the Exocett SS’s line rating is given in grains rather than specific line weight. The perfect 7 weight rod equivalent is the SS 8’8″ 200, designed to cast 200gr lines.

More Affordable Alternative – Thomas & Thomas Zone

Thomas & Thomas Zone Fly Rod

Available at: Amazon, Trident Fly Fishing

  • Weight: not disclosed
  • Available lengths: 9′ and 10′
  • Grip: Full wells and fighting butt
  • Pieces: 4

One of my personal favorite mid-priced rods is the Zone. It’s hand-built in the same facility as T&T’s more expensive rods and costs almost half their price. The rod’s components and finish are saltwater ready and feature a full lifetime warranty to the original owner. 

The 7wt Zone is perfect for fishing medium and small streamers to both fresh and saltwater species. The action is slightly slower than all the Exocett models, which allows for more accurate casts in shorter distances. 

Scott Centric

scott centric

Available at: Trident Fly Fishing, Wyoming Fly Fishing

  • Weight: not disclosed
  • Available lengths: 9′
  • Grip: Full wells and fighting butt
  • Pieces: 4

The Centric is Scott’s premium freshwater rod. However, with the quality of the components, I would not hesitate to use the 7wt Centric on a bonefishing trip. The Centric is built on Scott’s X-Core platform, which reduces the blank’s sidewall thickness to minimize swing weight and improve recovery rates. 

The rod only comes in a 9′ model; however, you’re able to cover pretty much any streamer fishing scenario with this length. As mentioned earlier, the components are all top class. Flor grade cork grip, proper cork and EVA fighting butt, military spec reel seat, titanium stripper guides with zirconia inserts, and Snake Brand guides. 

The Centric is one of those rods that you’ll be happy to fish with for decades. 

More Affordable Alternative – Scott Flex

scott flex

Available at: Trident Fly Fishing, Wyoming Fly Fishing

  • Weight: not disclosed
  • Available lengths: 9′ and 10′
  • Grip: Full wells and fighting butt
  • Pieces: 4

If you’re not spending every day of the year on the water and looking for something more affordable than the Centric, the Scott Flex is a good option. It has a medium-fast action, which is better suited to most anglers. 

The Flex incorporates many of the innovations that were brought forward in the legendary Meridian and Radian models. This means that you’ll get a super capable fishing tool for half the price they used to cost — a no brainer, in my opinion. 

How to Choose the Best 7 Weight Fly Rod

Any one of the Best 7wt fly fishing rods above will serve you well; however, some will do so better than others, depending on your application and needs. How do you choose the best 7wt fly rod if you’re not dedicated to a particular brand or would like to purchase one from your local fly shop?

In this section, I’ll take you through my thought process when I’m in the market for a rod. This process holds true for basically any rod, regardless of application and line weight rating. However, below, I will look at specific details that apply to the best 7wt fly fishing rods.

Price

As you’ll find in all my posts, I start this section with the price. You must decide beforehand what you’re willing to spend on a rod. If you have an open budget and looking for the most high-performance rod, that awesome, you’ll get a fantastic stick. 

However, most of us have to stick to a budget. And that’s ok. It doesn’t mean that you won’t get a proper fly fishing rod. Remember, a fish can’t see what rod you’re using.

So, my advice is to determine your budget before even stepping into a store. Remember that you’d probably need to buy a suiting fly reel and line to match your new 7wt. These are all things to consider. 

Application

application

After your budget, you need to establish how you’ll be using your new 7wt. Will you use the rod to target skinny water bonefish? Will you target stacking salmon in light surf conditions? Will you need to swing a big streamer to an angry steelhead? What about casting a big popper to nesting largemouth bass? 

The intended application plays a vital role when selecting a rod. Yes, of course, a rod is versatile and could be used in most or even all of these situations. But, think about what you’ll be using the rod mostly for, and buy according to that.

If you’re looking for a general-purpose 7wt that needs to perform in almost all conditions, I recommend a 9′ model with components that are saltwater ready. 

Action

You’ll notice that most of the fly fishing rods that I selected above have a fast action. The reason for this is that I believe the best 7wt fly rod needs to perform well when casting large streamers. It should also be able to do so in a relatively strong wind, so generating a fast line speed is necessary. 

However, fast is also a relative term. For instance, the Igniter and Asquith are both incredibly fast. An inexperienced angler will find both these rods horrible to cast with. On the flip side, an experienced caster that knows how to work a fly rod will love them in the right conditions. 

My advice is to buy a rod according to your casting ability. And be honest about it. If you consider yourself a beginner or moderate caster, opt for a rod with slightly slower action. The chances are that you’ll find the rod much more pleasing to cast with and, as a result, spend more time on the water with it. 

Conclusion 

I hope that you found this article about the Best 7 Weight Rods helpful and insightful. Any of the rods mentioned above will serve you well. A 7wt is a versatile rod that most trout, bass, and salmon anglers should have in their arsenal. 

Please share the article with your fellow anglers and friends. Also, leave any comments and questions below.

Until next time. 

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