Best 8 Weight Fly Rod

Choosing the best 8 weight fly rod can be challenging. But this guide will help you select the best one for you as we feature 10 of the best 8 weight fly rod currently on the market.
best 8 weight fly rods

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This article will help you select the best 8 weight fly rod suited to your needs. Also, I’ll introduce you to 10 of the best 8 weight currently on the market. 

An 8 weight is an indispensable fishing tool in any serious saltwater angler’s arsenal. Many freshwater anglers, who regularly target big fish species, such as carp and salmon, will agree that an 8 weight is just as relevant to the freshwater game as it is to the salt. 

Image Product Details  
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 Encounter
  • Moderate Action
  • Best for Beginners
  • Cheaper Option
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest OverallG Loomis NRX+ Saltwater
  • Ideal for Saltwater
  • Fast Action Rod
  • Very Lightweight
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flyfisherpro-table__imageAlternative to G Loomis NRX+ SaltwaterG Loomis CrossCurrent
  • Strong and Durable
  • Durable Recoil Guides
  • Ultra Smooth Casting
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest High PerformanceScott Sector
  • Impressive Recovery Rate
  • Various Rod Options
  • Strong & Durable
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flyfisherpro-table__imageAlternative to Scott SectorScott Tidal
  • Incredible Value
  • Has X-Core technology
  • Saltwater Ready
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest FiberglassEpic 888 FastGlass
  • Chunky Grip
  • Excellent Design
  • Saltwater Ready
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest CustomizationEpic Build It Yourself
  • Freely Customizable
  • Building Guide Included
  • Cheaper Option
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flyfisherpro-table__imageMost Durable Reel SeatSage Salt HD
  • Immense Power
  • Incredible Casting
  • Durable Reel Seat
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flyfisherpro-table__imageAlternative to Sage Salt HDSage Maverick
  • Uses Sage’s Konnetic technology
  • Corrosion-Resistant Reel Seat
  • Ideal for a primary rod or a backup rod
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Orvis Helios 3D

Orvis Helios 3D

Available at:

Features:

  • Weight: not disclosed
  • Action: Fast
  • Length: 9’
  • Pieces: 4

The Orvis Helios 3D 8wt is an exceptional rod. The blank is a finely tuned instrument that allows you to make incredibly accurate casts when all odds are stacked against you. It throws large flies with ease and deals with the wind very well. 

The blank has a matte black finish, which I appreciate, as it reduces rod glare. The grip and proper fighting butt are turned from high-quality cork, and the reel seat is aluminum with type III black anodizing.

SiC and titanium stripper guides and recoil snake guides take care of directing the line. As you can see, all the components are correctly selected to ensure that the 9wt Orvis Helios 3D holds up in the salty stuff.

Anglers who did not like the white decal on the rod’s butt section will be relieved to know that Orvis has introduced a second styling option. For the discerning angler looking for something extra special, Orvis is collaborating with renowned fish artist Tim Johnson to bring you a unique grip finish. 

More Affordable Alternative – Orvis Encounter

encounter

Available at:

Features:

  • Weight: not disclosed
  • Action: Medium-fast
  • Length: 9’
  • Pieces: 4

Instead of mentioning the Recon or Orvis Clearwater model here (which are both great alternatives to the Orvis Helios 3D), I thought I’d introduce you to the Orvis Encounter combo. For less than $200, you’re getting a complete kit that includes the 8wt Clearwater rod, matching reel, suitable weight forward floating fly line, and rod tube. 

The Orvis Clearwater rod has a moderate action, which makes it perfectly suited for beginner anglers. I also rate the rod as a reliable backup when traveling to far off places. 

I need to mention that the reel included with the combo is not a dedicated saltwater tool. It will get the job done on light bonefishing, especially when you’re fishing off a skiff. 

G Loomis NRX+ Saltwater

NRX Saltwater

Available at:

Features:

  • Weight: not disclosed
  • Action: Fast
  • Length: 9’
  • Pieces: 4

The G Loomis NRX+ S replaced the legendary NRX a while ago, and I must say it does the name justice. The 8wt rod is a bonefish angler’s dream. It has a fast action allowing you to form tight loops to punch that Spawning Shrimp into the ever-present wind. 

Initially, when I picked up the rod for the first time, I was surprised about the girth of the butt section. It looks like it’s going to be heavy. But it isn’t. It is incredibly light in hand. The extra girth in the butt section seems to give the rod more power.

The components and finish on the NRX+ S are all top-notch and very well selected for the intended purpose. To those that can remember the previous NRX, they have toned down on the blue line guide thread wraps. Instead, the color is used as tasteful accents.

The G Loomis NRX+ S continues to be a rod designed for the serious saltwater angler who expects it to last and perform for many years to come. 

Less Expensive Alternative – G Loomis CrossCurrent

crosscurrent

Available at: 

Features:

  • Weight: not disclosed
  • Action: Fast
  • Length: 8’10 (1-piece) and 9’ (4-piece)
  • Pieces: 1 and 4

Although not cheap, the CrossCurrent range will save you almost $150 compared to the NRX+ S. But, don’t let this deceive you into thinking it is a lesser of a rod. No, I know many anglers and guides who prefer the CrossCurrent due to its strength and reputation.

The CrossCurrent range has been around for an astounding number of years, yet it remains relevant, and G Loomis still offers two of the saltwater models. The first, the CrossCurrent GLX, is the most popular. It is a 4-piece rod that features durable recoil guides, fast action, and can pull a tank. 

The second model available is the CrossCurrent Pro-1. It’s a 8’10” one-piece fly rod, which is perfect if you’re a guide or running a fly shop that hosts day-trips. The single-piece makes the rod more durable and feels ultra-smooth when casting and fighting fish. 

If ever you’re looking for a premium saltwater fishing rod that will last you many years to come, you can’t go wrong with a CrossCurrent. 

Scott Sector

Scott Sector

Available at:

Features:

  • Weight: not disclosed
  • Action: Fast
  • Length: 8’4, 8’10 (2-piece), and 9’
  • Pieces: 2 and 4

The Sector has every high end and performance feature available on a fly rod. If you know the legendary Scott Meridian and think it was the ultimate, think again, they made it even better. 

The Scott Sector is a fast action rod with an impressive recovery rate. That means as you deliver the cast, the rod doesn’t wobble around in the air and waste energy. It’s a highly efficient fishing tool that will bring out the best of your cast. 

What I like about the Sector range is the vast rod options available. In just the 8wt range, there are 3 rods to choose from, each with its pros and cons. 

The new 8’4” rod is ideal if you’re always fishing off a drift boat or skiff. The shorter length allows you to form tight loops and makes the rod lighter. It’s also easier to land a fish with a net. 

The 9’ rendition is the perfect all-rounder. This 8wt can do it all. You can target big bonefish, small trevally and permit, bass, redfish, and salmon with it. You name it; it can do it all. 

Scott also manufactures a 8’10” 2-piece 8 wt rod that is ideal for the working guide or outfitter renting out rods. Fewer ferrules mean more durability and more feeling. 

More Affordable Alternative – Scott Tidal

Scott Tidal

Available at:

Features:

  • Weight: not disclosed
  • Action: Medium Fast
  • Length: 9’
  • Pieces: 4

If the Sector is too pricey or you’re looking for a Scott rod with a slightly slower action, the Tidal is perfect for you. At almost half the Sector’s price, the Tidal offers incredible value, enabling you to still target the same fish species. 

The Tidal features the same X-Core technology you’ll find in the Sector. This method allows Scott’s rod designers to build rods with ultra-thin sidewalls but thick diameter, which creates a robust and more efficient blank. 

The rod’s components and finish are saltwater ready. I’ll put the Scott Tidal in the same category as the Thomas and Thomas Zone or the Sage Maverick if you’re looking for more options. 

Epic 888 FastGlass

epic 888 fastglass

Available at:

Features:

  • Weight: 5.29 ounces
  • Action: Medium-fast
  • Length: 8’8”
  • Pieces: 4

The Epic 888 is something a little different. It’s a fiberglass rod, which means the action and power profile is entirely different compared to the other carbon fiber rods on the list. It’s one of the best 8 weight rods on the market if you prefer slower rods. 

The 888 FastGlass features a chunky grip and a decent-sized fighting butt. The rod comes with either a black or titanium anodized reel seat, and titanium stripper guides mean the rod is saltwater ready.

It ships with a beautiful natural colored fiberglass tube, a rod sock, and comes with a lifetime warranty. The 8wt FastGlass’ blank has a blue finish. 

More Affordable Alternative – Build It Yourself

build it yourself

Available at:

Features:

  • Weight: 5.29 ounces
  • Action: Medium- fast
  • Length: 8’8”
  • Pieces: 4

I love the Epic FastGlass rods because they’re also available to be purchased as a “build it yourself” kit. In this way, you can buy the same rod for almost half the price.

The 8wt kit comes with all the components, materials, and tools you need to put the rod together. Swift (Epic) also sends a full building guide, so you’ll know exactly what to do. 

Sage Salt HD

sage salt hd

Available at:

Features:

  • Weight: 3.94oz
  • Action: Fast
  • Length: 9’
  • Pieces: 4

The Sage SaltHD is a serious piece of kit. When you pick up the 8 weight version for the first time, you’d think you accidentally packed your 6 weight – it’s that light. But then, as you start loading the road with a good 8wt line, you’ll notice this rod is something special. It has immense power and delivers an incredible cast.

The SaltHD has a black finish (Sage calls it Squid Ink), a decent fighting butt, and a durable anodized uplocking reel seat. The stripper and line guides are all oversized to ensure that your fly line will pass through the guides even when you have a tangle. 

The blank is constructed on Sage’s latest KonneticHD technology. This lightweight, high modulus carbon fiber gives the rod builders the ability to build light, strong, and durable blanks. 

More Affordable Alternative – Sage Maverick

sage maverick

Available at:

Features:

  • Weight: 4oz
  • Action: Fast to Medium-Fast
  • Length: 9’
  • Pieces: 4

In my opinion, the Sage Maverick is one of the most underrated and best saltwater fly rods out there. It’s built using Sage’s Konnetic technology, which is one generation old and is the same as the previous Salt was constructed with. It’s a proper stick for almost half the price. What’s not to like?

The components are well selected, from the corrosion-resistant reel seat to the oversized durable line guides. The rod will serve you well as either a primary rod or a backup rod. 

How to Choose the Best 8 Weight Fly Rod

In this section, I’ll take you through the thought process of how I select a fly rod. Yes, there’s much more to a rod than these simple features. What about casting feedback and how the rod makes you feel warm and fuzzy when you pick it up. That’s all personal preference, and I urge you to go out, test as many rods as you can, to establish what it is you like and whatnot.

The three aspects below will help you narrow down your search for the best 8 weight fly rod that will suit your needs. 

Price

The first thing to decide is how much you’re willing to spend. Remember, if you have to buy a complete 8 weight outfit, you need to put money aside for the line, backing, and fly reel. If the rod is going to be used in saltwater, all these items may end up costing more than the rod itself. 

If you have to buy a complete outfit, I would suggest purchasing the best fly line you can afford. Only after establishing how much you’re willing to spend on a line will I make a call on the rod. A low-quality line will hinder a good rod’s performance, but a good line may actually boost the performance of a mid-range rod. 

Keep that in mind. 

Application

application

Now that you know how much you can spend on a rod, you have to establish where and how you’ll be using it. In the case of the rods above, I assumed we’re talking saltwater specific or ready rods. 

An 8wt is a genuinely versatile rod weight. With this one rod, you’re able to catch a myriad of saltwater species. But that’s not where it stops. A good 8 weight can also be used for freshwater species such as salmon, bass, carp, peacock bass, etc. 

My recommendation is to buy an 8 weight rod that is saltwater ready. This rod will allow you to make the crossover between fresh and salt without worrying about long-term damage to the rod.

Action

Probably the hardest thing to recommend to an angler is which action he/she would prefer. There’s only one way to know if a rod suits your casting style, and that’s to take it for a spin. Head over to your local fly shop, take your intended fly line and reel with, and cast as many 8 weights as you can. 

In my experience over the years, I do feel comfortable saying that beginners and less experienced casts don’t fare well with incredibly fast action rods. This is because these rods don’t provide much feedback, making timing the cast hard. In this case, what these fast rods end up doing is exaggerating casting flaws.

If you’re a beginner or inexperienced caster, I recommend opting for a slower action rod. 

Conclusion

I hope that you found this article interesting and helpful. These days, there are a plethora of 8 weight fly rods on the market, and choosing the best one is quite challenging. I feel comfortable recommending any of the fly rods mentioned above to any of you folks. They are top quality, come from reputable manufacturers, and will last you many years to come.

For more information on the best fly rods available today then check out our post on that.

Please share this article with your fellow anglers and friends. Please leave any comments and questions below; I would love to hear what your preferred 8wt is.

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