#9 TFO BVK 9 foot #8 $279.95
Since our very first 8-weight Shootouts, the BVK has really impressed me. When I get this rod in my hand, it’s nice and light, yet has an impressive amount of power. The fast action seems just right, and there is nothing in our Shootout that has this kind of performance at a price below $300.00. For this kind of money it is easy to overlook things like the tiny locking rings on the reel seat or the lack of a hard case.
We have TFO’s latest and more expensive rod, the Axiom II in our shootout, but I still prefer the power and action of the BVK. Another thing we like about the TFO rods is the warranty. We gave it a perfect score here since for $35 they will happily send you a replacement rod within 1-2 weeks. This is good since we have seen a lot of these rods break. I’ve taken BVK’s with me on many bonefish trips as a backup rod and have never had one break, even when I’ve put it in the hands of less experienced anglers and guides. Although the BVK was tied for the lightest rod in overall weight, the swing weight is far higher, and not in the same class of the best rods in our Shootout.
The blank is a deep olive green color, trimmed with slightly lighter green wraps. The handle is a full wells design with a rubber ring at the top. The quality of the cork is OK but not nearly as good as the best rods. An aluminum double uplocking seat, with a green graphite insert, is used but the rings are just too small and difficult to grip with their very fine knurling. Consider bringing along a pair of cheap vice grip pliers, as you may need them! A very short fighting butt with a rubber cap is used. Lefty Kreh helped design this rod and BVK are his initials. It’s a rod he can be proud of as it delivers big time performance with a very affordable price. This is another rod that is built in Korea.
Performance at 35 feet: 19 points out of 20
Decent accuracy, but not nearly as much feel as the best rods. The heavier swing weight and stiffness hurts in close.
Performance at 60 feet: 19.5 points out of 20
Impressive at mid-range. I’m getting nice tight loops and very good accuracy.
Performance at 80 feet: 19 points out of 20
Good power and loop control out long. As good as the Recon, but the SKY and Legend Elite were better here.
Performance at 100 feet: 19 points out of 20
No problem punching it long and I’m getting surprisingly good accuracy too.
18. TFO BVK 9’#8 4pc $279.95
With TFO’s introduction of their new Axiom II rod, we wondered if the BVK would get pushed to the side. Although it was close, I think the BVK is still TFO’s best performing saltwater 8-weight rod.
It has plenty of power, but was also fairly heavy in swing weight, despite its very light overall weight.
1st impressions: Impressive power and performance for the money.
Performance at 35 feet: 18 points out of 20
Feels slightly lighter and softer than the DXF at close range. Definitely heavier and less feel than the best rods, but not disappointing either.
Performance at 60 feet: 19 points out of 20
Nothing to complain about here! Tons of power with a smooth flex in the tip. Feels similar to an NRX, just a little heavier.
Performance at 80 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
Here the edge goes to the DXF, which is saying a lot since we’ve always liked the BVK’s performance throwing long. Nearly tailing loop-proof, the BVK is a rod you can really punch. I just wish it were lighter.
Performance at 100 feet: 17.5 points out of 20
Now that I said tailing loop proof, I started throwing a few when I was pushing this rod hard trying to hit 100 feet. Every rod has a limit and this is it for the BVK.
#13. (tie) TFO BVK $279.95
The TFO BVK has been one of our all-time best selling 8-weights, and for good reason. The inexpensive price matched with its high performance makes this an incredible buy for a backup rod, or even as your primary rod if you want to keep the price down. We have seen some breakage problems with these rods, but they carry one of the best warranties in the game. Personally, I’ve put this rod through the ringer without breaking it, but I’ve also seen friends break one rather easily.
Performance at 35 feet: 17.5 out of 20
I wasn’t a huge fan of the TFO BVK in close. It has a very stiff tip, making it a much better mid to long-range caster.
Performance at 60 feet: 19.5 out of 20
This is where the BVK is really sings. I loved this rod at 60 feet. I can just picture this rod dropping a fly on a dime right in front of a tailing bonefish.
Performance at 80 feet: 19 out of 20
At 80 feet the TFO BVK was still a beast. At this price there is no better rod for long distance performance.
16. (tie) TFO BVK 56.5/60 $279.95
Maybe the best budget bug slinger in our Shootout. The BVK has lots of power, is light in weight, and performs very well at all distances. The best thing is its cost effective price tag. This rod has done well for us in past Shootouts. It’s a great back up rod for pros, but also one that beginners will like. Along with the Recon and Sage X, this is the lightest rod in overall weight. In swing weight the BVK is a lot heavier though, and this hurt at the longest distance.
Performance at 35 feet: 18.5
The BVK is a powerful rod and while it’s probably not the heaviest rod we tested it’s definitely not the lightest. Still, it’s got a pretty good tip on it and I had a fine time casting it at our short-range target, getting good accuracy and acceptable presentation.
Performance at 60 feet: 19
I like the BVK a lot at 60 ft. I think it’s got a good amount of feel which helped me make accurate casts. It’s still a little heavy but that doesn’t get in the way much. It’s also got a great amount of power making it super easy to achieve the distance.
Performance at 80 feet: 19
I like the BVK at 80 feet for the same reasons that I like it at 60 ft. It’s a powerful, accurate rod that put the fly on target easily for me. Wind wasn’t much of an issue thanks to the power.
Performance at 100 feet:
The weight is the biggest thing that hurts the BVK here. It’s got plenty of power and is surprisingly accurate. Casting it a lot at long distance became very tiring though, due to its heavy swing weight.