Steve Rajeff (left) and Capt. Skip Zink with a big 'ole Florida snook...
Choosing the right 8-weight rod for you!
by Captain Skip Zink
How often do you get a chance to cast all the top 8-wt. rods in one place at the same time, side by side, all with the same lines, reels and conditions? It was a first for myself, not a random test at a show or shop, but a honest comparison head to head, toe to toe shootout.
What a pleasure and what an eye opener to have the opportunity to do just that. Let's start with how this 2016 Shootout can help determine what rod (or rods) work well and preform the best for you, the angler.
First of all, we are all different in the way we cast. Yes, the rod tip has to move in a relative straight line path. Yes, we all need to accelerate the rod smoothly and come to a firm stop to throw tight loops, but how we put it all together depends on our style and stroke of casting. Obviously there are different strokes for different folks.
The evaluation of this year's rods is my interpretation of how each rod preformed. Hopefully these evaluations and interpretations from my perspective will help you make a judgement on which rod characteristics will fit your style and where and how you will fish with it. Whether it's fishing on the Bonefish flats of Andros, streamer fishing the Madison river, or chasing Silvers in Alaska there's a rod in the Shootout for you.
All that being said, this year's line up of 8-weight rods was impressive. I feel that I could fish 90% of all the rods tested with confidence. I don't think I could say the same thing a few years ago.
Top line rod, my overall winner. Performance, power, feel and function. The rod tracked great, excellent accuracy at all distances.
Top line rod, splitting hairs in Performance as compared to the Scott Meridan. Slightly heavier compared to the Scott Meridan.
Best feeling rod and swing weight, very accurate. I would enjoy fishing it all day. Lacks a little power after 70ft.
Great range of power, tight loops with good balance and feel. 100ft cast no problem.
Slightly heavy, powerful tip, lots of power, 100ft cast no problem.
Slightly heavy, good power, 100ft cast made easy.
Smooth action, good balance and correct flex for applied power, slightly lighter than Sage Motive.
Responsive with good power, mid flex action but fast enough. Cool color. Sage quality.
Beautiful rod, Sic guides, slightly heavy in butt section, stiffer tip than Motive or Recon.
Sage quality fit and finish, Good rod but a little disappointing in over all performance, struggled beyond 80 feet.
Great cork grip, rod performance is good. Mid-flex rod that tracked well, throws all distances with accuracy.
Good balance and swing weight, OK guides, tracked well, not a fast rod but good enough.
Felt a little clumsy/heavy, performance was good, tracked well and accuracy was good.
The BVK could be ranked higher. It performed well at all distances but history with this rod holds it back due to the fact that it is prone to breaking.
Heavier than others, softer flex rod, loops open slightly on application of power.
Very good rod for the money. Reminds me of Greys GRXI+. Ample power with accuracy.
Super value in a fly rod. Good looks, Mid-flex, good feel and power. Tight loops.
Rod feels heavy. Tracked well at all distances, Responsive but still too heavy.
Silver in color, OK rod, Mid-flex type rod, accuracy just so-so.
OK rod, feels good enough but there are better choices for the money.
Felt Clunky, not a lot of power to go distance, better choices in the top #10 ranked rods.
Has a Fiberglass look to the rod, light weight soft rod and tip, rod reel seat can (and will) fill with debris.
Softer mid and tip than other rods. Better value in ATEOS and HMG rods.
ONE PIECE RODS
#1 NRX 19.5 20 19.5 59
#2 HARDY 19.5 19.5 19 58
# 3 CROSSCURRENT 19 19 19.5 57.5
This love of the hunt and the incredible thrill and adventure of fly fishing have taken me half way around the world. From the Eastern rivers and streams, throughout the west to Montana, California, Arizona, Nevada, and the Florida Keys, to the warm and blue waters of Baja in Mexico. Alaska's bounty and the Caribbean’s Emerald waters and the island of Boca Grande continued to beckon me.
Boca Grande Fly Fishing Charters prides itself in providing its clients with state of the art equipment and service from Sage and Scott rods to Tibor, Pate, and Sage reels combined with local knowledge of the Creeks, Flats, Mangroves, and Beaches where we will hunt and stalk our quarry.
Captain Skip Zink has created the ultimate experience for the fly fishing enthusiast providing professional service specially suited for your Fly Fishing needs. Not only does Skip have great eyes on the water, he also ties his own flies and is able to customize them specifically for the next day of angling. As if one boat isn't enough, Skip has three, so depending on the conditions, he can bring along the most appropriate boat for the day. He's exceptionally smooth on the poling platform and covers large amounts of water at the perfect pace. Above all he is a really fun guy to spend the day with and will put you on some nice fish. To book a trip with Skip, check out his website at bocagrandeflyfishingcharters.com or feel free to give him a call: 775-742-3991