#4-tie TFO BVK 9 foot #8 $279.95
Once again, the BVK turns in a superior performance and is easily the very best rod you can buy for under $300. I love the power that you have on tap and how well this rod casts at all distances. For this kind of performance I can gladly overlook the failings like the crappy reel seat and the fact that they don’t give you any hard case with this rod. When you get this rod in your hand and make a few casts, you think, WOW, this thing really zings them!! In our 2011 Shootout, the TFO BVK finished 2nd! The thing that really helps the TFO scores is the fact that it picks up perfect scores in overall weight and also in the warranty category. However, it’s a good thing that this rod has a good cheap warranty replacement program as a lot of them break. Like twigs compared to an NRX. But I’ll hand it to TFO. If this rod breaks, they send you a brand new rod or a replacment section for $35 and you get it very quickly. Personally I’ve taken several of these BVK’s on bonefish trips as a backup rod and have never had any problems. I think if you are careful, you’ll be fine.
I do like the deep olive green color of this rod and they use slightly lighter dark green wraps. The handle is a nice full wells design. The reel seat is an anodized aluminum skeleton seat with a green graphite insert. The thing that bugs me is the two, small locking rings they use - it is almost impossible to get a good grip on them. If you buy this rod, split for another $10 for a pair of cheap vice grip pliers. You are going to need them. The guide set up is two large SiC strippers followed by good-sized hard chrome snake guides. Lefty Kreh helped TFO with the design of these BVK rods, and he can be proud of this one. It really delivers big performance for a very small price.
George’s casting notes:
Performance at 35 feet: 19 points out of 20
Very good accuracy but not nearly as much feel as the best rods. The heavier swing weight hurts here.
Performance at 60 feet: 19.5 points out of 20
Surprisingly good – almost as good as the NRX or CrossCurrent! Nice loop control. This distance is the sweet spot for this rod.
Performance at 80 feet: 19 points out of 20
Again, we were impressed. At long range this cheap BVK buries a lot of other rods.
Performance at 100 feet: 19 points out of 20
For sure! And it does it with ease.
#5 TFO BVK 9’#8 $279.95 76/80
In our opinion, the BVK is Temple Fork Outfitter’s best all-around saltwater rod. Some models are great for learning, some are great at distance, some are better at light presentation, but the BVK is the perfect compromise between them all. At $279.95 this rod performs nearly as well as other rods costing three times as much!
The good news is that Temple Fork Outfitter’s has always had one of the quickest (and cheapest) rod warranties in the business. If you happen to break your rod in the middle of the season you can expect to get a replacement within 7 business days after the day you sent it in. That’s a major plus over manufacturers that take nearly two months to get your rod back. To our knowledge $35 is the least expensive repair fee – also a big plus.
The bad news is that from our experience these rods are not quite as durable as other rods, so you’ll want to be more careful with them. If a leadeye Gotcha or Crazy Charlie accidently hits your rod tip, it could be trouble. If you happen to hook the mangroves it would be worth your while to pole over and go get your fly rather than yank it forcefully out of the branches. When playing fish, never get a huge bend in the tip of the rod, apply more of the power near the cork and keep the pressure on the fish with the lower half of the rod. Always keep your rod in a hard tube during travel or in the car. If you take these reasonable precautions you should have less breakage problems with your TFO rod.
Performance at 35 feet: 19.5 points out of 20 Although this rod has a heavier swing weight than others for some reason I’m not feeling it. Perhaps that’s because I’m right on the plate nearly every cast. The BVK is a powerful plate slayer at this distance!
Performance at 60 feet: 19.5 points out of 20 Awesome performance again! This rod has impressed us over and over again in terms of top notch casting performance at a very affordable price.
Performance at 80 feet: 19 points out of 20 Like the NRX, I have to get my timing correct at further distances. When I apply the power too quickly I end up with a tailing loop. When I apply the power smoothly this rod is a rocket.
Hit the Hun? : 18 points out of 20 Yes, but timing becomes more crucial than other rods.
Capt. Jamie Allen:
#6 Temple Fork Outfitters BVK
This is a light very fast action rod. Seemed a little tip heavy. No nonsense hardware although it has small locking rings. Had some trouble loading at short distances but good at distance. This rod has a history of breaking easily when compared to many other rods on the market.