Best 8 Weight Fly Rod – Top 10 of 2024

Last updated on January 7th, 2024.

Leonard Schoenberger
Latest posts by Leonard Schoenberger (see all)

In fly fishing, there are two fly rod weights that are typically recommended for experienced and novice anglers – the 5 weight and 8 weight.

The 5 weight fly rod is commonly used for freshwater fish such as trout as they are usually smaller and lighter. The 8w is used to catch considerably bigger fish such as stripers or big bass

However, if you’re looking for something that can optimally cover the bulkier side of fishing, then the 8 weight fly rod is the way to go. But that can be an overwhelming task given that there are plenty of products available on the market. So, to help make things easier for you, in this article, we’re going to talk about the best 8 wt fly rods at different price points. 

Disclaimer: All products in this guide are independently researched by our team. We only recommend products we believe in and never get paid for the reviews. Learn more about our review process here.

Table of Contents:

Best 8 Weight Fly Rod Quick Answer List

What are the Use Cases for an 8 Wt Fly Rod?

Key Factors to Consider When Buying an 8 Wt Fly Rod

Best 8 Weight Fly Rods Reviewed

The Best 8 # Fly Rod Combos


Frequently Asked Questions

Review of the Best 8 weight fly rods

Best 8 Wt Fly Rod Quick Answer List

1. Atlas Signature

2. Redington Predator

3. Orvis Recon 2

4. Douglas Sky

5. Hardy Ultralite

6. Echo Trip

7. Winston Air Salt

8. Redington Original Kit

9. Orvis Clearwater Outfit

10. Sage Foundation

What are the Use Cases for an 8 Weight Fly Rod?

If you’re a habitual fisher or an experienced angler, it’s important to understand that the 8 weight can typically be described as a medium to heavy line casting rod. And yes, it isn’t designed with an all-in-one purpose. But when it comes to power, handling, casting, and reeling, the #8 can provide you with considerable versatility.

You see, 8-weights are designed handle strong winds, different types of flies (bass bugs, saltwater streamers), and you can use a variety of lines. And because the fly rod is made for power, it can easily tackle stronger, aggressive, and bigger fish. With that being said, these are the specimens you can catch with an 8 weight:



Big trout





Juvenile tarpon


Best 8 weight fly rod review (1)
An 8 weight fly rod is a great option for stripers

Key Factors to Consider When Buying an 8 Wt Fly Rod

The Amount of Fly Rod Pieces

It was typically thought that having a lot of rod pieces may adversely affect performance and experience when it comes to rod action and power. But with incredible advancements in fly rod technology, stronger and durable materials have given birth to streamlined tapering and flexible designs for rod pieces. That in turn helped anglers retain power, balance, and the right action across the total length of the rod. So, today, the primary benefits of adding more pieces to your rod is portability and added versatility.

Materials the Rod is Made With

The modern 8 weight fly rod is manufactured with durable and resilient materials such as fiberglass and carbon fiber weaved graphite. Both these materials are excellent for effective fish catching. However, it’s important to know that fiberglass rods are typically medium-action while graphite rods are fast-action. To increase the durability and power of the fly rod, it’s strongly recommended that you go for a product that has nano-resin materials infused with graphite – which boost rod strength without making it bulkier. 

The Grip and Handling

The best and most sought-after material for gripping is cork. But it’s vital to understand that cork also comes in a variety of material ratings (A to AAA). A rod with a cork handle rated AAA is the highest quality. You could also go for synthetic and affordable cork handles, but they aren’t that popular. 

Fly Rod Action

The action of a fly rod basically refers to how and where the rod bends when force is applied. There are three different categories of rod actions known as slow-action, medium-action, and fast-action. A slow-action rod considerably bends at the lower point of the rod. The medium/moderate action rod bends right at the top as well as the middle of the rod. Fast-action rods only bend at the very top. Although you can choose different action types for 8w rods, most anglers prefer to use fast-action 8 weights for effective performance and power in windy conditions. It enables them to cast lines at longer distances. 

Best 8-Weight Fly Rods at Different Price Points

Notice: The Wading List is reader-supported. We take part in various affiliate programs such as amazon associates or avantlink. If you click on one of the links in this article and end up purchasing a product we earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. Thank you!

Atlas Signature

Atlas Signature Series
Atlas Signature Series 

Key features: 

– Comes as an #8, #9 and #10 all in 9ft

– Premium rod at an affordable price

– 3 year warranty

Why we picked it:

The Atlas Signature series (read our in-depth review here) is a newcomer on the saltwater rod market. Founded by Ben Freeman of Trident Fly Fishing, Atlas aims at offering premium performance at a mid-level price. We were quite impressed by this rod’s punch and precision when we took it out for some saltwater fishing for stripers and albies in Long Island, NY. 

This rod easily has enough backbone to cast even bigger streamers into a breeze. It also has the looks to underline its premium ambition featuring a beautiful dark grey/blue blank and comes with only the finest components. A three year warranty rounds off the excellent package. Last but not least you get a three year warranty on the Atlas that comes as an #8, #9 and #10. All of that for only half the price that a rod with this performance would cost from the big brands. 



Redington 890-4 Predator

Redington Fly Fishing Rod 890-4 Predator Rod - A great fly rod for bass fishing
Redington 890-4 Predator

Why we picked it:

The Redington Predator is a great choice for fighting aggressive fish and using big flies and heavy lines. It’s powerful and intuitive enough to pursue strong predators like stripers or small GTs, whether you may be angling in saltwater or freshwater. This model comes in 5-12 weight variations, depending on your fly fishing needs. If you want a great all-rounder for species such as pike, muskey or bass, go for the #8.

The Redington Predator’s durability is secured with its aluminum oxide stripping guides that have ceramic inserts, as well as hardwire anodized snake guides. The section tips of the pieces are coated with epoxy to prevent sticking. Its surface coating makes it more resistant to dings and scratches.



Orvis Recon 2

Orvis Recon 2

Why we picked it:

The Orvis Recon 2 is a serious improvement over its predecessor, the original Orvis Recon. This is especially true since the fly rod is integrated with the patented trickle-down technology, which basically means the Orvis Recon 2 has performance features similar to the company’s more expensive fly rods such as the Helios 3. The fly rod is versatile, durable, fast-action, and lightweight – with topnotch performance features. We liked this rod particularly in the 30-50 yard range (where a lot of fishing salt water fishing happens unless you’re a master caster).

However, it’s important to understand that the Orvis Recon 2 is a bit heavier than the original Orvis but it’s also true that this fly rod was specifically designed for enhanced fishability. The total weight of the rod is 3.07-oz with a swing weight of over 66g. 



Douglas Sky G

Douglas Sky

One of the best things about the Douglas Sky is the material its blank structure is made of. While a majority of fly rods are made with graphite, the Douglas Sky is manufactured with graphene – which is an exceptionally strong material. In fact, it’s 10x more durable and stronger than steel along with being 5x less bulkier. This makes the fly rod lightweight and durable. Moreover, the Douglas Sky has a very light swing weight, comparable to that of the Hardy Zephrus. The total swing weight of the Sky is 53 grams with a total weight of 2.86-oz. So no, your hands won’t tire during a long fishing trip.  

The Douglas Sky is classified as medium-action and it’s worth noting that it doesn’t provide as much power when it comes to long distance casting and swinging. So while the Douglas Sky doesn’t pack as much power as some of the more expensive fly rods out there, it is by far one of the most accurate. 



Douglas Sky G #6 fly rod
The Douglas Sky G during our test. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger. © The Wading List

Hardy Ultralite

Hardy Ultralite

Why we picked it:

The Hardy Ultralite (read our in-depth review here) fly rod is the latest addition to the company’s long line of products. The Ultralite is integrated with the patented Sintrix NSX technology, which allows the company to manufacture fly rods that have a considerably reduced prepreg weights. Sintrix is a combination of Hardy’s lightweight rod materials that allows for streamlined modifications without compromising the rod’s overall performance and strength. We particularly liked the green finish of the blank which gives Hardy rods this special look and feel.

The Hardy Ultralite also features titanium REC coils with ceramic-lined guides, which makes the rod more lightweight and consistently practical. From a casting performance standpoint we were a little surprised as to how much punch this rod delivers – good job, Hardy! Instead of carbon fiber, the reel seat is made from burlwood, which lowers the weight of the blank. 



Hardy Ultradisc LA Fly Reel on lake shore
The Hardy Ultralite paired with the Hardy Ultradisc during our testing session. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger. © The Wading List

Echo Trip

Echo Trip Fly Rod
Echo Trip

Why we picked it:

The Echo Trip is another impressive fly rod that comes in three different line weights (5, 6, and 8). The total length of the fly rod is 9 feet. What sets the Echo Trip apart is the fact that it’s made from 8 pieces. This in turn makes the Echo Trip a fantastic travel fly rod as it packs down to a very small size.

The blank of the Echo Trip is made with graphite and features an 8-piece design with an accurate medium-action performance with decent power levels. The fly rod is also integrated with resin systems that makes the product even more durable and lightweight. It’s also reinforced with ferrule tech, which means you’ll feel as if you’re fishing with a 4-piece rod, which is definitely a good thing.  The Echo Trip also features a durable and stronger butt section ideal for medium to long distance casting and fish reeling capabilities. 



Winston Air Salt

Winston Saltwater Air
Winston Air Salt: Best 8 Weight Fly Rod Guide

Key features: 

– Graphite rod tube

– 6 line weights to choose from

– Lifetime guarantee

Why we picked it:

The Winston Air Salt (read our in-depth review here) is a fantastic premium fly rod that is an excellent choice to hunt predators such as pike, salmon or stripers, no matter whether you’re after them in fresh or saltwater. The Air Salt delivers a high degree of precision no matter whether you’re casting heavier streamers on sinking lines or poppers to big bass. What makes the Air Salt stand out in my eyes is the fact that its action is a tad slower than the Sage Core R8 for example. Personally, I like that because it requires your casting stroke to be a little more precise.

The Saltwater Air uses Winston’s Boron technology that makes these rods 25% stronger than other graphite rods, a crucial feature if you put your rod to the ultimate test of strong saltwater species. Everything about this rod is top-notch (as you would expect at $1,000) starting with the beautiful dark green blank color (I’ve yet to find a fly rod color that’s more stunnning) to the stripping guides and rod sock and rod tube. A Winston rod is something special – any fly fisherman will tell you that.



Abel Rove Fly Reel with streamers on beach
The Winston Air Salt #8 paired with the Abel Rove fly reel for some saltwater fishing. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

Best 8 Wt Fly Rod Combo

Now that you’ve got a good overview of some of the best 8 weight fly rods out there on the market, we’ll also take a look at the best 8 wt fly rod combo. Fly rod outfits have the advantage that they come perfectly balanced right out of the box. No need for you to think about which rod to combine with which reel. That guesswork is taken out of play for you by the manufacturers. Here are some of the best 8 weight fly rod outfits money can buy.

Redington Original Kit

Redington Original Fly Fishing Kit
Redington Original Fly Rod Kit

Why we picked it:

Redington has recently introduced a new line of fly rod combos, including the Redington Original, Redington Wrangler Kit, and Redington Field Kit. Recognizing the increasing preference for ready-to-fish sets, particularly among beginners and intermediates, Redington has revamped these combos to compete with advanced fly rods and reels. The Redington Original, an evolution of its popular predecessor, the Redington Path, stands out with a retro design coupled with state-of-the-art technology.

The Redington Original fly rod combo (read our full review here), priced at $199, offers exceptional value for money. The 9′ length is the standard length for #8 rods and will give you enough power and backbone to cast bigger patterns at species such as pike, bass or salmon. Notably, the anodized reel seat adds an aesthetic touch, a feature uncommon in entry-level rods. The Crosswater reel has been upgraded to include a powerful carbon disc drag, exceeding typical entry-level expectations. The combo is completed with a Rio Mainstream 8wt fly line and a Powerflex 0x leader that will easily give you enough strength for strong predators (remember though to use wired or hard mono tippet in case you’re after species such as pike or musky since these have such shard teeth that they will easily cut your 0x leader).

The set comes with a rod and reel tube for easy transport and features a 1 year warranty. All of that for $199 is a package that’s very hard to beat.




Orvis Clearwater 8 Wt Fly Rod Combo

Orvis Clearwater 8 wt Fly Rod Combo

Why we picked it:

One of the key indicators of an impressive fly rod combo is that it comes with a balanced set of tools such as the backing, reel, and fly line. And this is where the Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit (read our full review here) clearly knocks much of the competition out of the park. When it comes to intermediate or entry level angler fishing, nothing can beat the Orvis Clearwater kit. Why? Well, it comes with a staggering twenty different types of fishing configurations. Plus, the combo can be used in both saltwater and freshwater. 

As for performance and accessibility, the rods for freshwater fishing are designed to be more lightweight and handle softly with medium-fast action. The rods for bigger fish are designed for fast-action and are slightly more stiffer and bulkier. 



Sage Foundation Outfit

Sage Foundation Outfit

Why we picked it:

The Sage Foundation Outfit’s manufacturing process involves 27 specialist craftsmen at the production site – and it’s safe to say that no other company does this. The Foundation Outfit is by far one of the most elegant and impeccable fly rods money can buy. A fast-action, high-performing fly rod that has a blank made with reinforced, topnotch graphite. The entire fly rod combo comes ready to use, all you need to do is pick a spot to fish and you’re golden! 

The main components that make up the Sage Foundation Outfit include the 2000 Sage Series fly reel, a top of the line RIO Gold fly line weight, Dacron backing, tapered RIO leader, and the Cordura tube manufactured by Sage itself. One of the best things about the Sage Foundation is that it’s designed for both novice anglers and veteran fishers. However, beginners will need to do some practice before fully utilizing the power of the Sage. 



Bottom Line

So there you have it, 11 of the best 8 weight fly rods and combos at various price points. The products mentioned on this list combine a balanced blend of impeccable features that suit both experienced anglers and novice fishers alike. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Best 8 Weight Fly Rod

What is the 8 weight fly rod good for?

An 8 weight fly rod is versatile and suitable for various applications. It is commonly used for targeting larger freshwater species like bass, salmon, and steelhead. Additionally, it is an excellent choice for saltwater fishing, particularly for species like bonefish, redfish, and smaller tarpon.

Is an 8 wt fly rod too big for trout?

While an 8 weight fly rod may be considered overkill for smaller trout in smaller streams, it can be effective for larger trout in bigger rivers or when dealing with windy conditions. It offers the power needed to cast larger flies and handle challenging situations.

What is the best all-around fly rod weight?

The best all-around fly rod weight depends on the angler’s preferences and the type of fishing they plan to do. A 5 or 6 weight fly rod is often considered a versatile choice suitable for a wide range of freshwater applications, including trout, bass, and panfish.

Should I use an 8 or 9 weight fly rod for saltwater?

The choice between an 8 or 9 weight fly rod for saltwater depends on the specific saltwater species targeted. An 8 weight is suitable for smaller saltwater species like bonefish and redfish, while a 9 weight provides more power and is preferred for larger species such as permit and smaller tarpon. The decision may also be influenced by the prevailing conditions, such as wind and the size of flies being used.

Notice: The Wading List is reader-supported. We take part in various affiliate programs such as amazon associates or avantlink. If you click on one of the links in this article and end up purchasing a product we earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. Thank you!