8-weight Challenge

  1. Sage Salt R8 Fly Rod Review

    Sage Salt R8 Fly Rod Review

    With the R8 Core, Sage seems to be back on track by making rods with a smooth, progressive taper that gives the caster exceptional feel and feedback but still delivers plenty of power. When Sage announced the new Salt R8 would replace the Salt HD, we were excited about the rod’s prospects but a little apprehensive over a new salt-specific Sage Rod. Has Sage finally delivered? You will not want to miss this review!

  2. 2018 8-Weight Fly Reel Shootout and Review: What's the best saltwater fly reel?

    2018 8-Weight Fly Reel Shootout and Review: What's the best saltwater fly reel?

    Hey, remember back when we released our first 8-weight reel shootout in 2013? Yeah, we barely remember it ourselves. So, it was high time we redid it. In fact there is no reel that’s in production that was in our original shootout.

    This year we’ve upped our game big time. We tested 37 reels across 13 categories – including 3 all new categories! We even had 5 new brands participating in what we believe is the largest and most comprehensive apples-to-apples reel test that’s ever been done. It involved 100s of hours of work to not only test everything, but review each and every reel. We hope you enjoy it.

  3. Nautilus CCF X2 Fly Reel Review

    Nautilus CCF X2 Fly Reel Review

    After much ado, it’s time to announce the winner of our 2018 8-weight Reel Shootout: The Nautilus CCF X2 8/10. The CCF-X2 replaces the old CCF as Nautilus’ mid-priced big game reel. Usually, mid-price comes with mediocre performance. Not so this time. The CCF absolutely crushes its big brother the NV-G, and takes the top spot in our shootout. Here’s why we love this reel so much.

  4. Orvis Hydros SL Fly Reel Review

    Orvis Hydros SL Fly Reel Review

    Back in our 2015 5-weight shootout, we noted that the Hydros LA was a solid reel, but it didn’t really fit into the Orvis line up well. It was a little too expensive and didn’t offer any real advantages over the Access Mid-Arbor. Orvis took that feedback to heart and came out with the Orvis Hydros SL a few years later.

    Since they had essentially fixed all of our complaints, we’ve been selling tons of these and they’ve been one of our top sellers. Until today, however, we haven’t had a chance to do a proper review of this reel. I can tell you, it does NOT disappoint.

  5. Orvis Mirage USA Fly Reel Review

    Orvis Mirage USA Fly Reel Review

    Orvis is no stranger to our shootouts. In fact they’ve either won an award or placed in the top 5 in every single shootout we’ve done. That’s a pretty good track record of making great products. The latest from the evil geniuses at Orvis is the Mirage USA. It sits on top of the Orvis lineup as their high performance and high-end reel. What’s new is that this reel is made right here in the US of A. We think that’s a stellar upgrade.

  6. Hatch Gen 2 Finatic Fly Reel Review

    Hatch Gen 2 Finatic Fly Reel Review

    Hello, old friend. The Hatch Finatic was the winner of our last 8-weight shootout and it’s been one of our best performing and best-selling reels ever since. To me, Hatch has always set the bar for what a great saltwater reel should be. This year they changed things up a bit by introducing the “new” Gen 2 Finatic. It’s got the same (more or less) exterior, but a totally new interior. Is that enough to fend off the competition for another 5 years? Find out.

  7. Nautilus X-Series XL Max Fly Reel Review

    Nautilus X-Series XL Max Fly Reel Review

    When I asked Kristen Mustad which reel he thought would perform best in our shootout, he replied the XL Max. The X-series replaces the FWX as Nautilus’s lightweight and (more) freshwater oriented reel. That’s not to say that this isn’t a serious saltwater reel, but it’s just not as hardcore as the CCF and NVG.

  8. Nautilus NV-G Fly Reel Review

    Nautilus NV-G Fly Reel Review

    If there was one question we received the last time we did our 8-weight Shootout more than any other, it was about the omission of the Nautilus NV-G. Despite that, it’s become one of our bestselling reels.

    The NV-G replaced the older NV as the crown in the Nautilus lineup. They made one crucial change to the reel, which was to make the spool bigger. That meant that they took what is by today’s standard, a mid-arbor reel, and turned it into a high-performance machine. This should come as no surprise since Nautilus is based in Miami and has more access to top saltwater guides and test water than any other reel company.

  9. Sage Spectrum 7/8 Fly Reel Review

    Sage Spectrum 7/8 Fly Reel Review

    Last but not least from Sage is the Sage Spectrum. The Spectrum replaces the popular 3200 as Sage’s entry level machined reel. Here’s how it stands up to the competition.

  10. Sage Spectrum LT Fly Reel Review

    Sage Spectrum LT Fly Reel Review

    Just below the new Spectrum Max, and replacing the much loved 4200 series, is the Sage Spectrum LT. Despite a confusing naming convention, this reel has some big shoes to fill. The 4200 was the lightweight workhorse of the Sage reel lineup and has always done well in our shootouts. Can the Spectrum LT live up to its predecessor’s legacy?

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