Looking for a rod to throw double nymph rigs at trout on larger rivers, I had intended to review the BVK 6wt. Having none in stock, Feather Merchants sent me a 7wt instead.
I was soon so impressed with this 7wt BVK I ended up buying it.
Standing in a park, I had no problem casting the entire Teeny 200 TST fly line with the 7wt BVK, and as mentioned before, I am no great shakes in the distance department. The 7 wt BVK also casts 7 wt Rio Nymph Taper and Airflo Bandit floating lines exceptionally well, as it did an Airflo 225 grain Quick Max, a hi-density integrated shooting head; proving to me that this rod does not need over-lining.
The kahawai were running when the rod arrived, so after casting it in the park I took it for a paddle in the sea.
I was astounded by how far I could cast with this 7wt while sitting on a kayak.
Having a softer tip the 7wt loaded quicker and cast the Teeny TST 200 line a lot further than the 8wt BVK did. Using flies and poppers size 2 or smaller I easily achieved the distances I cast with my best 9wt outfits, even into a breeze.
Demonstrating the tip action of BVK TFO 7 wt
The second surprise was the 7wt seemed to have a lot more lifting power than the 8wt, and I did not feel at all under-gunned fighting large fit kahawai up to 3kg. This result seemed counter-intuitive and since I was not able to fish the BVK 7wt and 8wts side by side (I had returned the 8wt), I tried flexing the butt sections of a few rods back at home.
The 7wt BVK clearly has substantially more low-down grunt than both my Scott S4s 9wt and TFO 8 wt Axiom (which is really a 9wt).
The 7 weight BVK has plenty of lifting power for good size Kawahai
As a big-water nymphing stick the light swing weight and crisp action of the 7 wt BVK make for a lightning quick response to a dipping indicator, even at the end of a long day. Although this rod will cast a heavily weighted double nymph rig (3-4.5mm tungsten beads) an effortless mile, the soft tip ensures it is accurate and efficient in close.
Upstream mending and roll casting are facilitated by the powerful butt and mid sections. A soft tip also protects light tippets and helps hang onto lightly hooked fish.
I have come across several complaints on the internet concerning the quality of the cork used on TFO fly rods. I am therefore pleased to report the cork is excellent on the 7wt I have fished almost a year, being similar to that on my Scott S4s. The main difference being the cork rings on the BVK are wider, with the result that an inferior ring would have a bigger impact.
It would therefore make sense to carefully check the grip on any BVK rod you intend to purchase - although the excellent TFO guarantee and service in New Zealand would have a faulty grip replaced with a new butt section within a week or two. For more on appearance and cosmetics please read my article introducing the BVK series.
TFO recently replaced the REC recoil stripping guides on the BVK series with Tactical stripping guides. The 7wt BVK I received was the last of old stock, which was fortunate as I have grown to greatly appreciate the indestructible REC recoil guides on my Loomis Streamdance and NRX fly rods.
I experienced no noise problems with REC recoil guides, either casting or fighting fish, on any of the BVK models I have fished (5wt, 7wt, 8wt & 9wt).
Although I like all of the BVK models I tested, I found the 7wt to be a series stand out. It is fast, light and sensitive, and has plenty of power for making effortless long casts and pulling fish. In New Zealand it makes an excellent light duty salt water rod for medium sized quarry such as kahawai, trevally and skipjack tuna.
For trout it is ideal for casting bigger streamers (e.g. rabbits) on lakes, rivers and estuaries, and excels at throwing heavy double-nymph rigs (3-4.5 mm tungsten beads) on larger water ways, e.g. Rangitikei and Tongariro Rivers.
Thanks to Feather Merchants, distributors of BVK fly rods in New Zealand, for lending me the BVK rods to test.