Good but inexpensive 8wt rod/reel?

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
I'll be heading down to near Elko, Nevada in about a month for a week on the famous Crittenden Ranch, fishing for 30"+ trout as the guest of my wife's cousin. It's a membership-only man-made lake with daily rod limits and stocked with RBs that regularly grow to 15 pounds or more.

I'm well aware that my usual 3-6wt moderate graphite and vintage bamboo rods aren't gonna do a very good job playing and landing such behemoths. I'm looking for advice on an 8wt rod or outfit because frankly I'm out of my comfort zone.

A couple of friends have graciously offered to loan me a setup or two to take. But I'm more than a little nervous about replacing expensive gear if it should break or fall overboard. (Don't laugh, it's happened! I replaced the same cousin's backup 6wt outfit a few years ago after I accidentally knocked it off the side of my pontoon boat.)

Since I very rarely use a rod that heavy, I'm leaning towards buying an inexpensive rod and reel combo outfit such as the Redington Pursuit, Winston Passport, or any of the many offerings from Cabelas. I'd appreciate any advice and guidance you might offer on that strategy, alternatives, as well as brands to look for and which ones to avoid.

Thanks in advance,



I hope she likes whitefish
Any of the older Redington Red Fly series should serve the purpose and won't break the bank. I still use one for steelhead when fishing out of a boat. I've landed BIG chinook on it as well and never worried about a lack of backbone. As far as a reel goes, I think anything would work. I'm not a big believer in drag, so I always play the fish and palm the reel to slow them down. Okuma SLV or Cabelas Wind River are really inexpensive reels, but work great for the price. Then when you get back, you can always off load the setup for probably exactly what you paid for it.
just pick up an old Fenwick FF857, 807, 858 or similar, Medalist & you're set with something that'll handle that size of fish with ease AND you'll get the added fun factor of fighting fish on old glass (not to be discounted)...


Well-Known Member
I like the old Fenwick FF85 in 7 or 8 wt idea myself.

Oh, I thought your wrote "inexpensive." Don't think the Winston Passport qualifies. You can borrow my Cabela's Three Forks 8wt or buy one yourself to see just how good a $59 rod can be. I use it for bonefish and permit in Mexico.

Cheap reels that are actually good is a bit more difficult IMO. The cheapest "good" fly reel I know of is the discontinued Ross Colorado that goes for about $100 on Ebay, roughly what they sold for retail when discontinued. Otherwise the only cheap reel that meets my definition of "good" is a Pflueger Medalist. You'll spend more for an Allen reel, but the couple I've got seem well made, and the cheaper of the two has played and landed permit.

Have fun. Sounds like a fun time.



aka Dave Hoover
Yeah there are all kinds of old glass rods that would work great (e.g. Curt Gowdy Parametric, Scientific Anglers System 8, Heddon Pal, etc) with a Medalist


Active Member
I was impressed with the Echo Solo rods. They cast pretty well and are pretty inexpensive. Not sure what you are looking for in a reel. I would probably look at a disc drag for an 8wt so you have more versatility in case you decide to go after something besides huge trout.


Not to be confused with Freestone
I have had two folks buy the Winston Passport combo and posted previously on my testing of that great value rod...though both were 905-4's. I hear good things about the Echo and Redington rods mentioned above and no doubt they will work equally as well. If it was me, I'd just shop for the best rod/reel combo of the well known companies and use the savings towards the trophy mount.


5-Time Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year
Kent this might be slightly more than you want to spend since it seems you are going to use it for just one outing which is completely understandable, but the Orvis Clearwater outfit runs at $315 for the rod/reel/line.

I have used this rod for a while now and absolutely love it (9ft 8wt). Nice, medium action (which is hard to find in 8 wts it seems), plus you get the orvis warranty which is awesome. Also, in your case, the resale value will be pretty good if you just want to use it for this trip and then get rid of it.

You can hop into Orvis Bellevue and cast it right there in their parking lot before buying if you want. They also have their streamline outfit for $179 which I have never casted myself so I can't speak on its behalf but the clearwater is a great rod for the price.

Hope this helps, enjoy the trip


5-Time Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year
No, you should just borrow mine. I'm the original owner, so if you break it, it's a small $ charge from Sage. I also have multiple lines including a clear intermediate which you might find useful there.
Yup do this

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
Thanks for all your thoughts. As I mentioned in my original post, I spent many hundreds of dollars a few years ago to replace a borrowed outfit that I accidentally booted off a pontoon into deep water. Despite their generous offers I'm not inclined to borrow anyone's outfit again, especially a pricey one that I might have to replace. Not sure how often I'll need an 8wt rig which is why I'm leaning towards an inexpensive outfit.



Not to be confused with freestoneangler
Kent, I have a friends and family loaner Redington Redfly 8wt combo that you can borrow. I can drop it off Monday as I'll be over there. If anything happens to it, you can just trade it out for one of your boo rods, lol!