Thursday, February 13, 2014

Gear Review - TFO BVK wt and Ichthus 3/4 reel

TFO BVK 8'6" with Risen Fly's Ichthus 3/4 gunmetal reel

Here is a review my current 4wt rig that I use for fishing dries and wet flies (TFO BVK 8'6" wt/Ichthus 3/4 large arbor reel).  After fishing this rig for most of last summer and this past fall, I am in a better position to judge the performance and quality of both the rod and reel.

I've owned several TFO rods and I've been very happy with the quality of these rods and their modest price point.  My primary dry/wet fly rod for larger rivers had been a TFO professional 9' 5wt and I wanted to move to a lighter 4wt.  I opted to go for the TFO BVK 8'6" 4wt which weighs in a 2.7oz.  Next, I needed to find a light reel that would balance well with the BVK and I wanted to go with a large arbor reel to eliminate all the line kinking I was experiencing with the conventional arbor reel I had on the 5wt.  I settled on the Ichthus 3/4 wt from Risen Fly which is also a light large arbor reel (3"dia/4.06oz).

TFO BVK 8'6" 4wt
I really like the lightness of this rod, especially if you fish for an afternoon into the evening, as I often do.  This is a fast action rod and I wasn't sure if it would fit my casting stroke but I haven't noticed any adjustments that were needed when casting.  I was really surprised how powerful the rod was given I was moving down in line wt.  The rod casts the large dries and dry/dropper rigs I often fish as easily as the 5wt with a lot less fatigue.  I wasn't sure what I would be sacrificing by moving to a slightly shorter rod. The rod handles good size trout easily, and while I haven't tangled with any 20" trout yet, it did a fantastic job on the 16-18" hefty browns the Farmington River is known for. The finish and components on the rod are very nice, the reel seat locks up very well and I love the dark green blank.  The rod came in the typical TFO rod sock.  I just wish they included a rod tube with this rod but this was easily rectified with an aftermarket rod tube.

The BVK's are more expensive than other rods in the TFO lineup but the performance justifies the price tag and I am very happy with this rod.  It nicely fits the type of fishing I had in mind for this rod and I would recommend it to anyone looking for solid performance from a 4wt without spending a ton of cash.

Risen Fly's Ichthus 3/4 reel 
This is the first reel I've purchase from Risen Fly.  The specs on the reel looked like it would balance very well with the BVK rod in terms of wt with the added plus of a large arbor design.  I like the smooth gun metal finish, the silent retrieve, and a very subtle outgoing click.  The large drag adjustment is easily to operate and I've had no issues with the performance, quality, or durability of this reel.  When paired up with the BVK it balances extremely well.  A reel bag was included. 

Like TFO, Risen Fly has managed to produce a high quality reel at a modest price point and I would recommend this reel as well.  If you are interested in this reel or other products from Risen fly, follow the link to the right and use the Fishing Small Streams coupon code to receive a 10% discount. 


Drag adjustment knob on the backslide of the Ichthus reel

11 comments:

  1. As a fellow BVK owner - I'd have to echo your sentiments. My 6wt big river trout / small mouth fishing rod is a BVK. light, attractive and the thing I like best, is that is loads slower than you think it will (some of that are the heavy front end Wulff lines I like) yet unloads that energy crisply. It's a real pleasure of a rod! Nice to hear it carries those attributes down into the lighter weights... thanks for the great review!
    Will

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  2. Will - thanks for commenting. Interesting that your experience is similar in that this rod is not as fast as I expected. The 4 weight is at home gently dropping size 24 olives to rising trout or searching with big Stimulators with a nymph tied off the back.

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  3. I'm not familiar with the rod you speak of, but I do own a TFO rod that is a staple for me on small streams.
    They are a super, and as you state they won't destroy the budget.
    The reel looks great.

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    1. Alan - the BVK is a new rod in the TFO line designed to be lighter and bring greater performance than the "professional"

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  4. Excellent. I just love my TFO Signature Series rod. It really does load itself ans has great distance. Even as a 5 wgt., it casts heavy flies well. I just bought a burnt orange Trout II reel from Allen Fly Fishing to pair with the rod. I am up in the air about buying the Compass rod or a TFO Professional or BVK rod for my 8 wgt.

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    1. Riverwalker - If your budget allows, I would look seriously at the BVK. It's a lot lighter then the professional which is an 8wt but be a huge advantage.

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  5. Mark
    I am familiar with the TFO Pro and the Signature series; is the BVK a fly rod that has been added in the last few years to TFO arsenal? I do own a Signature 7 1/2 ft. TFO and love the sensitivity of this rod and of course the price. I like the looks, price and weight of the Ichthus reel. Call me a little off the wall when it comes to reel colors, but I don't like to fish with a standard black colored reel, brass color or silver such as your Ichthus are my choices. I'm really impressed with your combo. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Bill - the BVK is a new member of the TFO line up. It is a lighter rod than the others in the series. I prefer stainless reels over other finishes as well.

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  6. Thanks for the great write up. Glad you're enjoying your Ichthus reel!

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  7. Ryan - I really love the reel. If you ever make a tiny large arbor the size and weight of an Orvis Battenkill I, let me know!

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  8. I just purchased a BVK 9 foot 4wt. I have heard some say to go up 1 line weight, but I don't wish to do that. Are you happy using a 4wt line? What brand line did you use?

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