Welcome to the forum! You guys picked a winner of a rod (for me, anyways)... I will say that I've not heard the best things about the BVK reels, especially with regards to bigger game. It's mostly a question of their durability, no doubt they are extremely light.
You'll find lots of folks who swear by Hardy, and I'd love to fish one someday, but I paired my BVK with a Ross CLA. Was more in line with my budget for this particular set-up's purposes, and Ross makes great products. I have five of their reels, and am happy with every one of 'em for their individual application.
Quick question, are you targeting all of these species with this 8 wt? Just curious, I used much heavier gear the time I fished for Stripers in Massachusetts (the guide had us using 11 wts, which got pretty darn bent on some fish scaring 30 lbs). I had brought my 8wt Xi2, but he told me not to bother stringing it up. Will you be out in a boat most likely?
Again, welcome to the forum, it's the only one I've ever participated in and I learn a lot every day from it
Always wanted to throw that out