I have been fishing this past week with a new toy. I bought an 8 ft 3wt TFO BVK rod and in and of itself its a fantastic rod for smaller waters. I also pruchased the two piece conversion kit that turns the 8 ft rod into an 11 ft Czech Nymphing machine. The ros is incredilbly light weight as all BVK's are. Compared to my 9 ft 5 wt BVK, the 3wt has a much slower more progressive flex, but I still consider it more towards the fast end of the spectrum.
In the 8ft configuration I used it on some very small trickles for mountain brookies here in South Western PA. It lays down a Rio WF-3-F line extremely delicately, and handled the brookies that ran up to about 11 inches very well. I took it to a near-by bigger stream that holds Rainbows and Browns, and added the two extra pieces. That 11ft rod is an unmitigated pleasure to high stick with. The light weight was wonderful. Adding the extra length also dramatically increased the power of the rod. The small full wells grip that comes on the conversion was well thought out, and added to the controllability of the rod. I landed a couple of nice bows in the 12-13 inch range, and one nice brownie that pushed 16 inches. the brown was in a deep cut with some steady current. The rod never gave an inkling of not having enough backbone for any of those fish.
I only have two wishes.....I would have liked a bit more handle than the tiny fighting butt it comes installed with. A 3 or 4 inch butt would provide more of a brace to run along the forearm, but with the lightness of the rod, its a tiny inconvenience at best. The other wish is that they make a case specially designed to hold the two piece extensions. Something very light and small diameter so that it would be easy to carry on the stream.
Yea...those BVK rods are awesome. To me, you get the blank quality of a Sage One, NRX, S4, or whatever other top quality rod you can think of, but you get the build quality and components of a $150 rod. I dont mean that as a knock at all because essentially as a fishing tool the rod is amongst the very best in the industry. I have a 8 weight and while the grip is of very low quality cork and ugly and the guides are cheap the rod is simply the best 8 weight i have ever fished...and i have fished them all. I have honestly considered many times if vanity has kept me from replacing my other rods with BVKs i like them that much. I was considering at one point getting the 3 weight and overloading it with a 5dt for small stream brookies...i still might!
I've heard the conversion kit makes it more like a 4wt, do you agree?
On the tube situation, I would think you could get all six sections in a typical 4pc tube by offsetting the handles. I frequently put all of two 4pc rods in a tube that way.
Yes I do agree with that statement...and after fishing it today, It is definitely true. When you extend the 3 weight blank another couple of feet, the butt is now as thick as a 4 weight. Its an absolutely fantastic package!
Here are my opinions of the rod. Since we all have different needs, skills, and likes, it's just my impressions.
TFO sent me out the BVK 3wt with conversion to test and I fished it over the winter. For the price, it's an outstanding rod. I was able to put line out with fair accuracy, and liked the mending capability.
The weight of the rod was light in the hand and the swing weight was comfortable as well. Rod tip sensitivity was good and offered nice tippet protection on a few larger fish I hooked into.
Fit and finish was tight, though I did noticed a couple of bubbles in the wraps.
The conversion kit, to me, was pointless. It made the rod heavy and cost it some of the 'feel' that made the rod shine to begin with. I think they should have lost the fighting butt and stayed with a traditional reel seat for the extension. That would have made for a nicer nymph set up.
Quasi-related--- They sent a BVK reel as well. I had difficulty getting the thing to seat and once on, it was not balanced well. I have no idea what line they spooled it with, so I cannot give judgment there.
I slapped on a Lamson Konic (which I figured was a good price point reel for this rod) lined with Rio Gold WF 3wt, and was very pleased at the result.
So, for $225, you get quite a bit of performance. It's ridiculous to compare it to a Sage because it's not. It does not try to be, either. What it is is a very affordable offering from TFO and it represents a commitment by them to offer as much bang for the $$ as possible. I would recommend it to anyone looking to get a 3wt rod on a budget.
It's just about that time of the year to start thinking about building a rod! I've been thinking about a 10' nymph rod since the summer and have been doing a little research. I stumbled across this thread from the spring...I am intrigued with this rod and the conversion kit.
But it sounds like the kit is a handle and butt section, is that right. Creeker, I appreciate your review of the conversion. I do NOT want a heavy 10' 4wt. Anyone else have experience and review of this rod with the conversion kit?
I'm very curious about this setup as well, still considering it... Anyone else want to weigh in on the conversion kit feeling too heavy? Best to over-line it with a 4 at 10'? Experience with larger fish in the 18"-22" range?
I matched the 8ft configuration with a Marryat 7 reel and I thought it balanced perfectly with a Hardy Dry Fly WF-3-F line. When I add the 2 extra pieces, it does of course add to the weight, but I didn't think it was disconcerting.....tip heavy, yes. So I went to a Hardy DD 4000, loaded with the same Hardy 3wt line, and it seemed to balance out again. The biggest fish I landed was a brownie just over the 20" mark, and it provided plenty of tussle, but the rod was up to it. If I was to fish in areas where that size fish were more prevalent then I think my BVK 5wt would be my choice. It is what it is, and it has a permanent home with me.