Top 6 Best 7wt Fly Rod of 2020 Reviewed (Buyer’s Guide)

Looking for one single fly rod that you can use to catch large freshwater fish such as bass, trout, carp, salmon, and bonefish?

It might sound far-fetched for a single rod to cover all these fly fishing scenarios, but what if I told you there is such a fly rod?

In this article, I will show you how to select the best 7 weight fly rod – one of the most underrated rod weights available.

Below is a summary of our top 4 choices from the lineup…

Our Pick

Best 7wt For Beginners

Echo Base

The forgiving medium-fast action provides ample feel throughout the casting stroke while still packing enough punch to make longer casts.

Echo Base

Echo’s chief rod designer, Tim Rajeff, designed the Base rod specifically for the beginner fly angler.

The forgiving medium-fast action provides ample feel throughout the casting stroke while still packing enough punch to make longer casts.

Build

Chrome-plated snake guides and ceramic stripper guides ensure that the fly line will shoot with ease.

The rod is finished with a glossy blue finish and features a full-wells cork grip (for the 7-weight rod) and an aluminum reel seat.

Weight

Weighing 4.2 ounces, the Base is heavy which becomes more apparent when casting the rod.

If you’re intending to use the rod in the salt, make sure to rinse and clean the stripper guides thoroughly after each day as the chrome-plated guides will corrode over time.

Price

The Base is Echo’s most affordable rod, yet it features Echo’s lifetime warranty and is shipped with a rod sock and fabric-covered rod case.

If you’re looking for a good rod for a beginner fly angler, the Echo base is just the rod.

Specs

  • Length: 9 foot
  • Sections: 4 pieces
  • Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • Action: Medium Fast
  • Color: Dark Blue

Pros

  • Comes with Echo’s lifetime warranty for the original owner
  • Features a durable anodized aluminum reel seat
  • A good-sized fighting-butt helps keep the reel away from any snags when fighting a fish

Cons

  • Heavy when compared to more expensive rods
  • Line guides are not suited for saltwater use

Redington Predator

A saltwater ready offering from Redington that is designed to cast heavy flies at large fish

Redington Predator

The Predator is a saltwater ready offering from Redington that is designed to cast heavy flies at large fish.

Action

The fast action makes it possible to generate high line speed and distance casts.

Hook up to a decent-sized fish, and the rod’s serious lifting power and large fighting butt give you the upper hand.

This is one of the few 7-weight rods that I feel comfortable with fighting tarpon and trevally.

Build

The rod’s finishes include anodized snake guides, ceramic stripping guides, and epoxy coated section tips to prevent the sections from getting stuck. 

Weight

The Redington Predator is not the lightest fly rod around. The 7-weight 9-foot and 10-foot models weigh 4.2 ounces and 4.4 ounces, respectively. 

To round this good value saltwater package off it comes with a Cordura rod tube with built-in section dividers. The Predator comes with a lifetime warranty to the original owner.

Specs

  • Lengths: 9 and 10-foot models
  • Sections: 4 pieces
  • Weight: 4.2 ounces (9 foot) and 4.4 ounces (10 foot)
  • Action: Fast
  • Color: Matte Blue

Pros

  • Redington lifetime warranty
  • Engraved rod weight marking on the reel seat making for quick selection
  • Big fighting butt
  • Section tips epoxy coated to prevent sticking
  • Matte finish reduces rod glare

Cons

  • Heavy compared to more expensive options

Best For Saltwater

G Loomis GLX Crosscurrent

Proven to be a reliable and effective fly fishing tool for many serious fly anglers and guides across the globe.

G Loomis GLX Crosscurrent

The GLX Crosscurrent has been around for many years.

It has proven to be a reliable and effective fly fishing tool for many serious fly anglers and guides across the globe.

Model

Since its release, newer and more advanced G Loomis rods have been released, but I still rate the GLX as one of the best saltwater sticks on the market.

The rod is designed for the experienced angler.

Action

It features a fast action that will enable you to generate high line speeds and form tight loops. I especially like the rod at 60+ feet where its ample backbone feels reassuring in hand.

Build

The finishes on the Crosscurrent GLX are aimed at saltwater use.

These include the lightweight carbon fiber reel seat and nickel-titanium recoil guides.

As with so many great fly rods that tick all the boxes for build quality, reliability, and performance, the GLX is not cheap.

Specs

  • Lengths: 9 foot
  • Sections: 4 pieces
  • Action: Fast
  • Color: Olive

Pros

  • Recoil guides are durable and saltwater resistant
  • Sufficiently large fighting butt
  • A very durable rod that has proven itself over many years
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • It might be too expensive for many saltwater anglers

Best Value

TFO BVK

Performs well in casting distance from 30 to 75 feet and delivering small to medium-sized flies

TFO BVK

Build

Temple Fork Outfitters are well known to produce good value rods.

The BVK (Lefty Kreh’s initials) is built using high modulus carbon fiber which allows the rod builders to reduce the thickness of the blank walls.

A thin carbon fiber reel seat insert and lightweight line guides result in a highly responsive rod.

Weight

The weight of the rod and it’s fast action allows the angler to form tight loops with a good recovery rate.

This rod performs well in casting distance from 30 to 75 feet and delivering small to medium-sized flies.

Casting

I used my BVK on tailing bonefish in Seychelles and it allowed me to make pinpoint accurate casts and had ample pulling power when on hooked fish.

I find the fighting butt too small for real fishing situations.

A larger, more pronounced, fighting butt would position the reel further away from your body during a fight.

Reel Seat

My main concern is the suitability of the securing screws on the reel seat.

The fine thread kept jamming up when used in a saltwater flats fishing scenario.

Make sure to remove the reel after every day’s fly fishing and rinse the components thoroughly.

Options

The TFO BVK is available in three different lengths.

The 9-foot version is the best allrounder that is equally at home in saltwater and freshwater scenarios.

I recommend this rod for most anglers. The 10-foot 7 weight fly fish rods are ideal for saltwater anglers who frequently fish off the beach.

Specs

  • Lengths: 9 feet, 9 foot 6 inches, and 10 feet
  • Sections: 4 pieces
  • Weight: 3.1 ounces (9 foot), 3.4 ounces (9 foot 6 inches), and 3.6 ounces (10 foot)
  • Action: Fast
  • Color: Green

Pros

  • Great value fly rod
  • Lightweight blank
  • Lifetime warranty to the original owner
  • Three lengths are available for different fly fishing scenarios

Cons

  • The fighting butt is too small in my opinion
  • The locking rings on the reel seat is not designed for extensive saltwater exposure

Best All-Rounder

Sage X

The blanks are light in weight and the components are exceptional quality.

Sage X

The X is Sage’s most recent premium all water rod range.

Build & Performance

The blanks are light in weight and the components are exceptional quality, as you’d expect.

I fished both the 7 and 8 weight 9-foot version hard for a single day on the flats of Alphonse Island, Seychelles.

The X is able to deliver short accurate casts and blast out a full fly fishing line with ease.

Action

The Sage X has a very fast action, making it more suitable for experienced casters.

Beginner fly anglers will find timing the cast difficult and end up with tailing loops. 

Options

The 7 weight 9-foot Sage is, probably, the most versatile, being at home in the salt or on freshwater.

The 9-foot 6 inch offers the river angler an increase in length that will assist with mends and drag management.

The 10-foot rendition is an excellent choice for steelhead or salmon anglers and compliments a single-hand spey line very well.

This X is one of the best fly rods around but very pricey. I only recommend it for the serious and experienced fly angler. 

Specs

  • Lengths: 9 foot, 9 foot 6 inches, and 10 foot
  • Sections: 4 pieces
  • Weight: 3.375 ounces (9 foot), 3.5 ounces (9 foot 6 inches), and 3.75 ounces (10 foot)
  • Action: Fast
  • Color: Black Spruce

Pros

  • Laser-etched line weight indicator on reel seat helps you select the correct rod quickly on a boat
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Three different lengths available for a variety of fishing scenarios
  • Light in hand

Cons

  • Expensive

Orvis Helios 3F

Great fishing fly rods that hit the magic spot between accuracy, power, and feeling

Orvis Helios 3F

Model

Orvis replaced their popular Helios 2 with the Helios 3D and 3F ranges.

The 3D rods are some of the best money can buy.

Here, ultra-fast actions are more important than delicate presentations.

However, my favorite range is the Helios 3F.

Changes

Orvis slowed down the action in the 3F, resulting in a fly rod with incredible feeling.

The 7-weights are available in 9- and 10-foot lengths.

I recommend the 9 weight for most anglers, especially someone looking for a “do-it-all” rod to target bonefish, bass, and salmon.

The 10-foot version is great for dedicated salmon anglers who need the extra reach for mends and line control.

Design

The modern white and chartreuse colored block in front of the cork handle has been the topic of much discussion.

Some anglers like it, others don’t. It all boils down to personal preference. 

Test it Yourself

My opinion is to cast with the rod before judging the book by its cover.

The Orvis Helios 3 are great fishing fly rods that hit the magic spot between accuracy, power, and feeling.

Price

The Helios 3F is one of Orvis’ premium options made in the USA, therefore it is expensive. If you spend a great deal of time saltwater fishing and you’re looking for a rod that will serve you well, the Orvis 3F is unbeatable. 

Specs

  • Lengths: 9 foot and 10 foot
  • Sections: 4 pieces
  • Action: Fast
  • Color: Black with a white logo section

Pros

  • Orvis’ 25-year warranty
  • Durable components
  • Very accurate rod at real fishing distances

Cons

  • The rod’s finish isn’t for everyone
  • Expensive

What Does the Weight of a Fly Rod Mean?

The AFFTA (American Fly Fishing Trade Association) regulates the standards for fly line grain weights.

These standards ensure that retailers provide customers with well-balanced equipment.

Check out the AFFTA website for all the fly line ratings.

Weight Classes

Fly rod manufacturers use these specified weight classes to design blanks that are optimized for each line weight.

As per our example above, a 7-weight rod is designed to cast an AFFTA line of the same rating.

Fly Rod Reels
Fly Rod Reels

What Should you Look for in a 7 Weight Fly Rod?

So, how do you make sure you’re buying the right 7-weight?

Below, I go through the most important factors when selecting a suitable rod.

The correct rod will be more enjoyable to fish and ultimately have you spend more time on the water.

Budget

Choosing how much you’re willing to spend is perhaps one of the most important and definitely one of the first decisions you need to make.

There’s a balance between affordability, performance, and durability.

RECOMMENDATION

If you’re looking to spend a great deal of time with the 7-weight (or any rod for that matter), I recommend buying the best you can afford.

However, look at the complete fishing gear setup, not just the fly rod. You also need to factor in the cost of the reel and fly line. 

Portability

Most fly rods come in a 4-piece configuration which is short enough for travel purposes.

If you don’t need the rod to be portable, you might consider a 3, 2, or even 1 piece 7 weight fly rod.

Fewer ferrules mean there are fewer connection points in the blank

This translates to a smoother power application and more durability

NOTE

Although not a 7-weight rod, one of the best 9-weights I’ve ever cast was the Crosscurrent GLX 1 piece. It’s a completely different rod to the 4-piece version.

Protection

I recommend only buying a rod that comes with a dedicated rod sock and a protective tube. These protect your rod while in transit and when stored.

The rod tube can also be used to carry a spare rod or tip section with you when you’re out on the water.

Person Holding a Fly Rod
Person Holding a Fly Rod

Material

There are three main material types that manufacturers use to build fly rods.

Each material has its unique strengths and weaknesses.

Bamboo

Bamboo was used on the first fly fishing rods.

They are made by laminating tapered bamboo fibers together, creating a flexible and strong blank.

Although most rod manufacturers have moved away from this material, some custom rod builders still make them.

Although most rod manufacturers have moved away from this material, some custom rod builders still make them.

Preference

They are intended for the traditional trout angler that places the feel of casting above its performance.

The soft rod tip protects light tippet material well when fighting fish.

In most cases, they are extremely expensive which places them out of reach of the average fly angler. 

Fiberglass

In later years, fiberglass replaced bamboo as the primary rod building material.

This material allowed manufacturers to up production numbers and fine-tune blank design even more.

The glass of today is much more advanced than the old fiberglass rods.

Tough and Strong

Fiberglass makes for a durable rod with plenty of pulling power in the butt section and is the most fun when fighting fish.

Modern fiberglass rods are ideal for the angler looking for something out of the ordinary as the vibrant aesthetics and unique action are different from the carbon fiber offerings.

They’re also an excellent choice for fishermen who prefers a slower casting stroke. 

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is the material most used in fly rod manufacturing.

The material is lightweight and has great rigidity.

This material gives the rod designer the ability to build a rod that is stiff and light in hand.

The material might not be as durable as fiberglass or bamboo but surpasses their performance in every other respect.

Man Fly Fishing on a Dock
Man Fly Fishing on a Dock

Length

A 7-weight fly rod is, mostly, available in 4 lengths.

The length you choose depends on the fishing application and how specialized you want the rod to be.

Under 9 foot

Some brands offer 7-weight rod lengths under 9 feet long. For instance, the G Loomis Crosscurrent GLX 1 piece is only 8 feet 10 inches.

These sticks are ideal for the angler who regularly fishes from a boat. The shorter length also makes it easier to throw narrow loops.

9 foot

The 9-foot 7-weight rod that will suit most of your needs.

It’s a great bonefishing rod and can be used to throw streamers at large trout. It’s also short enough to be used on a boat.

9 foot 6 inches

This length is ideal for the regular river fisherman.

The extra length assists when managing line and mends.

10 foot

The 7-weight 10-foot is a great fly fishing rod for steelhead and salmon fisherman. These rods pair well with single hand spey lines.

I also like using this rod when fishing in the surf. The extra length means that the butt section will have more pulling power. Great for large fish.

Components

When talking about components, I mean how durable the components are.

If you’re planning on using the rod in saltwater, ensure that the reel seat does not contain any wood inserts.

Also, make sure that the line and stripping guides are saltwater resistant.

Action

The action of the 7-weight rod that will suit you best is a personal preference.

Some anglers prefer slower action rods (like myself), and others prefer an ultra-fast rod.

For any saltwater application, make sure that you can generate high lines speeds to deal with the ever-present wind

After Sales Service

Accidents happen.

Somewhere in your fly fishing career you’ll slam a rod’s tip in your car door or step on the butt section on a boat. It’s part of life.

Fishing with a rod from a reputable manufacturer that has been (and will be) around for a while gives you the peace of mind.

If something should happen, you can have it repaired.

What is a 7 Weight Fly Rod Used For?

A modern 7-weight fly rod is, in my opinion, the new 8-weight rod. It’s capable of targeting a range of fresh and saltwater fish species.

What I also love about a 7-weight fly rod is its ability to deliver both small and large flies with ease.

It is not a small stream fly fishing rod used to target small fish (this is where a 4-weight or 5-weight rod shines).

Rather, it excels in fishing scenarios where big fish are the primary target.

Man Casting a Fly Rod

Freshwater Applications

In freshwater, a 7-weight can be used to target fish species such as large rainbow and brown trout, bass, and carp.

It’s an excellent streamer rod that casts big freshwater flies with ease.

If you are mostly fly fishing for steelhead and salmon, a 10-foot 7-weight is a good choice.

The extra length makes for more effective line management.

These longer rods pair well with single hand spey lines. 

Saltwater Applications

A 7-weight is the lightest fly rod I would recommend for the saltwater angler.

Having said that, it performs well on bonefish (especially on windless days), stripers, and reef species.

What I really like about using a 7-weight fly rod in saltwater is the ability to present medium and small-sized flies delicately.

This ability comes in handy on, especially, spooky fish in shallow water.

Conclusion

Here is a quick of all our top choices from the lineup…

Our choice

Our choice is the Temple Fork Outfitters BVK…

It is one of the lightest 7-weight rods on the market and is available in three different lengths.

The rod is greatly more affordable than most of the other competitors yet still performs incredibly well.

TFO also has great after-sales service and offers a lifetime warranty on the BVK.

The 7-weight BVK fly fish rod is the perfect fly fishing tool to target small saltwater species such as bonefish and small trevally. It will handle most freshwater applications with ease.

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