TFO BVK Follow up
A while back I mentioned I broke a TFO BVK while fishing, I just wanted to follow up on my dealings with TFO. I gave them a call soon after that trip in February and explained what happened. I don’t recall who it was I spoke with, but he was very understanding and offered a replacement, any model I wished. He recommended either the Axiom or the TiCr X though as opposed to another BVK. I went with the Axiom because it was not as fast an action as the TiCr X, I’m used to a medium action.
I finally put it through it’s paces on Sunday and I do believe it is a better rod for me in the kayak. The BVK is a great rod, very light, but it has no lifting power. I needed a rod with a backbone to land reds in a kayak. The Axiom handled the job well. It is a really good looking rod too with some nice components. It casts very smoothly when I’m not flailing away with excitement. TFO was a pleasure to deal with, you can’t beat their warranty program.They are definitely worth looking at if you’re in the market for a new rod that is not going to break the bank.
I own 2 full lines of TFO rods: BVKs and Axioms. I’ve also owned TiCrX, Finesse, Professional, NXT, MiniMag, CFR, PHW, Gary Loomis Spin-Fly Ultralight, and the Deer Creek switch rod. I still have the MiniMag and Deer Creek switch rods, and my wife still has her CFR rod. I’ve also spent quite a bit of time casting the Clouser and TiCr rods.
You got the characteristics right. The BVKs are lighter than the Axioms by quite a bit, but are a fast action rod without a lot of backbone until you get to the 9wt. The 9, 10, and 12 have backbone. The Axiom rods have a Kevlar sheet rolled into the carbon fiber scrim pre-preg to reduce ovaling and vibration, and use a heavier resin and coating process than the BVKs. They are far stronger and more resilient than the BVKs, but they also weigh more. The Axiom is not all that much slower of an action than a BVK at the “sweet spot,” but it is a lot more “forgiving” than the BVK – meaning it allows for a wider range of timing between “ideal” and “fail” thanks in large part to that reduction in ovaling and vibration you get from the Kevlar.
I catch a lot of over-slot Redfish on BVKs from kayaks, mostly a 7wt. I rarely have on on for 5 minutes before it’s landed. But you’ve got to keep a fish all the way in the butt of a BVK and never give them a split-second of relief to do that. An Axiom will let you put quite a bit of pressure on fish during their runs and actually turn them, but a BVK only allows you to make them spend more energy faster. Both strategies work. It depends on what type of flies and leaders you’re fishing as to which rod is most suitable as much as it does your casting style, because you can learn to adjust the casting stroke.
You’ll also find that the Axiom likes “chunkier” lines like the SA Redfish, whereas the BVK really prefers the finesse of a line like the Wulff Triangle Tapers.
Both of these lines of premium rods from TFO are excellent rods, as are their MiniMags, Finesse, and both lines of Switch and Spey rods. And you can’t beat their warranty and customer service at any price in the industry.