A few years back I was introduced to Epic fiberglass rods while fishing with Jack Kos on a New Zealand spring creek. The 5wt we were using was a ton of fun, and as I inquired more about the company I learned that they made a killer 8wt also. This certainly peaked my interest as I spend most of my time on the water with an 8wt in hand, chasing tailing redfish all over the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Soon after that I had my own 888 and it quickly became the rod I reached for every time I took the skiff out.
I didn't really think there could be improvements made to the old one, and was honestly a bit hesitant when I'd heard that there was a newer model with upgrades. I didn't have to wait long to find out for myself, as I've recently added one to my quiver. As it turns out, those guys at Swift know what the heck they're doing (not surprised) and this new and improved 888 is incredible. My old, battered workhorse of an 8wt can now provide backup duty, while this shiny blue creation gets first honors up on the bow.
There are two main things that I noticed about this new 888:
1 - it's lighter in the hand, and
2 - it has more "feel"
I started to say that it was "slower action", but I don't think that describes it accurately. There is just more of a connection to what's happening with the cast. It will still do whatever you tell it to, whether that's a nice soft landing in calm conditions or punching into a stiff headwind.
I dig it.
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Choosing the right fly rod is no easy task, length, power, species, fishing conditions and the type of flies you will be throwing all need to be carefully considered.