An eight weight rod is one of THE rod weights to own. Incredibly versatile, it makes a great tool for not just heavier freshwater applications, but saltwater fishing as well. Diamondback recently (and generously) sent us three rods to test, one of them being—you guessed it—an 8 weight rod from their Flex lineup. These rods carry polished, handsome looks along with a modest price tag which immediately makes them quite tantalizing.
Flex rods use Diamondback's Diverse Modulus Design or "DMD" for short. In a nutshell, this engineering method produces high-performing rods that are tuned, balanced, and refined. Not only does Diamondback aim for refinement in the technical aspects of these graphite rods, but our Flex had a highly-refined look that set it apart from other rods—regardless of price.
The blank sports a beautiful painted "cool titanium" color with bluish-grey wraps and silver trim. The color scheme works very well without being gaudy or too flashy. Fitted onto the blank are hard chrome snake guides and two large stripping guides with Hialoy inserts for smooth performance. At the ferrules, there's also small red diamond logos that act as alignment dots to ensure a straight fit. Moving down to the handle, there's a clean cork grip, small fighting butt with composite end, and a very exotic-looking aluminum reel seat boasting an exquisite diamond-cut design. Locking the reel into place is easy thanks to the double locking rings which for me are some of the nicest I've experienced because of their smooth operation and pleasing yet functional texturing.
I brought the Flex 9-foot 8-weight rod to California for some striper fishing with the rest of the Demystifly crew. As you can see below, I caught much more than just stripers! Anyhow, the performance of this stick was quite satisfying. The action feels more along the lines of fast to me and there's good power on tap. In fact, I spent several hours tossing a 350-grain sinking striper line with a big weighted clouser and felt quite comfortable chucking that setup. With a RIO General Purpose WF8F line I was not disappointed either. It's not overly-stiff in close and is able to cast a long distance easily. The weight of the rod felt about average, and the rod's fish-fighting muscle felt on-par with what I'd expect from an 8-weight. Two little notes at the end of testing were that I'd prefer a slightly beefier fighting butt and there was a hint of cork wear noted on the grip under my casting thumb.
Diamondback makes Flex models in 4-piece configurations ranging from 3–10 weight and lengths from 7–9 feet. All rods are accompanied with an embroidered rod bag and a hard Cordura tube. Our 9-foot 8-weight Flex carries a cost of $295. With the prices of fly rods climbing every year to jaw-dropping new heights, this rod is an interesting and surprisingly well-appointed entry at just under 300 bucks!